Apple and lime cake

Apple and lime cakeApple and lime cake

I realised there was not a single recipe here for apples! Plenty of apricot, plum and fig recipes – because they’re fruit trees I have, and which I love getting creative with every year. There’s also a bit of citrus (particularly lime!) going on. We don’t have an apple tree, but I do love apples … of course. Apple tarte tatin is about the best dessert going if you ask me, and I also love an old-fashioned apple and cinnamon tea cake – yes, the kind you might have made in high school. I’ve been tweaking a recipe for a few years (primarily spiking my cake with ungodly amounts of brandy; all warm and spicy in the mouth). But here is another apple thing I love. A very simple and yet elegant apple and lime ‘cake’. Continue reading Apple and lime cake

Custard apple and lime drink

Custard apple and lime drink

In autumn I have a slightly expensive habit, which is buying unusual fruit! I suppose if I didn’t live in a city with great markets and green grocers nearby, I’d have to find another pastime. And moving to the country is definitely tempting, but I think I’d find it too hard to turn my back on all the produce, restaurants and inspiring mix of cultures around us.  Continue reading Custard apple and lime drink

Easy lime (or lemon) ice-cream

lime ice-cream

Lime season should be summer, you’d think. Then the weather feels perfect for lime-spiked drinks on ice and Asian salads, but it’s not until a few months later that limes really come into their own. Our backyard lime tree, a dwarf Tahitian, starts fruiting around the end of March. When the limes turn from deep green to a slightly more yellow, ‘limey’ colour, and they yield a little when squeezed, it’s time to start picking. Unlike lemon trees that keep giving for much of the year, limes are a special autumn treat. Continue reading Easy lime (or lemon) ice-cream

Feijoa and lime meringue pie

feijoa and lime meringue pie

This year was a first for me – I tasted feijoa. Life is short and I can’t believe I have wasted so much time already! These dusky green globules are just beautiful to cut, with a creamy yellow interior and a swirling flower pattern made up of translucent yellow-green flesh speckled with a few tiny brown seeds. Their exotic smell wafts all over the house – if you’re not a fan, you might describe it as ‘Deep Heat’, but that’s a bit unfair I think … The taste has a definite sarsaparilla twist, but after having a few my daughter and I found them irresistible. Sweet but with an interesting tang, and such a nice change from the pears, oranges and apples of late autumn and winter. We spooned out the flesh one feijoa after another, the table littered with empty shells. Continue reading Feijoa and lime meringue pie

Pomelo salad (with squid)

Pomelo and squid salad ingredients

Citrus is incredible at the moment. The colder it gets, the better it seems to taste, which helps me to remember that even the chilliest depth of winter is a season I should love (I try!). Friends sent a big bag of home-grown mandarins our way and I think they’re imperials (the most popular and common mandarins), but they’re so different to commercial ones. Their skin is still touched with green and inside they’re bursting with juice. They have more pips than usual, but their flavour is so sweet and real and wintery. Continue reading Pomelo salad (with squid)

Tortilla soup

Tortilla soup and toppings

There are so many reasons to love this soup, and so many ways you could describe it. You could talk about the warm and fruity dried pasilla chillies that give the soup its brick-red colour, or the charred tomatoes, onion and garlic that are another big part of its flavour. And then there are the cubes of avocado that go on top, and the fried tortilla strips and the crumbled queso fresco cheese (sooo delicious, if you can get your hands on it). But before all these elements are added, it actually boils down to being a version of chicken soup and one you could definitely turn to when you’ve got a cold – I would say it’s even more worthy (and more exciting) than your standard variety as it has also has tomatoes for vitamin C. It’s a phenomenal soup whichever way you look at it.  Continue reading Tortilla soup

Mint chutney (sandwiches)

mint chutney sandwiches

Last year my daughter’s school celebrated Kindness Week. It was not just for the children but parents too, as we were meant to step out of our usual social circles and say hello to someone else. I happily thought of Ranjani, who I was already getting to know. We bonded because we walked the same way home from school and our daughters were in the same class. It didn’t take long to realise that we both loved cooking, so we talked about that whenever other topics ran out. Continue reading Mint chutney (sandwiches)

Gado gado with homemade sprouts

gado gado

My five-year-old daughter surprised me the other day and asked for some sprouts in her kinder snack box. I looked at her and said, ‘What, do you mean plain?’ And she said ‘Yes – a container of sprouts, with a spoon please Mum.’ I almost said, ‘Are you sure?’ but stopped myself. Continue reading Gado gado with homemade sprouts

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

Working on an introduction to a Mexican cookbook a few months ago has sent me off on a new cooking adventure. The world of Mexican food is big and there’s a lot to cover, and the cookbooks I now have in my collection are hardcore – full of exotic, hard-to-come-by ingredients and strict cooking techniques. Mexican cuisine has always seemed interesting, but also a bit difficult and daunting to really do properly – so much easier for me to ramble into Asia, the Middle East, Europe, even Africa, for endless inspiration … But slowly I’m wrapping my head around Mexican food, cooking some great new things. I’ve realised I’m not just adding a new dish to my big list of favourite things to cook, but a whole new category. It’s been so exciting and I’m not nearly done yet. Continue reading Chilaquiles