“Maple-roasted tofu” from “Dinner”

Kirstin: Before Lockdown, a million or maybe a bazillion years ago, I was trying to be Vegan Before 6. I tried to be vegan for the first few weeks of lockdown but it was just too much fo my brain to compute, so I gave up. But as things are easing, I am testing the waters of Veganism again. Hence this recipe with tofu and squash. This is a great little recipe, packed full of flavours, easier than it looks (from the recipe) to cook. And everyone except Miles loved it. However, he confided in me that he would consider trying a tomato. SO THERE’S THAT. Next up. AUBERGINE.

“Maple-roasted tofu” from “Dinner”

“Spiced fish pilaf with caramelised onions” from “Zaitoun”

Kirstin: Our first Fizz Friday with our best friends since Lockdown began a million years ago. The tradition is simple. Every Friday we see our friends, I cook food, we drink fizz. Sometimes there is Cards Against Humanity after dinner. But there is always sorting out the world. And that is the part I have missed the most. That chatting to others who give you a different perspective, who maybe share something similar that happened to them, who make you giggle, all the while enjoying food and drink. I made Palestinian style fish and pilaf. It was delicious. And for dessert, my current favourite cake recipe, a pomegranate/yoghurt/olive oil cake from the lovely Rukmini Iyer. At the end of the evening, my throat hurt and I completely panicked that I had the start of COVID symptoms but I needn’t have worried. As I thought back on the evening I realisedmy throat hurt from all the laughing. The perfect way to start the weekend.

“Spiced fish pilaf with caramelised onions” from “Zaitoun”

“Gigli with chickpeas and za’atar” from “Simple”

Kirstin: This was a triumph of a recipe. After all that cultural appropriation debacle with Alison Roman and The Stew, I give you this recipe which knows where it’s coming from, with essentially the same ingredients. Well, I say that but there’s no turmeric or coconut milk. But chickpeas and pasta, with a little anchovy and lemon make quite the most delicious combination. Also. Tate ate all the contents of their bowl.

“Gigli with chickpeas and za’atar” from “Simple”

“Spiced salmon skewers with parsley oil” from “Falastin”

Kirstin: Today lockdown was eased a little. Non-essential shops were opened, complete with social distancing. So Tate and I decided to visit Sissinghurst to celebrate. As you do if you like Virginia Woolf and gardens. Before we left on our adventure (our first trip outside of London in MONTHS), I marinated the salmon for these skewers in the hope that the children might NOT notice their least favourite food stuff. What was I thinking? Of course they noticed. But it meant MORE FOR US. Which we both loved. Because all the flavours mingled so very well, especially with the parsley oil. This was delicious in all the ways. And I am already craving all the flavours.

“Spiced salmon skewers with parsley oil” from “Falastin”

“Roast chicken with peaches, honey and lavender” from “A bird in the hand”

Kirstin: We have a LOT of lavender in our garden. It is one of the very few plants that I can manage to keep alive, year after year. Lavender surrounds our Outdoor eating area and it is just coming into bloom. It smells just wonderful. Anyway, as I was searching for our weekly roast chicken recipe I spotted this one. As the title suggests it has lavender, honey AND peaches which felt like all the summer feels in one dish. I wasn’t sure the children would go for it, but it turns out that I should not have had any worries; they LOVED it. They even negotiated between them who would have the last piece of chicken and cleared their plates. There is also a little white balsamic vinegar mixed in with the honey, when combined with the added lavender flavour is as special as it sounds.

But I’d best get on this again because the lavender won’t last forever! And the peaches won’t be as sweet. Oh how I love summer…

“Roast chicken with peaches, honey and lavender” from “A bird in the hand”

“Lemon, cumin and green chilli sea bass” from “Zaitoun”

Kirstin: Tonight was our first meal as a bubble with my mother. She brought champagne to celebrate. I thought I would make clams. Or maybe swordfish, neither of which were available at the fishmongers. The fishmonger suggested sea bass instead and I figured I could find a Palestinian recipe in one of my books. I was not wrong. This book, written by the very lovely Yasmin Khan is now featuring big in our kitchen had a suitable recipe. I love the way Yasmin explains the different areas of Palestinian cooking. The recipe is also amazing, even though I used red chillies instead of green. The flavours were clean and suited the sea bass wonderfully.

And then we played a million games of bananagrams. Life slowly coming out of lockdown.

“Lemon, cumin and green chilli sea bass” from “Zaitoun”

“Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers” from “Simple”

Kirstin: In a bid to eat less meat, I’ve started going through some of my books for recipes that are meatless. This one looked like a winner. Harissa, olives, and tomatoes. I made it for lunch. The kids did not eat it (I made frittata for them) because tomatoes. And sauce.
The Greek yoghurt was a perfect antidote to the harissa which crept up rather. What a wonderfully simple and flavourful recipe. I can imagine eating this in the summer or winter. For lunch or dinner.

“Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives and capers” from “Simple”

“Whole butter chicken with sweet potatoes and red onion” from “The roasting tin around the world”

Sunday dinner. And here I am trying out a new roast chicken recipe. This one, Rukini describes as being a “celebratory roast chicken, with a completely addictive tomato sauce”. And she’s not wrong. The recipe starts with melting cinnamon and other spices in some butter. Then stirring the onions and cherry tomatoes and sweet potatoes into that mix. Finally, a paste of lime zest, yoghurt and other goodies are slathered all over the bird and it’s in the oven for more than an hour. Squashing the tomatoes and adding double cream just before the end of the additional 10 minute cooking time finishes off this deeply satisfying chicken. It was sensational and unforgettable. How I love all the Rukmini Iyer recipes.

“Whole butter chicken with sweet potatoes and red onion” from “The roasting tin around the world”

“Pulled lamb shawarma sandwich” from “Falastin”

Kirstin: I’ve been looking forward to making this recipe ALL WEEK. Marinating things overnight is something I love doing but usually can’t be bothered to go through with. But it was my mother in law’s birthday and also I was curious. So last night, while cooking dinner, I made the paste for this lamb. And this morning I woke up early because this baby needs at least 6 hours to cook. Lockdown food means a whole load of rules so I deliberately made food that could be eaten without cutlery. Or crockery. Even the accompanying desserts were handed out in squares of kitchen roll. Anyway, back to this lamb. Apart from marinating overnight, this recipe is cooked slowly for many many hours, then pulled apart and served with onion, tomatoes, and this incredible yoghurt/sumac/lemon/tahini mix.

It was incredible.
I am completely hooked on the flavours this book conjures up. And as a bonus. As I served this recipe to my mother in law, I also presented her with a birthday copy of this book.

It’s a winner of a recipe in every single way.

“Pulled lamb shawarma sandwich” from “Falastin”