Tag Archives: Cheap

Stuffed Onions (or, My Roman Holiday)

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The inspiration for an entire cuisine.

The five of us recently spent 9 days in Rome. Highlights included gelato (as many as four times a day, some days); poking around the Forum trying to find artefacts; the energy of our neighbourhood, Monti, where on the first night we were bemused by the presence of a klezmer band marching up and down the street playing Hava Negelia, and the buzz continued from there; the Colosseum, both in the day and at night, when – as The Son wrote in his journal – “It is a marvel, lit up like a golden monument”; and the constant and abundant supply of good food and wine. The Author also had the opportunity to meet a couple of fellow writers, which is not an easy thing to do when you work from home and have a solitary craft. And I managed to cook for a morning at a restaurant in Eataly.

Leaving one kitchen in one country to go work in another kitchen in another country might not be everyone’s idea of a holiday, but that’s just the kind of gal I am. Anyway, it wasn’t intentional. Continue reading

Pasta with Tomato and Bacon (or, Cooking for One)

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When I was little, I loved the nights when my mom would go out and my sister and I would be allowed our choice of a frozen TV dinner. Sometimes we would even be allowed to eat it in front of the TV, but mostly we had to sit at the kitchen table, napkins in our laps, milk at the top edge of the placemat, and eat it as we would a homemade meal. (In other words, even though the dessert was included in the foil tray, we had to save that for last.)  Continue reading

Spicy Cabbage Salad with Lime, Coriander & Mint

SAM_2245Today has been one of those brilliant days when the sky is azure, the sun is shining, and high tide is at 3:00, perfect for our favourite beach. I know this because, while I was at work, The Author took the three kids and visiting cousins there. They spent the day picnicking, frolicking, swimming, and collecting pebbles and driftwood.

I spent the day cooking.

This evening, I arrived home first, and then the beach-goers arrived. They all piled out of the car, sticky with ice cream and smelling intoxicatingly of Continue reading

Quick and Easy Cabbage Salad (because something should be easy when you’re a parent)

Let me say a few words about The Son, who is 10 years old. He has always surprised us with his wide-ranging, quirky and sophisticated tastes. He is funny and smart, and he looks the part in his lab coat which he asked for when he was six and which he continues to wear to all sorts of places, including the moor for a 4-mile walk.

He can be loving and generous, and he is the one child we can count on to give us pieces of his candy when he has some.

He can read a 300-page book in a day, and he would probably like nothing better than to do that, although he has started to take an interest in improving his physique (push-ups on the patio at 8:30 a.m. is a new development).  Continue reading

Elderflower Cordial

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The taste of summer.

When I was 7 years old, we moved to Vermont and lived on a lake that was mostly populated with holiday homes for the neighbouring towns. After Labor Day – the first Monday in September and unofficially the last day of summer – our friends and neighbours all disappeared for the next 9 months, and our family and Lucy, the lovely old lady down the road from us, were the only ones left for the winter.

On those misty autumn mornings, waiting for the school bus to take us to the three-room schoolhouse in our nearby town, my sister and I would stand at the end of our road, Scooby-do and Partridge Family lunch boxes abandoned on the ground, and eat the elderberries that were abundant on the verge. Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds & Quick Pickled Lemon (or, A Fantastic Dish from So-called Garbage)

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A while back the girls and I were watching an episode of Masterchef: The Professionals where the contenders had to create a posh meal from scraps: ends of vegetables, crab claws, fish bones, broccoli stems, rinds of cheese.  My first thought was: hey, that looks like what’s in my fridge (minus the crab claws, I’m sorry to say). My second thought was that this was an exciting challenge and good for people to see. So much good, useable food gets thrown away for no discernible reason at all, and it drives me bonkers!

At work, where I cook with many and varied people on a weekly basis, it seems like I am constantly diving into the compost bucket to retrieve celery leaves and hearts (hearts!), large chunks of the ends of courgettes, and the white parts of spring onions (the visiting Brazilians use only the green part, apparently). Continue reading

Frutta Candita (Sicilian citrus peel candy)

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First off, promise me that if you live near me, and your kids are in the twins’ class at school, you won’t make these for a teacher’s gift at Christmas, although I wouldn’t blame you if you did. This is a true something out of nothing dish, a stone soup of candy, if you will, and it is the perfect budget present, one that definitely does not announce that we are living in times of austerity, and one that can accommodate anyone’s Christmas budget. So I’m bagsy-ing it for a teacher’s Christmas gift.

Now that we’ve settled that, perhaps we can talk about why I appear to have a penchant for making things, particularly orange things, in a ball shape. I blame it on Giorgio Locatelli. Every time I dip into Made in Sicily, I find he has a recipe for something that looks utterly mouthwatering and is inevitably round. I have to confess that I find it a very fun shape, and one that can turn any food into something better. Think of meatballs – just meatloaf in a spherical shape. Truffles – ganache in a pleasing mouthful. And now these – old peel that you were going to throw away, turned into a little delight.

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Continue reading

Ginger Chicken Wings with Sesame (and 5 reasons to make them)

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Every now and then I succumb and make the family what I think of as “kid-friendly” food, by which I mean things like nachos, individual pizzas, and chicken wings. Bizarrely, now that I think of it, these foods are often thought of as “bar food”. What this says about bar food, or about me, or about what I think of kids’ food, or about anything, I have no idea. We may not want to delve into that right now…

One thing I do know is that small versions of things are charming for us adults, and children absolutely love scaled-down renditions of things from real life. Chicken wings are a perfect example. They are darling miniatures, cute and tidy versions of chicken legs.  But as far as I’m concerned, there is one key difference: the small size means that proportionally, there’s more surface area than interior, which means that there’s more sauce per bite. And that translates to a big hit of flavour. Who wouldn’t like that?  Continue reading