Category Archives: Vegetarian

Moroccan Marinade

The other day I brought home a couple of fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned. As I cast about for recipe ideas, I spotted a couple of Moroccan fish recipes, using a couple of variations on a chermoula as a marinade. With that as inspiration, I dug out my heavy duty mortar & pestle and have it a good wash. I don’t use our mortar & pestle all that much, but every time I do, I keep wondering why I don’t use it more. I think it’s a mental block; even though I know it doesn’t take too much effort or time for a simple paste, there’s still that hesitation. It’s not my first tool of choice, and that’s purely out of habit rather than anything else, I think.

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Avocado, mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes on toast

  
Avocado for breakfast is a continued passion for me. The creamy nuttiness of soft, ripe avocados is a taste that can be savoured again and again, and I will never tire of it. And I keep trying different combinations of what can be done with this wonderful produce, often depending on what else I have in the fridge at the time. 

This morning, I remember led a box of mixed heirloom tomatoes that I had bought the other day. Different shapes, colours and sizes, these little gems are so attractive to look at. I’m the first to admit that I’m no tomato connoisseur but even I could make out some subtle differences in taste between them. And with no sundried tomatoes in the house, what better alternative on my avocado breakfast?

  • Take one slice of toast. I used a big slice of tiger bread (or giraffe bread as some shops call it nowadays). Definitely make it crunchy, the contrast in texture to the other ingredients is a delight.
  • Layer on slices or chunks of ripe, soft avocado. You could mash it up slightly with a fork, if you feel like having a more even spread. 
  • Cut up some heirloom tomatoes into rough chunks. Don’t need to be fancy, just don’t keep the bite-sized. Scatter them across the toast. 
  • Also add chunks of mozzarella (cut around the same size as the tomatoes). 
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt and then add dots of sriracha sauce. 
  • Serve immediately.

Cheese and chutney 

  

Sometimes it’s not about gourmet cuisine, but just about combining a few key flavours and making quick, simple but yet delicious food. And this little tidbit is a exactly that. 

Slices of homemade wholewheat and spelt seeded bread. Slivers of butter and a spread of sweet, tart sun-dried fig chutney. Topped with chunks of extra-hot Mexicana cheese. No cooking, no fuss. 

And the best part is that you can switch things around and try different combinations. Go for a different chutney. Use goats cheese or feta. Experiment with the flavours and use what works for you. 

Sundried Tomatoes – without the sun!


We love sun-dried tomatoes. They taste great in a variety of dishes, from anti-pasti to salads and sandwiches, even as an addition to simple spaghetti al’olio.

Sun drying tomatoes is usually a very easy affair. All you need are tomatoes and plenty of strong sunshine. Alas, the UK weather is so fickle that we cannot be guaranteed of continuous sunshine for any length of time. But I had a huge box of cherry tomatoes that were just begging to be used.

So here is my version; simple oven-dried cherry tomatoes with garlic and sea salt. The concentration of flavours into these tiny slivers of rich tomatoey goodness is amazing – truly sunshine in every bite, even on a gloomy and rainy day. Thanks for the inspiration, Rhea.

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‘Gone-in-ten-minutes’ Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia


This classic Italian bread is a firm favourite in our household. It rarely lasts long, so much so that I’ve nicknamed it my ‘gone-in-ten-minutes’ focaccia. It is super easy to make, requiring very low skills in bread making or kneading. What it does require though, is a little self-belief and confidence in handling wet doughs, and the faith that it will turn out alright despite appearances.

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Pesto, Parmesan and Sundried tomato pull-apart rolls

Pesto, Parmesan and Sundried tomato pull-apart rolls

I have been eyeing my friend Rhea Mitra-Dalal’s recipe for pesto pull-apart rolls for a long time. She makes them quite often, and the whole idea of tear and share rolls, flavoured with pesto has always appealed to me. I had even attempted something on similar lines a while ago, unfortunately with little success. But now, after having done a few different breads earlier on Aparna’s We Knead to Bake challenges in previous months, I felt more confident of being able to achieve the desired softness and texture that I was looking for. So, I thought of trying this again for this month’s challenge – which was to have a savoury, filled, decoratively shaped bread.

The end result was all I could have hoped for and more. The soft pillowy texture of the rolls, the goodness of the pesto and the sweetness of the homemade sun-dried tomatoes, all prefectly complemented by the rich umami of the parmesan cheese. These rolls were a massive hit at home. I have made two batches already, and they disappear almost as fast as I can make them.

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Avocado breakfast

Avocados are something that I tasted for the first time when I came to the UK, and I immediately fell in love with the delicate nutty flavour of these wonderful wonderful fruit. And they are so versatile, fitting into recipes for all meals. Here are a couple of my favourite breakfast ideas using avocados. I think the subtle nuttiness of the fruit combines very well with the intense hits of the sriracha sauce, and the soft mellowness of texture perfectly offsets the crunch of the underlying toast.

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