Simple pleasures

  • Pasta, banana bread, peace

    It’s the time of year when you only have to look at a banana and it gets black spots quicker than Jim Hawkins in the Admiral Benbow. Six of them, covered in a lace circle to…

  • Midsummer night’s rain

    It’s June. At least the calendar says so. You wouldn’t know from the amount of rain we’ve had. The garden has plenty of flowers blooming, and even the redcurrant…

  • I’ve bean losing you

    Garlic green beans It’s the smell of the garlic that does it. And the way the deep, shining green of the beans reflects the light, inviting errant hands to dive in and grab one…

  • Holy molee

    Mr E. P. Veerasawmy, founder of Veeraswamy’s in London’s Picadilly tells me that the molee is a “Southern Indian, Ceylon or Malay dish.” Perhaps he had…

  • A methi business

    Cooking simply doesn’t have to be cooking boringly. A fresh piece of wild fish or some high-season asparagus doesn’t need much doing to it. Meals like this are quite…

  • Wild garlic butter

    We sat down to supper, the children just having gone to bed. They were supposed to be asleep, yet by the volume of giggling wafting downstairs were still wide awake. Perhaps we…

  • Rouille of fortune

    It’s a rare occasion that sees me pass a merguez sausage without buying it. Many a night, in the back streets of Toulouse after a hard day at Art college followed by the…

  • Turmeric latte. And a lot of people.

    Life is full of surprises. Take me for example, I’m not as young as I look. And that’s all down to the restorative elixir made from Nature’s wonder: turmeric.…

  • Farm from the Madding Crowd

    The roads winding through the countryside, some tree-sheltered and some opening onto wide rolling fields belie how close we are to London and the grey January concrete I’ve…

  • Look at my mussels

    It changes your attitude, somewhat, to the fish you’re eating when you know the name of the fisherman who caught it. Joe caught my bass, out on the stormy seas while I was…

  • Beetroot soup with licorice

    There is a frost outside, covering everything in a faint white. The school run has to begin a little earlier on these mornings and the only way for that to happen is with threats.…

  • Quincey, pudding examiner

    It’s cold outside, bleak, wintry. The pile of quinces on the kitchen counter hasn’t moved for a week and some of them are on the turn.Unlike the pumpkins still on the…

  • Roasting, fires, dark nights

    I had my first mince pie(s) of the year yesterday. Hallowe’en and bonfire night have gone and now it’s open season on the festive fun. So many films to watch, so…

  • Gunpowder plot

    A grey dawn was spreading over the sky like cold soup across formica as Maya poked me in the face to wake me up. She has to walk past Bee’s side of the bed to get to me, and…

  • Halwa world away

    The results came in as follows: Noah loved it and had more, so I won the carrot halwa war that no one else was fighting. Maya spat hers out in the bin and asked for a yoghurt…

  • Let baigans be baigans

    The more I cook, perhaps the older I get (or is it tireder), the fewer ingredients I want to use in a dish. And the simpler the food I’m making, the more delicious it seems…

  • Summer’s almost gone

    It’s a crisp blue morning, a slight fresh chill to the air. The car windscreen, condensation covered, needed time to clear. This is how autumn begins, bright skies and the…

  • Oh my squash

    The smells coming from the oven are doing that thing to me. My mouth has started tingling, I think it’s the deep aroma of the harissa. It just sends me a little giddy. The…

  • I found my thrill

    The height of a very hot and unusually consistent summer means cooking has ground to a halt in this house. Almost. The sheer willpower needed to move takes away any enthusiasm we…

  • Za’atar day night fever

    With this incessant sunshine the pace of life changes. I feel all we are good for is to flop down somewhere warm, the only occasional movement being the lifting of a cold glass of…

  • Sheer bliss

    Bread. So comforting. All types from the soft and pillowy to the crusty, worthy and hard work. The trashy white slice filled with butter and grated cheese, the ciabatta rubbed…

  • Argy-bhaji

    I had just locked the garage door when I noticed the coriander had bolted. And what with the rather sad looking fennel in the fridge I realised I needed to turn my neglect into…

  • Little green courgette

    The wateriness of courgettes puts many people off. But that’s only if you cook them like a 1950s battle-axe of a boarding-house landlady. The key is to give them no more…

  • A saucy dip

    I had started with the intention of making a dip. It turned into a pasta sauce. And that is not a bad thing when that pasta sauce becomes an instant favourite; we’ve had it…

  • Respect your elders

    It’s now late May, nearly everything is fully laden with flowers and the leaves hang heavily from the trees and bushes looking like a 1950’s film star in a fur coat.…

  • Kashmiri pink noon tea

    Gunpowder tea’s in the pot. A miserable bag, a teaspoon of sweepings from the floor and a whole nation relaxes as the National grid switches to auxiliary power during the…

