Local Heart, Global Soul

August 22, 2013

Preserving the Past…

Filed under: Audley End House,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of yesterday’s post, I’m still in the Audley End House kitchen.

This time we are in the scullery area where food was stored and preserved.

Since leaving real food on display for days on end in the summer heat would be courting disaster on many levels,  they have solved the problem by adding realistic plastic food.

What are real however are the jars of preserves, jams and herbs that line the shelves.  I think too that this is a the actual foodstuff storage area for items in use throughout the year in the two Cafe’s in the grounds of the house.

I’ve just started preserving my own beetroot again after previous attempts failed using jars that were different than I was used to, so my interest was piqued by these photographs.

What was also on display and caught my eye were the handwritten recipes used by Cook to make her pastry and scones. The light quality wasn’t great so taking the photographs was difficult, but I found them fascinating all the same… since I’m always looking for a better scone recipe I might even give this one a go one day. It’s my last post from the Audley End kitchen… a kitchen clearly still partly in use in modern times whilst at the same time preserving the past…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Audley End House  kitchen 2j (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 3, 2011

Take a Recipe and Build On it…

Filed under: FOOD,Reviews — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I bet we have all made a recipe some time, where the results did not quite turn out as expected. You are then faced with two options: never make it again or give it another chance with a few tweeks that you think might suit your style.

This recipe falls into the later catagorgy… there basically wasn’t anything  “wrong”  with the recipe at all,  it was just too bland for our liking.

It’s a recipe from “2Blue” and  I reviewed it several years ago and gave it a low rating on the Recipezaar (Now Food.com) website, giving my reasons, and then just left it for a while.

Then about six months later I was searching for a shrimp recipe and stumbled upon it again, I’d gotten as far as sorting out the ingredients when I finally realised that actually I’d made and reviewed it before.

Hmm that got me thinking… clearly the ingredients attracted me to this recipe not just once, but twice, so maybe it was worth a second chance.

It was time to give this recipe a Kiwidutch style Kick up it’s backside and to try a small experiment.

First things I added to the shopping list were two fresh chilli peppers and fresh root ginger… I upped the amount of the garlic from 4 – 6 large garlic cloves to 6-8 and threw in a few of the smaller garlic bits from around the bulb for good measure, left out the seasoned breadcrumbs and added a good squirt of fresh lemon juice to the recipe whilst it was cooking.  The Result? ‘

This recipe now kicks butt for us… gone is “bland” and here is heat! OK the kids arent with us on this one, but it rocks for Himself and I.

I have changed  the recipe ingredient list and altered the working instructions in this post  to reflect my very personal preferences and changes, but it’s well worth noting that  2Blue’s original recipe also has some 22 reviews where people were more than satisfied with her results so if you want to see (and review) the recipe in it’s original form please just click on the link at the bottom of the page.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2  finely chopped red chili peppers
2.5cm (1 inch) peeled, grated fresh root ginger
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 lemon

Directions:

Dry shrimp on a layer of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place shrimp in a bowl and toss with paprika. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over low heat. Add garlic and grated root ginger and sauté for 1-2 minute.

Add wine, salt and pepper and chilli peppers and reduce by half. Add a good squirt of fresh lemon juice, the  shrimp and cook on one side about  1-2 minutes to sear. Do not shake the pan at this point and it’s important not to overcrowd the shrimp to sear and caramelize properly.

After one side is seared, begin to shake the pan and toss shrimp to continue cooking another minute or two. Sprinkle with parsley or coriander  and saute’/toss one more minute. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

(Kiwi’s Note: I use either coriander or parsley,  but not both at the same time. Using the fresh coriander gives the shrimps a rather  nice Thai style of flavour… )

http://www.food.com/recipe/birds-easy-shrimp-scampi-310605

December 1, 2011

Quick, Easy and Delicious Bruschetta

Filed under: FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is one of the recipes that I’ve made and reviewed as a member of Recipezaar (now Food.com).

We are expecting family and friends at our home this weekend to celebrate Sint Nicolas together, and usually I’d be cooking for the whole crowd, but not being mobile forced a change of plan.

Instead I’ve farmed out several dishes that guests will make and bring and I’ll have a couple of willing sous chefs in my kitchen helping out with putting together the recipes I want to make.

