arrrgh there has been a serious cause of blog neglect going on. But I have excuses, dozen upon dozens of serious life organisational excuses. But all those house/job/venue hunting errands that have been consuming my sundays and all my brain space have ticked themselves off.
So I’m back and do I have a fabulous, gorgeous, over the top, mindblowing culinary accomplishment to share with you to make up for the abandonment? . . . Well no, I have a good ole’ beef chili. But this is the sort of beef chili that is completely satisfying to make and devour at the end of a frantic tick all the boxes day. Its so straight forward yet worth it that I even had the energy to not only cook it, but also photograph and write about it.
Hunting for a recipe to match the ideas in my head rarely works. Instead, similar-ish recipes get bastardised to fit my daydreams, and classics are overhauled because I think I know better than whole nations. This was the fate of this lovely simple spinach and feta ‘spanakopita’ tart. It started with us having friends over for a farewell (only 2 weeks left in Europe sob!) dinner and me hunting around for vegetarian dishes. Having a mound of ricotta in the fridge that called for a higher purpose than being eating directly off a spoon, I decided I wanted to make a ricotta and spinach tart… Ooo with mushrooms too because I love them, and garlicky mushrooms are the best so it should probably have garlic, oh and I love tomatoes in quiches with their burst of acidic freshness in amongst the butter encrusted eggyness, and if you have tomatoes basil is a must, and, and …. Read more…
Hmm, what to have with our pumpkin soup? A rustle in the fridge and on Smitten Kitchen, unearthed zucchini that needed using and this little gem of a fritter recipe. I got itchy fingers and tinkered a little adding 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/4 cup of parmesan. You probably want to double the recipe, especially if you have a fritter monster lurking around the kitchen. These were gobbled in seconds. Had to resort to soup and a fresh french loaf the next day, tis a hard life.
Autumn has well and truly settled in, here in Lyon. We have the crisp sunny days, the golden leaves, and pumpkin galore. So after a sunny Sunday’s morning spent enjoying the first two I decided to experiment with the third sign of Autumn and make some soup.
Every time I have had pumpkin soup lately I’ve wanted it to taste more pumpkinish. Ooo and with honey because I love honey roasted pumpkin. Plus maybe a little cardamom as it is my current favourite spice [sorry paprika, my infidelity is fleeting I promise]. So I did some experimenting and it worked! I have my new pumpkin soup ‘go to’ recipe.
When we were in Edinburgh during our European travels, aside from meeting Dolly the sheep and having to purchase winter jackets in August, we started a night out at an Italian restaurant called Nonna’s. A few hours and one too many glasses of wine later we rolled ourselves back out after what was one of the most amazing meals I have had. It started with an indulgent, gooey, tomatoey melanzane ‘aubergine’ alla parmigiana, followed by pumpkin stuffed ravioli in a blue cheese sauce which currently stands as my all time favourite pasta dish (sorry prego). Then we had our arms twisted into ordering dessert (read: the waiter asked if we would like to see the menu) and showing an abundance of self-restraint split a gorgeous chocolate fudge torte, which left me completely satisfied, unable to move and secretly vowing to recreate the nights pleasures.
So this week the fridge has been filled with pert purple aubergines. I tried a Jamie Oliver recipe first, and it was good but I followed the recipe (wait, I what?) which called for onions, and, well … I just don’t like them. I cook with them and agree they add flavour to dishes but I don’t like to be able to distinctively pick out their taste and I could. Also, as much as I love Jamie Oliver, it just wasn’t as good as Nonna’s.
So after a little tweaking and tinkering, here is my version that we had with dinner last night. It is perfect as an entrée or a side, but beware it might turn out to be the star of the show. Now for the pasta … hmm may have to wait for a kitchen where I don’t have to sift cocoa through a tea strainer.