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Of smoke, sweet and spice

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The day before yesterday was Victoria Day here in Canada, the unofficial kickoff to our summer. Next Monday is Memorial Day in the United States, the unofficial launch of summer down there. So for my friends to the south, I feel like I'm giving you a sneak peek at the answers to next week's pop quiz, and for all the rest of you, I feel like I'm letting you know about something good, as I'm keen on Romesco sauce for the hot months ahead, just like I'm a keen on all of you, year round.


Romesco is a Catalan sauce; an intensely-flavourful slurry of roasted peppers (ideally nyoras, pimiento choricero), thickened with toasted bread and nuts (usually almonds), ruddy with paprika. It is a fair partner to grilled fish and meats, but it's really in its niche alongside vegetables.

The Spanish know this, and so Romesco is the choice accompaniment to the mild green onions called calçots as part of their annual celebration of their harvest. This festival, the calçotada, involves grilling bundled calçots on steel grates over open fires until their exteriors are blackened and crisp. The onions are then wrapped in newsprint and left to steam. Once the packages are opened, and the charred exterior of each onion gets peeled back to expose the tender flesh beneath before they're dragged, bendingly, through Romesco sauce. You eat the onions whole, with head titled back and messy fingers, in a perfect bite of smoke, sweet and spice.


Leeks are not the same as calçots, even though the latter does look an awlful lot like a minature version of the former, but they're what came in our CSA last week. Leeks require extra care in their preparation — they prefer a gentle, attentive hand, and an equally-gentle cooking method. In Tender, Volume 1 (UK General Books, 2009) and elsewhere, Nigel Slater offers his thoughts on how best to handle a leek, specifially using an onion in comparison. In Tender he puts forward:

"Leeks are a little more demanding of the cook. Whereas an onion caught around the edges by a bit of overcooking will take on a welcome rustic note, a leek sorched is a leek ruined."

As you might have already guessed, I agree. When faced with high, direct heat, leeks can seize up and go brittle, losing all of their supple pleasure. And so, in my want for a grilled leek, I began with steaming them first (though boiling in well-salted water would have done as well). I cooked them until they flopped heavily from the steamer basket, making sure that the heat had reached their centres. Then we were off to the grill for a quick blast of flame. I borrowed the finish from the calçotada, and carefully, tightly, packed the hot leeks in a double layer of newsprint. After a few minutes we tore open the parcels, removed the tiger-striped exteriors of the leeks, and dressed them with Romesco, tucking in with forks and knives in hand. The leeks were luxurious, moodier and darker than if we'd braised them, edged with the presence of smoke without the harshness of char.


This long weekend, and for the next one, and maybe the one after that, it'll be how we're doing things. It's going to be a great summer.


Romesco and grilled leeks
The Romesco sauce is also wonderful with potatoes — fried, roasted or grilled. We've dipped steamed asparagus in it as well, without complaint.

4 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 dried ancho chili
1 1-inch slice white country bread, with crusts removed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or thereabouts
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus extra
Kosher salt, to taste

12 small leeks
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste 
Smoked salt to serve, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the peppers, tomatoes and onion in about a teaspoon of olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic cloves to the sheet pan and roast for 10 minutes more. Remove the vegetables from the oven to a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the ancho chili in the hot oil until it darkens and puffs, about 30-45 seconds. Remove the chili to a small bowl and cover with hot water. Leave to soften for about 30 minutes.

In the same skillet, heat the half the remaining oil over medium heat. Tear the bread into chunks. Add the bread and almonds to the pan and sauté until golden, around 2 minutes. Remove the bread and almonds to the bowl of a food processor.

Stem, peel, seed and roughly chop the peppers, tomatoes and onion. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers, tomatoes and onion to the pan with any accumulated juices. Fry for about 30 seconds, then add both paprikas, stirring often. Cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pepper mixture to the food processor, scraping out any bits that have stuck to the pan. 

