Friday 2 August 2019

Courgette blinis

Image result for courgettes

Excellent on their own... and much better when served with a generous dollop of home-made tzatziki. The secret to getting them right is (1) to have the pan hot enough before you add the batter (2) to use only the lightest coating of oil in the pan, and (3) to leave them for long enough after the batter has first gone in for the blinis to have developed a good firm 'skin' before you flip them over.

Makes 12.

2 medium courgettes; 2 eggs; 50g flour; 20g butter, melted; 1 tbs finely chopped chives or onion; 50g feta; 75g parmesan (or grana); 1 generous spoonful of greek yoghurt.


1. Heat a large frying pan, and drizzle into it just enough oil to film the surface.

2. Using the grater disc on the food processor, grate the courgettes.

3. Whisk together the eggs, butter, and flour. Fold into this the grated courgette, and then use the processor to blitz together the two cheeses, and in turn fold these into the batter, along with the chives or onion. Stir in the yoghurt and season to taste with about a tsp of salt.

4. Making sure the pan is good and hot, spoon the mixture in rounds into the pan - I use a crumpet ring to do this; it's a good size, and makes regular blinis rather than misshapen dollops. In my largest pan I can do six blinis at a time, and so this amount of batter takes two full loads.

5. Allow to cook for about two minutes before gently sliding the edge of a palette knife under each blini, and once you are sure they are firm enough not to fall to pieces, flip them over, to cook on the other side. After about a minute, they're done.

6. Keep warm in a low oven until all are done, and you're ready to serve.

Thursday 1 August 2019

Lemon Cheesecake

Image result for lemon cheesecake

This is the recipe from Stephen Bull where he has you start out by pre-heating the oven to 180 degrees c, and then never has you go back to it again (for the very good reason that this cheesecake requires no baking). I have an image of ovens the world over having been preheated to 180 degrees C, and still sitting there, waiting to be put to some use, many years after the cheesecake itself has been consumed.
Notwithstanding the editorial snafu, the recipe is excellent. Possibly even better the day after it has been made, when the texture has firmed even more. Rarely is there any left for the second day, however, since it is delicious and light and very, very moreish. A favourite with the Technical Dept.

For one 20 cm cheesecake, serves six.

150g digestive biscuits; 50g & 125g butter; 150g sugar; 3 eggs, separated; 200g cream cheese; juice and zest of 2 lemons; 300 ml cream.


1. Melt the 50g butter, and blitz in a food processor along with the biscuits. Press the resultant mixture into the base of a pre-greased false-bottomed 20cm cake tin.

2. Process the remaining butter with the sugar, then add to this the egg yolks, cream cheese, lemon juice and zest. 

3. In two separate bowls, whisk the cream and the egg whites, so that each is stiff enough to hold its shape. Fold the lemon cheese mixture into the whisked cream, and then fold into this the beaten egg whites.

4. Heap the mixture into the cake tin - it should mound generously - and refrigerate for at least four hours.  If feeling festive, you could scatter more grated lemon zest over the top, to serve. Stand back for requests for second helpings.

Wednesday 31 July 2019


Image result for tomatoes

It's that time of year, again. Early mornings working in the garden, afternoon siestas, and dinner al fresco and by candlelight, out in the barn,  long after the sun has gone down. Cold food is the order of the day - well, not exclusively, but a lot more than would be the case otherwise - and gazpacho comes to the fore as it always does  when July comes round.

Everybody seems to have their own version, and many of them are deeply eccentric (watermelon? In gazpacho? I don't think so...). This is more-or-less Paula Wolfert's recipe as given in her 'Mediterranean Cooking', which first found its way onto the bookshelf when it first came out, forty years or so ago. Fortunately, I understand that there's a new edition, which could not be more timely, since mine has got to the stage where the sellotape which holds its pages in place is fighting a losing battle against time and tide. Many happy memories, of dinners around the table in the small courtyard in the Old House in Greece, candles flickering, and the sounds of nightlife from the street outside the gate mingling with the music which spilled softly out along with the light from the living room window.  

For two generous servings:

Ingredients: 400 ml tomato juice; 1 small onion; 1 red pepper; 1/2 medium cucumber; 1 medium tomato; 1 large clove garlic; 4 fl oz stock (or water); 1 tbs olive il; 1 tbs wine vinegar; tabasco. Salt and pepper. Croutons, for serving. 


1. Along with half the tomato juice, liquidize the tomato, onion, and garlic, along with half the pepper (de-seeded) and half the cucumber. 

2. Add to this mixture the stock, remaining tomato juice, and oil and vinegar. Refrigerate for a least several hours.

3. Stir in a few drops of tabasco, and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve, garnished generously with croutons, and the remaining cucumber and pepper, finely diced.