nom nom nam jim

how good is nam jim even? here is a hint: really freaking good. i secretly think this might be the true green goddess. it certainly ticks all my boxes. here it is doused all over a poached chicken and macadamia salad. oh. so. good.

nam jim (supposedly enough for 4 but i make this much for 2)

1. rip the leaves off a fistful of coriander (use them in the salad)
2. bash the naked stems with 2 garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt
3. chuck in a deseeded and chopped green chilli and bash some more
4. stir in 2 tablespoons each of raw sugar and fish sauce
5. squeeze in a couple limes (you want about a quarter cup of juice)
6. mix in 2 finely chopped shallots
7. drink it up
store cupboard dinner

a post-yoga concoction of bits and pieces flying around our kitchen: roasted cherry tomatoes tossed through lemony chickpeas and rocket, topped with grilled scallops and drizzled with a cumin-laced mess of mossy green sludge.

salsa verde (makes half a cup)

1 anchovy
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
handful rocket leaves
handful flat-leaf parsley, picked
handful basil leaves
olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
juice of half a lemon

throw everything up to (and including) the basil in a jug and pour over enough olive oil to just cover the mess then zing together until it looks sludgy and beautiful. toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until they smell great then grind them in a mortar and pestle. stir the cumin through the green sludge together with the lemon juice. taste for seasoning and add salt if you think it needs it.
back to edy

it's hard to believe that it's nearly a year ago that paul and i headed off to rome for that little thing they call a honeymoon (and the thing we called 'paul's stop-off between his whirlwind six-week conference world tour in which i became a temporary academic widow'). but it's true. and ever since we got back he just hasn't been able to stop talking about the artichoke pasta he gleefully tucked into at edy.

i, of course, have been happily keeping him at bay by pointing to the fact that artichokes have not been in season, and gee wouldn't you know it i just can't seem to find any.

but lo and behold, he managed to track some down this past weekend, and i dutifully complied, whipping together a batch of tagliatelle with artichokes and parsley.

the verdict? wish as we might, it's still not spring in this part of canada, and artichokes aren't in season yet. but i'm sure in a month, we'll be trying it again.

souped up

ever since i made an appointment to get my wisdom teeth ripped out of my skull i have been thinking about soup. my favourite kind is a despicably cheesy garlicky mess of chickpeas, tomatoes and rosemary with this insane velvet texture and just the right amount of chilli. i love it.

chickpea must be the only word the the history of words for which the german translation is cuter than the english. gigglepea totally beats chickpea in a cute race. it kicks chickpea's ASS. which is fine, of course, because german has a lot to make up for, given that the literal translation of nipple is breast wart.

on that appetising note, i give you chickpea, tomato, chard and bread soup. try it, it's amazing.

pois (the australian kind, not the french kind)

the first in a series of campaigns to make use of large quantities of leftover dinner party lamb = lamb pies, pronounced p-o-i-s. this is an extremely important addition to your vocabulary hannah, particularly as you make your way to the world's nether regions.

these ones were lamb, fennel and chickpea with tomato chutney and spinachy spinach salad. i love spinach.

oh and i used my new ramekins! i love ramekins.

it kinda feels wrong to take a meal, dress it up with a fancy puff pastry hat and pretty mauve stoneware and call it something else... but also entirely irresistible. you know it.

block party

remember that crazy progressive party we went to way back when? you know the one: the historic meeting of texas, george the greek's indiscretion, a wall of unread first editions and my disbelief that 'schlecker!' was not how germans say yum.

so we took the progressive party to the next level on the weekend. same beat, of course, but this one was something of a dinner party.

we started with lillet and tonic cocktails at alexis' place, scarfing down green goddess-laden vegies and the most delicious parmesan black pepper biscotti ever. you would love it, really you would.

the night rolled on, and we picked up a stephan as we slunk over to kai's,  where he and andrew delivered the goods with inappropriate modesty. creamy beetroot soup with a bruschetta of beetroot and red onion with beautiful grilled dorade.

we wove back to our place, where chris and i had constructed an outrageously unstable dinner table for eight from a pair of cupboard doors, our regular table, and a lot of packing tape. we served slow-cooked lamb with red peppers and chickpeas, which i am quite addicted to. needless to say,  i cooked too much and now have endless lamb pies and pots of harira to contend with.

the last stop was ewa's, where she presented the fruits of her five-hour-long labour: an opera to end all operas. dripping with raspberry syrup and chocolate ganache, it was ridiculous in the extreme and very, very good.