  • Rhubarbade – ying and tang

    We found ourselves in the garden centre again the other day. A weekday and all. We passed through aisles of green and shelves trailing leaves and branches like lazy octopi. I…

  • Don’t throw those bloody spears at me

    White asparagus with salsa verde. toasted chilli almonds, Parmesan and lemon zest I blame the Ancient Egyptians. What did they ever do for us? Cat worship lead to domestication…

  • Tom Kha and Harry

    I bought a bird feeder from the hardware superstore the other day. Along with a new huge barbecue and quite a few other things you’re allowed when you graduate from Dad…

  • Pizzoccheri, broccoli, garlicky, buttery

    The past is a strange mirror to look into. And sitting here, in the attic surrounded by boxes and old sketchbooks from art college I feel my breath catching a little with…

  • Two carrot gold

    How are bricks made? How do they make glass? How do they build a roof? Frieda Kahlo was a famous painter. Is turmeric food colouring? Have we ever seen a caterpillar? Daddy,…

  • How empires crumble

    It’s very hilly where we live in Crystal Palace. And the park has wonderful sweeping tree-lined slopes, some Aspen pines among them. If you close your eyes there in winter…

  • Roast garlic. Simple.

    I’ve been away. A week in Devon for half term, fires every night and a week in Mansfield for work and I can’t remember a decent thing we’ve eaten the past…

  • A right coq up

    They don’t make music like they used to do they? It’s just noise now… in my day you could understand the lyrics… young people today… don’t…

  • Clams, potatoes and green sauce

    Simplicity is beauty. I’ve had more pleasure from a ripe and juicy nectarine than I have from a complicated fondant. According to William Morris, things should either be…

  • Lime, coriander, green chilli and spring onion salsa

    Here’s a quick way to liven up a simple supper of grilled chicken or perhaps some salmon, lightly poached in a stock with some white wine and parsley. It’s a zingy and…

  • Curds and wa-hey!

    It’s a constant, if not full-time job to keep enough food in the house for the seemingly hollow children. And while bergamot curd may not be up on the list of household…

  • Ooh, Saucy fish Pie

    Every time someone suggests fish pie to me, or says that’s what we’re having to eat, I die a little inside. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with…

  • Ham and green lentils

    The warm smell of cooking as you get in from school is like a blanket covering you on the sofa in winter or a hot chocolate by the fire. My favourite, the one that always said…

  • Tahini-meenie-miny-mo

    It’s normally always there, lingering in the back of the cupboard, the lid slightly encrusted with a beige residue and the oil separated from the paste, sitting on top in a…

  • Thai me up

    Before Christmas I was invited to eat at Hot Pot in London’s Chinatown. Think meat fondue, but with fireworks, dancers, a full orchestra and a jousting tournament. I have…

  • Haricot again on my own

    Now the Christmas tree has been cut up and put in the bin by the dead of night and the year gently settles into itself, I find myself staring out timidly from the duvet, slightly…

  • Don’t you (barquette about me)

    This week’s recipe is a good one to make with and for the children now the Christmas holidays have started. A simple recipe for simple minds, if you will… You may not…

  • Tarte Bordaloue

    Clearing out the kitchen this week, before I put everything back in the new cupboards, I found some antique yeast, a vintage packet of baking powder and many other long expired…

  • Cheeses born at Christmas

    It’s December and time to see how many of our Christmas decorations have survived being shoved at the bottom of the hall cupboard for a year. How many bulbs have broken,…

  • Cold confit charm

    I was in a hotel in Paris for some of last week, eating unusually. The family had gathered in the 15ème from around Europe and America for Aunty Suzy’s funeral, she was…

  • Chocolate brioche au levain

    There are weeks, like the one just gone where I can barely remember the slightest thing of interest happening in day to day life. Most noteworthy was hurriedly inflating an air…

  • Take your pickle

    There is a shelf in our fridge that David Attenborough should investigate. Here, behind the inconspicuous looking cheese, the vivid bright colours of the chilli sauce bottle and…

  • Apple filo tart

    My first mumbled thought on waking this morning was that it is now acceptable to have a mince pie. Bonfire night has passed and November is wrapping its chilly fingers around mine…

  • Figment of the imagination

    The sky was yellow, a Saharan dust covering London. A strange light and a weak red sun poking through. Perhaps this was a new and rather full-on marketing push for the new…

  • pork-chops

    Pork Chops with Mustard and Cream

    We don’t often eat pork chops in my house. We’ve had the fear put into us by my mother-in-law that we will have a terrible night’s sleep if we eat pork in the…

  • Snack of the week

    If you are hungry and need a quick pick me up, this snack has won my coveted ‘snack of the week’ award. It’s an amazing, classic combination and if you have…

