The devil lurks in the smoke…

London today for a meeting near the curiously (and historically) named Strutton Ground and Perkin Rents… I always love going through Strutton Ground it’s just so busy and wall to wall sandwich and cake shops, the market, people coming towards you from all directions…and unfortunately for me the Oxfam Bookshop and the discount bookshop.

I was almost lead astray in the discount bookshop, I was seduced in by a book on “slow cookers”, felt myself weakening when I saw The New Kitchen:Rose Prince for £3.99 and then I heard the sirens call from the top shelf…I almost gave into the temptation of Falling Cloudberries:Tessa Kiros in brand new hardback reduced to £12.99 but no the money in my pocket was for a purpose, lunch and a gossip with my colleagues.

I have been good all month taking a packed lunch to work, not that it saves me much money as whenever I’ve forgotten to bring lunch in the past I’ve usually just gone without. Normally at meetings lunch is provided, but once a year we go for a late christmas lunch which we pay for ourselves – nothing flash we just go for the 2 for £8 meals in the closest pub – it’s the chat that matters, the none work chat with people I see 4 times a year and email the rest.

My actual treat was going to be some fresh coriander for the second to last of the 4 Leon Slaw’s I have been working my way through…it started with the beetroot I had left over from Hugh FW’s brownie’s – I couldn’t face cooking them again and I wasn’t in a mood for getting the juicer out.

Autumn Slaw – not bad ditched the celeriac as no one was selling any, and changed the red cabbage to white, which I then used in the other slaw’s. The beetroot has quite a strong woody taste which doesn’t really do much for me, but didn’t put me off

Sumptuous Slaw – this was actually my favourite and lasted quite well. A bit heavy on the aniseed taste as it has both dill and fennel in it, although mine was both fennel seeds and fresh fennel (still alive in the garden). Any roughness in the dressing is down to the fact that my wine vinegars are the cheapest I could lay my hands on a few years ago…

Open Sesame Slaw – just tried a taste of this one, this evening. A dairy free mayonnaise type dressing, made with soya milk (borrowed from Dad), left out the parsley and replaced the broad beans with french beans (in the freezer), discovered half way through that I’d run out of peas so made the weight up with sweetcorn.

The only one left to make now is Happy Carrot but that will have to wait until I have found some coriander as both the co op and Budgen’s had sold out…and may not happen at all if the mint in the garden is dead !

Birthday Party: Small numbers are best…

I have had a lovely day (saturday). I was invited to a birthday party by a young man… OK Toddler was and I was just the chauffeur. But I made a new friend and Toddler had fun.

I have also agreed to help with a Halloween party which is no big hardship as I love Halloween, especially as I bagsied the helping with the food… anyway, in expectation of a cake overload at the end of the week I give you, meatballs ! The other week a friend came for dinner, and despite serving her the apple cake mentioned below, which has had the most hits so far on this site, our friend would like the meatballs recipe…

These meatballs are from the Ottolenghi cookbook. Below is the recipe as stated in the cookbook. However, the variation today used coriander instead of parsley as that is still alive in the herb bed. Turkey mince was replaced by chicken breasts as they were left over from yesterdays stir fry (had to add an extra slice of bread as the mix was too runny due to blitzing the chicken breasts in the food processor).

Other changes are that I didn’t do the red pepper sauce as the family won’t eat chili. I didn’t oven cook the meatballs either as I dropped them in a home made tomato sauce that I made, to cook until ready (onions, passata and a spoonful of Rals el hamout or whatever its called)…oh and we served it over rice. I made 2 thirds recipe as there were only 2.5 of us for tea and only 300g of chicken leftover from yesterday.


100g sweetcorn kernels (fresh, frozen or tinned)

3 slices stale white bread (crusts removed)

500g turkey mince

1 egg

4 spring onions

2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

2.5 tsp ground cumin

1.5 tsp salt

1/5 tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

sunflower oil

If you want the sauce also

4 red peppers

3 tbs olive oil

1tsp salt

25g coriander leaves and stalks

1 garlic clove peeled

1 small mild chili, deseeded

2tbs sweet chili sauce

2tbsp cider or white wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 200 deg c. Quarter peppers with a knife, shave off white parts and seeds. Put in roasting tin. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and .5 teaspoon salt. Roast in oven for 35 minutes or until soft. Transfer peppers to bowl. cover with clingfilm. Once cooled. Peel peppers. Place in blender with roasting juices and remains of sauce ingredients. Process. Add more salt if necessary. set aside.

2. Place corn kernels in non stick frying pan. Toss them for 2-3 minutes until blackened. Remove and leave to cool.

3. Soak bread in cold water for a minute then squeeze well and crumble into a large bowl. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients except the sunflower oil. Mix well

4 Roll mince into small teaspoon size meatballs. Fry 5mm of oil in frying pan. Fry the meatballs in small batches. Fry until meatballs are golden brown. Transfer to an oven tray. Place in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm with pepper sauce on the side.

We had this over rice, which I just can’t seem to cook properly at the moment without it going stodgy.

Toddler and I have had another chat about the importance of letting Mummy have at least one lie in per week, especially this sunday morning if no other…