Strawberry Confiture

 

Here in Japan, the strawberry season is coming towards the end ūüė¶

 

 

So I have been cooking strawberries almost every night ūüėÄ
This strawberry confiture tastes sooooo good that I’m going to make¬†it until the last minute!!

 

Ingredients

(makes about 280 – 300 g)

500 g ripe strawberry,  hulled and large ones halved
100 g golden caster sugar
juice of¬†¬Ĺ – 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)

 

Perfect with vanilla ice cream!

Method

  1. Put the strawberries into a non-reactive pan along with the lemon juice and sugar. Simmer on lower heat , stirring from time to time and skimming off scum.
  2. Roughly mash the berries with a wooden spoon or fork, and leave to simmer until thickened. In all, it will take about 45 Р60 minutes to make.
  3. Cool completely. Keep refrigerated and finish in 1 week. (Alternatively, bottle or freeze)

 

Sunday cream tea ūüôā

 

I shall post a baking recipe with this strawberry confiture.

 

 

 

Lemon Lentil Soup and London

We have reached¬†May already….¬†April has gone without any posts¬†–¬†things have been too hectic here to do blog hopping (sorry guys!) and posts.

This lentil soup is a copycat from Gaby’s Deli, a Jewish restaurant at Leicester Square, London. Not sure if I could succeed in copying it…. Or rather I should say I just tried to imitate their recipe, however, I like mine very much.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ginger root, freshly grated
¬ľ tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh coriander stalk, finely chopped
100 g onion, finely chopped
70 g carrot, finely chopped
¬Ĺ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
650 and 150 ml water
4 tsp no sodium vegetable bouillon (adjust according to the package instructions)
200 g dried red or yellow lentil, rinsed
1 tsp dried mint leaves
¬Ĺ – ¬ĺ tsp fine sea salt (adjust according to the package instructions)
1 juice of fresh lemon

fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
slices of lemon, to garnish

Method

 ( For 3 -4 servings)

  1. In a large saucepan, put in the olive oil, ginger, garlic and coriander, then fry over low heat stirring consistently until fragrant. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes but not brown. Spoon in the turmeric and cumin powder, and carry on until fragrant. Add the carrot and fry for further one minute.
  2. Pour the 650 ml water into the pan, stir in the lentil, bouillon, salt  and mint, and increase the heat to bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover to simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Purée the soup in a food processor or a blender until completely smooth. Let it sit for overnight if possible.
  4. Return the purée to the pan with 150 ml water and reheat over low heat. Pour in some more water if too thick. When boiled, add the lemon juice and simmer for a few minutes. Taste it and add more salt and/or juice of lemon if needed. Remove from the heat.
  5. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with a slice of lemon and coriander leaves on top.

When in London, I pretty much enjoy Middle Eastern food. Below are the restaurants and shops I have tried:

Gaby’s Deli
Once it was forced to close, but fortunately still there! It’s no-frills but I enjoy their food and atmosphere. I pop in for a quick meal or when I’m away from home for a while and eager for vegetables.

Lentil soup (source: Yelp)

 

Honey & Co.
Very popular restaurant at Warren St. Booking is a must.

 

Mr Falafel

 

Hummus Bros

 

And I tried my blogger friend Kay’s recommendations last year. Thank you Kay for the posts, Yalla Yalla and the Barbary !

Yalla Yalla

At the corner of¬†Green’s Court, found a nice Italian deli, Lina Stores and took away a cannolo.

I’ll definitely go back for their fresh pasta!

 

The Barbary

Halva ice cream

 

Restaurants and shops on my list:

Ottolenghi
Honey & Smoke  РThank you Kay for sharing the review
Berber & Q – Shawarma Bar
Maroush
Karma Bread Bakery
Pilpel

Let me know if you have any recommendations! Also if you happen to know where I can purchase a bottle of Arak, Israeli anis liqueur.