Peel the garlic. Stem and seed the softened chili, chop it into chunks, and add it to the processor bowl with the garlic.

Purée the vegetables in the processor with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and the sherry vinegar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and run the machine again. It might be necessary to drizzle in more extra-virgin olive oil to get the sauce smooth. Stop the processor and season with kosher salt and additional sherry vinegar if needed. Pulse once or twice. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refigerate. Bring Romesco to room temperature before using.

For the leeks, trim the root ends, but leave the layers attached (extra root can be trimmed away before eating, better to err on keeping the end intact). Trim the darkest green ends from the top. Remove the any tough outer layers from the stalk. Starting about 1-inch from the end, cut the leek lengthways through its middle to its tip, as shown here. Rinse the leeks under cold running water, gently opening up the layers, to wash away any dirt. Leave the leeks to soak in a bowl of cold water, swishing them now and again dislodge any persistent grit.

Bring about 1-inch of water to boil in a large pot. Place the prepared leeks in a steamer basket and steam, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Using tongs, remove the leeks from the steamer to a clean kitchen towel. Blot the leeks dry, then place them in a bowl. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Preheat a medium-hot grill. Grill the leeks, turning often, until well-marked on all sides, around 5 minutes total. Set the leeks onto a large piece of newspaper or parchment paper, and wrap tightly. Let steam for 5 minutes. Carefully open the package and strip away the crisp outer layer of the leek. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked salt.  Pass the Romesco sauce alongside.

Serves 6. 


  • I like the combination of sweet and hot paprikas. If you don't have both on hand, one or the other is fine, adjusting accordingly.
  • In a pinch, I've used jarred roasted piquillo peppers instead of roasting my own. If following suit, you'll need about 1 1/2 cups of peppers.
  • As it sits, the Romesco will tighten up considerably; you might need to loosen it with some extra-virgin olive oil before serving.
  • Leftover leeks and Romesco makes for a fine breakfast sandwich: slice the leeks into a small pan over low heat with a knob of butter. Warm them gently, then place them atop a piece of grilled bread smeared with Romesco. Fry an egg in your pan, plunk it on the leeks, with a skinny slice of Manchego and the another slice of toast. Eat.



Everything starts again


Seven years ago today, I pressed publish.*

At the time I was in my twenties. I'm not anymore, in fact that cake up there was to celebrate yet another birthday into my thirties. Sean and I called an apartment our home back then; we don't anymore. It was in the city where he grew up. We don't live there anymore, either.

I worked at a job that had me in a windowless office. Scratch that, there was a window but it was blocked from easy view by a bookcase taller than me. I could see a slivered glimpse of an interior courtyard by leaning all the way back in my chair and scooting over to the left. That's changed too — I've not sat in that chair or stood in that room in six years.

I couldn't have imagined these 2,557 days since that apartment, that career, those first words. I knew Sean was the finest man I could ever hope to marry, so that was a strong beginning.

Over the years we moved, and moved again. We left things behind and gained so much. When we moved here, to the city where I grew up, things had changed, were changing. I got to know new neighbourhoods, new shops, new people. I learned to live in a place I thought I knew, as an adult and a parent. We settled in and stretched out and explored.

One of the elementary schools I had attended closed, torn down to its foundations and then paved over for townhouses. When I pass that corner I think about the sturdy, square building that used to stand there. I think of how the thin heels of my loafers would often hook the edge of the stairs when I'd run from our classroom up on the top floor down to the room on the bottom where we had assembly. I remember the sound of chairs scraped across linoleum and the crumpled paper of packed lunches. I think of all the childhood, childlike dramas and tragedies that took place with those halls as backdrop, the stage now cleared.

We went to my high school's anniversary. The halls seemed wider.

strawberry conserve

I recently spent a day in truly windowless room. It happened to be that day in spring when the trees pop, and the leaves go from frilled curls to full spread. That blink-and-you'll-miss-it day. Keeping occupied over hours of waiting, Sean and I reached the topic of Jack Kerouac and On the Road, specifically the original text versus as it was published by Viking in 1957, with names changed and sections removed.

