TABOULE / Tabbouleh

7 September 2009


Taboule (tabbouleh, tabouli ) – is an easy recipe for when you don’t feel like cooking! Or when you don’t have time to cook, or when you have a big group coming over, or if, like my brother, you don’t have an oven! There does not seem to be one single recipe for tabbouleh, but several variations on a theme: Moroccan, Armenian, Turkish, Syrian and Lebanese. The basic dish is a salad of herbs to which you add tomatoes, onions and bulgar wheat (cracked wheat). Traditionally it is eaten as part of a mezze, a selection of small dishes,  using a lettuce leaf.

I prefer this salad when it has a 50:50 balance of herbs (mint /parsley) to bulgar, but what is great is that you can  personalise the dish to your taste. Another reason I was attracted to this salad is that it is budget conscious and in these times that can be nothing but a good thing!



3 September 2009



Teriyaki sauce is a traditional Japanese sauce that became popular in Western cultures, long before sushi became the ambasador of Japanese cuisine! If you are like me it is something you have often ordered in restaurants or bought in Japanese food stores, but never taken the time to make yourself. Which is silly really, as after this weekend I realised what an easy recipe it is to make.

All you need are equal parts of sugar, soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) and sake. These four ingredients are mixed together, boiled  and reduced to create a thick sweet sauce for coating meat and fish. The word Teri refers to the lacquered sheen or luster given by the sauce and the word yaki the cooking method of grilling/broilling. After so many years of using the word Teriyaki it’s nice to know what it really means!

My brother has just returned to Holland after a three month internship in Canada, and so this is the next recipe in the Dutch Series, of easy recipes that don’t require an oven! If you prefer to eat chicken or beef instead of salmon, this recipe can easily be adapted, especially after reading about the recent Fraser River Sockeye salmon issues in Western Canada!



20 March 2009


The DUTCH Series N°5 : Lentil Soup Recipe with Saffron Garlic Roux

It is officially the 1st day of SPRING!

So why am I writing about a winter soup you may ask. Good question. The thing is – the calendar may say that Spring has arrived,  but while it is sunny in Geneva it is still very chilly. I was nearly blown away this morning when crossing the bridge  – literally! It is because of  ‘la bise’ a Northerly wind that comes whistling through the city at a bone chilling rate. It is at these times you really need some stick to your ribs, heart warming food.

Years ago lentil soup was the very last thing on my list of favourite foods. It was something to eat under duress. In fact I was such a terrible child, that once my aunt went to all the trouble of preparing a homemade lentil stew and I turned my nose up and said I couldn’t possibly.  Naughty naughty naughty.

I have since grown up & so have my taste buds.  The first lentil soup recipeI tried will remain nameless, as the spices were all off and it made enough for the Russian army… needless to say, I was not impressed. I have since fiddled and tweaked my way to come up with this version, with a hint of chilly, the tang of lemon, soothed with spices & served with a generous dollop of saffron, garlic roux!



The DUTCH Series N°4

In the past I generally thought of salad as a summer dish, made with a variety of fresh leafy greens picked from the garden. However, I have since developed a taste for the less celebrated but very tastey winter salad varieties. They are

  • generally made with raw (often root)  vegetables  =  good for your health
  • inexpensive
  • quick & easy to make
  • & delicious additions to the limited, winter vegetables repetoir!

Though I think it is safe to say that in terms of winter veggies, celeriac (celery root) is the ugly duckling. As when browsing through the market the last thing to entice your eyes is this nobly, pale yellow-green, root vegetable. Which is a shame really, as despite its appearance the taste is wonderful, more subtle then stalk celery & with a slightly nutty flavour.

As my grated raw beetroot salad was such a hit, I decided to make the celeriac salad in a similar fashion. However as celeriac has a more subtle flavour than beetroot & tends to turn brown soon after grated, I decide to make a creamy dressing for whiteness of colour, with a little less vinegar so you could still taste the natural flavour of the celeriac & used fresh thyme to compliment.




ROAD TRIP – ok that’s not 100% true as I took a plane, so it’s PLANE trip…  and that just doesn’t have the same ring now does it. Oh well.  

Point being, I went to visit my brother in Holland this past weekend. Didn’t really know what to expect – outside the lovely architecture, Dutch paintings & Amsterdam’s claims to fame (wacky tabcky & the dancing shows…) But I was really there to see him so the rest was just details.  

Despite being warned that Holland was not one of the top 10 ten gastronomic heavens of this world,  (there was mention of much frying, mayonnaise & starchy carbs ), I still managed to followed my stomach around like a blood hound on the scent…

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17 November 2008


The DUTCH Series N°2

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ This is a great saying however this is just one minor detail they left out…. the cooking instructions!

Taking advantage of this little loophole and the fact that it is currently the apple season, I have invented a quick & healthy recipe, within the guidelines of the Dutch Series.

Now I am not suggesting that you run triumphantly down to your doctors’ office, boasting how you have found a justification to eat more desert…. a chink in the dietary armor so to say. Perhaps best to remain discrete and if you do happen to have a sweet tooth, here is your prefect solution to satisfy a craving while keeping an eye on your waistline & budget!



The DUTCH Series N°1

My brother is currently an MBA student in Rotterdam, which means a crazy busy work schedule, with little time to do anything else but eat, sleep & study. I cannot help much with the later two but when it comes to the kitchen he has come to the right place. 

When asked what the magic recipe was to turn 24 hours into 48… I must say I was at a bit of a loss. However what I did have was a few ideas up my sleeve for quick & easy recipes that he could use as time savers.

The parameters he set me were simple : the recipes had to have a prep time of 15 minutes, be budget conscious and stove top friendly – as they have no oven in the apartment. So here is the 1st of what will be called the         DUTCH Series:

Lentils with Smoked ham & red wine: A wonderful winter dish, where the smell of onions, spices, garlic & red wine, simmering over a hot stove, invoke thoughts of mountain chalets, crackling fires, crisp evenings and good company. The smoky flavours of the ham go well with the warmth of the red wine and the slightly nutty flavour of the lentils. I find this dish quite filling so often eat it on its own, however it can be an excellent accompaniment to lamb, beef or a meaty fish (ie tuna).