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Entries in lemon (60)


avocado spaghetti

this was a wonderfully quick and easy lunch, which i tried after hearing friends rave about the flavour combination.

there are various recipes online but you don’t really need one – i used one small avocado, mashed with some lemon juice (just less than ½ a lemon’s worth), olive oil (about a teaspoon), a dash of chilli sauce (i used tabasco), grated garlic (1 small clove, raw) plus salt and pepper. this was mixed with cooked spaghetti and garnished with some toasted pine nuts, lemon zest and more black pepper. i also added a sprinkling of some finely grated hard cheese.

the flavour of the avocado is enhanced by the warmth of the pasta and obviously creates a wonderfully creamy sauce. the only trick is making sure your avocado is ripe enough.


white asparagus

it’s asparagus season at the moment and in frankfurt that means white asparagus – little stalls selling “spargel” have been popping up around the city.

in the uk white asparagus has a much lower profile than its green cousin but given the local passion for white, and the fact that i’ve not seen a peep of the green stuff, i’m getting stuck in. i’ve only cooked it once before and that was simply, just boiling it for a few minutes, and serving it to accompany a tomato and lentil salad.

this time i decided to draw inspiration from anna hansens’s roasted fennel with lemon, which i’be made every which way, and roasted it for c40 minutes along with some fennel and following the usual recipe. actually, i made a few tweaks - instead of using halloumi i crumbled a pack of feta over the roasting vegetables for the final ten minutes which created a lovely creamy sauce. fresh basil and potato gnocchi were the finishing touches in a lovely fresh and springlike meal.  


lemon, fennel and halloumi

i continue to be smitten by anna hansen’s lemon, fennel and halloumi combination, which she serves as a bruschetta and which i’ve been adapting in various ways – potatoes in place of the bread, pasta and fresh ricotta plus plenty of basil and now a straight swap of pasta for bread.

this is a real favourite at the moment - recently i’ve made it a couple of times in as many weeks and already have my eye to a third time.

the adaptations are simple – i cut the fennel into slightly smaller pieces but then roast this, on a sheet of greaseproof paper and under foil, with the sliced lemon zest, lemon juice, fennel seeds, olive oil and ground pepper plus cubes of halloumi (i don’t bother soaking these overnight beforehand, as the original recipe calls for, as the textural difference is minimal). after 15 minutes at 180c the foil is removed and everything returned for another 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese and fennel to develop slightly crispy/caramelised edges.

to pull the dish together i toss the cooked pasta (make sure you put this on so it’s ready about the same time as the fennel and cheese - i ended up with overly-toasted cheese when i got distracted and started the pasta late) with a little cream or soft cheese, just to moisten everything, before adding the fennel and halloumi mix. sometimes i add a handful of peas or bread beans as well and the garnish of crispy capers is well worth making the effort for.

parmesan when serving adds extra richness although you won’t really need it – the melting creaminess of the halloumi, with the ever-magical combination of lemon and fennel should be enough to win you over.


almost mitch martini

when i’m thinking about the ingredients that are almost guaranteed to make a cocktail taste delicious, apricot brand is right up at the top of my list, as is fresh passion fruit. this take on a mitch martini (which uses peach liqueur in place of the apricot brandy and passion fruit syrup instead of the fresh fruit) ticks both boxes and is very lovely as a result.

shake, with ice, 1 ½ shot vodka, 1 ½ shot pressed/cloudy apple juice, the flesh of ½ a ripe passion fruit, ¼ shot of apricot brandy and ½ shot of lemon juice. strain into a martini glass and garnish with a twist of lemon zest.


ziti with roasted fennel, lemon and basil

i continue to be inspired by anna hansen’s lemon, fennel and halloumi bruschetta – i’ve already used it as the basis for a salad, using potatoes in place of the bread, and now i’m swapping in pasta, instead.

i also decided to use a different cheese –fresh ricotta. this obviously didn’t need cooking so i followed the original recipe, just omitting the halloumi from the roasting tray. when it was ready i added my cooked ziti, some ricotta, purple and green basil plus a scattering of fresh fennel leaves from the garden.

it was delicious and i’ll definitely make this again – you do need quite large pasta shapes though, given the size of the fennel pieces; conchiglioni rigati would also work well. i think olives would be a good addition and will no doubt also try it with different cheeses – feta or goat’s cheese would both be nice.