“Dark Chocolate, Cardamom and Espresso Mousse Cake” from “Sirocco”

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Kirstin: It’s always a wonderful feeling to find a recipe that you know you will treasure and pass on to others. These recipes, for me, must be easy and delicious. I set the bar even higher when it comes to desserts and baking as our family is not a fan of sweet food. But this recipe might just make into our Hall of Desserts Fame. Fabulously easy and tasting rather special, this chiffon cake is a winner. I was a tad worried about the cardamom, but I shouldn’t have been as it set off the chocolate and coffee perfectly. I am already looking forward to making this again, and smile at the thought of the book page becoming more splattered as the years go by.

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“Dark Chocolate, Cardamom and Espresso Mousse Cake” from “Sirocco”

“Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Ricotta Dumplings” from “A Year of Good Eating”

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One of the many good things* about Meat Free Monday is it forces us to try different things.

While I do love a good hearty soup while we’re in the throes of winter (Editor’s Note: This was a week ago, when London really was winter-like. Now, not so much.) This soup has the added twist of dumplings in it, made by combining flour, fine oatmeal, ricotta, parsley and butter. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought it would be a bit different from our usual throes of winter soup fare, so I was willing to give it a go.

We all loved it. Andrew, 16, even requested that it go into the regular rotation of Meat Free Monday dishes, he liked it so much. Tim was surprised at how filling it was. Nicholas liked the dumplings. Having eaten the leftovers for lunch, I can tell you that it’s fantastic warmed up a few days later, too.

Yum. Yum. Yum. Another winner from Nigel.

*Some of the good things: Good for us. Good for our planet. Forces us, at least one day a week, to not look to meat as the starring player in our dinner. Did I say Good for Us? It bears repeating: Good for us.

Want to make this yourself? Find the original recipe from The Guardian, found by clicking on this link.

“Carrot and Cardamom Soup with Ricotta Dumplings” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice” from “Jerusalem”

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Want to try this at home? Please do. The New York Times very helpfully “adapted” the recipe (though I couldn’t discern what they changed), so click through this paragraph to get the recipe.

This dish is a winner in so many respects: delicious, flavourful, easy, one pot (quick cleanup), and no exotic ingredients (bar one, more on that later). We’ve had this several times since I got “Jerusalem” last year and it’s been a winner every time.

The picture above doesn’t really do it justice (yet again), but it really is a great dish. It’s not very quick– it takes about an hour to cook– but the most elaborate prep needed is to slice the onions. Most of the time the dish is doing its business alone on the stovetop.

We all (boys included) love it. It’s not plain by any stretch of the imagination– cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks certainly ramp up the taste factor– but it’s not too exotic for them. In any case, you can tone it down at the end with a bit of greek yogurt.

Finally, a word on the use of barberries. They are, thankfully, optional, as barbarries seem to be difficult to source. At least they were difficult for me, as neither the local health food shop, which has all manner of spices available, or any of the three local supermarkets (Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and the Cooperative) had them. I just did a quick search on Ocado and all they have is barberry-coloured thread, not barberries themselves. You can use currents, though, which is what I did as you can find those anywhere.

Would I make this again? Definitely. I’ve already made it several times, and I plan to make it more times again.

“Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice” from “Jerusalem”

“Roast tomatoes and mozzarella”, Slow roast lamb shoulder with garlic, vermouth and rosemary”, “Roast potatoes”, “Courgette and pine nut salad” and “Little chocolate pots with cardamom” from “”Good Things to Eat”.

Katherine:So how do you pick the recipe you are going to try?

Kirstin: There are only a few dinner menu recipes. It wasn’t hard.

Katherine: My problem is I’d want to do too many different things that don’t go together. Mussels with leeks, why didn’t you choose that?

Kirstin: I just chose things that go together. I don’t cook mussels. But you know, I should. I should definitely try and cook mussels sometime.

Tom: So what did we think?

Katherine: The tomatoes were the perfect temperature.

Kirstin: I was supposed to use a big piece of mozzarella and break it up, but I used small ones. And I forgot the lemon juice. They looked good, though.

Continue reading ““Roast tomatoes and mozzarella”, Slow roast lamb shoulder with garlic, vermouth and rosemary”, “Roast potatoes”, “Courgette and pine nut salad” and “Little chocolate pots with cardamom” from “”Good Things to Eat”.”

“Roast tomatoes and mozzarella”, Slow roast lamb shoulder with garlic, vermouth and rosemary”, “Roast potatoes”, “Courgette and pine nut salad” and “Little chocolate pots with cardamom” from “”Good Things to Eat”.

“Upside down apple and cardamom tart” from “Leon 2”

Tom: This is really lovely and light and crisp. Puddings can be a bit stodgy sometimes, and this so isn’t.

Julia: The apples are perfectly cooked. But I can’t taste the cardamom.

Roger: It’s deceptive that such simple ingredients can result in such a sublime dish!

Continue reading ““Upside down apple and cardamom tart” from “Leon 2””

“Upside down apple and cardamom tart” from “Leon 2”