Salmorejo – a Spanish Cold Soup

Weather you’re in Europe and in the middle of a heatwave or, like me, in a tropical country when heatwaves are the only weather you get, cold soups can be very helpful! Salmorejo is more of a cream rather than a soup. It’s a proud dish from Cordoba and very much dislikes to be so often associated with the liquid, drinkable cousin, Gazpacho. So much so that Cordoba university even conducted a scientific study to find the perfect consolidation of ingredients for Salmorejo, with the aim of creating some sort of controlled designation of origin and standardize the perfect proportions for its final homogeneous result. This recipe will serve up an excellent Salmorejo: bring it to its utmost by relying on good quality seasonal tomatoes and garnishing it with well-sourced fresh ingredients. It’s also suitable for vegans!

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Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)

Considered the key dish of Spanish cuisine, tortilla is one of our go to recipes when we have guests or when we are looking for an easy fix with few ingredients. Distinguished from its Italian cousin frittata by its characteristic thickness, it can also contain other featured ingredients, such as chorizo, like this one does. But of course, tortilla can be enjoyed by vegetarians, who instead of adding chorizo can add their favourite greens, or simply add a lot of parsley to the mix. This serves eight if eaten as a starter or four as a main – but keep it between two, and you can have seconds! Continue reading “Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)”

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Aubergines/Eggplants Chili and Honey Sauce

Keeping a balanced diet means playing a lot with your veggies to find ways to create interesting meals that involve vegetables only. This is what I do in order to reduce the amount of meat consumed weekly in the household. Keep some chilies in your fridge and you’ll realise that they can really add a lot of character to your dishes.
In this case, I simply grilled some vegetables I had in the fridge, but thanks to the magic combo of chili, vinegar (or lemon) and honey, they felt like a very special dish. I served them with roasted potatoes, which added crunchiness and substance to this super healthy dinner.

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Dressed Mung Beans – Perfect for Salads

Add mung beans to your diet, and you’ll have the blessings of nutritionists, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic docs alike. This tiny green bean is so packed with goodness that simply makes everyone agree on its invaluable nutrition. Magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, proteins, folate, you name it! Unlike a few trendy super-foods, this legume is largely available in Asia, and you can still find it at honest prices! So I added it to my veggie-packed weekly meals, and cooked it like I do with lentils sometimes, dry and flavoured, ready to be added to salads.

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Chinese Dried Meat – Rou Gan

What do you do with left over minced meat? Try this Rou Gan recipe and turn your meat into a jerky-like snack! It’s saved a lot of expiring meat for me. I’m using minced pork here, but it also works for other types of meat, and of course if you have some leftover meat that’s not minced, you can always put it in a blender.

Bear in mind though that the end result is usually better if you have a cut with a high fat percentage, as the “drying” process will make the lean meat too hard. You can try and add a little vegetable oil to the mince mix if your meat is too lean – feel free to experiment, as this is more of a method than a recipe.

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Spaghetti Carbonara – the Classic Recipe

I won’t dwell too much on the name origin of pasta, specifically spaghetti Carbonara, for which many are the presumed stories , but none of them sure. What is certain is that this classic recipe from Lazio was popular only after the Second World War, it is one of the most famous recipes in the world, and also one of the simplest pasta sauces there are to make. Even with the internet, and with some Italian chefs becoming very popular around the world, there’s always a lot of curiosity about this recipe and the actual way you’re supposed to make it. It is definitely a winner at dinner parties with Anglo-Saxon friends – who will be awed at how magically you pull together their favourite breakfast ingredients in a dinner dish. This recipe serves two people.

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Sesame Tuna and Modified Sauce Messine

Just as much as I easily find good cuts of meat in the Haringey wing of Seven Sisters, well sourced tasty fish is equally as impossible to find. So when I crave it, I make it a proper treat, spending a bit more, but trying to find some sustainably sourced fish. In this case, I got a chunk of tuna from Wholefoods, together with some sea asparagus, and I planned to make something very special with them.  Sauce Messine is a traditional French sauce used for fish – it’s in Elizabeth Davis’ book and I’ve made it a few times, although I almost never have the exact ingredients needed. As usual, I have allowed myself to make some adjustments and the result was simply delightful. This recipe serves two.

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Classic Pesto

I understand many people think Pesto it is a complicated sauce to make, but actually it is super easy and a lot tastier if made with fresh ingredients. Recently, I had the opportunity to grow my own basil in the garden and therefore I took advantage to finally try to make fresh pesto. The result was so light and tasty I don’t think those pots at the supermarket or at the local deli will ever tempt me again.
To make things easier, instead of doing the pesto the old fashion way (with pestle and mortar), which would have taken me 20 minutes, I have used a hand blender, spending about ten minutes (if not less) to get my very own pot of pesto!

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Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander

Want a bit more bite to your pork belly? Then twice-cooking it might be the answer – as covering it in an egg and flour batter will make the texture a little crispier.

After the first round of frying, the pork belly is drained of oil on some tempura paper, ideally, to make it all less greasy, before you add in the spiralised carrots and coriander.

The whole thing is very fast and easy to cook, and prep only takes roughly 10 minutes, with around the same amount of cooking time. Continue reading “Twice Cooked Pork Belly Carrot and Coriander”

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Koushui Ji – a Spicy Sichuan Chinese Chicken Salad

For something a bit different from your standard chicken salad this summer, there’s always the spicy sichuan koushui ji, which is also very easy to make. You can use either one whole chicken, or, as I’ve done here, use only chicken thighs. I’ve also used boneless pieces in this recipe, as I find it easier to eat.

You can make this the night before and store it in the fridge – after all, it’s supposed to be eaten cold – and prep time is minimal, while cooking time is roughly 30 minutes. It really is very simple, despite the long list of ingredients.

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