 

If you¬†badly want tons of Halva…

It’s a Greek restaurant, but try the Greek Larder at King’s Cross when¬†Whole¬†Foods Market’s tiny package cannot satisfy you!¬†They would happily slice some for you ¬†– I bought about¬†500 g¬†ūüėÄ

Lemon Spaghetti and Palermo

I make¬†Spaghetti al Limone when I come across ‘good’ organic lemons. I started doing this two years ago when I was offered¬†some¬†lemons and oranges at an organic shop in Palermo. (Maybe¬†because¬†I purchased¬†lots of foodstuff¬†there –¬†like pistachio, almonds, preserves, wine, cheese, almond biscuits, torrone, dried herbs, deli dishes¬†etc. ūüėÄ )

At home, I found their lemons were really nice Рjuicy, fragrant and agreeably pungent, and Spaghetti al Limone cooked with them was fantastic. Since then, I have been trying experiments whenever I found organic ones. So far, the recipe below is the best result, which I made as simple as possible so that the zesty lemon flavour can be fully enjoyed.

 

sicilian lemons
Sicilian citrus fruits from an organic shop in Palermo

 

Ingredients

(for 2 servings)

200 g spaghetti
2 liter water
2 tsp salt
40 g butter
1 tbsp lemon zest (organic unwaxed – about 2-3 lemons)
2 tbsp juice of lemon
200 ml water from boiled spaghetti
ground white pepper (to taste)
parsley (to sprinkle)

 

Spaghetti al Limone
Spaghetti al Limone

 

 Method

  1. Bring a large pot of the water to the boil. Salt the water and cook¬†spaghetti¬†until 1 -2 min short of ‘al dente’. Reserve the cooking liquid for¬†the sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, drop the butter in a pan and melt over lower heat. Put in the lemon zest and fry for two minutes stirring consistently.
  3. Transfer the spaghetti¬†into the pan and add the cooking liquid. Increase the heat to high and¬†mix well by stirring consistently for 1-2 min or until the liquid dries off,¬†but¬†make sure it doesn’t get too dry. Add some more cooking water if required.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice, season with the white pepper and toss it well. Taste it and add salt if required.
  5. Plate the pasta and sprinkle with the parsley.

 

Lemon Spaghetti

 

 

MUST BUY & EAT in PALERMO

Orland Рthe organic shop I mentioned above. They offer high quality products. If you want to take the cheese back home, they would happily vacuum-pack it. Actually, I brought back a vac-packed Pecorino Siciliano covered with black pepper!

Orland (pic from their Facebook page)
Their artichoke caponata was so tasty! (takeaway)

 

La Cambusa is one of my favourit restaurants in Palermo, and there is another one I repeatedly go back whenever in the¬†town. Il Vecchio Club Rosanero¬†is¬†a¬†family run trattoria and always full of the locals¬†(a good sign!): no frills, less touristy,¬†and much less expensive (I’d rather say ‘cheap’). If you¬†are tempted¬†to try what Palermitano eat, then go to Il Vecchio. They would¬†never disappoint you – both your appetite and budget! ¬†I usually order a starter, like fritto misto, carpaccio¬†or caponata and as a secondo, pasta (both half potion)¬†with a ‘piccolo’ bottle of water and a glass of wine, which cost¬†around 10 euros in total.

It’s located just off Via Maqueda and used to be a bit difficult to find, but now¬†a landmark will help you – from Quattro Canti, walk down Via Maqueda towards Teatro Massino and turn left¬†at the ‘sophisticated’ arancini place,¬†kePalle, then¬†take the first left.

Photos below are the pastas I had at Il Vecchio Club. Of course they serve nice seafood ones, but nowadays I prefer something more local.

Pasta alla glassa Рpasta with (a kind of) meat and potato stew
Pasta anciova – pasta with anchovies and breadcrumbs
Pasta melanzane e pesce spada (pasta with aubergine and swordfish)