This week, I’m craving…

This week I’m craving… light suppers with lots of herbs.

My boyfriend and I had planned to stay in on New Year’s Eve, savouring a homemade feast and appreciating a special bottle of fizz. However, our best laid plans went out the window after friends decided to have a house party. After all, there are some events that are made better with friends. I never got round to cooking up my party menu but I thought you might appreciate it. I didn’t want to go overboard with rich food after Christmas, so these dishes and snacks are quite light and healthy and perfect for January suppers and nibbles.

Pearl barley tabbouleh

Tabbouleh
Image from This Rawsome Vegan Life

I never usually make salad dressings with lemon juice or mint. I tend to find that combination overpowers the delicate taste of salad leaves. But paired with a grain such as pearl barley the dressing really comes into its own. Fresh, clean flavours mingling with the earthiness of barley are a match made in heaven. This is a beautiful recipe that you could serve as a simple salad or side, as I intended to on New Year’s Eve (keeping plenty of leftovers for lunches).

Italian grissini

Grissini
Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian

To me, grissini aren’t a great starter (I prefer olive oil, balsamic and ciabatta) but they do belong on any buffet table (or plate). I planned to make my own grissini for New Year’s Eve to eat on their own or dip in a variety of condiments. I love this basic Dan Lepard recipe. You can jazz it up with various combinations; try cheesy grissini, a garlic variety, cover them in sesame seeds before baking, or have them plain and wrap with parma ham or prosciutto.

Garlic bread

Garlic butter ingredients
Image from Live Simply

I love garlic bread but shudder every time I look at the ingredient list so I rarely buy it. It’s a very simple thing to make yourself, but it does require a little bit more effort than tearing off packaging and preheating an oven. That always makes it seem like a bit of a chore but it’s so worth it (and the finished baguette won’t take half as long to bake in the oven). I’m not suggesting you make your own baguette, just pick one up from your local bakery and make your own garlic butter. This recipe will show you how. Enjoy!

Smoked trout, leek and pea quiche

Smoked trout quiche
Image from Homemade by you

If you ever go to anyone’s house for a special occasion dinner, you can bet that smoked salmon will be on the menu. We used to have it every New Year’s Eve in my family, my mum especially can never get enough. However, I’d like everyone to spare a thought for other fish that are equally (if not more) delicious than salmon when smoked and are often more sustainable. Take smoked trout, for example (I’ve found it stocked in both Lidl and Marks and Spencer, so no excuses). It’s not as oily as salmon and therefore doesn’t require overly acidic accompaniments such as the ubiquitous horseradish sauce (not everyone’s favourite, I know). Try this smoked trout, leek and pea quiche for a perfect brunch.

 

What’s on your menu this week? Are any of these dishes making your mouth water?

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4

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