Cooking with butternut squash brings a little bit of Autumn into my kitchen with its vibrant colour of orange. In Bahrain we do not witness the changing colours of Autumn like other parts of the world, which are quite stunning… but we do have some amazing sunsets. Butternut squash is technically a fruit and I love that it is so versatile to cook with. It’s sweetness pairs well with many flavours and I mostly use butternut squash in savoury dishes and on the odd occasion make pumpkin ice cream.
The recipe for this butternut squash soup is simple and I wanted to spice it up with some Togarashi, a Japanese chilli seasoning. Seasonings are a quick way of adding bursts of flavour to food when used as a table condiment. Deciding to make my own togarashi was inspired by an empty jar of the seasoning that I had and taking note of the ingredients printed on the label. Continue reading →
When I travel to Ireland and visit family I never feel my visit is quite complete unless I’ve had my day in Dublin. A city that holds many memories, from the time spent as a student at catering college, working various jobs, the meeting of friends and the countless shopping trips. Also, seeking out favourite cafés and restaurants to have a “cup of tea and a bakery bun” or something a little more filling. One place I always love to visit is the mini department store Avoca, almost never leaving empty-handed. I didn’t really need another cookbook… but then again, I must have! A Year at Avoca cookbook is a calendar of the cafés favourite seasonal recipes and my sister says that this is her “feel good cookbook” and I couldn’t agree more. Continue reading →
What I love about this pasta dish is its simplicity. Easy to make, tasty and quicker than ordering a take out. Whether it’s dining al fresco or making a quick meal for a very hungry husband coming back from a 20km run, pasta is a great convenience food and store cupboard ingredient. Take a few simple ingredients like cherry tomatoes, garlic, chilli flakes and fresh herbs, tossed together to make a quick sauce in less time than it takes to boil water for the pasta.
Whenever I can I love using fresh herbs, butsoon my lovely pots of fresh oregano and thyme will succumb to Bahrain’s summer heat and I will have to start all over again and plant new herbs when the weather cools down. I also keep dried oregano and thyme in the store cupboard and use these when fresh herbs are not available.
Did a little DIY and painted some old boards for a different background for my food photography, I must admit I wasn’t very adventurous with the colour. Thought I might make a mess of everything, so erring on the side of caution choose an off white colour. Hopefully I will be more courageous next time and try and paint a more colourful board, like this lovely distressed wooden board.
Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Chilli and Fresh Herbs
250g dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/4 crushed chilli flakes
250g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped or remove the leaves if the stems are woody
sea salt and freshly ground back pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve
How to make: Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, until firm to the bite. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, chilli flakes, cherry tomatoes, fresh oregano and thyme and cook for about a minute and a half or until the tomatoes have softened and released some of their juices. Season with some sea salt and black pepper. Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture, toss together, check seasoning. Serve immediately with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Serves 2.