  • Baked eggcellence

    It has been a fairly uneventful week in the kitchen, which means it’s been quite tidy. The children made their own tomato, sweet potato and carrot soup which they promptly…

  • Fruit smoothie

    About an hour after I’ve had my jasmine tea in the morning,  I’m ready for breakfast, which almost every morning is a Nutribullet smoothie. Usually I will start with…

  • Love and hake

    Still off the carbs and sugar, mealtimes are becoming much more interesting. While I have craved the odd sandwich or snack, and with weekends being particularly tricky with the…

  • Herb Salt, or Amkräuter salz

    Not much happened in Suffolk last week. I’m not sure it ever does. That’s what made our stay in the cottage so rejuvinating. Lighting fires, reading books, walks on…

  • Roast chicken with mashed potato, creamy leeks, fennel seed and peas

    I think it far better to buy a whole good chicken and roast it all than buy expensive packaged bits. At the very least you can make a really good chicken stock, let alone all the…

  • Vietnamese deep-fried summer rolls

    Our long-lost family restaurant, The Mekong in Pimlico (disclaimer: I snorted when I first went and now claim it as my own) closed perhaps a year ago with what seemed like no…

  • Breakfast smoothie

    I use a nutribullet for my smoothies. The great thing here being that your bananas may be on their way out, your spinach may not be at its freshest, but there is no need to waste…

  •   Five minute fish curry

    Fry the curry spices in the coconut oil, add the fish chunks. Cook for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients and a little coriander. You could use coconut milk rather…

  • Quick barbecue sauce recipe

  • Quick children’s meals and how to get them to eat vegetables

    How times have changed. Wasn’t it only yesterday I was able to stay up past 10 in the evening and function the next day? My friends and I would get up to all sorts of…

  • Sugar and dairy-free gelato heaven

    I don’t remember anyone ever having said a bad word about Italian ice-cream. Its texture is creamy and rich, soft and smooth on the tongue. The flavours sing purely, as if…

  • Sweet mango, lime and chilli

    It’s August here in London, the height of summer. Looking out of the window, the unrelenting monsoon makes me wonder if it will ever get light. Instead of turning to slow…

  • Cauliflower, turmeric and garlic mash

    I love cauliflower raw in salads, pickled, picalillied, turned into ‘cous cous’ or ‘rice’ or comforting cauliflower cheese. It also makes a great mash. You…

  • Low-carb suppers: Seared tuna with warm bean salad

    If you were to find me in a restaurant in the early 2000s, chances are I would be eating seared tuna on a ‘bed’ of le Puy lentils. I couldn’t get enough of it. It seemed to…

  • Miso soup with prawn, scallop and samphire

    This is one of the simplest and quickest meals you will ever make. And one of the most delicious. To make it work, though, you must get absolutely fresh tiger prawns and plump,…

  • Breakfast ice lollies

    As a supposed grown-up, I feel I can eat whatever I want, whenever. Cold pizza for breakfast and such. While I try and promote a healthy diet to the children, that…

  • Cured mullet with pickled radish

    At the back of my fridge you’ll find a jar or two of pickled herring from Ikea. I always stock up when I go, it’s the highlight of the trip. I get excited about any food that…

  • Sugar free yoghurt, cardamom and elderflower bundt cake.

    I bore my wife every year with constant updates on the elder state, and my excitement and her relief peaks when the buds start to open into flowers. Pick them first thing on a…

  • Morning Smoothie

    I tend to start every morning with a Nutribullet smoothie. I was never a great breakfast eater, but this has proven an easy way for me to get the day off to a good start. Some…

  • North African chickpea and tomato stew

    I say North African, but this really is a mix of store cupboard items that could be Asian, Indian, Turkish, Moroccan and Mediterranean. Chickpeas were a staple growing up and my…

  • Nettle and wild garlic pesto with prawns and sweet potato

    Nettles grow like mad this time of year. Now, after many childhood tears, it’s time for revenge. They have a grassy, earthy flavor that goes well in risotto or soup and if you…

  • Kasha with spiced roast vegetables

    This vibrant dish can be served warm or cold. Kasha, or roast buckwheat is so good for you and has a nutty taste and texture that complements the sweet roast vegetables. What I…

  • Hawthorn tea

    It’s hawthorn blossom season in London at the moment and while the trees are in bloom it’s a great time to make fresh tea or dry the flowers for future use. The tea has…

  • Spicy filo vegetable parcels

    Bourek, samosa, pasty or empanada? They’re all good ways to eat a messy filling with your hands. I first had bourek in a cous cous restaurant in Paris and loved the delicate…

  • Quick carb-free crab ‘courgetti’

    This is a take on one of my favourite pasta dishes. It’s a great way to cut out carbohydrates if you’re on a health kick, and it really stands out as a dish in its own…

