Turmeric hummus


Tahini, salt, paprika

The turmeric cookbook, 128pp.
recipes by Nicole Pisani, Oliver Pagani and Gosia Zielony
Aster, Octopus Publishing, London, 2017
Cooking on pages 32–33

The wonderful properties of turmeric have been touted a lot over the last few years, and I use it several times a week. Should probably use it even more.

This cookbook covers 50 recipes that use turmeric for breakfast, snacks, soups, vegetarian dishes, meat and seafood dishes, sweets, drinks and even beauty products.

I make hummus often and never thought to add turmeric. Here goes.

Turmeric hummus

Turmeric hummus

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons water (or more if needed)

lemon, chickpeas, turmeric flat bread and hummus

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as you go. Add more water if needed to get the right consistency.

Transfer to a bowl and add a drizzle of honey or olive oil. Garnish with a sprinkling of spiced and roasted seeds and a handful of microherbs. Serve with oatcakes, if liked.

How it played out
Give me a food processor and I can turn out a dip in next to no time. So that’s what I did with this recipe.

I added one very special ingredient. Our daughter, Libby, lived in France for several years and brought me a bag of the country’s amazing Sel de Guérande, a fantastic sea salt. I also garnished with toasted pine nuts and almond silvers, as well as thyme leaves from the garden. Took it all to a friend’s house to share before dinner.

Turmeric cookbook

A delicious version of hummus and one that I will make often. So easy and so delicious. But I’ll confess that it was even tastier the next day. Very much worth making a day ahead.

Hummus is a popular dish from the Middle East. We lived in Syria for several years in the early 1980s.

The Krak des Chevaliers was one of my favourite places to visit. We were lucky enough to revisit it in 2009. I hope it’s still mostly standing.

Posted in Appetiser, Nuts, Snack, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Silver dollar pancakes

pancake ingredientsKitchen keepsakes and more kitchen keepsakes: two cookbooks in one, 554pp.
by Bonnie Welch and Deanna White
Cookbook Resources, Highland Village Texas, 1983
Cooking on page 32

In 1983, the two authors retired from their jobs in Colorado to stay at home and raise their families. They saw this as an opportunity to collate and publish their collection of home-cooked recipes. The first book, Kitchen keepsakes, sold 25,000 copies in less than three years.

I bought this edition (their first two cookbooks combined in one volume) at one of our Lifeline Book Fairs. I’m cooking from the second book. The recipe in the first cookbook called for 5 cans of cheddar cheese soup—an ingredient that is not available in Australia.

Silver dollar pancakes

Silver dollar pancakes

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp. oil
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda (baking soda/bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp. salt

pancake batter pancakes cooking

Beat egg. Add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat until just smooth. Drop by the tablespoonful onto a hot griddle, cook, and serve with butter and warmed syrup..

Makes 10–12 4-inch pancakes.

How it played out
We had three exchange students staying with us for the weekend, so it was the perfect time to make a batch of pancakes. We made these as written, weighing out the flour at 125 grams (about 4 ounces) per cup.

They cooked up beautifully, but I got 27 pancakes, so many more than the suggested yield of 10–12.

A very nice pancake and so easy to make. Almost as good as the page-32 recipe for lemon and ricotta pancakes I posted on this blog four years ago. If I have ricotta on hand, that’s the recipe I’d make, otherwise this one will do just fine.

Kitchen keepsakes cookbook

I hope you noticed the butter dish just behind the plate of pancakes. I bought that porcelain gem, along with three spoon rests, last year when we did self-drive trips in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. The dish is by Helina Tilk. I bought it, along with three spoon rests, at her shop in Old Tallinn, Estonia.

Those were the only souvenirs I bought on that trip, but I brought home loads of photos and memories, including a visit to the amazing market in Riga, Latvia.

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Stilton, walnuts and dried fruit cheese plate

stilton, goat's cheese, goudaCheese: a collection of sweet and savory recipes for every course, 224pp.
by Georgeanne Brennan
New Holland Publishers (Australia), Sydney, 2011
Cooking on pages 32–33

We are a family of cheese lovers, so I couldn’t resist buying this book. Luckily I was able to get it cheaply at one of our regular Lifeline Book Fairs. Not surprisingly, the book starts with an explanation on types of cheese, then there are chapters covering the cheese course, starters, soups and salads, main dishes, sides and desserts. It finishes with a glossary of cheeses and cheese terms, and a list of American artisanal cheeses (the book was first published in the USA).

It will take me ages to work through all the treats in the book, but I’m delighted to start off with what is described as a beer-friendly cheese plate.

cheese plate

Stilton, walnuts and dried fruit cheese plate

6–8 oz (185–250 g) aged Gouda such as Saenkanter or UnieKaas
6–8 oz (185–250 g) aged goat’s milk cheese such as Crottin de Chavignol
6–8 oz (185–250 g) mild blue-veined cheese such as Stilton
1 cup (6 oz/185 g) dates
dried fruits such as persimmons, apricots and pears
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) walnuts

Cheese cookbook

About 2 hours before serving, remove the cheeses from the refrigerator, unwrap them, and allow them to come to room temperature.