We will have about six vegetarians coming to dine and many of my recent favourite recipes have meat in them so I started thinking of vegetarian alternatives.  One of the things I was missing in our menu was a nice easy vegetarian appetiser/entrée to start off the meal and then I remembered this recipe from Food.com member  “Shabby-Sign-Shoppe

What I really liked about this recipe is that it used tinned (canned) tomatoes,  it’s mega easy to throw together, and it tastes great.

Best of all though: I first thought  in my original review that this recipe would be better if the garlic had been sautéed first to take the sharp edges off the taste, but having made it more than once. discovered by accident that  if you make it a day in advance then the flavours mellow wonderfully all by themselves and no sautéing is necessary.

The only other change  I have made is to radically decrease the amount of olive oil stated in the original recipe below, depending on how much juice are in your tinned  tomatoes, you will be able to decrease it a LOT, (just eyeball it and add only a tiny drizzle at a time until it looks right).  Excellent for those of us trying to enjoy festive season menu’s without watching the calorie count climb towards the stratosphere.

Don’t skimp on the garlic or the fresh basil… they are the makers or breakers of a good Bruschetta and will make all the difference to the success of the result. I’ve put  link to the original recipe at the bottom of this post so that if you make it and want to leave a review for  “Shabby-Sign-Shoppe”  then you can.

Ingredients:

2 (15 ounce) cans plain diced tomatoes, drained, rinsed
5 -6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 dash lemon pepper
fresh basil, chiffonade (about a handful)
salt and pepper

Method:

Mix all together and refridge at least 2 hrs, longer is preferable.
Serve with fresh or toasted french bread.

http://www.food.com/recipe/dee-licious-bruschetta-37718

November 1, 2011

Kiwi’s Jam Muffins, Apricot or Otherwise…

Filed under: FOOD,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I adapted this recipe from a New Zealand cookbook called “Quick n’ Easy Muffins, Cakes, Biscuits, Slices, Loaves, Scones” and they were voted a winner after being served to my daughter’s teachers at school as a birthday tray year before last.

Since then we make them as a treat and you can use any flavour jam (or “jelly”as our North American friends like to call it) that you have to hand, (we do love apricot as a personal favourite though).

DO grease the pan well so that they slip out easily and if the jam leaks out, get the muffin out of the form while it is still warm because once the jam is cold, it sticks like glue and is hard to remove (I used a plastic picnic knife to ease mine out of my muffin form). And yes, you read correctly, the original recipe does say 5 teaspoons baking powder, and yes it is correct!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
50 g butter (melted, 1   3/4 oz)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
12 teaspoons apricot jam
powdered sugar (to decorate)

Method:

Preheat the oven at 200°C (400°F).

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a baking bowl. Make a hollow in the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and milk together and add with melted butter into the middle of the dry ingredients mixing just enough to moisten the mixture.

Spoon a largish tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of the muffin form,making certain that it covers the bottom of the muffin form.

Make a small hollow in the middle if the muffin mixture and set a teaspoon of apricot jam into the hollow, try not to let the jam run out to the sides very much.

Cover the apricot jam with another spoonful of the muffin mix and run a clean finger around it so that the jam is as enclosed by the muffin mixture as possible. Don’t overfill your muffin forms.

Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 15 minutes or until cooked. (test with a clean toothpick, it could come out clean)

Ease the muffins out of the form while warm and put onto a wire rack to cool.

Once cool, dust the tops with powdered sugar.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins.  (try hard not to eat all of them before the rest of the family come home LOL).

October 21, 2011

Camarao Mozambique (Portuguese-Style Shrimp)

This recipe is a favourite  that I discovered ex Recipezaar (now Food.com) website from member “EdsGirlAngie”.  If you try it and like it too then I’m sure she would appreciate a review (link at the bottom of the page).

I was inspired to post this by Raymund’s recipe for Gamba’s  http://angsarap.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/gambas/   that he posted a few days ago because this is a similar-ish Portuguese version of his Spanish style Gambas recipe.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Camarao Mozambique (Portuguese-Style Shrimp)

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron thread, soaked in 1 tbsp. warm water for 15 minutes
1/2 cup red wine (white wine or beer is also an option)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned

Saute onion in the butter until almost browned; reduce heat slightly and add garlic, parsley, and turmeric.

