eating out with abby

strangely enough, i spend quite a lot of time thinking about food. increasingly this includes thinking about this blog and different things i’d like to write about.

i do try and make sure that i only write about things which excite or interest me which means that inevitably there are a reasonable number of meals which are never going to be featured. the same is true of restaurants which, for whatever reason, just didn’t wow or inspire me. or where there’s simply nothing particularly interesting to share.

but the fact that i only write about some of the places i eat is only part of the picture and increasingly it feels that i should be sharing more, including the bad, the ugly and the mediocre. it also appeals to my general nosiness – i like reading the minutiae of what people eat.

so, as a trial i’ve been keeping a diary of the different places where i eat when i’m not eating home-made (by me or friends) food. this is what it is looking like, with a few comments.

if people find this interesting i’ll try and do a quarterly update as i'm intrigued to see what patterns emerge . let me know if there is any extra info you’d like. apart from financial that is - i'm not feeling brave enough to add up how much money i spend on eating out!

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persian chicken and squash filo parcels


every new year david and i try to make the time to sit back and remember what we did in each and every month of the past year. films watched, friends visited, places explored, music heard and meals eaten. last year (a whole 3 weeks ago!) we did this on new year’s eve over supper.

inevitably, if you’re remembering special times you want to be eating a delicious meal and luckily the menu was very definitely up to scratch.

i’ll come back to our starter and pudding another day because, for me, the star of the show was these persian chicken and squash filo parcels. the spice flavours are quite complex but also gentle and comforting. as you’ll see, we ate this with roasted vine tomatoes and crunchy beans in fennel dressing which was a great combination. not least as it left enough space for pudding!

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crunchy beans with fennel


fennel is a favourite of mine. i love the vegetable, either raw or cooked, but i also love the dried seeds as a flavouring. i’m always happy to let this spice be the star of the show.

this recipe for crunchy beans with fennel dressing was pulled out of a magazine many moons ago and has become a real favourite. it’s delicious served hot as a light and slightly unusual side dish, particularly with fish or chicken. i also like to eat it cold, as a salad.

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chermoula-marinated tuna


one of my new year’s resolutions was to make better use of my cookery books. over the holidays i spent an afternoon going through a few books and magazines making a list of things i want to try and cook this month.

one of the books i picked up was diana henry’s crazy water, pickled lemons. i have used this book quite a lot as she creates dishes with strong and vibrant flavours, using lots of fresh herbs and spices. each time the recipe has turned out well. today’s chermoula-marinated tuna was no exception with a strong spicy flavour that contrasted well with the herby, pomegranate-tangy jewelled couscous which we ate it with.

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taste & create: learning to make youvarelakia


taste & create is one of my favourite blogging events. its organised by nicole from for the love of food who pairs bloggers up who then cook a recipe from each other’s blog.

it’s great fun looking through a blog and then having to be disciplined enough to choose just one recipe to try. waiting to see what the other person chooses to cook of yours is always exciting. in many ways, that’s the whole point of having a blog - i want people to try (and hopefully enjoy!) the same dishes that i cook and love.

i’ve been paired with elly from elly says opa who, like my previous partner valli, has a penchant for all things greek. looking through elly’s blog i was tempted by many, many dishes but decided to choose one which combined a number of elements that were appealing – greek flavours, a lemony egg sauce and meatballs. i decided to make elly's youvarlakia!

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