Rays wedding is just round the corner (wooooweeeee) so in an attempt to finish off all the required makings that a head bridesmaids to a crafty bride has to do, I have cleared my evenings. It feels odd, as I usually prefer to be out on at least 2 or 3 mid week evenings with friends. Its one of the (admittedly very few) reasons I like having a 9-5; after work fun. Eating Greek food in primrose hill, Gorging on fresh french bread, cheese and pickle and drinking wine at Gordons, Quaffing cocktails at the Trafalgar or gobbling up ratatouille with toasted bread at The Orchard. But I digress... With two weeks of free evenings ahead of me, and a freshly delivered box of Autumnal food on my kitchen table, I chose to start each evening this week with a home cooked warming autumnal meal, something new and perhaps a little strange but hopefully hearty and wonderful.
Each of these recipes started as they always do; with dredging the fridge and combing the cupboards and then googling recipes which match with the ingredients before me. It encourages thriftiness, avoids wasting food and forces creativity too. I don't believe in meal planning.
On Monday I finally made the Ottolenhi stew that Ray cooked for me many moons ago. And oh. Was it worth the wait. The tamarind was sticky, fiddly and disturbingly shaped but gave a wonderful sweet and sour fruity tang to the stew. The chard was earthy and restoring and the chickpeas added a nutty, buttery base. It was ladled into a crater of white cumin-ie rice, dolloped with natural yogurt and sprinked with fresh coriander. It was the culinary equivalent to a highly anticipated snog with a holiday fling. A little different but totally delicious.
On Tuesday, I craved soup. Because I was cold and soup speaks warmth and comfort in Autumn's colder days. After some googling, I settled on Adass bel-hamud which is a lebanese brown lentil and Swiss Chard soup with lemon. (discovered via the brilliant Taste of Beirut) It is very easy to make, and unlike red lentils the brown lentils retain their shape and texture.(Read my ode to lentils here. Yes. An ode.) This recipe creates a wonderful aromatic clear vegetable broth packed with brown lentils, onion, and dark green strips of chard. The lemon juice is added at the end and makes the soup sing. This soup is bright and warming, and my freezer is stocked full of it, lucky thing.
Image Taste of Beirut
It has felt lovely. To cook and nest in our cosy home, while the weather rages outside. And boy am I proud that, despite past experience suggesting otherwise, I am capable of making four meals and not Jeffing any of them up. Hence the blog party. I cooked. Four times. And it worked.
Wednesdays meal was the best yet. Coming soon.
I want to stay on my roll, so to speak, so I am after your favourite recipe's... do share.