Saute another 5 minutes then add water and saffron water.

Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Stir in wine and lemon juice; bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.

Add shrimp, salt, black pepper to taste and crushed red peppers.

Cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp have just turned pink and are still juicy and tender.

This is normally served in small bowls with crusty bread for dipping, or it could be served over rice.

This isn’t a dish that will be winning prizes for looks, as the combination of red wine, saffron, turmeric, pepper, parsley and and onion made a sauce that turned out a greenish brown colour…  but hiding in there is an amazing taste. Personally we liked that the peppers made it politely firey and the heat could easily be increased or decreased to suit indivual palettes. The rest is a wonderful combination of tastes where none totally predominate and all work smoothly together.

Some other people who have made this recipe commented that the Portuguese also make it with either white wine or, more often beer so now I’m on a mission to try it with beer and to compare the taste. Don’t be tempted to be too heavy on the saffron, a little goes a long way since it’s pungent stuff.

I’ve made this more than once and two finely chopped fresh red chilli peppers added instead of the red pepper flakes suits our tastes just fine.

http://www.food.com/recipe/camarao-mozambique-portuguese-style-shrimp-94596


September 26, 2011

Should “Medicine” to Keep You Regular Ever Taste this Good?

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another one of my favourite recipes from the ex Recipezaar (now Food.com) website.

I  particularly like this  recipe from “mummamills”  because it’s so ridiculously easy and because a little  of this every so often helps keeps me regular. It tastes brilliant too! If you try it and would like to leave a review too,  just follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Prunes in Port

40 pitted prunes
2 cups port
2 cups red wine
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar

Soak prunes in the port overnight.

Next morning combine everything and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.Take out vanilla bean. (You can wash it and use it again).Bottle, or store in the fridge.

http://www.food.com/recipe/prunes-in-port-212379

September 19, 2011

Chicken With Cashews… Fast, Easy, Lazy, Perfect!

Filed under: FOOD,Reviews — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Since I haven’t managed to be standing cooking in my kitchen for the last ten months, and am having Foodie withdrawal symptoms, I’ve had to console myself by asking Himself to make some of my favourite recipes for dinner  instead.

This one is by “chef floWer”  from the ex Recipezaar, (now Food.com) cooking website.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chicken With Cashews

2 chicken breasts, diced
6 tablespoons corn oil or 6 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup bamboo shoot, diced
1/2 cup green peppers or 1/2 cup green capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup cashew nuts

Marinate

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch or 2 teaspoons cornflour
2 teaspoons oil

In a bowl add soy sauce, water, cornstarch and oil to form the marinade. Mix well until the cornstarch as dissolved.

Add to the marinate chopped chicken breasts, mix well cover and marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.

Heat oil in Wok until hot, add bamboo shoots and green capsicum. Stir-fry for a few minutes.

Remove bamboo shoots and green capsicum with slotted spoon or any spoon which drains the oil back into the wok.

Drain marinate and add chicken to the wok. Quickly toss and turn.

When chicken is cooked or slightly brown add hoisin sauce. Continue to toss.

Return vegetables to work.

Serve over rice and sprinkle the cashew nuts.

I’m a tougher than usual reviewer of recipes and awarded this oe the full possible five stars.

In my review I mentioned that I couldn’t find bamboo shoots and just used red and yellow peppers, but over time I have adapted this recipe and basically through in whatever stir-fryable veggies we have to hand on the day.  The yield is small:  two decent servings for a main meal for two people (mind you we didn’t bother adding rice)

I usually gently saute my cashews in 1 T olive oil, until they are gently toasted and then add some extra during the last minutes of cooking.  I found the peanut oil to be a little excessive, so right from the start I used homemade chicken stock (also in the interests of cutting down fat) and this has always worked well in this recipe.

I love that this is easy, in the past I’ve prepped veggies the evening before and just thrown everything together when we got home the next day for a mega lazy meal that’s ready in minutes.

When you have grumpy hungry  kids begging dinner 3 minutes after they cross the threshold, that make this recipe into a winner.

September 13, 2011

This Odd Couple Get On Very Well Together Indeed…

Filed under: FOOD — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As a  member of  Food.Com (formerally known as Recipezaar) I have often made this recipe when I want a refreshing smoothie.

