Prawn and Wild Garlic Quesadilla

What could be more comforting on a rainy day in lock-down than Quesadilla?  Simple to prepare, warm, and oozing with flavour and cheese. Although I’ve used fancy ingredients here you can use just about anything for the filling. Remains of mince to pieces of chicken and ham. Make them vegetarian with roasted peppers or fried mushrooms.  A good flavoursome cheese is preferable.

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Pearl Barely Risotto with Spring Vegetables with Pangratatto

A light and tasty midweek dish.  Pearl barley makes a delicious risotto-style meal. No need to stand over it stirring while is cooks either.  Use up any left over spring veg, chopped or sliced, and serve with grated cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or Pangratatto.

Pangratatto are crispy fried breadcrumbs with chopped herbs stirred through. Usually served as an accompaniment to a creamy pasta dish. Here they compliment the soft texture of the pearl barley and are an excellent way to use up stale bread and herbs that are past their best.  

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The credit for this delicious brunch/breakfast goes to my captive tasters. It’s a favourite at their now renowned monthly brunch club. Time short worker-bees, with very few evenings between them, this is their creative way to keep up with friends.

Shakshuka is A heavenly combination of eggs, tomatoes and spices. The sauce basics don’t change but the variety of optional additions make this a very versatile dish. And versatility is just what’s required with lockdown rules and shopping just once a week.

During our cohabitation for lockdown and to differentiate between the working week and the weekend, my captive tasters like to cook on Saturdays and Sundays. This gives me a well-earned and welcome break, but it also means that I have to let go of my need to control my kitchen, and the weeks ingredients. Its been hard. Delightful smells emanating from the kitchen undoubtedly mean that carefully crafted meal plans will require a rethink.  That where there was once a whole chorizo for the evening chicken dish, I will find an embryonic piece, umbilically – but uselessly – attached to its little piece of string. Or that my hoard of onions for a Pissaladier will have been expertly, but not quite as intended, very well reduced.  If I’ve achieved one thing in lockdown its ‘not to sweat the small stuff.’ It’s by far-and-away more important to come together happily for yet another delicious and companionable meal. Continue reading

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