Potato salad with olives


  • Kipfler potatoes
  • anchovies mashed
  • large red chillies
  • salted capers rinsed
  • olives, stoned and chopped
  • parlsey washed, stemmed and chopped
  • olive oil
  • vinegar


Boil potatoes, drain, peel if you want – I did this time – and dice. Mix in all the rest. Freshly ground pepper, but in my case I didn’t use salt, figuring the capers even though rinsed would be salty enough.


I see this being dreadful with poor ingredients: all of mine were best of everything. Red wine vinegar, large green olives. Coriole first cold pressed olive oil.

Anchovies were almost an afterthought and I imagine this would be nice without, for the vegetarians in the audience.

Egg, Avo salad

Rough notes.

I mashed an avo, added a bit of plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves.

Chopped up some lettuce leaves (from the garden!) and two hard boiled eggs. Cubed some Paris Creek fetta. I mention the brand because it’s quite different from a lot of fetta. Drier, slightly rubbery. I love it, and wouldn’t normally eat fetta at the fridge door, if you want the full ad. I don’t know that I’d add what I think of as normal fetta to this.


Served with toast.

Variations are no doubt infinite.


Kale pesto: the good and the bad news

We happened to pick up some organic kale straight from a garden on our way home a few days ago. A couple of options stood out for using it, one being pesto.

I just did pretty much the same as I do with ordinary pesto except the green is kale. I did take out the stalks and ribs first.

It tasted FABULOUS. Which is obviously good….

But maybe bad? I love things being seasonal. To me one of the joys of summer is basil and that means pesto. The idea that I can have pesto out of season is one I’m going to have to chew over, but I’m afraid it’s going to be hard to swallow.

Signed: confused.

Cumquats in a salad

This is especially for Phil. I have a cumquat addict in the house, against the odds by far, since nobody I have ever known likes them. It made me wonder what one could do to make them work for the population at large.

The trick is to salad them….

Rocket, Pecan and Cumquat salad

Wash and dry the rocket, place in a salad bowl.

Toast pecans and sliver, add to the rocket.

Slice the cumquats and take out the seeds, which I gather are rather nasty unless you are a true KQ addict. I expect they would be nice simply added to the mix now, but if you want to go slightly unhealthy and do something decadent with them, fry them in butter, add a little sugar to caramelise them – that didn’t happen for me, but I imagine the sugar was still a nice addition.

Deglaze the pan by adding vinegar and olive oil, mix thoroughly with the cumquats and their sauce. Put all this on the rocket and pecans, mix thoroughly.


Really not bad. Obviously one would have any number of variations. But the bottom line is, it’s a lovely thing to do with the cumquats, which will have a beautifully slightly tart, slightly sour, slightly sweet impact.

Do this with enough of them and it would make a nice sauce accompanying a piece of roast meat/chicken for example. I imagine starting with shallots and then adding cumquats could be nice too.


tuna mix: perfect for a simple lunch

This is really a Summer Days dish, but two thirds of the way through autumn here in Geneva, we are still wearing sandals and the tomatoes are still edible.

Make sure you have bread available for good toast.


  • tin of tuna in olive oil
  • maybe half a dozen olives stoned and finely diced
  • spring onion finely diced
  • one large fresh high quality tomato or equivalent seeded and chopped into small pieces
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

Serve in a bowl, help yourself. If it’s good quality bread it’ll stand up to being held while eating. Let’s say knife and fork are optional. Maybe toasting the bread is too.

It was nice to discover that sardines in place of tuna are at least as good….and a lot cheaper. If you don’t have toast, toss pasta through it.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

Belinda Jeffery’s 100 favourite recipes is a book well used in my kitchen. It doesn’t all work, but I’m always willing to give her ideas a shot and more often than not they get the thumbs up.

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to bake marinated wings and tried these. It’s hard to decide to make them because the recipe sits next to one she calls ‘the simplest and best sticky chicken wings’. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to bypass it on the basis of missing a critical ingredient. So there I was making the less than best….but still good.


  • chicken wings
  • 3/4 cup clear runny honey
  • 1/2 a cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2.5 tblsps dry white wine
  • 2.5 tablsps olive oil
  • 2 tblsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tblesp finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)
  • salt to taste


Mix the ingredients, and let marinate for a few hours or overnight. Heat oven to 200C, place wings and the marinade in a roasting tray, spread out. Baste during cooking, they will take an hour.

Jeffrey cooks these with kumara. We had them with a soba noodle salad and a cold spinach-sesame dish.

