A Bowl of Comfort & a Pep in Your Salad Step….

I signed off my last newsletter with the news that I would be writing to you today from the shores of Southern California. But sometimes our best laid plans get a last minute overhaul and I had to postpone........Alas, I am not looking out over the Pacific this morning, but I'll be there soon enough and promise to report back on everything I consumed. In the meantime, I'm having a little fun with dressings and comforting myself with grains. 

Does anyone else find receptacles in their fridges with only one or two spoonfuls left at the bottom? Is this a “life with adolescents” thing? And why do they do it????? As a person who finishes absolutely everything always, this phenomenon of leaving a minuscule amount is both beguiling and annoying (especially when said item is the yoghurt I want for breakfast). 

But every cloud has a silver lining, and because I avoid wasting anything ever, I now have a tangy new yoghurt dressing in the mix. I love a yoghurt dressing. It makes a salad feel rich and decadent yet still light and delicate and brings a welcome pep to crunchy greens. So I’m taking those last dregs in the bottom of the pot and turning them into liquid gold with my other best friend in the leftover department – pickle juice (think back to last year’s tahini pickle magic and you will realise the inspiration). The combination is mesmerising and is definitely going to put a spring in your step and your lunch. Find the recipe and the video here (with a new salad coming soon). 

Talking about fridge forage lunch, pickled celery (for anyone who missed it sliding into the recipes on the site or on YouTube last week) is the latest hit to add to my one bowl wonders when working from home. It is a pickle lovers dream and honestly, a celery triumph turning even the biggest celery haters into lovers. It elevates the somewhat overlooked stalks that are a soup and soffrito staple into the salad/cocktail/sandwich accessory of dreams. I urge you, with all my convincing might, to try it. And the liquor makes a fantastic addition to dressings (there’s a theme here).

And for comfort while I am not where I thought I’d be this week, I am soothing myself with barley and chard. There is something about a bowl of warm grains, especially on a grey February day that just warms my soul. So this weekend I combined two of my simple pleasures – a grain and a braise using my favourite leafy green (and multicoloured) chard (recipe here). A bowl of grains as a base for a meal are basically a hug in a bowl, but their true bonus superpower is their capacity as a superb leftover (cue fridge forage lunch).

In other news, last week I was given the most sensational gift – a bottle of olive oil. For those who know me, this is one of the best gifts I could recieve. Not only is the bottle itself exquisitely beautiful it is also so incredibly fruity and delicious I want to bathe in the oil. Straight from Eumelia, an organic farm in the Peloponnese, I now am fantastising about my future trip to the farm, stay in one of their eco houses, learn all about the olives and the trees and cook in their kitchens. In the  meantime I have hidden the oil from everyone in the house as it’s very much MY special treat.

I’ve got some fab new videos coming your way including how to make the tastiest loaf of bread in no time. Keep your eyes peeled and please don’t forget to share all you have been making either here or via instagram. I’d also love your feedback on this new format of the twice monthly newsletter. I like to think of these as a conversation between us and would really love to hear from you. I am constantly trying to improve how to share my ideas, recipes and kitchen conundrums. And if there is anything you would like more or less of, or any particular recipes you want to explore together, please holler.

In the meantime, let’s share warming bowls and punchy dressings as we start the countdown to Spring.