Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Today’s the day!!

Robin Ellis’ Mediterranean Vegetarian Cooking emerges into the sunlight–my fourth cookbook:

A joyful day for Meredith (photographer, chief-taster and bottle-washer) and me (writer and cook).

It is available now on Amazon.ukFoyles, Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Hive and The Book Depository (free worldwide delivery) and from good bookstores. It’s available as an ebook too!

(In North American, the publication date is not until August 18th–but The Book Depository will send it to you NOW.)

The recipes are simple, seasonal and do not have long lists of ingredients.  Dare I say they are delicious too?

Meredith and I are not fully paid up veggies but we’ve both enjoyed this voyage of discovery ’round the Mediterranean Sea.

The ingredients are often similar in the different countries that border the sparkling waters, but the treatment varies–like the difference between a French omelette and an Italian frittata.

Herbs and spices feature strongly; olive oil is the cooking medium and the sun an ever-present element, ripening the ingredients and honing the flavours.

Our new vegetable patch is bursting to show off its wares. (“Me, Me–I’m ripe!“) and this book provides plenty of ideas for what to do with them!

We planted it this year on an old compost heap–and here is the BEFORE and AFTER:

Bon appetit!

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Taken while the eggs were a-poaching!

I’m a fan of Nigel Slater–his cooking and his writing.

He’s an everyday cook whose latest book–the third of the series–is a diary of his year in the kitchen.

Keep a daily record of what you cook over twelve months and at the end you have a book!

It is also of the moment–and thereby seasonal–the way I like to cook.

In fact I have no choice–the markets here are seasonal. You won’t find asparagus until March. Last Saturday was the second time the little white torpedoes called endive have shown up.

This idea of his–thick slices of green or white cabbage–the tight leaf variety–infused with a simple marinade and cooked in the oven on a high-ish heat–can serve as “the main item” on a lunch or dinner plate.

They are a meaty eat–best to use a serrated steak knife.


These heavy round cannon ball cabbages can be a bit inhibiting. Here are two types; either work well, but I favor the slightly looser leafed variety–the one on the right; it allows the sauce mix to penetrate more easily.

for 2

1 medium green/white cabbage

2 garlic cloves–peeled and pulped with a little salt

2 tbls lemon juice

2 tbls olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

4 tbls grated parmesan–or more, if desired

oven at 200c/400f

Remove the damaged outer leaves of the cabbage.

With great care, holding the cabbage firmly on its side, slice it in inch-thick slices.

Try to keep the same thickness as you slice–bit of a challenge.

Cover a shallow oven tray with foil and lightly brush it with oil.

Arrange the cabbage slices on it.


Put the garlic, oil, lemon juice and pepper into a jar with a tight lid, secure the top and shake it all about.

Brush the slices generously with this sauce.


Cook in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes (they should be tender).

Take the tray out of the oven and with a fish slice carefully turn over the slices.


Spread a tablespoon of parmesan on each…


then pop the tray back in the oven for 15 minutes.


I served them with poached eggs on the side.


The two cheese version–my alternative topping  of crumbled goats cheese on top of the parmesan, got the DING from Meredith!


(Braised fennel on the side)

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from Minnesotta, North Carolina (via Rome), Rhode Island, California, Virginia, North Yorkshire, Tipperary (Ireland), New Zealand, Brixton (S London)–for the two cooking workshops.

Not quite back-to-back! We’ll be trying that out in September and October. This time we took a few days to fly to Florence to celebrate Brother Jack’s 60th birthday (he’s performing in a show there at Teatro del Sale).

Here’s a short photo diary of the good times we had.


late May Bravehearts with host Dominique on the right.


Mid- June Braveheatrs–looking enthused


Eager aprons waiting to be claimed


Minnesotans–togged up and ready to break eggs


Tossing the salad the Italian way–36 times!


What do we think? A touch more vinegar?


Friday morning coffee break and “food” chat


Friday morning starter–the unexpected curried apple soup


Friday supper (work-free delight)–Chez Valérie


Simone–the essential ingredient, without whom…


“Showtime” Sunday lunch–with Cecile and Polly–first time around


“Showtime” Sunday lunch–second go-around (where’s the hat?!)

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