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Leftovers to love: fried rice

 

Take whatever you have leftover – scraps of vegetables from the fridge, a few strips of steak from the barbecue, a bit of roast chicken perhaps – add cooked, cooled rice and an egg or two and voila, you’ve got one of the tastiest meals ever. READ MORE

Seedy Sprouted Buckwheat Loaf

 

 

This is my version of the loaf popularised by My New Roots and other bloggers and bakers, including the local-to-me The Midnight Baker, who makes an excellent Freedom Loaf. I don’t avoid gluten or any other ingredients, but I love the way a slice of this dense oaf, loaded with seeds and nuts and the distinctive flavour and texture of sprouted buckwheat, fills me up and provides me with energy.

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Red lentil soup

 

Enjoyed all through the Middle East, my abiding memories of enjoying this simple soup of red lentils come from the 6 weeks I spent backpacking through Turkey with my younger sister the best part of two decades ago. There, every meal began with a bowl of çorba (soup), almost always of this type, accompanied by crusty bread.

So as a 22 year-old, this soup entered my culinary lexicon where’s it’s stayed ever since, although I often forget how good it is, then remember again when my Iraqi mother-in-law visits and cooks ups endless pots of shorba, again, most often made with red lentils.

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Best ever bliss balls

 

I’ve experimented with lots of different nuts, seeds and fruit in bliss balls and I’ve finally hit on a winner! The key ingredient is sunflower seeds. There’s something about their flavour and creamy texture when blitzed into a butter that makes other contenders pale in comparison. And blitzing them into a butter on their own first is indeed vital if you want lovely smooth, fudgy balls. Bonus for those with nut allergies, too!

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Love affair: assam laksa

 

I hadn’t ever tasted assam laksa until I visited Penang in May 2017. I was travelling with a group and the numbers were polarised by this dish, with half of us loving it and the other half really not. It is a dish that divides: spicy, tangy and very fishy, it rushes up and smacks your tastebuds with a thick rubber band.

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Blinging blinis

 

Stuck in an hors d’oeuvres rut? Blinis are the answer. It’s hard to go wrong with them – they’re quick and easy to make and you can top with whatever you have to hand, plus it’s super easy to pretty them up with a few sprigs of fresh herbage or a little flower action. I made these ones the other day to take to a birthday party.

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Keep scrolling

 

Here’s an easy and dangerously addictive way to load up on carbs and dairy and that weird tarry stuff nobody outside the Commonwealth would dare touch. No matter if Marmite or Vegemite isn’t your thing, you could instead marry the cheese with pickle or chutney, bacon or ham.

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Notes on… tahini

Its name in Iran, ardeh, means ‘holy food’ which demonstrates the love for tahini throughout the Middle East (though East Asia, too, likes a sesame paste). In the Middle East and stretching into the Eastern Mediterranean, tahini goes into dips and into sweets like halva as well as being used as a general condiment alongside grilled meat and fish. READ MORE

Hungry in Singapore

 

Here’s ten top places to get your fill…

1 Hawker centres abound but The Maxwell Centre, one of the biggest, is a good place to start your cheap eats journey. If being on trend is your thing, join the ever-long queue that snakes from the fragrant hatch of Tian Tian to get your Hainanese chicken rice fix. READ MORE

Great dishes – spicy cold fernroot noodles at Spicy Cuisine

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From the starters/cold dishes selection at Spicy Cuisine, this gem of a noodle dish warms you up in an entirely different way from, say, a wonton soup. Served chilled, the noodles are cooked to slippery, al dente perfection. They swim languidly in a rust-red pool of sauce. In the sauce I can taste garlic, black vinegar, soy, shitloads of Sichuan pepper and maybe just the tiniest pinch of sugar. Fresh red chilli steps in to add more intense hotspots and coriander leaves and spring onion temper things a bit. It’s ma la* perfection.  READ MORE