April has been lovely here in the UK. We've had wonderful mild weather and a good amount of sunshine. There have been chilly days, but it's always lovely to see blue skies. And you can always put on a cardi or wrap up with a modern and funky scarf. So I can't say the cooler days have been much of a hardship. No, I didn't get my wish from last month of being able to put my coats away, but I know it won't be long until I do.
In terms of cooking and eating, these are days when you are a little caught between a Summer and a Winter mindset. On fine days, light and fresh dishes are what come to mind, but just as I find I can't quite put my coats away, I am also holding on to the comforting and heavy dishes of Winter. Recently we have had casseroles alternate with salad, Summery grilled meats giving way to slow cooker stews and perennial Snig's Kitchen favourite, homemade meatballs.
This month's pictures are, like last month's pictures, from my recent trip to Kerala, South India. It was hot, sunny and steamy during our trip last month. It will be even more humid and hot now. It's a glorious, tropical place, full of gorgeous scenery, kind and lovely people and amazing food and produce.
Blogs Worth Following:
Inspired vegetarian cooking from Aruna Panangipally: http://aahaaram.wordpress.com/
If you love afternoon tea, you will love this site with many reviews and a guide to afternoon tea etiquette: http://katieandchelsie.blogspot.co.uk/
Big beans with fennel, a flexible dish for Springtime: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/giant-lemon-fennel-beans-recipe.html
Single dish oven supper, Mark Hix's butter beans with smoked ham hock and tomato gratin:
A new way of cooking Little Gem lettuce, giving them a life beyond the salad bowl: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/braised-little-gems
Pot barley (or Scotch barley) still has some husk on it, giving it more flavour and texture than pearl barley. Here are some interesting recipe ideas, http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/07/pot-barley-recipes-yotam-ottolenghi
Hate diets but want to either lose weight or maintain your weight? Recipe from three-Michelin-starred chef Michel Guérard and book review from Fuss Free Flavour's Helen: http://fussfreeflavours.com/2014/03/eat-well-stay-slim-recipe-steamed-brill-en-papillote/
One to impress at a dinner party. A classic dessert, Cherry Clafoutis, as made by Raymond Blanc's own Maman. Requires making the batter the night before: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/10711051/Raymond-Blancs-clafoutis-recipe.html
Lemon & tarragon roast chicken for Sunday lunch or relaxed weekend cooking: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/roast-lemony-tarragon-chicken-with-juicy-new-potatoes
Love ceviche or carpaccio? Serve with pickled radish for crunch and colour: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/pickled-radishes-
Pesto made with peas and beans - safe for people with nut allergies. By wannabe lawyer, guitar player and food blogger, Dewi: http://boycancook.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/spaghetti-with-pea-and-bean-pesto/
A classy little starter of prawns, mussels, clams/cockles and Spring asparagus by Mark Hix: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/mark-hix-recipe-asparagus-with-shellfish-9207382.html
Weekday supper saviour, Warm beef, beetroot and rocket salad recipe: http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/warm-beef-beetroot-and-rocket-salad
29 Avocado recipes. Varied, tasty and super cool: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tashweenali/super-easy-avocado-recipes
Chicken with anchovies, lemon and rosemary recipe (roast chicken thighs in a shallot and lemon sauce with a touch of anchovy): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/10600126/Chicken-with-anchovies-lemon-and-rosemary-recipe.html
Cabbage leaf "dolma" with rice and mince: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/26/jack-monroe-stuffed-cabbage-leaves-dolmades-recipe
Roast cauliflower, garlic and fennel soup. Thrifty supper, from Jack Monroe: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/19/jack-monroe-cauliflower-garlic-fennel-soup-recipe
Baked aubergine pasta with garlic and fresh tomatoes (vegetarian): http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/25/baked-aubergine-pasta-vegetarian-recipe-nigel-slater
Slow cooker Mushroom Stroganoff: http://supperinthesuburbs.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/slow-cooker-mushroom-stroganoff-v/
Mark Hix's Moroccan lentil soup with brown or puy lentils for those occasional chilly Spring days, needs 1 hours soaking in advance: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/mark-hix-recipe-moroccan-lentil-soup-9190588.html
Astute advice for the cash conscious; lists, working out which shops to visit, supermarket shelving tricks and "hero" ingredients: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/05/jack-monroe-how-to-save-money-food-shopping-budget
10 kitchen tips. Interesting and useful - I'm sure everyone, even the seasoned cook will learn something: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/26/ten-kitchen-tips-every-cook-should-know-felicity-cloake
Bargain wines for £6. Thank goodness! http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/cheers-weve-found-the-6-wine-bottles-worth-drinking-9253717.html
House Of Cards (US version, made for Netflix), Season 1
Bibio - The Green EP
Band of Skulls - Himalayan
The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.