Last week I pouted childishly that no one really likes fennel salads and so many of you say you wanted one, so glad I got the external validation I need to share a new one here. This fennel salad is Cafe Altro Paradiso, who shares a chef - Ignacio Mattos - with two other New York restaurants, Estela and Flora Bar. What I love about cooking at these restaurants is that there is an understated minimalism in every dish that belies the real complexity of the flavors. This is particularly evident in salads. At estela, my favorite is this endive salad, which appears to be the simplest pile of lettuce until you find the heavily flavored pile of texture and crunch below, to scoop from the leaves. This fennel salad looks just as modest when it comes out: a mountain of shaved bulbs. But it is based on a tangy mix of crushed olives, finely sliced stems, chopped fronds, strong cheese, citrus zest, juice, wine vinegar, olive oil and seasonings that I'm not sure I want to stop eating.
Fennel is a source of division. Olives are a source of division. I know this salad isn't for everyone - I mean, what is it, really, except puppies, kittens, and the booming postal service - and if you are about to tell me you would like that except for fennel and / or olives, shhh, you don't need because I already know. I'll have something you like more next week. Everyone has their turn. I have become completely Mom Voice, haven't I?
But if you are even slightly on the fence, know that this one has converted a lot of people. I tend to do this when we want and keep it in two containers - the dressed and shaved fennel bulb in one and the olive mixture in the other - as the complexity is more noticeable when it isn't. has not been mixed for that long. Salads like this - which keep well in the fridge because they don't contain quick-wilting lettuce - are a key part of our summer cooking. These bean salads, broccoli salads, carrot salads and others are the kinds of things you can pull off at the end of the day and serve solo or with something else: focaccia, a simple aglio e olio spaghetti, a grilled steak or chicken thighs, if that's what you fancy. Hope this will be part of your hassle free summer rotation as well.
Fennel, here and elsewhere: There are two more fennel salads here, one with blood oranges and one with proscuitto and pomegranate, so they both feel very wintery. There is also that green salad with fennel seed dressing. Oh, and also a fennel seed ice cream that I love, even so few others love. Finally, in Smitten Kitchen every day, there is a salad of fennel, pear, celery and hazelnut, which I jokingly call the Haters salad because it has so many maligned ingredients.
Six months ago: Pina colada
One year ago: Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies
Two years ago: Foccacia sandwiches for a crowd
Three years ago: Blueberry and Blackberry Pie
Four years ago: Summer squash pizza, Melba peach popsicles, and Chili-lime and melon salad
Five years ago: Raspberry crushed ice
Six years ago: Cold noodles with miso, lime and ginger and Apricot and pistachio squares
Seven years ago: Grilled Corn Pancakes, Pancake of popped tomatoes with corn and zucchini and Strawberry, lime and black pepper popsicles
Eight years ago: Pink lemonade bars and Grilled Pepper Steak Sauce
Nine years ago: Sweet plum pancakes with ricotta and honey
Ten years ago: Everyday chocolate cake and Pasta salad with zucchini and almonds
Eleven years ago: Asparagus with chorizo and croutons and Sour cherry pie
Twelve years ago: Cantaloupe salsa and Kuchen plum and Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad
Thirteen years ago: Pasta salad with summer peas and roasted red peppers
Fourteen years ago: Huevos Racheros, Blueberry bars, Napa Coleslaw with Buttermilk Dressing, and Quick zucchini stir-fry
If you’re a regular cook, you’ll know the “eureka” feeling when you discover a way to cut an everyday kitchen task in half. As our cookery team has spent so many hours writing and triple-testing recipes, they’ve picked up a fair few tricks and tips along the way, so we asked them to impart their wisdom…
You probably already know that adding a dash of vinegar to egg poaching water helps coagulate the white. But did you know that adding a dash of vinegar to the water when boiling eggs helps the shell peel off more easily ? Say goodbye to piles of tiny egg shell shards. Test this tip out with one of our egg recipes.
A pizza blade can be wheeled through a sheet of pastry or bread dough with ease, saving you the expense of buying shaped cutters, or having to fiddle around, twizzling the point of a knife into strange angles.
‘Hard’ herbs like rosemary and thyme can be frozen whole. When you come to use them, they’ll naturally crumble into pieces, bypassing the mezzaluna completely. Try this recipe for lemon, pancetta
If your brown sugar has clumped into pieces, place a piece of soft white bread in the packet and the sugar will break back down into sandy granules in a few hours. tera stop it happening again, make sure the storage space is nice and dry.
Save yourself the disappointment of an un-squeezy lemon by microwaving it whole for around 20-30 seconds on high. It’s just enough time to release the juices, but be careful not to go overboard and dry the flesh out. Try one of our zesty lemon recipes.
If you have plain flour in the cupboard, you always have bread on hand. Just take one mug of plain flour combined with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil per person, then slowly add cold water until it’s a soft, smooth dough which leaves the bowl clean. Divide the dough into balls, roll out to a 2mm thickness then dry fry in a non-stick pan. They’ll only take a few moments and are ready when both sides have golden brown patches all over.
