Webbed Pumpkin-Tamarind Trees (or… Broccolini® “Chops”)

Hold off on the hyperventilating – today’s recipe tastes nothing like “chops”, I promise. The shape, however, was too similar for me to pass up on the name. I know it’s been a week since I posted here – it’s because I’ve been working on something special… And I don’t just mean this dish. I’ll be revealing some exciting news about Appetite Affliction over the coming weeks, so hang tight and stay tuned!

Trees cocooned in spiders webs after flooding in Sindh, Pakistan
Photo credit: Russell Watkins / UK Department for International Development

Do you remember the photos that circulated a while back, of the trees in Pakistan cocooned by spider webs due to severe flooding? When I asked some friends what famous tree images (photographs, paintings etc.) they could think of, my friend Hugh mentioned them – and a recipe idea started to drive me crazy. It drove me crazy for a few weeks, actually, and I was finding inspiration in the most unexpected places. After some trials, I eneded up with these beautiful, delicate, rice-paper-wrapped stalks of broccolini. I used tamarind as the main flavour, as it’s a prominent ingredient in that part of the world.

Webbed Pumpkin-Tamarind Trees (or… Broccolini® “Chops”) – yields approx 15

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Food Wank: Episode I

I’m normally too impatient to create artwork on a plate, but the thing is… I’m capable of it. And so are you. It’s not practical for every day eating, but for special occassions, why not treat yourself (and others) to a fun, frivolous meal?

I’ve decided that a few times a year, I’m going to go all-out and create something special like this for you guys – something that looks incredibly fancy, but is really easy to put together, given some organisation and patience.

Food Wank: Episode I

There’s a few elements that you should consider making the night before: the polenta, orange balsamic reduction & salted mango cream. The latter two don’t need to be made well in advance, but it’ll make your life easier when assembling the dish. The polenta, however, will need at least 8 hours to set in the fridge. Continue reading

Gluten Free Kecap Manis & Broccolini® with Soy and Sesame

Kecap manis, pronounced like “kitCHUP maneese”, is a sweet, sticky, Indonesian soy sauce. It’s not an obscure thing, so you don’t have to search Asian grocers or health food stores for it – it’s available at most supermarkets near the soy sauce. Most of the time, though, you’ll see questionable ingredients listed on the bottle, such as “flavours” or three digit numbers… And I’m yet to come across a store bought version that’s gluten free. So, “why not make it myself?”, I thought.

Gluten Free Kecap Manis
Gluten Free Kecap Manis

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Broccolini® & Cucumber Salad

This started as a recipe review for Broccolini® with Cucumber & Chilli Sauce. There were a few things not-quite-right about it, so instead of just giving you my critique, I thought I’d offer you another version of it – a version that’s less of a “side” and more of a “main” – because I’m all about making veggies the star.

With the original recipe, you’ll find yourself trying to split one bunch of broccolini® between four people, which leaves you with a stalk or two each. That’s not enough of this wonderful vegetable, in my opinion. You’ll also have a lot of sauce left over – a sauce which uses two tablespoons of sugar. The kids will love it, but their teeth won’t. My sauce has a little more bite to it!

Broccolini Cucumber Salad
Serves 1 as a main or 4 as a side.

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