This week I have been developing a lemon and cardamom recipe for madeleines.
First melt the butter…
then whisk the eggs and sugar…
Flour, baking powder, lemon zest and the beautiful ground cardamom….
My store cupboard is packed with spices from food cultures all over the world. None of them lift my mood quite like the complex notes of a good quality Ras El Hanout.
Use in a dry rub, as part of a marinade or simply stir into a tomato based stew for warming depth of flavour
In addition to an abundance of soft fruit, July also heralds the verdant arrival of fresh herbs. A far cry from the dry, sawdust filled jars of my childhood, modern home cooks can now add a plethora of bright flavours to their dishes.
Beyond the ubiquitous basil of an Italian pasta or spicy coriander in a handmade curry, many cooks still report a lack of confidence when utilising herbs in their repertoire. On top of adding depth and complexity to an otherwise simple dish, herbs are often packed with numerous vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet. This month’s ‘In Focus’ thread concentrates on how to get the best out of this powerhouse ingredient.
Herby Mixed Grain Salad
The mixed grains give a nuttier texture to this salad and many combinations are available in supermarkets or health food stores. Mine contained emmer, barley, durum wheat and buckwheat as well as red and black rice. You can replace the mixed grains with extra 85g of couscous if feels easier. Delicious served warm with steamed fish or cool to room temperature and add the watercress and radish for a satisfying vegetarian lunch.
Tips for buying and using herbs
I recently purchased a chilli plant for my window ledge. It is absolutely covered in fruits, I only hope that I can keep it alive long enough to take full advantage. (House plants and I don’t have a great history of success.)
This constant supply of fresh and fairly hot chillies has triggered a craving for one of my favourite breakfast options. Simple but rewarding this dish deserves only the best of ingredients so I popped out to buy Yorkshire free range eggs and outdoor bred, British bacon from my local butchers and grabbed the frying pan.
Middle bacon with spicy eggs and tomatoes.
Fry two slice of middle bacon and set aside to drain. Throw 6 or 7 cherry tomatoes into the pan and cook over a low heat whilst preparing the eggs.
For the spicy eggs
When the tomatoes are just cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the chilli pepper for 1-2 minutes then pour in the beaten and seasoned eggs. Stir as for scrambled eggs. Fold in the coriander just before they reach your chosen consistency and remove from the heat.
Plate up the eggs, bacon and tomatoes and enjoy with a big mug of coffee.