When ready to serve, arrange the cheeses, dates, dried fruit and nuts on a cutting board, marble slab or platter. Include paring knives for the blue and the Crottin and a sharp paring knife or cheese slice for the Gouda. Serve with baguette rounds, thin slices of dark bread or crackers, if desired. Serves 4–6.

How it played out
Except for the Stilton, I couldn’t find the suggested cheeses, so I bought the nicest Gouda and goat’s milk cheeses I could find. I added in a wedge of brie too. I assembled the cheeses, nuts and dried fruits on a teak wood board I bought years ago in Burma (now Myanmar). Served with water crackers.

I made this to share with guests. It was a great spread of cheeses. Perfect for enjoying with a glass of beer or even wine if that’s your preference. Total success!

Speaking of cheese, check out the unusual strings of cheese we saw at a market in Bhutan.

Posted in Appetiser, Cheese, Dairy, Fruit, Nuts, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Stracciatella soup (chicken and egg soup)

egg, cheese, parsleyWow! It’s Italian, experience the essence of Italian cooking, 101pp.
by Hilda Inglese
Hilda and Laurie Inglese, Melbourne, 2013
Cooking on page 32

Hilda Inglese’s family migrated from the tiny Italian village of Roccacaramanico to the Yarra Valley in Australia in the mid-20th century. They brought with them a wealth of knowledge about farming and the wonderful things you can make with what you’ve grown. She shares her family’s age-old recipes here and explains that most have remained unchanged.

I checked this out from the library because I was intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe on page 32.

Stracciatella soup (chicken and egg soup)

Stracciatella soup (chicken and egg soup)

1 litre of chicken stock
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoon pecorino cheese, grated
extra grated pecorino cheese for serving

soup mixture Cheese and parsley

Heat chicken stock in a large saucepan until simmering.

In a separate bowl, break eggs, add cheese and parsley. Mix with a fork until well combined.

Stir simmering broth in a circular motion, then gradually pour egg and cheese mixture into moving broth. Using a fork, gently and slowly lift the egg so that it coagulates into thin strands of egg, approximately 1 minutes. Egg will surface to the top, do not allow soup to boil and do not over stir.

Turn heat off and serve with grated cheese.

How it played out
This is so darned easy that I had no choice but to follow the recipe. I did make it just for me, so I halved the ingredients, and I used a good quality store-bought chicken stock. The full recipe says it serves 4, but I think it only would be enough for 2, maybe 3.

Wow! It's Italian cookbook

A lovely, light soup that comes together in minutes. I had it for lunch, but I think it would make a great starter for an Italian meal. Not especially photogenic, but certainly very tasty.

I haven’t been to Italy since December 2000—long before I started this blog. But I’ve eaten plenty of Italian meals on our travels. This was a memorable dinner in Berlin.

Posted in Eggs, Light meal, lunch, Stew/soup | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Sardines on toast

Parsley, sardines, cheeseGran’s family table, 209pp.
by Natalie Oldfield
HarperCollinsPublishers (New Zealand), Auckland, 2011
Cooking on pages 32–33

This is the second time I have cooked a page-32 recipe from one of Natalie Oldfield’s books. The first one was for muffins.

Oldfield has written six cookbooks, all based on the recipes and inspiration she received from her grandmother, Dulcie May Booker. Chapters in this book cover the three meals of the day, as well as salads and sides, puddings (desserts), and preserves and sauces.

I landed in the breakfast chapter. The recipe calls for a main ingredient that might not be at the top of everyone’s list. I hadn’t eaten them in ages. 

Sardines on toast

Sardines on toast

100 g sardines, drained and mashed
6 tbsp ‘family’ mayo
1/4 cup cheese, grated
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
4 slices thick bread, toasted

Sardine mixture

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except toast. Spread the mixture evenly over the slices of toast. Grill until golden. Serves 3–4.

How it played out
Another recipe of complete simplicity. I made two minor changes. My tin of sardines was a little larger at 110 grams. I used my homemade mayonnaise (posted here), not the family version specified in the recipe.

Gran’s mayo calls for sweetened condensed milk and I won’t use that in a savoury dish. I didn’t grill for too long because I was hungry and in a hurry. Served on my homemade olive bread.

Gran's family table cookbook

This recipe reminded me how good sardines are. The balance of flavours is perfect, although I can’t imagine how it would taste with sweet mayo.

Poor John and I enjoyed this for breakfast. We think it would be great as a light lunch, a starter at dinner, or even a midnight snack. It would be much prettier if it’s grilled for longer.