Kerouac put On the Road to paper over a span of three weeks in April 1951. Three weeks! He worked it out on a manual typewriter, taping sheets of teletype paper together so the resulting roll could be fed into the machine once, and he could then go from there continuously, uninterrupted. The manuscript is single-spaced, without paragraphs or breaks, a solid block of text with the words stacked like bricks in pavement, one hundred and twenty feet long. Edits are in pencil. Kerouac didn't write a book; he told a story. Starting at the outset and working his way to the conclusion.

A book written in three weeks makes a great headline. It's a headline that swaggers, full of bravado. That said, what catches me are all the years that built those twenty-one days. Kerouac had a famous habit of notebooks, of scribbling and collecting stories as he went — like those pebbles that you kick around for a while before picking them up — he tucked them in his pockets in between pages. He began writing On the Road as Sur le Chemin, in colloquial Québécois French, three months before he started the scroll.

I like that. I like the idea that even a work known for the spontaneity of its prose — one that reads like a singular act of improvisation — could have begun in fits and starts. I like that, for even him, it can take some time to get one's mind around things. We may need to circle our destination, figuring out how best to approach, from what angle, and where to land.

In a beautifully fitting twist, Kerouac's scroll is jagged and torn at the bottom, the end ripped away. And so, his finale, in its original form, is a mystery. The margin reads, "ate by Patchkee, a dog", which may or may not be the truth, which could very well be a joke, but it is another thing I like.

testing colours

Endings are often messy. They smudge and smear into the next beginning as everything starts again. Endings follow along, trailing behind forward progress, like the echo of your own footsteps.

So here we are, with the trees heavily green and mornings still cold. We've made some headway, the first seven years done, with still a ways ahead. (Seven is a number that's important to me, as you might have guessed.) That milestone passed, this road has been an exceptional one to travel thus far, and I'm looking to the horizon, looking to reach the rim of its curve and then drive past it.

Thank you, thank you for the company. Let's get going on the next seven. I'll bring the cake. 


*If you follow that link, it's rather empty, save for a comment made by Tara some years later; she's a treasured friend and I'm happy that she's there, Anne and Diana are we. However, the quiet there is a bit misleading; when I transplanted this site from another space to this one, the comments from those early posts did not come along. I have them saved though, and if I can figure out a way to respost them I will, as I am, still and always, grateful for the welcome and continued friendship from this community. xo, all.

In other business, we have the UPPERCASE winners — congratulations Melinda and Jade! I'll be in touch soon. 



Hazelnut and strawberry celebration cake
Think of this cake as a gussied-up version of a Victoria sponge. The flavours are the same, as we've got the well-worn charm of strawberry jam, lemon and (butter)cream. Folding beaten egg whites into the batter, as done with chiffon cakes, results in an airy, delicate crumb. I've gone and mussed up that delicacy a little with ground hazelnuts, but I think the modest sacrifice in height is worth it — the cake has fluff but also has enough structure to stand up to the rich weight of the preserves, and it's still plenty tall. I also happen to think that the teensy flecks of gold and brown look pretty, so there's that, too.

The layers are adaptated from the Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake in The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook (America's Test Kitchen, 2011). The cake uses 6 yolks and 3 egg whites, so be sure to keep those extra 3 whites aside if making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

For the cake
Softened butter and cake flour for pans
2 ounces hazelnuts, skin on, roasted and cooled
2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar, divided
10 tablespoons (5 ounces, 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
3 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil (like grapeseed or safflower)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 egg whites, at room temperature 
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

To assemble
1/2-3/4 cup strawberry preserves
1/4-1/2 teaspoon finely-grated lemon zest, depending on taste
1/2 recipe Swiss Buttercream, with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt added at the start (and without coconut)

Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease three 8x2-inch pans with softened butter. Line the bases with parchment paper, grease the parchment, then dust bottoms and sides with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, grind the hazelnuts into a fine meal. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides and pulse again one or two times. You should have about 1/2 cup hazelnut meal.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ground hazelnuts, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. In another bowl, or a jug with a pouring spout, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, neutral oil, vanilla extract and egg yolks. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until foamy. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and with the machine running, pour in the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a steady stream. Continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the egg whites into a bowl and set aside.

