Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Sam Talbot is a well known American chef in his thirties, working now in Montauk, Long Island.

He has Type 1 Diabetes and has written a delightful cookbook illustrating the way he lives, eats and cooks with a nicely ironic title–The Sweet Life.

We vied for numero uno position in the pre-publication list in our category on Amazon.

Well, I say vied— I made it once, I think!

He raves about the increasingly popular South American grain, quinoa, saying he eats it at least three times a week.

In a post in March last year I wrote this about Quinoa:

This seed, one of the oldest known grains, is a useful alternative to rice, takes less time to cook and is very easily digestible.

It is grown high up in the Andes–and no one seems to agree on how to pronounce it!

It serves as a plain canvas on which you can paint what you like. 

Here you can learn more about the benefits of Quinoa–perhaps more than you want to know!

This is Sam Talbot’s recipe–slightly adapted; it’s delicious.

The amount of liquid required is double the volume of the quinoa–easy to remember!

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot–chopped small

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds–(he leaves the coriander and cumin seeds whole, which you’d think would be tiresome, but it works–giving a nice added crunchiness)

2 tablespoons of fresh ginger–chopped small

garlic cloves–pulped with some salt

zest and juice of a lemon


2 cups stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

  • Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the shallot and the spices (coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic) for about five minutes to soften them.
  • Add the quinoa to the pan and turn it over with the spice mix.
  • Add the stock,  the lemon  juice and zest and bring it up to a simmer.
  • Cover the pan and turn the heat down low.
  • Cook for about twenty minutes.
  • Check to see how it’s doing after 15 minutes and give it a stir.
  • The grain should absorb all the liquid by the end of cooking.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over and fork  it carefully into the  quinoa.

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Two friends came round for supper last night and I tried out a spicy chicken dish.

It didn’t pass muster with Meredith and our friends were polite but didn’t exactly rave!

I shall try again with it because it’s simple and quick–which of course could be the reason it was disappointing!

I served a yogurt sauce with it, which is I think is useful and tasty.

I noticed Meredith tucking into it this lunchtime with the fennel salad..!

Yogurt sauce for 4

2 x 125ml pots of organic yogurt

1 teaspoon cumin powder

garlic clove–pulped in half a teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 a teaspoon salt

  • Whisk the yogurt smooth–(if you want to make it a bit thicker let it drain through a sieve into a bowl for half an hour or so).
  • Pulp the garlic in the salt in a pestle and mortar.
  • Add the cumin and mix it in thoroughly.
  • Fold in the olive oil.
  • Add this mix to the yogurt and whisk well in.
  • Refrigerate until you are ready to eat.

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Some people don’t like the idea of eating rabbit–memories of treasured pets linger in the mind. Meredith tells me she had a white rabbit called Honey Bunny growing up in suburban Chicago–which produced little honey bunnies every five weeks after the first batch–born one Easter (clever bunny!).

She is still in two minds about eating rabbit, which she claims is not eaten much in the USA.

Rabbit is tasty, lean meat and makes for a change.

You could try this with chicken.

Serves 4

1 large jar of white beans–cannellini, haricot or other white beans, drained

4 tablespoons  of olive oil

rabbit pieces or more

salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds–dry roasted in a small frying pan and crushed

8 cloves of garlic–peeled

bay leaves

100ml/31/2fl oz white wine

300ml/10fl oz water

2 tablespoons of parsley–chopped

heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.

  • Heat the olive oil in a lidded pan or casserole that can go into the oven.
  • Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently. (These hind quarter pieces were enough for us)
  • Add the coriander seeds and garlic and turn them over in the oil until the garlic colours a little.
  • Add the bay, the wine, the water and the beans.
  • Cover the pan and cook in a  low oven–(cooking it slowly helps to keep it moist)–for about 30–40 minutes.
  • Check the doneness of the rabbit–the juices should run clear.
  • Sprinkle over the parsley before serving.

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I promised a recipe for pork chops when I posted the red cabbage.

It is bitingly cold here and I found myself heading for the butcher not the fishmonger in Lautrec this morning.

“Bonjour, Monsieur–deux cotes d’échine, s’il vous plait.”

Spare rib chops are tastier and less prone to dry out than loin chops and they are the cheaper cut.

That’s what I settled for after waiting an age for Monsieur Fraisse to finish chatting to his previous customer–the cold was getting to me!

I learned this simple way by watching the irascible but effective chef Gordon Ramsay’s demonstration.

The rosemary needles take on a nice crunchiness and are worth eating with a mouthful of meat. As is the garlic.