Belinda J chicken wing marinade

Green Beans with Two Mustards

Looking to make salads recently in this warm autumnal weather in Geneva, I had all the ingredients for this dish, another from Madhur Jaffrey’s Food for Family and Friends.


  • 3 tblesp lemon juice
  • 1 tblesp Dijon mustard
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 6 tblesp olive oil
  • 1 11/2 tblesp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slivers
  • 675g green beans, ends trimmed


  • boil salted water
  • mix the lemon juice, mustard and spices
  • heat oil in a small pan and when hot add the mustard seeds, then, as soon as they begin to pop, the garlic. Stir until the garlic is light brown, cool briefly and add to the rest of the dressing. Beat to a creamy texture.
  • put the beans into the boiling water and boil vigorously for 3-5 minutes. They should remain crisp-tender.
  • drain thoroughly, add to the dressing and toss
  • if making ahead, refrigerate and take out 30 minutes before serving so that they aren’t fridge cold

I used maybe half the amount of oil asked for and I used grape seed oil. It was a big hit served with potato salad and a chickpea and carrot salad.

three salads

Chickpea and carrot salad

There are many recipes available for this combination. I started with this from manella on allrecipes and made a couple of changes based on my available ingredients.


  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed. I peeled them too.
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • fresh coriander leaves washed and chopped in lieu of parsley
  • 2 teasp ground dhanna jeera mix 60% coriander 40% cumin in lieu of ground cumin
  • spring onion, one white finely chopped


Thoroughly whisk all ingredients except the carrot and chickpeas, which are then added. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Fabulous and the bit that was left over was great for b/f in the morning.

Served it with potato salad and a cold green beans dish. Worked really well as a combination.

three salads

Potato salad with yoghurt dressing

One of my favourite cookbooks is Madhur Jaffrey’s Food for Family and Friends. I’m surprised I haven’t already made note of this recipe on my blog, having made it for many years.

She calls this ‘The Best, Lightest Potato Salad’ and says the waxier the potato the better.

The dressing

1 cup of plain low-fat yoghurt
1 tblesp vegetable oil
1/2 teasp cumin seeds
1 tblesp yellow mustard seeds
salt and pepper
the white of a spring onion cut into very fine rounds

The potatoes

Boil, cool and peel. Cut into pieces.


  • In a small pan, sizzle the cumin seeds in the heated oil, just for a couple of seconds, add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start popping…
  • tip the contents into the yoghurt which is in a serving bowl.
  • Mix in along with salt and pepper and onion. Stir in the potato pieces.
  • Refrigerate until needed.

Yesterday I had very young potatoes and didn’t peel them before chopping. I use full fat yoghurt.

Pictured here with her Green Beans with Two Mustards Salad and a Chickpea and Carrot salad.

three salads

Ottolenghi’s green beans with pistachios, sour cherries and capers

As far as I can tell, even though Ottolenghi’s one of those chefs who sees the aim of his food interest to be the creation of a Food Empire, the standard of his cafes remains good. Unlike one I could mention, at whose restaurant I did not hold my plate up, pleading ‘more’. (Yes, you’re quick, it was that one….)

We had this:

Green beans and grilled runner beans with sour
cherries, capers and pistachios £9.80

and were enchanted by it. It’s not often, I imagine, that a plate of green beans holds its own like this one did.

I can’t spot the recipe online, my Ottolenghi cookbook is too old for it to appear, and so I’ve tried faking it. I’d like to say ‘replicate’, but I’m afraid take one is definitely fake.


  • green beans, washed, topped and tailed
  • sour cherries
  • pistachios
  • capers
  • olive oil


I heated a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and added the beans, stir fried them briefly, added a couple of splashes of water and fried on high until the water had evaporated. I threw in the rest of the ingredients, thoroughly stirred and took off the heat. I transferred the mixture to a plate, popped it in the fridge to cool down for five minutes.

We ate.

Conclusion: for take one, the ingredients were: capers in salt, which I washed off as the pistachios I had were also salted, and finely chopped. The pistachios were chopped into about eighths. The sour cherries were from a glass jar, already pitted and weren’t sour, even though that’s what they were called. This meant the dish lacked the piquancy of Ottolenghi’s. The cherries were roughly chopped.

Despite the deficiencies of take one, in terms of recreating the dish we remember, what we ended up with was not bad. Since we still have a big bag of beans and most of a jar of ‘sour’ cherries, we’ll definitely be making it again.