Kale So we got Kale in our veg bag again this week! What a funky vegetable! So CURLY!!! I really had no awareness of this vegetable before living with Martha who regulary fed her tortoises with Kale. This sturdy squeeky green thing is really something to touch and behold. And eat of course. This weekend I found this wicked Japanese dish to put the Kale in, on a very nice food blog called Simply Recipes – one of the better examples of food blogs, though the design is deceiving, cos it feels like a communal blog but its actually just one person/family bloggin. Anyhow, here is the recipe link, give this a shot!
Kale with Seaweed, Sesame and Ginger Recipe

Recipe Pictorial: Chicken Stir-fried w/ Butter Blk Pepper

So i’ve just discovered this fantastic source of pictorial recipes online! There are a whole series of them posted on the EGullet website by one person cooking authentic Chinese recipes Chinese Food Pictorials, by hzrt8w. The final dishes aren’t the sexiest looking food photography, but the step by step illustrations are brilliant. They really demystify Chinese cooking too. This recipe for eG Forums -> Chicken Stir-fried w/ Butter Blk Pepper caught my eye because butter seems like a totally non-traditional Chinese dish, but the result looks enticing. Watch this space for my own recipe pictorials coming soon!

Gado Gado – salad with peanut sauce recipe

Now that I get my local Growing Communities ‘veg box’ (it actually comes in a plastic bag – more on that in another post…) every week, I panic when the occasion arises that I’m seeing my parents: because I can never leave them without a full bag of produce from their own allotment in West London – and how will I get through all these fresh vegetables before next week’s veg supplement?! So these visits are always followed by days rich with numerous nutritious dishes!

Photo of Bumbu Sate package One dish that often comes to mind at a certain time of year, due to the green beans, spinach, and the usual carrots and potatoes that I receive, is Gado Gado. This is an Indonesian staple introduced to me by Rebecca during her residency in Jakarta – she sent me a package of hard, brown ‘stuff’, labeled “Bumbu Sate” (Satay sauce) so I dutifully looked this up online and followed the Sri Owen’s instructions I found on the Global Gourmet site . It is essentially a satay sauce to be served on a salad of cold vegetables: green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, beansprouts, spinach, potatoes and topped with hard boiled egg and tofu and sprinkled with crispy fried onions (these are not to be neglected!)

Now the time and ingredients were right for this dish to be concocted – but I had to make the sauce from scratch – and none of the recipes online could agree! I followed the vague ideas set down in to the one above and this Mediterrasion.com and then adjusted to taste. What I list below is roughly what I think I put in when I thought about it afterwards.

What you want a sweet (brown sugar) and salty (soy), garlicy, rich peanut sauce (freshly ground would be even better than my use of wholenut peanut butter) with a hint of coconut, medium hot with red chilli and thinned down with veg water and sparked off at the end with a good glug of lime juice. See a photo of my homemade version

Crush to a paste:
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp red chilli flakes (or more fresh)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Prepare/mix together:
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
4 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3/4 block coconut cream (or 1/2 tin coconut milk?)
1/4 tsp chilli powder

Have ready:
6-8 tbsp whole peanut butter
1.5 – 2 cups water (the same that you blanched the vegetables in)
3/4 – 1 juice of lime
(3 tbsp sambal pecel *)

Heat some peanut oil and saute the crushed garlic and chilli paste in it for a minute. Stir the mixture into this, and then add the peanut butter and the water. Cook for 15 mins. Add the lime juice just before serving, when the sauce is creamy.

Pour over a bowl/plate full of yummy crispy vegetables!

(* I found some Sambal Pecel sauce in my cupboard that I also got sent from Indonesia – this is a hotter satay sauce that i find needs to be thinned out considerably with coconut milk – but I do think a small amount added to the Bumbu sauce above adds to the flavour)

The Eagle Mansions – martini recipe

Photo of the martini drink and shaker This beautiful martini was born out of a need to make a tasty gin drink for someone who doesn’t like tonic (yes, that’s me)… and it was inspired by a blog where I found, not a recipe to follow, but the realisation that i didn’t need someone else’s recipe! So out of what I had in my fridge/cupboard and according to my tastebuds I came up within this Eagle Mansions martini, named after its birth place; an old building in the heart of London’s unofficial Little Turkey and a place I shall shortly no longer be residing in.
So in memory of this place, I put this vague assembly of ingredients down in cyberspace (and save myself moving flat with the back of the envelope its currently written on…)

The Eagle Mansions (A Gin-Pomegranate Martini)

a good shot (40 ml) gin
a good shot (40 ml) pomegranate juice
1/2 tsp pomegranate syrup
a sparse tbsp cointreau
a squeeze and a twist of lime

to be shaken on ice.