Meredith finished off the red cabbage, which she’d missed out on the other day.

for 2

2 spare rib pork chops

rosemary and thyme

3/4 cloves of garlic–squashed, peeled and halved

olive oil


heat the oven to 200C/400F

  • Dribble some olive oil and sprinkle some salt on a shallow oven tray.
  • Scatter over a couple of the cloves of garlic.
  • Place the chops on top.
  • Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  • Strip the rosemary needles from the stem over the chops.
  • Do the same with the thyme (not so easily done).
  • Dribble more olive oil over the tray.
  • Put it in the higher part of the oven for about twenty minutes.
  • The cooking time depends on the thickness of the chops.
  • Best to cut into them to check–the juices should run clear.

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Amatriciana and Arrabiata.

Two tomato-based pastas beginning with “A“–and until now I never bothered to find out the difference.

As far as I can gather (my Italian friends might put me right on this) arrabiata is vegetarian and amatriciana is made with pork–but both are fired up with chili–as much or as little heat as you like.

Last night for a Birthday Pasta I made amatriciana with wholewheat penne.

(We always eat wholewheat pasta. Its lower glycemic index makes it healthier–which matters for people with diabetes–and Meredith and I prefer it now. That said, I limit myself to pasta once a week.)

Our friends, Keith and Helen, sent a birthday present of some bold and beautiful Tuscan red wine and it went down a treat with this robust sauce.

It takes its name  from the town of Amatrice,

in the east of the region of Lazio (Rome’s region) close to the border of Abruzzo and Marche to its north.

for 4

350 grms wholewheat penne

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion–chopped small

2 garlic cloves–chopped small

2 oz/50 grms pancetta or bacon–chopped small

2 small dry red chilis–seeds removed and chopped

2 teaspoons rosemary needles–chopped small

2 tblspoons red wine

1 14-oz can/tin of tomatoes–chopped and drained but retaining 3 tablespoons of its juice

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan large enough to contain the cooked pasta at the end.
  • Gently brown the onion, bacon and garlic.
  • Take  time to get a nice sticky, slightly caramelised result (but not burnt!).

  • Stir in the chili and rosemary and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the wine and let it bubble a moment to burn off the alcohol.
  • Add the tomatoes and extra juice and mix everything together thoroughly.
  • Cook this for about 20 minutes to achieve the unctious sauce in the photo at the top.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil a large saucepan of cold water with a teaspoon of salt.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to your taste.
  • Drain the pasta thoroughly and add to the sauce; turn it well in and heat through.
  • Serve hot in warmed bowls with parmesan cheese to grate and red wine with a bit of attitude!

Portion control is the only challenge!

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Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!

Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.

This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.

Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions – chopped small

2 sticks of celery – chopped small

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small

4 tbsp parsley – chopped

1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped

350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference

570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)

150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)

salt and pepper

freshly-grated parmesan

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
  • Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and mix in.
  • Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
  • Add half the stock and let it meld in.
  • Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
  • It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
  • Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
  • If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
  • Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.

(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)

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“Horses for courses”–chicken for chills!

“Please–just some broth today!” was the request this morning from the sick bed.

Poor Meredith has been fighting the lurgy since Christmas Day.

Not a person to give in lightly to a tickle in the throat she has been up and back to bed all week.

We were bucked up last night by watching the original Shrek film, which I hadn’t seen.

It is high in the chuckle factor and almost as good a tonic as a bowl of chicken soup.

But this morning after a troublesome night it has to be the real thing–so here goes!

I put in a large pot:

1 chicken–washed

1 carrot

2 sticks of celery–roughly chopped

the outer parts of a fennel bulb–roughly chopped

1 onion–peeled and roughly chopped

1 small garlic bulb–with the top sliced off

3 bay leaves

a couple of parsley sprigs

a couple of slices of fresh ginger

a few peppercorns

3 pints of organic vegetable stock–from cubes and

the kitchen sink (only kidding!).

I bring these slowly up to the simmer–while feeding Beau a little cat milk and reassuring the patient that broth will be ready at the end of a brief snooze–cover it and leave it to bubble for an hour and a half.

Then I remove the cooked(out) vegetables with a slotted spoon and

add a cut up carrot, 

half a cut up fennel bulb and

some broccoli and

cook on until they soften and serve them with the broth.

Now, not meaning any disrespect to “grandma’s”  traditional  cure-all remedy–especially not as in a few days I shall reach the traditional “alloted span” and so must watch my tongue–I always find this broth/soup less than more-ish. So what am I doing wrong?

I notice that in several internet versions tinned chicken broth is used.

Tinned stuff? Really? This seems a bit of a cheat; though anything to lift the spirits I suppose…

As broth is staying on the menu for the next few days–I’m in the market for ideas!

(Our friend Charlotte suggests plenty of leeks and some nutmeg!)

Nevertheless the patient said she was happy with the outcome, but advised that the broth be refridgerated overnight for the fat to rise, be skimmed off and the soup to be reheated.

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