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Showing posts from 2014

CHICKEN MAQLUBA & FOOD TWEETS FROM THE FRONT LINE

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BBC Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen is currently in Syria, reporting on the horrors of the civil war there. In addition to reporting for the BBC, he also tweets pictures of food.
I’ve sent plenty from Damascus. That’s partly because I think food tells you a lot about a society. But also because it is important to show how people live as well as how they die. He has encountered disapproval from internet trolls and others for this, but he believes it is important to demonstrate that despite the all suffering, shelling, and devastation, everyday life still goes on, in spite of and because of, war. The markets remain open and people still shop for and prepare food: having a meal is a crucial social activity which binds people together. When in straitened circumstances, these societal rituals become even more important.

My husband heard Jeremy Bowen talking on the radio about his food tweets and was inspired to look up the recipe for a dish which Jeremy Bowen described: Maklouba or…

CHEAT'S LEMON MERINGUE ICE-CREAM

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All the flavours of classic lemon meringue pie in the easiest ice-cream, this is based on Nigella's Ridiculously Easy Coffee Ice-cream. Because of the high cream content, you don't need to churn this in an ice-cream maker, and its creamy texture is redolent of Italian gelato.

Makes 800 ml (serves c6)

300 ml double cream 175 g condensed milk (about 2/3 of a standard can)1 jar of good-quality lemon curdabout 4 large ready-made meringues smashed into walnut-sized chunks (use the brick-like bright white meringues you can buy in M&S or Waitrose - homemade tend to disintegrate in the mixture).A drop of Limoncello liqueur, if you're feeling extravagant 
A plastic box to freeze the mixture in

Whisk the cream together until the mixture forms soft peaks. Fold in the lemon curd and meringue pieces. Put into a plastic box or bowl and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve straight from the freezer.

BIRTHDAY LUNCH for 8

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Special birthdays need special celebrations: those rites of passage of 18 and 21 should definitely be celebrated in style. And when one enters one's thirties, another rite of passage - for often by the time one may be married, settled, with a new baby, or one on the way - some kind of celebration is in order. And then there's the forties - a time when one perhaps feels well settled, in life, career and family and a party might be just the thing to stave off the dreaded "middle aged, middle class" ("we were wild in the old days" - Joni Mitchell)

Fifty is significant, no getting around that. It's a Big One, the half-century, the golden one. To party or not to party, that is the question? My Significant Other celebrates his half-century this month and was adamant there would be "no party". But not to celebrate seemed churlish, and so a low-key Sunday lunch with friends and family, which will extend into the pub with more friends and family in the…

RETRO SUPPER FOR 8

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I've been neglecting this blog over recent months, for which I apologise. My 'other' life, as a piano teacher, pianist, music reviewer and co-host of the London Piano Meetup Group and the South London Concert Series keeps me pretty busy, and I haven't had as much time as I would like to explore new recipes. I've also been doing less entertaining than I used to.

But tonight I'm putting that right by having a supper party for friends, in part to show off the new(ish) extension to the house and "Bechy", my beautiful 1913 Bechstein model A grand piano. (Bechy got a special polish ahead of the event.) I selected a menu which could be made well in advance to give me time to socialise: two of the couples who are coming tonight I haven't seen socially for a year, not since we were in the throes of building work and our sitting room resembled a dusty camp site.

I don't often prepare a sit-down starter: I find it's nicer to have a glass of fizz and …