Winter Warmer Recipe: Finnish salmon and potato soup

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 17th January 2014:

Finnish salmon potato soup

When I was in Helsinki last year, I found it hard to describe Finnish cuisine beyond calling it “Nordic”. The reason, I discovered, was that Finnish cuisine takes influence from its neighbours in Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic states.

To help me define what is Finnish, I asked a few of the foodies I met along the way to list what they thought were typical Finnish ingredients. The results were surprisingly similar.

Potatoes, berries, fish and mushrooms consistently came up top. Beyond that, there was also reindeer and liquorice.

Thinking back over some of the meals I had in Helsinki, these ingredients seem obvious now.

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Tunisian recipe: sticky, crunchy makroud

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 13th January 2014:

Tunisian makroud

On a recent trip to Tunisia, I discovered a deliciously addictive sweet pastry called makroud. The snack is found mainly in Tunisia and Algeria but has also spread to Morocco and other parts of Northern Africa.

It’s essentially date paste wrapped in semolina, deep fried and then doused in honey. It’s rich, like baklava but less sweet, with a nutty crunch like biscuits.

It’s not the easiest thing to make as the semolina can be quite crumbly but you’ll find yourself eating one after the other until they’re all gone.

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Eat right now: sugar snap peas

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 26th August 2013:

Sugar snap peas always have that hint of summer about them even when the sun is no longer shining. It’s that juicy snap, heard when you break a pod in half with the littlest of efforts.

The peas inside are tiny, almost non-existent. But then it is all about the outer shells. Thick and lusciously green, they are packed with that flavoursome new season pea taste with just a touch more sweetness than you’d expect.

They’re great raw in salads but I like to blanch them ever so briefly just to bring out their vibrant hue. And here in this recipe, they’re cooked so gently and tossed through a dressing that it’s almost like a salad. Only it’s served warm.

Sugar snap pears are only around from June to about September so quick, snap them up before they’re all gone.

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