“Tabbouleh” from “Happy Salads”

IMG_9295Tabbouleh is one of those dishes that evokes very fond memories for me.

Time: Early 90s. Place: Youngstown, Ohio, USA. I was a cub reporter at The Vindicator (best name for a newspaper EVER) and my friend Jeff and I would go grab lunch at a great diner over by the courthouse. My friend Jeff, who had just returned from living in Bethlehem and working for Reuters, urged me to have the tabbouleh for lunch.

“This is a perfect example of it,” he would tell me. “They’ve cut the parsley correctly and there’s loads of it.”

I was young and naive (food wise, and, let’s face it, in every other respect too) but I liked and respected him, so I ordered it. It was the first time I’d ever had Lebanese food. Did I like it? Reader, did I ever. Not only did I like it, I ordered it every time we went to the diner from that time on.

I’ve loved it ever since.

I could have sworn I’ve reviewed a recipe for Tabbouleh before, but I just did a thorough search of the archives and couldn’t find one. I do recall making tabbouleh a few years back and thinking it was a completely laborious process, with all the chopping and such, and I didn’t fancy making it again.

But I can wholly recommend this one. Since the quantity is only for two people, (though I doubled it for the four of us) the amount of chopping of parsley, along with the other ingredients, is not onerous. It’s incredibly straight forward to make. Most important of all, it is delicious.

And I don’t even have to go to Youngstown, Ohio, to have it.

Google Books has indexed Happy Salads, so if you’d like to see the recipe for Tabbouleh, click here. 

“Tabbouleh” from “Happy Salads”

“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

IMG_7879Maureen: Meat free Monday! Featuring a dish from the new cookbook.

Tim: What is it?

Maureen: She calls it Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter.

Andrew (16): Why pasta snails?

Maureen: Look at the shape of the pasta.

Andrew: Got it.

Maureen: Nicholas, this might remind you of the escargot you tried when we went to Paris.

Andrew & Tim: Nicholas tried escargot?

Maureen: He did. [Nicholas makes gagging noises.] To be fair, the escargot was not the best I’d ever had. The restaurant was highly rated on Trip Advisor, but it was rubbish. The waiter literally raised his eyebrows in surprise when I ordered the escargot. Either he wasn’t used to tourists ordering escargot, or it was a subtle warning to stay away. We’ll never know. What do you think of this?

Nicholas (12): Unlike the snails, I like this.

Andrew: Me too. I would happily eat this again.

Tim: So would I. What’s not to like? There’s loads of garlic butter in here.

Maureen: I’m not even going to tell you how much butter each person was apportioned [Editor’s Note: 25 grams per person. That strikes me as a lot.], but I think that’s why it was so good. This is a great meal for when you’re short on time. Easy to prepare, no exotic ingredients, delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

Nicholas: Unlike escargot, which I’m not in any hurry to try again.

“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

“Chicken Francese” from “It’s All Good”

Maureen: According to Gwyneth, this is supposed to be, “Italian comfort food done in gluten-free style.” The only problem is I didn’t make it in gluten free style. I used real flour.

Andrew (Displaying the sarcasm that only a 13-year-old can muster): Oh! The horror!

Maureen: I know. I do actually have rice flour in the cupboard, but I thought, no. I’m just going to use the regular flour. I know that will be fine. What do you think?


Andrew: It’s nice, but a bit plain.

Nicholas (10): I like it because it doesn’t have any complicated flavours.

Maureen: I’m with Andrew. It’s fine, but there’s not much to it. Saying that, though, it would be a quick dinner on nights when I’m short on inspiration.

Nicholas: The asparagus is good too.

Maureen: Enjoy that while you can. That season will be over soon. Should I make this chicken again?

Andrew: Sure. Why not.

Cook’s Notes: As mentioned above, I used regular flour instead of gluten-free flour. I know that Gwyneth wouldn’t approve, but there you go. Also, she advises that you flour the chicken first and then egg it. However, that method didn’t work at all for the first few pieces. So I did what I do when I make chicken parm– I egged it first and then floured it. That definitely worked better in the later rounds.

“Chicken Francese” from “It’s All Good”

“Meatzza” from “Nigellissima”

Want to try the Meatzza yourself? The recipe can be found on the Nigella Lawson website by clicking through on this link.

Maureen: So I think this is like a meatloaf, but in the shape of a pizza. What do you think?

Nicholas (9): Is this from the new cookbook?

Maureen: Yes. Nigella’s latest tome, which is all Italian cooking. I think we will enjoy this month.

Andrew (Now 13! Happy Birthday!): It’s OK. These are two things that don’t need to go together. They work fine together, but I don’t see the point. Either have pizza or have meatloaf. Why make it one thing?

Nicholas: I think it’s AMAZING. It’s like a meatloaf, but with the added tomato sauce and cheese on top. Delicious.

Maureen: I’m with Nicholas on this one. I think it’s good, and I suspect that I will make it again.

Andrew: Don’t get me wrong. It’s good, but it’s not my favourite.

Maureen: I don’t know, with time it might become your favourite.

Andrew: Nah.

Tim: I’m with Andrew on this one. I don’t see the point of this.

Maureen: What do you mean? It’s not meatloaf, it’s not pizza: It’s meatzza!

Tim: Nope. Not buying it.

Maureen: A house divided on the Meatzza. Controversial.

“Meatzza” from “Nigellissima”

“Mackerel & Potato Stew” from “The Family Meal”

Maureen (looking over at the plate of Andrew, 12): Gold star for Andrew! He ate all the fish.

(Andrew puts his arms in the air, triumphantly.)

Tim: Did you like it, Andrew?

Andrew: Meh. I thought there were too many small irritating bones.

Where did our bodies go? Oh, wait, I know. Into the stew.

Maureen: That comment is fair enough. I agree.

Tim: Well, I like it.

Maureen: What do you like about it?

Tim: I like that it is good for me.

Continue reading ““Mackerel & Potato Stew” from “The Family Meal””

“Mackerel & Potato Stew” from “The Family Meal”

“Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal”

Tim: Yum!

Andrew (12): This smells great.

Maureen: This is really good, but it’s got to have one of the least inspiring names for a dinner. Sausages with mushrooms? While it is accurate, it’s hardly the sort of name that’s going to get you inspired to get the pans out.

Nicholas (8): I like the name I came up with: Sausage meatballs!

Maureen: Yes, that’s a much better name.

Continue reading ““Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal””

“Sausages with Mushrooms” from “The Family Meal”

“Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”

Maureen: Tonight we are having roast pork and Irish champ, which is just another version of mashed potatoes.

Nicholas (8): You mean strange mashed potatoes.

Maureen: They’re not strange! I think they’re delicious.

Andrew (12): The roast pork is nice. It tastes like sausages.

Maureen: Well, it should, since sausages are made out of pork.

Continue reading ““Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain””

“Superb Pork Loin” with “King of Mash: Irish Champ” from “Jamie’s Great Britain”