Crave by Ed Smith

Cover of Crave by Ed Smith

Are you one of those people who skips straight to the last page of a whodunnit? Do you read a cookbook review in frustration and haste, skimming the background blurb to find out whether the book was any good or not? Did I love it, did I kinda like it, is it already in the ... Read more »

Eastern European Summer Blueberry Soup

Summer Blueberry Soup

Cold berry soups are a taste of childhood for many who grew up in Eastern Europe, as did Zuza Zak, author of Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey. Zak’s favourite variation uses ripe blueberries, though you can use any fresh summer berries you like. This sweet “dessert soup” can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a ... Read more »

Potato Latkes with Smoked Sausage & Spinach

Potato Latkes with Smoked Sausage & Spinach

Similar dishes of grated potatoes shaped into a pancake and fried exist right across Europe from North to South, East to West. Some, like these Eastern European latkes use egg to bind the ingredients, whereas others, such as rösti and hash-browns don’t, but the love of grated fried potato is very widespread. In this simple ... Read more »

Greta’s Gran’s Lithuanian Potatoes

Greta’s Gran’s Potatoes with Kefir and Summer Vegetables

This delicious summer vegetable salad hails from Lithuania, and is one of those dishes where a handful of simple ingredients – potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions, and radishes along with kefir and dill – combine into something more than the sum of their parts. The recipe is shared in recently published Baltic cookbook Amber & ... Read more »

Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey by Zuza Zak

Amber and Rye by Zuza Zak book cover

It’s interesting how one book can expose a huge gap in my food knowledge that I didn’t know I had. Amber & Rye is subtitled “A Baltic Food Journey – Estonia · Latvia · Lithuania”, and to my chagrin, I opened it with no idea at all what to expect. Zuza Zak helpfully prefaces the ... Read more »

Lemon Thyme and Leek Tart

Lemon Thyme and Leek Tart

Using lemon thyme in place of regular thyme in this simple, rustic Lemon Thyme & Leek Tart is a fantastic idea that lifts it from delicious to genius level! The recipe is from Mark Diacono’s Herb: A Cook’s Companion and is a perfect example of how judicious use of the right herbs makes all the ... Read more »

Beef Braised in Ale with Persillade

Beef braised in ale with persillade

Beef braised in ale is a true comfort dish: warming, filling. nourishing and delicious, it’s the clichéd ‘hug in a bowl‘ that is always welcome. This recipe from Mark Diacono’s Herb: A Cook’s Companion combines beef cheeks – my favourite cut of beef for braising – with ale and beef stock to create a classic ... Read more »

Shiso Pickled Cucumber

Shiso PIckled Cucumber

Shiso is one of my favourite herbs, one that I first encountered in Japanese cuisine (which is where its name comes from). In this straightforward recipe from Mark Diacono’s Herb: A Cook’s Companion cucumber is quick-pickled with shiso, vinegar, sugar and a few additional flavourings to create a light condiment or side to a wide ... Read more »

Herb by Mark Diacono

Book cover for Herb by Mark Diacono

Herb: A Cook’s Companion by Mark Diacono is not a standard cookbook. Best described as a marvellous marriage of two genres – gardening advice and how to enjoy herbs in your cooking – Herb is divided between salient advice on growing your own herbs (and handling store bought), and a selection of recipes that show ... Read more »

One Pot Fish, Chickpea & Spinach Stew

One pot Fish, Chickpea and Spinach Stew shown in cooking pot

This delicious One Pot Fish, Chickpea & Spinach Stew is quick and easy to make, perfect for a satisfying midweek dinner or a fast meal on a busy weekend. Featured in Alan Rosenthal’s Foolproof One-Pot: 60 Simple and Satisfying Recipes, the foundations of the recipe lie in Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato pasta sauce – Rosenthal’s ... Read more »