Red lentil soup

Along the old Silk Road,  the word ‘soup’ has various very similar names – from çorba in Turkey to shurba in Western Asia to  shorbat in Iraq.  One of my favourite Middle-Eastern style soups is one of the simplest – a quick-to-cook number made with red lentils, spices and perhaps some greens, and generously spiced. My Iraqi mother-in-law makes a very quick version, similar to this but greener with extra spinach, and I … Continue reading Red lentil soup

Grapefruit a Go-Go

To me, winter is well and truly here when these heavy golden orbs start dropping from heavily burdened branches onto soggy lawns throughout the country (well, in the subtropical North at least – do grapefruit survive frosts? I’m not sure.) A few years ago I wrote a piece about grapefruit for Taste magazine and discovered in my in-depth research (I didn’t study Arts for nothing) that what … Continue reading Grapefruit a Go-Go

Venison Laab

In this stunning version of laab, I’ve played around with some of the traditional elements: rather than hand-chopping the meat into a mince and then braising it, I’ve worked with venison’s love of a quick, hot sear to keep the meat meltingly tender, and I’ve used Thai basil – usually more of a feature in curries – rather than coriander, because it’s anise flavor works brilliantly … Continue reading Venison Laab

Pimp my laab

  For a zingy, spicy flavor bomb you can’t get much better than a freshly made laab classic Isaan dish of hand-chopped meat or fish braised and mixed with loads of chopped up shallots, herbs, ground jasmine rice and a tangy dressing. Lately I’ve been warding off winter sniffles by adding extra greens to just about everything, and I found this worked well with a … Continue reading Pimp my laab

Pampered greens

  Here’s the easiest, yummiest thing you can do with fresh kale: wash and dry the leaves and strip them from their stems (discard stems), tearing leaves into smallish pieces. In a large bowl, whisk a good  of evoo, juice of half a lemon, a little flaky sea salt and black pepper. Add the kale into the bowl and massage the dressing into the leaves. No namby pambying, … Continue reading Pampered greens