Sadly my current long recovery means that standing in my kitchen  is by far the exception than the norm, so I haven’t made this since last year, but  with avocados and mango’s available easily at the moment here, this IS the season to jump in with this recipe.

The recipe belongs to fellow member “JanuaryBride” and if you want to make this and leave her a review that just follow the link at the bottom of the post.

I have never ever bothered with tracking down mango nectar, I just peel and pit a fresh mango and yum! I also “up” the mint…

I first thought a  mix of mango and avocado  to be a marriage of the odd couple but a very happy marriage it turns out to be indeed. The individual flavours hit your taste buds one after another and each time they go WOW!

This is not only great as a smoothie but also as an “amuse” before a dinner party, serve it chilled in shot glasses. (Seriously good).

Green Machine Smoothie (Mango and Avocado)

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 (12 ounce) can chilled mango nectar (like Goya)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

In a blender, puree all ingredients and serve in a chilled glass with a lime wedge as a garnish.

http://www.food.com/recipe/green-machine-smoothies-mango-and-avocado-308216

September 11, 2011

Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá (Salt Cod and Potato Cape Verde)

Filed under: CAPE VERDE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst this post is not from my Cape Verde series of Photos, it is inspired by it.

One of the dishes that I discovered when we were in the town of Espargo on the island of Sal was called  “Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá ”  which is  a salt cod recipe.

I know that salt cod isn’t easily available everywhere in the world, but if you can get some locally then I’d strongly recommend this recipe because it tastes fabulous.

One of the very first blog posts I ever made, were step by step instructions on how to “deal with” your dried salt cod once you got it home.   https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/bacalhau-salt-cod-and-how-to-prepare-it/

For the purposes of this recipe I’ll assume that you have already done all the steps from the link above and are now ready to proceed with the already prepared fish.

Since the soaking and cooking process needs to be done in advance this isn’t a quick recipe to make, but a shortcut that I highly recommend is to buy as much salt cod as you can at one time, do all the preparation in one hit and then divide the resulting flaked fish into meal sized portions.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Freeze whatever fish you are not using for this recipe and you will have a stash of salt cod in your freezer for much quicker recipe preparation on the next occasions.

I experimented quite a bit, tweaking my recipe a few times until I finally replicated the great flavours that we enjoyed in Cape Verde.

Bacalhau à Gomes De Sá
1kg salt cod fish (2 lbs soaked, cooked, de-boned, flaked per instructions in the link above)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
white pepper (to taste)
6 large potatoes
6  eggs ( hard-boiled)
parsley

Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F)
Peel your potatoes and dice them into small to medium chunks so that all of the pieces are the same size, cover  with water and boil until until  just cooked though. (I usually hard boil my eggs in the same pot with the potatoes to save pots, water etc.)

Once the potatoes are cooked and drained slice them roughly so that they are in small pieces all roughly the same size.

Put the olive oil into a fry pan and gently saute the onion and garlic until golden but not browned.

Peel the hard boiled eggs and roughly chop 5 of them, but carefully slice the last egg into rounds for decoration.

Mix, but don’t mash! the flaked, cooked, salt cod with the potato, onion and garlic mixture, then add the nutmeg and pepper and parsley. If the mixture is too dry, a very small amount of water can be added to make it only just stick together.

Spoon the mix into a baking dish and lay out the decorative egg rounds on the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until it is completely warmed though.

August 8, 2011

Finially, I’ve Conquored my Fear of…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You know when you have guests for dinner and you’ve got one small side dish in mind and you sit and think : “Is there really going to be enough food?”   (or is that only me?)

I hate the thought that people might, possibly, remotely leave my table wishing that there had been just a little more food.

I have zero Italian heritage, but like an Italian Mama I feel the need to “feed people” and that means “feed ’em good“. My nagging fear wouldn’t let go… yep I won’t be happy until I’ve made a second side-dish to go with the lasagne and Piedmentese Peppers of yesterday’s post.

I was of course only slightly (ha!)  influenced by watching  chef and cookbook writer Simon Hopkinson’s television programme on the BBC called “The Good Cook”  …come on, the recipe is easy and  has garlic, olive oil, parsley and feta cheese in it.  If that’s not bait on the hook and reel me in, I don’t know what is.

