Pasta with Potatoes

I know that my first post in January should be something healthier, something involving #detox, #cleanse, and #cleaneating.  I know that the first days of January are filled with aspiration and ardor – the pubs empty, the gyms crammed, the office cafeterias packed with determined homemade salads. I know that everyone’s attempting to become a better version of themselves, which generally involves being “healthier”, which usually means weight loss, which often can be detrimental mentally.  Because so many of these new year resolutions fail. These unsuccessful resolutions can in turn make you feel like a failure. And when these failures are linked to body image, well, that’s unhealthy.

I wanted to share something comforting with you today, especially if you, too, find January to be the Monday of months.
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Chinese Cold Sesame Noodles

I love my carbs. They’re the bane of my existence. I can cut down on the sugar, I can cut down on the fat, but if a diet calls for a reduction in carbs, it can go f*ck itself. I recall trying the Paleo diet, and after day three, I was angry, I was irritated and I was unable to concentrate. All clear symptoms of  carb withdrawal.

That’s why I can’t lose weight and my ass continues to expand. I’m trying out more exercises but that’s just making me hungrier and crave for more carbs. Nothing like some thick toasted sourdough smothered in butter for that perfect pre- and post-work out snack.
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Braised Artichokes with Vegetables & Pistou

Artichokes are a real b*tch in the vegetable world.

A lot of things aren’t worth their price at restaurants – porridge for instance, or scrambled eggs, or granola or in fact anything served at brunch. The raw ingredients + the skills required in preparing them do not justify the numbers on the menu. But artichokes – they’re expensive in restaurants for all the understandable reasons. First, you get a whole artichoke, that’s not cheap to begin with, and with a giant artichoke, the actual edble part is just 40%. Then the prepping of it is just soo labor-intensive. In all honesty, I don’t know what I hate more – paying for an expensive dish of artichokes at home, or spending a lot of money and time to cook artichokes myself.
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Yellow Bruschetta

You know how so many of those detox juice blends are named by color? You have green juices made with spinach, cucumber & celery; orange juices made with pumpkin, carrot & apricot; red juices made with beet, peppers & tomatoes. It’s completely random on the basis of flavor profiles. These “juicers” simply looked to nature and grouped ingredients together by color and started selling them at £6 a bottle.

However, I inadvertedly did that with my bruschettas last night. Yellow saffron salt, yellow lemon zest, yellow corn, and even arguably yellow-ish parmesan. And you know what, they taste amazing but look how pretty! It’s like a beautiful plate of golden sunshine. I’m understanding why sticking to a color scheme appeals to consumers now.
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is something quite sacred in my household. It is made up of simply garlic, olive oil and tomatoes, finished off with some parmesan, and I promise you it is more difficult than it sounds. My father took years to teach me, and in turn it took years for my sauce to gain his approval. Maybe he’s difficult and I’m incompetent, maybe a good tomato sauce requires a lot of finesse.
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Citrus Fennel Risotto

We’ve all had dreadful risottos.  You know the kind that comes congealed on your plate like a stiff pudding, with every mouthful an overcooked mush. Most of the time these taste of nothing but generic cheese.  You want a glossy, loose pool of risotto.  When you ladle it to the center of the plate you want it to gently spread into a thin layer.   You want it to still have a bite, and you want it to be light and you also want it to be creamy.  It’s a plate of pure delight when done right.  And it doesn’t need some protein protagonist to sit on top of it, let it be by itself.
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Romanesco Pasta

I am currently at the airport in Istanbul, at 1:30am, waiting for my delayed flight at 6am and I am understandably bloody exhausted.  So I am reminiscing of the time I made this pasta.  It was a few days ago back home in Italy when we were altogether as a family – the four of us are spread over three continents so it does not happen very often, and we ate and we cooked and we grocery-shopped because that is what my lovely family does. img_9960 Continue reading “Romanesco Pasta”

Roasted Broccoli with Peanuts

Okay, there are some unspoken rules about the lunch you bring to work.  You don’t bring brassica vegetables, you don’t bring fish, you definitely shouldn’t bring anything that is seasoned with fish sauce.  I’ll admit, I’ve done most of those, because whilst in general I’m quite considerate of those around me, noone can tell me what I can or cannot eat.  That said, however, after what happened a few days ago I probably never will again.
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Some poor bastard heated up his fish meal for lunch at work.  Probably leftover from the nice fish supper they had the night before.  Maybe their partner had lovingly prepared it, maybe it was from the really nice but overpriced fishmongers in the neighborhood, maybe they were up early in the morning and had decided to treat themselvese and so made some fish for lunch.   It’s none of our business.  Yes, the smell saturated the entire floor, and my colleagues and I had briefly commented on it, but then we moved on because that is something that just may happen when you have an open plan office.   Then, the HR lady actually went around every single table of diner to inspect the food and ask each of us sternly “is it you that’s eating fish?”
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Halloumi with Courgette & Beans

My affinity for halloumi came late.  As with lots of people, my first few experiences with it was beyond unpalatable – they were cold, dense, rubbery superflous additions to salads.  I mean I still don’t like it cold, I don’t get why people eat the stuff cold.  Anyway, then I discovered grilled halloumi.IMG_9424.jpg
When halloumi is heated, instead of it melting and becoming stringy like other cheeses, it becomes soft and silky, and if you do it well with a thin crispy curst.  I’m salivating right now.  Continue reading “Halloumi with Courgette & Beans”

Preserved Lemon & Sumac Risotto

Hi, how are you?  You’re reading the first ever post on fork this.  You may or may not know, but I had another blog, Happy Belly, and after 5 years of that I’ve decided to do a more… “grown-up” blog..? “Proper”, “mature”, “sophisticated” – I don’t really know what adjective I’m looking for.  Making it”grown-up”, however, has been a process of immense stress and frustration.  I should have done more research before I just dived in with my credit card.  With the first blog it all seemed to just fall into place, like I don’t recall spending days on finding the right font.

Anyway, here I am with a fresh start!IMG_9360.jpg Continue reading “Preserved Lemon & Sumac Risotto”