P.S. My grandmothers were characters and rather good cooks. Heres a blog post about dad’s mum.,

Footnote: My friend, Sy in New York City, made this for a midnight snack the other night and then sent me a pic. I like the way his version browned up under the grill.

Sardines on toast

Sardines on toast, photo by Sy


Posted in Breakfast, Cheese, Fish and seafood, lunch | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Banana smoothie

ice and cookbookHealthy food your kids will love!, 128pp.
by Jenny O’Dea
Williams Collins Publishers, Auckland, 1986
Cooking on page 32

This cookbook takes a comprehensive look at children’s nutrition, as well as their eating habits and how to improve them.

The chapters cover the three daily meals, as well as snacks, parties, desserts, vegetarian eating and bread. The final chapter discusses issues such as take-away food, vitamin supplements, food allergies and foods that cause hyperactivity.

Page 32 has two recipes and I made the first.

Banana smoothie

Banana smoothie

300 millilitres milk
100 grams yoghurt
1 banana
1 cup ice cubes

banana, yoghurt, milk

Place all ingredients in a blender and whip until frothy or beat by hand without ice. Try 1/2 cup apricots, pears, passionfruit pulp or strawberries. Save the leftover drink in a jug for after school or freeze for the lunch box.

How it played out
I don’t own a blender, so made this in the food processor. On spec, I added a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and wished that I had added a whole lot more. The recipe made three generous servings of the size you see in the large pic (these are tall glasses). 

Healthy food cookbook

A tasty way to use up ripe bananas. Mathilde (our Danish exchange student) gave it a big thumbs up too, but agreed that more vanilla would be good or even a bit of cinnamon. Please let me know how you try it.

I’m donating this book to the local after-school care program. It’s one of the best such programs in the city, and I’m proud to say I helped to get it started back in the early 1990s. Funny how unhealthy the cover photo is. 🙂

Given our travels, I used to collect swizzle sticks. The two pictured in this post are the only two that are the same.

Also, one of the most memorable drinks I’ve ever had on our travels was a fresh lime soda in India. You can read about that here.

Posted in Beverage, Dairy, Fruit | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Chicken, chorizo and cauliflower bake

Cauliflower chorizo bake

Cooking for family and friends, 240pp.
by Joe Wicks
Bluebird, Pan Macmillan, London, 2017
Cooking on page 32

Joe Wicks—also known as the Body Coach—is a British fitness coach, TV presenter and author, specialising in cooking and fitness books. His first published cookbook Lean in 15: 15-minute meals sold more than 900,000 copies in 2015. Some of his other books include workout programs, but this one is solely recipes.

Chapters cover reduced-carb dishes, food for after workouts, side dishes, starters and snacks, and smoothies and sweets. Page 32 is a reduced-carb meal.

Chicken, chorizo and cauliflower bake

Chicken, chorizo and cauliflower bake

2 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breasts (skin-on)
1 cauliflower, florets only (roughly 500g)
1 red onion, cut into 12 wedges
150g cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm pieces
4 sprigs thyme
16 cherry tomatoes, on the vine
2 large handfuls baby spinach

Tomato, chorizo, cauliflower

Preheat your oven to 190C° (fan 170C°/gas mark 5).

When the oven is hot, pour the oil into the roasting tray and slide it into the oven. Leave the tray to heat up for 10 minutes.

When the oil is hot, carefully slide the tray out of the oven and lay the chicken in it, skin-side down. Tumble the cauliflower florets around the breasts and put the tray back into the oven to roast for 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven and scatter over the red onion, chorizo and sprigs of thyme. Return the tray to the oven and roast for a further 15 minutes.

red onion and baby spinach

Take the tray out again, flip over the chicken breasts and give all the vegetables a bit of a stir. Place the tomatoes on top of the mixture and give the whole lot one more 10-minute blast in the oven.

Remove the tray from the oven and, while it is hot, drop the spinach on top and carefully stir it through so it wilts a little in the heat. Serves 4.

How it played out
We prefer dark chicken meat, so I made this with 8 small chicken legs (drumsticks with skin-on). I followed all the other ingredients and instructions, although I don’t know what cooking chorizo is supposed to be—I used the ordinary chorizo we can buy here.

I resisted the temptation to throw in some cloves of garlic, a couple of chopped chillies, some chopped coriander or even a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. 

Joe Wicks cookbook

Guess what? The balance of flavours of the original recipe was so perfect I was glad I didn’t go chucking in a lot of other ingredients.

This dish is delicious just the way it is. It’s so simple to make and so flavourful. I liked that the oil and roasting pan were heated before the cooking began. The best part is that the recipe calls for ingredients I usually have on hand.

We’re big fans of trying new foods in new places. Check out one of the markets where we dined in Ecuador. Chorizo was on the menu.

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