Add flour mixture to the now-empty mixer bowl. With the machine running on low speed, slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture, stirring until just incorporated, around 20 seconds. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk again until there's no visible flour, around 15 seconds more (note: due to the hazelnuts, this batter will not be completely smooth).

With a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten. Add 1/2 of the remaining whites and fold gently until almost combined, a few white streaks can remain. Add the last of the whites and continue to fold until no streaks remain. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Tap the pans gently on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. 

Bake layers in a preheated oven until the cake begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and a cake tester (toothpick) inserted in the centre comes out clean, around 20 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edge of the cakes with an offset spatula or butter knife, then invert onto a wire rack lined with clean parchment and remove the baking parchment from the bottom of the layer. Invert the cake again onto a greased wire rack and cool completely before filling and frosting, at least 2 hours. 

To assemble, mix the strawberry preserves with the lemon zest in a bowl. Stack and fill the cakes, dividing the jam between the cake layers and topping each with thin coat of buttercream. Use the remaining buttercream to cover and decorate the sides and top to your liking.

For a tutorial on filling and frosting a cake, see here.

Makes 1 8-inch, three-layer cake.


  • The ground hazelnuts can be substituted for an equal amount other ground nuts — almonds, walnuts or pistachio are winning bets. Or, if not your thing, omit nuts altogether and make up the difference with an equal amount (2 ounces, 1/2 cup) of sifted cake flour.
  • The cake layers can be made a day ahead and kept at room temperature overnight, wrapped well in clingfilm. As pictured, I used three 6-inch pans, baking the cakes for around 25 mintues.
  • I use a chunky, homemade strawberry preserve, one that's not particularly sweet as far as jams go. If yours is on the sweeter side, you might want to pull back to 1/2 cup total. Also, keep in mind that a thick layer of jam will cause the cake to slide when stacked, so err on the side of miserly.
  • This cake plays well with other frostings. A malted or coffee buttercream would be ones I'd suggest, or even a good old whipped ganache. The buttercream can be coloured or left plain — it is naturally white, as seen in between the layers, and I used a mix of paste food colours to tint the icing for the exterior.
  • I did a piece on decorating layer cakes for Saveur last year; if you're looking for more tips, it might be of interest.



Zinged up

limes are key

Hello, hello! 

A quick stop in on this afternoon, as I wanted to let y'all know that I'm on Design*Sponge today for their "In The Kitchen With..." series. (These are some outtakes, more photos and the full recipe is through the link.) It's an honour to be featured, and I'm especially excited to be talking about pakoras — or at least my not-at-all traditional take on pakoras, less of a fritter and more of an Indian take on a tempura-style fry up.

The batter is my grandmother's, so no disputing that it's the real deal, but I keep the vegetables in large-ish pieces to show off all the shapes and colours to their deep-fried finest. Plus, you can pick and choose your favourites — mine are the onion ones, followed closely by the green beans, then sweet potatoes, sliced thin.

I've also shared the recipe for my Mum's Fresh Green Chutney; it's got green apple, green chilies and fistfuls of cilantro, zinged up with lime juice, ginger and garlic. It's not only good with these fritters, but it's also what I like with samosas or even dolloped beside kofta kebabs that have been grilled over the fire. Keep a jar on hand in the fridge, and you'll find a million ways to use it.