Add to this that I’d just given myself a challenge in my 101 Things in 1001 Days:

35. Find and try out 5  aubergine recipes (that’s “eggplant” to some of you)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So this is how I find myself  adding aubergines to the shopping list and making: “Grilled Aubergines with olive oil, garlic, parsely and feta cheese”  to go with our meal. As with yesterday’s post, I have copied the recipe below and added in my own working method below as well as step by step photos of how I made the recipe.

Ingredients:

4 long, thin-skinned purple aubergines (alternatively use the ordinary plump, pear-shaped variety available from most supermarkets)
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
handful parsleyleaves, finely chopped
5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a little sea salt and black pepper
150g/5oz feta cheese
l lemon, for serving

Method:
Preheat the grill to high.

Run a small, sharp knife round the top of the aubergine, 1cm/½in or so below the stalk and only just cutting through the skin; then make four evenly spaced, similarly shallow cuts, along the length of the aubergine right down to the end.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Grill the aubergines for about 20 minutes, turning every 5-7 minutes or so, until evenly cooked with charred skin, and until the aubergine feels soft, but not too collapsed within. In the case of the purple aubergines, the skin will also have turned a dull brown colour. Transfer to a large, oval, white plate and allow to cool for two minutes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Peel away the aubergine skin in four long, narrow sheets using a small knife. Without cutting right through the stalk end, cut the aubergines in half lengthways and gently prise apart until you have two horizontal halves remaining attached at the top end

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mix the garlic and parsley with the olive oil until well combined and spoon the mixture over the aubergine. Season lightly with salt (not too much – the cheese is salty anyway) and pepper, and crumble the feta cheese over the top. If liked, trickle over more olive oil to finish.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Serve warm, or at room temperature with lemon squeezed over.

So… the sharp-eyed among you will have noticed already that I totally forgot to include an ingredient:  the parsley.

Being on crutches gives me limited access to the lower depths of the refriderator, so first it was a case of  “out of sight,  out of mind”  and secondly I’m still on strong pain relief and my concentraion span is not at it’s best at the moment. I made these alongside the pepper recipe and was so tired that even though I read ” parsley” over and over in the recipe it never occured to me that I hadn’t actually used any.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yeah, “Duh”…. What I did  do, was to make the feta, garlic (I minced mine and doubled the amount) and some olive oil in advance, put some plastic wrap over the top and put it in the fridge for easy adding later when the aubergines were cooked. Then I went to bed and had a sleep.

So… fast forward to later in the day… The oven is on Grill wound up as high as it will go, as it the top oven rack and ack! my aubergines aren’t cooking well at all… they are cooking but realllly sloooow.  Since foodie friends have come for dinner and one extra visitor has let us know that she’s running late, we  panic not and try and work out a better plan to get these suckers cooked.  Changing from “Grill” to “Oven” seems to work well, so we keep with that and after a further  20 minutes of turning every 5 minutes my aubergines and getting  are back on track and nicely cooked.

My oven is old but a top element is a top element is it not? so while I have no clue what went wrong with this step, I at least know how to avoid it ( with my oven) next time around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From there on it we just followed the recipe (ok, accidently sans parsley) and one of my foodie friends helped with peeling off the skins. Yikes these are HOT to handle and peel so wearing oven gloves to assist were a must… lastly we lavished on the feta mix and brought it to the table.

Himself had been non committal about aubergines due to many previous bad experiences with them in his travels, so was prepared to “grin and bare” this recipe, but shocked himself because he loved it!   In fact it was his favourite part of the evening  meal and he’s mentioned twice already that I need to keep this recipe please, as  he wants to make it again!

Therein lies a lesson for us all: We might often think we dislike a vegetable, but maybe  we just haven’t met the right recipe yet… trying “just one more time” might be the time we hit the jackpot and find a gem like this.

Clearly I have to thank Simon Hopkinson not only for a fantastic recipe, but also one that finially conquors my fear of cooking aubergines and one which has converted Himself to thinking that these might not be half bad eating after all. Cheers!

As with the peppers recipe, there were requests for the recipe from guests as well and the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/grilled_aubergines_with_73271 was duely sent from the BBC website.

Such is Himself’s enthusiasm that I have a sneaky suspicion that aubergines might somehow be on our shopping list for a repeat of this recipe next week too.

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