Tuesday 24 June 2014

Minty strawbellini: a perfect summer cocktail

As my friends know, inventing cocktails is one of my favourite pastimes. I don't do complicated though. I tend to take a well-known cocktail and rework it with some local, seasonal ingredients. The "Bellini" cocktail was invented at Harry's Bar in Venice and consists simply of fresh peach purée and local prosecco
My version - the " Minty Strawbellini" - is more English. It includes fresh British strawberries and mint, mushed into a purée along with some good quality honey, and topped with pink cava or prosecco

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Another Polish dumpling recipe

Potatoes, rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, rice again... If you would welcome another carb onto your dinner plate, then look no further than these simple dumplings
They are called "kluski kładzione", which translates as "laid dumplings" (more or less) because we "lay" them onto the water (that's why the lack of uniformity). Language is like a window into another world, therefore my tendency is always to try and explain, yet often translating Polish to English makes very little sense. The way that these languages are formed and used, the imagery surrounding them, the associations... they really are like two different planets
Here are those dumplings replacing potatoes or rice with a dinner of lamb and cucumber salad. They are fantastic with any kind of sauce or gravy...
And here they are again, showing off their versatility as a pudding, fried on some butter with a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of honey


300g plain flour
2 eggs
Pinch of salt

Blend these ingredients together, by hand of in a blender, to create a batter that's similar to pancake batter but much thicker and stickier - this batter does not come off the spoon easily. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Take a spoon and put it in a cup of freshly boiled water for about 3min. Use the spoon to take a bit of the batter and place it into the water. You need to do this quickly and efficiently, yet without splash back. You may need to cook them in two batches. When they swim to the top, give them a couple of minutes extra and remove

Friday 6 June 2014

Asparagus and walnut tagliatelle

You know that feeling when you could chew off your own arm, you're that hungry? When you worry you might faint if your chosen recipe takes longer than five minutes to cook... It really is a small miracle when at a time like this you create a dish that's actually worthy of a blog, yet this is what happened today...
I cooked some fresh pasta, you know the sort that takes about 3min to cook, and threw the chopped asparagus tips into the boiling, salted water for the final minute. In the meantime, I fried some lovely, French garlic and fresh chilli in olive oil, and crushed walnuts with the back of a knife. Threw them in, grated some lemon zest and fried it all for a further 2min. I drained the tagliatelle and asparagus and added these to the frying pan, squeezed in the lemon juice, and immediately started grating Parmesan into the mix. Season with plenty of celery salt and black pepper before serving. My neighbour tried to speak to me as I was carrying this into the garden to eat. I said "hello" in such a way that he immediately understood that I was very, very hungry