We've got birthdays to celebrate tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited for that. Meet you back here next week, with tales of the weekend no doubt, along with the winner of the UPPERCASE contest! (psst! There's still time to put your name in the hat; I'll count entries up until 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Cheers, folks, here's to swell days ahead.

pakora batter


It's a corker 

I meant to include an announcement in the title, and then promptly forgot the intention — sorry! You see, there's a giveaway going on. Details are at the bottom of the post, after the recipe.


This is totally happening.

Here we have that unapologetic specimen of salad, the iceberg wedge. Actually, it's burly enough to warrant emphasis — The Iceberg Wedge. Yes, that's better.

I was out with a friend I don't see as often as I'd like, the sort of friend who orders you a French 75 in a bar that's all dark wood and leather and brass, and whose taste you'd trust implicitly. Over the wandering path of our catching up, one of us mentioned iceberg lettuce; imagine my delighted suprise when he boldly declared his love for the stuff, a declaration I immediately cosigned. Besides maybe a backyard burger, I think we agreed that a wedge salad, dressed with bacon and blue cheese and more than a dash of hot sauce, is iceberg's highest praise.

I've got real hopes some of you agree.

Iceberg salads are often maligned, the badum-bum-cha punch line to jokes about terrible cooking. And there's surely fair reason for that, as sure as there's redeeming qualities to The Iceberg Wedge. It isn't refined, it isn't one of those springy salads that gets us ready for summer days. It is watery refreshing, it's old school gung-ho — it is crunch, and fat, and cool, and nose-clearing heat, all set right up to high on the sensory scale. It isn't wimpy, wan or delicate. It's a corker, a real wise guy. It's memorable. 

As you might recall, I held off on bringing up this recipe earlier. I wanted to get the dressing measurements locked in before sending you on your way. There's a trouble in that though; as silly as it sounds, blue cheese dressing is an art more than a science. There are variables to consider and balance, ones that can't be be pinned down to hard and fast rules: the pungency and the moisture of the cheese, the astringency of the particular lemon that's juiced, the consistency of the sour cream. I've abandoned hope of giving exacting quantities, offering instead guidelines to steer you in the right direction. 

If you don't mind, I have a note on the hot sauce to choose. I have a weakness for cayenne-based sauces with blue cheese, specifically Franks Red Hot Sauce, the hot sauce for Buffalo chicken wings — a dish that should always be served with celery and carrot sticks and blue cheese dressing. And no, I don't dip my wings in the dressing. That's just me. But the vinegary sting, that lip prickling heat from the hot sauce after a bite of chicken is so, so great with celery dipped in dressing for a chaser. Here, the iceberg lettuce stands in for the celery and the bacon for the deep fried wings, but the same logic applies. 

And while we're on the topic of hot sauce, — my apologies but I have some heart-held feelings when it comes to the iceberg, scratch that, The Iceberg Wedge — I don't mix the hot sauce into the dressing. I'm not entirely fond of the pinkish shade it dyes everything, but there's also a taste preference; keeping it instead in drips and drabs across the salad perforates the dressing's richness. Again, that's just me. 

Despite my peculiarities of opinion, there's nothing difficult about an iceberg salad. Not much happens in the kitchen, but everything happens on the plate. 

Another point scored for The Iceberg Wedge.


The Iceberg Wedge
You can use the dressing right away but I think it's even nicer after a day in the fridge, which gives the flavours the chance to fully develop. If you choose to wait, you may need to stir in a few drops of water to thin the dressing before use; it thickens quite a lot as it sits. 

But oh, that thickened dressing is especially great on top of one of those backyard burgers. Leave it as is, straight from the fridge, and go to town.

