Here you can find all my posts, including
announcements, and stories about my events,
as well as recipes and videos
To celebrate the new Chinese year of the Ox, and to mourn the demise after 80 years of the Singaporean restaurant where Hainanese chicken rice was first launched on the world, I present two versions of my interpretation of this classic South-East Asian Chinese dish.
While waiting to move house I’ve been spending time cooking and eating through the contents of my five freezers and five fridges—which are now down to two and three respectively—and trying out new recipes. Here’s a couple of my versions of two Indian classics, dal makhani and aloo gobi.
Six years on from one of my biggest catering jobs, and things are very different. No big events. No small events! So, like many restaurants, I’ve turned my hand to cooking on a much smaller scale. Prompted by requests from friends and old customers, I have started offering takeaway meals. Or rather, dishes that I deliver to people’s homes—which is how my business started, 20 years ago!
The plan is to offer a new menu every week, which I’ll post on Instagram. To keep things manageable I’ll make deliveries on Friday for orders received by the Monday morning before. My initial idea is to deliver to customers within a ten-mile radius of Haslemere—but I’m sure I can be flexible on that.
Recipes for two versions of acar (pronounced ‘achar’). Acar is sort of versatile, Indonesian version of Branston pickle. Acar simply means ‘pickle’. Like Branston it’s made from chopped vegetables, including carrots and onions, pickled in vinegar sweetened with sugar, and zhooshed up with spices. The difference is that it is served as a side dish, and is eaten with just about any main dish you could imagine, including barbecued meat, satay, and grilled fish.
Aubergine has to be up there among my absolute favourite vegetables. And probably the most versatile. Here are two easy, delicious, aubergine recipes. One is a Chinese vegetable dish; the other a starter or snack from Georgia—as in the country on the Black Sea, not the US state. My first time making a Georgian recipe.
The quickest, easiest pasta dish of all. And one of the most delicious. The only cooking is to boil the water for the pasta. As soon as it starts to feel like winter is over, the sun is getting warmer, the evenings becoming longer—that’s when I think about making pasta primavera again.
The dish is all about the fresh flavours of the raw ingredients: tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, garlic, olive oil (extra virgin of course), with a hit of salty umami from the black olives.
Rice is one of the defining elements of Indonesian cuisine—and of course most Asian cuisines. If you’d like to know a bit more about it, please do read the background section after the cooking tips.
I cook a lot of rice! Because of my catering business I calculate I’ve cooked over a tonne just in the last ten years. You probably have your own method. This is mine. It certainly seems to be reliable. It needs to be!
This is probably the best known Indonesian dish of all. Nasi goreng, like some of Italy’s tastiest dishes, was originally a way of using up cooked rice. Food is not wasted in Indonesia—particularly semi-sacred rice. Traditionally it would be served for breakfast, using what was left over from the previous day’s dinner. It is a dish that perfectly symbolises these times of scarcity and belt-tightening. As befits a dish designed to use up leftovers for breakfast, it is dead easy to make. Essentially, fry chopped ingredients in a pan, add the rice, stir, and serve. Ingredient quantities are not critical.
I’m not going to use the C word, but you all know what I mean when I say “grim times”. The last thing anyone wants to think about right now is elaborate dinners. But we all have to eat, and I thought my friends and followers might appreciate some ideas for what to cook while we’re limited to shopping at the nearest supermarket (and hoping that their shelves aren’t empty!)
Here’s the first of some recipes that don’t require difficult-to-find ingredients, and which might add some interesting variety to the usual repertoire. This one is from Manado, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia’s fourth biggest island. It doesn’t have to be blow-your-head off hot, but it does offer a bit of a flavour explosion!
On 19 September I’m going to be cooking at another WeFiFo event, this time in the lovely converted barn at their headquarters near Horsham.
This will be the latest in a series of their monthly “Culture Clubs”, where they invite an author to come along for an evening to discuss one of their books with a bunch of guests—while they all enjoy a some tasty food. To reflect the setting of the novel, ‘Meet Me on the Riviera’, I’m going to be cooking a French-inspired meal for the evening—just for a change! I couldn’t avoid giving an Asian twist to some of the dishes though.
Yes, that’s right! It’s on Wed, 10 July, marking a new collaboration between Waitrose and WeFiFo. I have been invited to cook an Indonesian feast. I do hope you can come [more…]
I am so pleased to announce that, finally, we’ve launched my new website!
It seems to have taken years—well it has taken years actually. So though it probably still has some bugs to exterminate, we decided that it was about time to release it into the wild. [more…]
As part of their drive to advertise the idea of supper clubs WeFiFo’s Seni Glaister arranged a studio discussion with BBC Surrey and Sussex—over lunch prepared by three cooks who have held WeFiFo events. The radio presenter was Joe Talbot, who fronts weekly afternoon show Feelgood Friday from their Guildford studios. [more…]
A huge thank-you to everyone who came to my supper club on 2 March.
We had a brilliant bunch of guests, who were a pleasure to serve. And I think they liked what we gave them! We had two groups of four on one table, and three couples on another: 14 in all. One of the couples came all the way from Swindon, and another from Kent. Impressive effort. Only two people had been to us before. It was great to meet and feed so many new people.
Here’s what they some of them had to say on the WeFiFo website:…
Has anyone come across "WeFiFo" yet? It stands for "We Find Food". It's an online business that promotes all sorts of foody events online—particularly pop-up restaurants and supper clubs. I think it's a brilliant idea, and really hope it takes off, especially for...
As advertised in my previous blog, I am holding tempeh cooking demos at the end of the month. Please let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to come. There is a slight change to the previous announcement. I'm still giving two demos, but because some people can't...
I keep coming across a vegetable called chayote in Latin American recipes. It’s also used in Cajun cuisine (they call it mirliton), and by a huge variety of different names throughout south and east Asia. In Malaysia it’s called, weirdly, ‘English gourd’; in Indonesia...
I'm planning a demonstration of some super simple but tasty ideas for cooking with tempeh. Watch this space! Seems like you can’t open a lifestyle magazine at the moment without finding an article about gut microbes. You know the sort of thing: we have ten times more...
I've just been looking back fondly at the jobs we've done in the last year. They included 21st, 40th, 60th, and 90th birthday parties; dinner parties for five to 20 people; Christmas parties, private and corporate, and one in January to dispel winter blues; house...
Just got back from a wonderful month in Jakarta. That's me with the handbag in the picture above, three to the right of the bride—my niece. I just had to be there! Haven't been to a Javanese wedding in years. Of course I managed to find time to do some serious eating...