While the rind of cheese such parmesan, pecorino and Grana Padano is difficult to grate, it’s a shame to waste such an expensive byproduct. But there’s no need to. Add the rind whole when you’re sweating onions in the first stage of making a risotto or sauce. It will impart lots of its flavour but save you taking to it with a chainsaw. Don’t forget to remove it before serving though…Try using cheese rind in a risotto recipe.
Make your own dried breadcrumbs by grating stale bread on the coarse side of a grater, then spread the crumbs in a thin layer over a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 140C, giving them a good shake halfway through. The golden, crispy crumbs will last in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Try our wild garlic chicken Kiev recipe made with panko breadcrumbs.
If you need your meat injected with a short, sharp burst of flavour, choose marinade ingredients wisely. Red wine quickly penetrates meat, giving it a deep colour, while citrus zest and juice tenderises it rapidly.
Not enough space for your party loot ? Save space for food by putting drinks into big tubs, buckets and bowls filled with salted ice water – the salt will cause the temperature to drop, giving you icy cold drinks in seconds. Browse our cocktail recipes for drinks inspiration.
Spruce up a shop-bought block of shortcrust by popping it into a food processor with a flavouring like herbs, vanilla, cheese, cocoa powder, honey or spice. All great additons to give your pastry an edge.
Bypass pencil outlines and fiddly scissors when lining a springform cake tin ( that’s one with a clippable ring and removeable base ). Lay the parchment onto the flat base of the tin, then press down and clamp the ring into place on top of it, leaving the edges around the outside to easily tear off. Try the clamping technique with this showstopping courgette, lemon
We love a stripy rainbow cake, but it’s perhaps one for an experienced baker to take on. If you want your sponge to sing with Technicolor joy but need an easier route to success, pick up a tub of multi-coloured hundreds and thousands. Mix some through your sponge batter ( not too many ) and when you cut a slice of your finished cake, you’ll have beautiful polka dots.
tera peel a kiwi, just chop off the top and bottom, then push a dessertspoon in between the fruit and the skin. Turn the kiwi until all the skin falls off the back of the spoon.
When you cut the avocado in half, twist into two pieces, then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the side without the stone for immediate use. Return the empty skin to the other half, which still contains the stone, using the skin to cover it over. Keeping the stone in and covering with the skin helps retain colour and freshness until the following day.
Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg. ' /> Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg. ' /> Achieve the perfect set white and runny yolk with a few splashes of water. Fry the eggs in a non-stick pan and when the whites are almost cooked, put a few drops of water into the pan, quickly cover it with a lid and turn the heat down low, or off completely, and leave for a minute or two to finish cooking. The effect will be a perfect semi-poach. >Make this comforting ham hock colcannon, topped with a fried egg.
As soon as you buy herb plants from the supermarket or greengrocer, remove the plastic wrapping and trim the top leaves quickly to use in your cooking. By trimming off the top leaves first you’ll help the plant shoot out from lower down the stem making it stronger. Water every other day or according to the directives on the pack.
Nutty brown rice can take a long time to cook until tender, so speed up the process by soaking it in water overnight, as you would hard pulses like lentils. It’ll cook far quicker as a result. Try a recipe with brown rice.
Making a roux from flour and butter isn’t too difficult a process, but if time is of the essence, it might be easier to reach into the fridge. A tub of cream cheese watered down until the same consistency as béchamel makes a super simple solution. If you want to boost the flavour, add a grating of nutmeg. Alternatively, use crème fraîche and grated cheese.
Garlic cloves are one of the trickiest items to prepare, and if you find it frustrating, invest in a sturdy garlic press, and voilà – the whole clove can be passed through it with the skin inchangé. It may take a bit of pushing, but once through, the flesh is passed through the holes while the skin is left in the press to be easily removed. Watch this video for tips on how to crush garlic.
Don’t just stick with salt and pepper, experiment with other storecupboard seasonings. Try sprinkling a crushed chicken stock cube over a whole chicken before roasting, or add a splash of soy sauce or wine to boost the flavour of your gravy.
Plastic bags of washed and ready-to-eat salad leaves are really convenient but don’t seem to last very long at all, even in the fridge. If you find yourself with leftover leaves, that are starting to lose their crispness, ensure they don’t go to waste. Instead, pop them in a pan with a little olive oil or butter, garlic and seasoning and wilt down as you would for spinach. This works particularly well with leaves like watercress and rocket. Learn how to build the perfect salad with our handy infographic.
Stir a few extra ingredients through your favourite shop-bought hummus and everyone will think you’ve made it yourself. Add a dash of lemon juice, chopped fresh coriander, some ground cumin, smoked paprika or a smidge of harissa paste to give it a kick. Alternatively add a few whole chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil to make it look homemade.