For the blue cheese dressing (makes about 2 cups)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced chives
Juice from half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad
1 medium sized head of iceberg lettuce
1 recipe blue cheese dressing
5 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped then fried until crisp
Minced chives, freshly-cracked black pepper, and hot sauce to serve

Make the dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk. Gently fold in the blue cheese and chives along with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with freshly-ground black pepper. Take a taste. If more freshness is needed, stir in a bit more lemon juice. If it needs thinning, add some buttermilk. Keep tasting and tweaking until the dressing suits your taste. Set aside, or if making ahead, cover and refrigerate until use. 

To make the salad, discard any saddish-looking outside leaves from the lettuce. Cutting through the core, halve the head lengthways. Then cut each half into half the same way, so you end up with quarters, each with bit of core attached. Place the wedges on individual plates or on a platter, family style. Pour some of the dressing over the wedges, then top with the bacon. Garnish with minced chives, a cracking of black pepper, and as much hot sauce as you dare, passing the remaining dressing alongside. 

Best eaten immediately, serving 4.


  • If you can time things such that the bacon is still warm, with some of its fat still sizzling when it's scattered on the salad, that's the way to go.
  • Green garlic can be used instead of, or in addition to, the chives.



I truly appreciate the response to my work in UPPERCASE and all the recent kindness regarding my nominations over at Saveur. And so in thanks, I got together with Janine to offer two copies of UPPERCASE magazine's latest issue  for a giveaway! The contest is open to anyone; simply leave a comment here if you'd like to be considered. (Please provide a way to contact you - through your own website or email address. If concerned about privacy on the latter, the information is only visible to me when entered in the contact email field of the comment form. It will not be made public.)

Entries will be accepted until at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 20, 2012.

Hooray and best of luck!


We take in good faith

ingredients all together lucky spring rice

I had planned to share a recipe today, but in the midst of holiday weekend chaos and revelry, I came to the conclusion that it required another go round before we gave it our attention.

Nonetheless, on this sunny Tuesday, with a sky that's a clear, true blue, I came to say hello. It's a day for company, don't you think? One made for visits and a chat.

The latest UPPERCASE, the spring edition, has just come out; it's issue 13 and is packed from beginning to end with good things. You can preview it here, if you'd like.

My contribution to its lineup is a story on how we can conjure up good weather and good luck through food. How a gloomy day can be made spritely with citrus, or the smell of cinnamon brings us to fruitful September. I touch upon superstition, too, like pomegranate seeds and their mythical ties to fertility. In many ways, the story is a lot about hope, the bolstering effect of positive thinking, and the small measures we take in good faith.

The recipe is for Lucky Spring Rice, and that's what you see in the photos up top, a dish with much in common with Lebanese Mujaddara, Persian Jewelled Rice, Egyptian Kushari and the Indian Pilaus I grew up with. There's lentils, and nuts, a mix of rice and fried pasta bits. Here's how I describe it there:

 [This is] a rice that’s balanced. There’s the weighty, chewy comfort of starch that suits the spring days that still run cool. Then there’s the bright sweetness of fruit both fresh and dried, against the musky, fragrance of cinnamon, coriander, cumin and clove. There’s the spark of pepper mollified by the cool of mint and grassy cilantro. There’s a twang of sharpness, as life must have some to offset everything else, and there’s a richness too, which rounds out the flavours.

It's hearty and satisfying, and a meal that can be eaten out in the yard with plates balanced on laps. No fuss, spring evening food, which is to say pretty much what I'd like for lunch today.

In other (read: fun, amazing, oh-my-gosh-really) news, I have been nominated for two awards over at the Saveur 3rd Annual Food Blog Awards, which explains that big banner over there. I am a finalist for Best Cooking Blog and Best Food Photography, and I cannot come up with sufficient thanks for those who nominated me. It is a true, jaw-dropping honour to be in such brilliant company. For those who'd like to vote, the polls are now open and run until April 26. As always, I am grateful for all the support.

Well then, I'm off. I wish you both fair weather and fine fortune, and we'll meet back here soon. 'Til then, pals. 

UPPERCASE magazine issue 13 can be purchased online, or visit their site to find your local stockist.