  • Jasmine-cured mackerel fishcakes

    Fishcakes are a great way of either using up fish trimmings or making fish a bit more accesible for the children. I’m a big fan of Thai fishcakes. Full of zingy flavours,…

  • Infused oils: getting more flavour into your meals

    Here’s a quick and easy way to add a little more flavour to your cooking. Depending on what you’re making, using infused oils to cook with can make the difference between a…

  • Fiery homemade chilli sauce that’s full of flavour

    Chilli sauce has been a source of constant disappointment in my life. It’s either not as hot as it says it should be, or it’s hot but without much flavour. I remember trying a…

  • Dhal Vadai: spiced Indian lentil balls

    I have talked about my love of lentils in an earlier post. Like the Swedish are never too far away from a herring, dhal is never too far from my mind. Lentils are comfort food…

  • Delicious beef kofte skewers with yogurt, cumin and mint dip

    A good kebab is a great thing. It’s almost the ultimate in balanced meals with the meat, salad, vegetables and carbohydrates. It can either soak up a night’s excesses or…

  • Meatballs with spiced tomato sauce and courgette ‘spaghetti’

    I love meatballs more than almost anything in the world. It’s hard to beat a bowl of them served with spaghetti, but for this version I thought I’d make a healthier…

  • The beautiful lentil

    My favourite part of an Indian meal is most often the dhal. Dipping homemade naan into the silky, slightly spiced comforting refuge of the tarka-ed lentils is to me a little like…

  • Curried spelt with salmon

    Apart from the smell of onions and garlic cooking in a little butter and oil, I don’t think anything beats the aromatic and almost mysterious smell that comes from toasting a…

  • Rabbit terrine with asparagus, pancetta and peas

    This dish is so pretty, but essentially my rabbit terrine is a big slab of meat, freshened by the addition of peas and asparagus. Served with a pickled salad and a few truffle…

  • Beautiful whole sea urchin

    Sea urchin spaghetti with lemon and olive oil

    One of the greatest meals I’ve ever had was a sea urchin pasta, eaten overlooking a beach in Paxos. We were at a cookery demonstration by Spiros, owner of Bar Taxidi in Loggos…

  • Roast lamb with garlic, baby aubergines and anya potatoes

    Lamb – whether spiced and charred in the tandoor, coated with a herb crust and roasted, or simply sliced thinly and served in a sandwich with mustard, parsley and cucumber…

  • Fig and goat’s cheese tart with onions, tomatoes and honey

    When I was at my parents’ last weekend for my dad’s birthday, I wanted to contribute something to the lunch, and brought in the figs I happened to have left over from the day…

  • Welcome to The Modern Husband

    Welcome to The Modern Husband, where I post a wide range of recipes and writing about food I love to make – from quick family suppers to Michelin-style cooking for special…

    Holy molee

    Mr E. P. Veerasawmy, founder of Veeraswamy’s in London’s Picadilly tells me that the molee is a “Southern Indian, Ceylon or Malay dish.” Perhaps he had…

    A methi business

    Cooking simply doesn’t have to be cooking boringly. A fresh piece of wild fish or some high-season asparagus doesn’t need much doing to it. Meals like…

    Halwa world away

    The results came in as follows:
    Noah loved it and had more, so I won the carrot halwa war that no one else was fighting.
    Maya spat hers out in the bin and asked for a yoghurt instead.

    Oh my squash

    The smells coming from the oven are doing that thing to me. My mouth has started tingling, I think it’s the deep aroma of the harissa.…

    Sheer bliss

    Bread. So comforting. All types from the soft and pillowy to the crusty, worthy and hard work. The trashy white slice filled with butter and grated…

    Argy-bhaji

    I had just locked the garage door when I noticed the coriander had bolted. And what with the rather sad looking fennel in the fridge I…

    A right coq up

      They don’t make music like they used to do they? It’s just noise now… in my day you could understand the lyrics… young people today……

    Curds and wa-hey!

    It’s a constant, if not full-time job to keep enough food in the house for the seemingly hollow children. And while bergamot curd may not be…

    Thai me up

    Before Christmas I was invited to eat at Hot Pot in London’s Chinatown. Think meat fondue, but with fireworks, dancers, a full orchestra and a jousting…

    Tarte Bordaloue

    Clearing out the kitchen this week, before I put everything back in the new cupboards, I found some antique yeast, a vintage packet of baking powder…

    Take your pickle

    There is a shelf in our fridge that David Attenborough should investigate. Here, behind the inconspicuous looking cheese, the vivid bright colours of the chilli sauce…

    Apple filo tart

    My first mumbled thought on waking this morning was that it is now acceptable to have a mince pie. Bonfire night has passed and November is…