Tag Archives: food recipes

Green beans with pine nuts

Green beans with pine nuts

Green beans should have a bright, strong colour, with crisp pods with a satin-like sheen. They should not look wilted, discoloured or brown. They are best eaten when young and tender. To tell how fresh they are, snap one in half. The ‘snap’ should be clean and clear. Don’t buy them if the ‘snap’ is lacking, and if the insides do not seem juicy when you break them open. Home-grown green beans are in season from June to September. Thin green finger-length beans that are also called French beans or haricots verts. They also include the fatter snap or bobby bean, and the yellow wax bean. Confusingly, green beans are not always green; some varieties you might find at farmers’ markets and farm shops are yellow or purple – but all are delicious.

Lamb koftas in yogurt with cinnamon and chilli

Lamb koftas in yogurt with cinnamon and chilli

Lamb koftas are one of the classics of Indian cuisine, well adopted by Westerners around the world. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef, chicken, lamb, or pork—mixed with spices and/or onions. In India, vegetarian varieties include koftas made from potato, calabash, paneer, or banana. In Europe, kofta is served as fast food as a type of kebab. Koftas in India are usually served cooked in a spicy curry/gravy and are eaten with boiled rice or a variety of Indian breads. In Bengal, a region of eastern India, koftas are made from prawns, fish, green bananas, cabbage or meat, such as minced goat meat. In Kashmir, mutton is often used in the preparation of koftas, as opposed to beef or lamb. These koftas make a very good first course or snack.

Roman gnocchi

Roman gnocchi

Roman gnocchi can be prepared a day or two in advance, wrapped and stored in the refigerator in the slab form or as circles. Roman gnocchi are made with semolina and are quite different from the more well-known potato gnocchi served with pasta sauce. Gnocchi are eaten as a first course (primo piatto), as an alternative to soups (minestre) or pasta. They are generally home-made in Italian and diaspora Italian households. They may also be bought fresh from speciality stores. In supermarkets, industrially produced packaged gnocchi are widely available refrigerated, dried, or frozen. Common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, pesto, and various sauces.

Sweet potato soup with cumin and ginger

Sweet potato soup with cumin and ginger

Sweet potato soup with cumin an ginger is a great choice for any meal. Vibrant in colour and quick to make, this soup is ideal for any winter party. A root vegetable that resembles a potato, although it is quite different in taste and texture (and is not related to the potato). It has a pinkish-orange skin and a deep-orange, creamy-textured flesh that’s much lighter and fluffier than that of the potato. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in similar ways to the potato but cook much more quickly. Mixture of sweetness of the potatoes and subtle spicy taste of cumin and ginger makes this soup a great warming dish. Cumin seeds have a warm flavour and a strong, pungent aroma. Serve with croûtons or crispy bread, and garnish with some double cream and chopped chives.

Queen of puddings

Queen of puddings

Queen of Puddings is old-fashioned favourite: smooth set creamy custard is flavoured with orange zest, spread with melted jam, and topped with meringue. This is a traditional British dessert, and similar recipes are called Monmouth Pudding and Manchester Pudding. A Monmouth Pudding is said to consist of layers of meringue, jam or seasonal fruit and bread soaked in milk, whilst Manchester Pudding is similar but contains egg yolks (but some have speculated that this name was just a synonym for the Queen of Puddings). As befits such a treat, it is a little more technical than most of the recipes to date, but there is nothing here that requires great skill. It is simply a question of following the steps carefully to produce a brilliantly showy pudding. Queen of Puddings is so worthy of its name, a pudding filled with lovely ingredients and crowned with a layer of soft chewy meringue.