At Chocolate & Zucchini, there is a delicious sounding recipe for sablés from Yves Camdeborde’s book Dimanche et Famille. Clotilde Dusolier’s blog then sent me around various links on her site to several other biscuit recipes that sound fantastical, with amazing flavour combinations like Matcha Shortbread Cookies (which remind me I must do something about launching my green tea salt blend) and sablés croquants poivre et noisette (crisp hazelnut and pepper sablés), which has a wondrous flavour combination of pepper, rose water and hazelnuts that must be skirting fairly close to flavour and textural overload for the senses. Finally, catching the end of the them of my update from last month, there is a recipe for a Rhubarb Tart With Lemon Verbena, combining another intriguing version of sweet pastry dough, plus my favourite early fruit – rhubarb – and then lemon verbena, which sounds great as a variant on lemon peel which is what I would usually use as the tart flavour for stewing the rhubarb.
At Cook Sister, there is a variation on the standard summer veg tarts that I have always cooked, called a Zucchini, Tomato Pesto Tart, which fits neatly alongside the French Tomato Tart that I found at David Lebovitz’s blog last month. I will have a go and see if it will fit into my repertoire, even though I am not a fan of pesto, which I find tends to add an unnecessary hint of bitterness to food. She also played with pesto for an Asparagus Salad With Pesto, which sounds an intriguing variation on the simple way we normally eat asparagus, sprinkled with a bit of salt and some butter.
At David Lebovitz’s blog, who seems to be suffering from the heat in Paris (my body temperature gauge falls apart when the temperature gets above 10oC, which is one of the reasons I failed to like living in London), he has a delicious and easy sounding Almond Cake recipe. We like the words “easy” and phrase “hard to mess up”, but I’ll give that statement a run for its money.
Helen at Fuss Free Flavours is a women with my style of cooking, with a different way of preparing asparagus that I will definitely try next asparagus season. A year, however, sounds a long wait for it, so I will try and rootle out some asparagus that’s still just about in season here in the north. I think the mix of the slightly charred taste will go well with the bitter-sweet flavour of asparagus. And she serves plain and simple with salt and butter; perfection. And I love the idea of making your Elderflower Cordial on Midsummer Night like some sort of new age pagan ritual, plus it is basically free food that earths you to the soil. And while never a fan of tofu, I am a fan of Ottolenghi so I will try the Black Pepper Tofu recipe although I might reduce the chile and increase the black pepper a bit as our kids will never survive that intensity of heat.
At just the food blog, there is a great and wholesome Cold Multigrain Salad that will make you a lifetime of food for lunches during the week. And it has next to no calories to boot. It mixes three grains – pearl barley, wild rice and quinoa – and in the dressing melds together the umami kick of soy, with the uber sweetness of agave and cider with the heat from some chile flakes. I reckon you could do a neat variation switching pearl barley for bulgur wheat.
Mahanandi’s recipe for Bean Sprout and Peppers makes great use of the bean sprouts that we have been growing over the last few weeks, and does something more exciting than chomping on them raw or in a salad. I reckon that I would put a few different types of bean sprout into the mix, for example sprouted fenugreek seeds and chickpea seeds to give it more variation in texture. And I love the colours and taste of aubergine (a.k.a. eggplant or brinjal) and the recipe for Brinjal Cilantro will get on the list for our next full on Indian meal as we are always struggling with inspiration for new flavours, rather than being unadventurous and sticking to the familiar. When our tomatoes come out, I will have a crack at the simple Green Tomato Chutney recipe.
At Not Without Salt, there is a great Perfect Pizza At Home recipe, which is great fun family food. I usually start by making the pizza dough and tomato base, then let the kids finish it off, so you get a random flavour, but one also that the children cannot complain about as it was their creation in first place! I would be tempted to use a 50:50 mix of durum and bread flour rather than 100% all-purpose flour (plain flour in UK). At Dana Treat, there’s a perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that’s worth noting as it was created with Ashley of Not Without Salt.
The theme for summer seems to be coming through as galettes and tarts, so at Smitten Kitchen there’s a gorgeous sounding Zucchini and Ricotta Galette plus some great links through to earlier galettes with the Wild Mushroom And Blue Silton one from 2006 winning a place in my dream for a new take on my classic summer tart recipes. Her Lamb Chops With Pistachio Tapenade caught my hungry eyes and is tempting me to cook some up next weekend, yet I might be tempted to try a version with toasted pine nuts – maybe 50:50.
At The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I love the sound of Spinach With Garlic Chips as a variant on our stock in trades of Spinach With Nutmeg or Spinach With Toasted Cumin. And The Best Coffee Cake Ever reminds me that I started trying to find the best coffee cake ever and stopped after one average attempt…laziness crept in and I must get back to it, although I was looking for a coffee flavoured cake not a cake for afternoon tea or coffee time, although the Mystery Mocha pud gets closer to the flavours I am after for my dream coffee cake.
Another great recipe from Ottolenghi was posted at The Wednesday Chef of a variation on potato salad – Potato Salad With Yoghurt And Horseradish. Yotam Ottolenghi is certainly on message for recipes with everyone at the moment, and I love the idea of adding some tartness to potato salad which can get a bit samey. We often use a mayonnaise-yoghurt-horseradish mix for smoked fish and crab salads and this sort of fits into that vein.
As I wonder through [sic – I spelled this incorrectly first time round and I like the metaphor] the food blogosphere I am constantly surprised at the new ways of tweaking some of my old favourites in our kitchen, reinspiring me to recreate and revisit things like the summer vegetable tarts that I have make for years now, as well as to try and improve on the trusty old pastry recipes that I have made since my mum taught me how to bake oh-too-long-ago.
But I am in awe at how beautiful everyone else’s creations look and how great their photography is, while my food looks like a dog’s dinner and the photos like some amateur hack from a one horse dorp (which I suppose I am). We’ll get better at it, but I can never expect to reach the dizzy heights of the wonderful photos on blogs like Cannelle et Vanille, Mahanandi, or The Pioneer Woman Cooks and The Wednesday Chef.
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