Please make to your own taste and enjoy dangerously!!

Sigara Boregi

photo described belowThis recipe was given to me by Sibel, a friend of Rebecca’s from Brighton. The name of these turkish pastries means cigarette borek(wrap). Ideally you will need some turkish filo pastry called “yufka”. Available in most turk or greek shops. If not regular filo will do the job. You will also need feta cheese and parsley for filling.

Mix these together. Cut the yufka in 15cm (6″) triangles (the stuff i bought was already triangular). The yufka is usually round so cut it like you would slicing pizza! Put 2 teaspoons of filling on the wider side of triangle, fold 1″ on each side of filling, and roll them up to cigar looking shapes. These will then be fried in a pan with veg oil. When they are golden brown, they are crispy and ready. Very filling snack. Melt in the mouth cheese! Good luck and Afiyet olsun (bon appetit in turkish).

Sigara Boregi - homemadeOne note since i tried this: don’t be tempted to put more than a scant 2 tsp of the feta parsely mix in the rolls, as it will ooze out the sides and get very messy!

Orange and red onion salad with cumin

This recipe is taken from Spanish food and cooking by Pepita Aris – a fantastic recipe book Magdalena gave me with lots of information about Spanish cuisine and seductive photography!

(serves six)


6 oranges
2 red onions
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coarsley ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 tbsp olive oil
to garnish:
fresh mint sprigs
black olives

It is important to let the salad stand before serving. This allows the flavours to develop and the pungent taste of the onion to soften slightly.


Using a sharp knife, slice the oranges thinly, working over a bowl to catch any juice. Then, holding each orange slice in turn over the bowl, cut round the middle fleshy section with scissors to remove the peel and pith. Reserve the juice. Slice the two red onions thinly and separate the rings.

Arrange the orange and onion slices in layers in a shallow dish, sprinkling each layer with cumin seeds, pepper, mint, live oil and salt. Pour in the reserved orange juice. Leave to marinate in a cool place for about 2 hours. Just before serving, scatter with the mint sprigs and black olives.

Surowka with Asian Influences

This salad looks exquisite, the combination of colours – white, orange, purple and pink where the beetroot juice runs – are unusal, flower-like and mesmerising. No photo for you here though – you will just have to make it and see!

(this recipe serves 3-4 as a large side dish)


1/4 large white cabbage, shredded
2 med-large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 large beetroot (raw), peeled and grated

(For dressing)
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp/ freshly juiced orange (half a small one)
dash of lemon juice (exclude if orange is very acidic)
1 tbsp very finely chopped fresh ginger
2-3 drops sesame seed oil
2-3 drops tamari

(To garnish)
1 tbsp each of sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 orange, peeled and broken into segments (which you could peel aswell if you have time on your hands!)

Method – it’s obvious but here it is anyway…

I find grate-ing the carrot and beetroot in a food processor gives the best result in terms of texture/thickness – but grating by hand will do if its all you have. Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl. Whisk all the dressing indredients together then stir into salad. Throw in the toasted seeds and mix again. Serve, decorated with a few whole or half segments of orange. Enjoy!

Surówka (winter vegetable salad)

(pronounced su-roof-ka)

Surowka (winter salad)

A photo of this salad done without the celeriac.

Okay so there is no hard and fast recipe to this, you just learn to use what you have got and vary it according to mood. My favourite variation follows, its great for colour to brighten up a dark wintery day and tastes delicious and very moreish.


1/2 red cabbage
3-4 carrots
1 small celeriac
handful (total) of seeds/nuts eg sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashew nuts
fresh parsley (if you have some)

For dressing:

a lemon
olive oil
grainy mustard
salt and pepper


Finely slice the red cabbage (i don’t recommend using a food processor as it shreds the cabbage too fine) and peel and then julienne/grate the carrots and celeriac (food processor comes in handy here!). Mix all together in a large bowl.

Make up a dressing to your taste, lemon juice is particularly good here but otherwise its variable. I do 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3 oil (total half filling a small jar), a 1/2 tsp each of honey and mustard and then season it.

Toast the seeds/nuts in a small frying pan until they are lightly browned and make popping sounds. Do watch these as the cook, if you try and do something else you risk forgetting and letting them burn – believe me as one who has tried!

Now just throw it all together – toss the dressing in, stir in some roughly chopped parsley and sprinkle with the toasted seeds.

This salad can last a couple days – i find its really nice to take for lunch alongside a sandwich. I would say if you don’t polish it off in your first sitting then enjoy it in the next day or so while its still fresh and crisp.