Cauliflower Masala Soup

31st March, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Soups, easy

This soup is dead simple, delicious, delightfully fresh and aromatic, and wonderfully healthful. It’s a fantastic way to add another veg to your day without having to chew it. The secrets to this recipe are the spices, and the freshness of the ingredients. Don’t overcook, or the cauliflower will lose some of its delicate sweetness.

Cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family, along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and some leafy greens, like kale and collards. It’s high in vitamin C and folate, and is loaded with phytonutrients believed beneficial to human health. To top it off, its delicious raw, cooked, or pickled.

When choosing your cauliflower, look for one that’s tight, bright, firm and evenly colored. Medium sized heads are best, as they can become tough and strong tasting when they get too large. Remove the leaves and stems, and either discard, or put in the freezer for use later in a vegetable stock.

On to the soup! Read more…»

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The Ideal Martini

31st March, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Cocktails

Is there any cocktail more elegant than the Martini? And, is any drink more argued over? Wet, dry, olives or a twist? Clean, or dirty? Since it’s one of my faves, I thought I should give the Martini a little air time.

Okay, so maybe there’s not such thing as a perfect Martini, since everyone has their own idea of what one should be. Some like vermouth. Others think that showing the vermouth bottle to the shaker is sufficient, or whispering the word, or waving the cork over the glass, or bowing in the direction of France, or some silliness.To my mind, there are definitely a couple of things that do not a Martini make, so let’s start there. Read more…»

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The Gregorio – A Refreshing Aperitif!

12th March, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in Cocktails

Everyone should have an eponymous cocktail. Here’s mine. It started life as a modification of the Americano/Negroni. I loved the idea of Campari and vermouth, but the Negroni’s gin component didn’t delight. The Americano’s addition of a splash of soda to the Campari-Vermouth mixture is a nice touch, but the result is just a bit too light to my tastes, and with nothing to stand up to the bitters, it winds up not quite as refreshing as its ingredients seem to promise.

As a lover of Manhattans, the idea of adding Bourbon or Rye seemd a natural way to bring this one more in line with my tastes. A sqeeze of orange adds a deliciously fruity element, and serves to lighten things up without adding bubbles. It’s a lovely whistle whetter, a wonderful aperitif, and is absolutely stellar during summer’s outdoor parties. You really should give it a try. Alla salute! Read more…»

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Playing the Ful

11th March, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in easy

When I was in Egypt, I fell in love with the cuisine. Who wouldn’t? Wonderful spices, beautiful vegetables, great seafood, fresh lamb, goat and pigeon, brilliant green olive oils, all brilliantly seasoned, simply cooked, and served with delicious breads! It was really fantastic. (I could go on for hours about the roasted pigeon I ate while looking down from a rooftop over the old part of Cairo.)

In Qurna, a small village not far from Luxor’s west bank, there was a little shop across the road from my flat that always had a big copper pot of fava beans, Ful Medames, buried in the ground over hot coals. I’d often wander across the road,for a bowl of these fragrant beans, along with some fried ta’miyya (Egyptian falafel), flat bread (‘eish masri), and a drizzle of olive oil; a delicious, hearty breakfast. Delightful! Read more…»

Rocking the Tabbouleh

2nd March, 2010: Posted by G.L. Pease in easy

Traditional tabbouleh is a wonderful Levantine parsley salad dish, generally made from bulgar wheat, seasoned with mint, lemon, olive oil and fresh green onions and tomatoes. It’s wonderful and healthful, and many variations can be found all over the middle-east. Remember, though, it’s a salad dish, with grain, not a grain dish with salad. The parsley really should feature prominently.

I’ve turned up the volume a little, and brought some new flavours to the more traditional, while still retaining its original spirit. Arugula brings a slightly peppery flavor, and preserved lemon offers a delightful, almost floral character. The sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, add a nice textural element and a little more intensity.

A suggestion of mint, green onions and tiny grape tomatoes complete the salad. It’s great as a side, or when served with a little feta, it can be the foundation of a lovely light supper. Read more…»

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