Monthly Archives: June 2010

Prawn, fennel, almond

Recently, this blog has taught me that I eat lots of 1) eggs and 2) warm salad. The first is me avoiding meat in a combined attempt to be frugal and save the planet; the second is down to laziness and anxiety. Having only one dish to put together is so much easier than trying to get three different things all ready at the same time, timing being a particular kitchen weakness of mine.

Tonight’s combo – after the sad last-minute cancellation of a trip to my favourite restaurant –  sounds strange, but was inspired by a revelatorily(?) brilliant Allegra McEvedy pasta recipe in the Guardian last year: linguini with prawns, almonds and tomato. I think, frankly, that the tomatoes in my dinner were an ingredient too far, but otherwise, I’m feeling quite smug about this one.



Slice a garlic clove thinly, cut half a thumb of ginger into matchsticks and finely chop some green chilli. Heat oil in a frying pan and sweat all three for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cut a bulb of fennel in half and then into thin wedges, then add to the pan. Cook on a low heat until just tender. Spread a handful of flaked almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven until lightly golden. Add raw, peeled, deveined prawns to the frying pan, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, season with salt, and partially cover with a lid to steam cook the prawns. Once they turn pink, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds and a scattering of fennel fronds.


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The Penelope Cruz of gazpacho



A Spanish beauty.



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The final brunch / Mastering the art of French sauces part III: Hollandaise

After making mum French toast on Mothers’ Day, I thought it would be nice to make dad his favourite, Eggs Benedict, on his corresponding day of parental appreciation. But then last week, after three months in the diary, my own parents cancelled on me in favour of friends. Thus it was Eggs Florentine (cheaper, vegetarian) with my Bethnal Green family this morning instead.

I won’t lie, it’s a bloody arse to make. Everything needs to be done at the last minute and everything needs a pan of simmering water and everything is only ever a few seconds from going irreparably wrong. For an already-anxious person and cook, it’s not in the least bit fun. But somehow, it all worked. Thanks to posh housemate P for taking over on the egg-poaching front and happy housemate R and saintly-patient M for their toast-buttering and tea-making services. The hollandaise was great, and while I wish I could offer some insight into why it didn’t curdle or scramble or split, I just don’t know.



It’s just occurred to me that this blog makes my life seem like one long brunch of eggs.

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Pasta with broad beans, bacon, leek & almonds

First, put

some pasta

on. Meanwhile: boil

two large handfuls of broad beans

for a couple of minutes until tender. Drain and cool under the cold tap. Turn on the oven – temperature doesn’t matter – and slide in a baking tray scattered with

sliced almonds

– they’ll take maybe five minutes to lightly toast. Chop and fry

four rashers of smoked bacon (or pancetta)

in olive oil. Remove from pan. Add a bit more oil,

a finely chopped garlic clove

for a minute on its own, then add and fry

two sliced leeks

gently until soft. Season, but easy on the salt because of the cured pig.  Now to assemble: stir the beans and bacon into the leeks, squeeze over

some lemon juice

and warm through for a minute or so. Finally, stir in

a dollop of creme fraiche

the toasted almonds and the drained pasta with a bit of its cooking water. Taste seasoning and finish with


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