I saw a recipe on With a Glass. I knew I wasn't going to make it; my better half is not a fan of yoghurt, but the concept of  basing cooking on three main ingredients and perhaps substituting the rest really appealed to me.

I ordered the book as an inter-library loan from the local library. I am trying to keep my possessions in check and I will only buy a book if it serves me with several purposes. Hugh has too many fishy recipes, so I won’t buy it, but I have been making diligent recordings and notes of the recipes I did like. In fact I found Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cooking echoing my recent move toward using what you have approach familiar and exciting. I had an old knee injury fixed and I have been relying on my darling’s shopping for close to two months now. At first I sent him with detailed instructions, but he would spend hours shopping. He never complained, but I took pity on him so now I avoid complicated items and just focus on the basics. I make sure we have what we use daily and between the freezers and the pantry I always think of something. I have to comment on the visual effect Hugh’s cooking had on me too, it’s reminded me of my own paintings, the controlled hard edged melting into an impressionistic riot of color and form. So there is a lot of things I like about Hugh’s approach to cooking, it’s honest, visceral and real. 

And there I go and changed Hugh’s spice mix. He did call it a spice mix, but you know I didn’t have the driving force to roast spices yesterday. I spent several days working on a Lady Gaga type dance costume that was 4 sizes too large for Olivia [don’t ask] and I just wanted the day to end. So I went to the upstairs freezer and took out the well packed home roasted garam masala, threw in some turmeric and called it a day. Jim made me a cup of honey tea, brought up some new lettuce from the garden and being the sweetheart that he is leaf by leaf washed it for me. It has been a rainy Victoria Day weekend here.

I include Hugh’s spice mix at the end. Mind you I would never use the entire amount for the suggested 500 g of potatoes. I often find recipes overusing spices, killing the mystery of different flavours, both in Asian, Middle Eastern and in Indian cooking. When in fact a hint would do the same, but manifold the better. If you still wanted heat add some chilli, but don’t kill the food flavours with the overuse of spices. 

3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes 
2-4 peeled and chopped parsnips 
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
2 large sprinkles of garam masala [click for recipe or use ready made] 
2 light sprinkles of turmeric 
1 garlic clove, finely chopped 

• Preheat the oven to 400F. 
• Line an old rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. 
• Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks and place it in a large pot of boiling water. 
• Cook the potatoes for 3-4 minutes. Hugh suggests only 1 minute, its not enough. 
• Meanwhile peel and chop the parsnips. 
• Immediately take potatoes off the heat and drain well. 
• Place drained potatoes and the parsnips on the prepared pan. 
• Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the garam masala, turmenic and salt. 
• Toss the potatoes and the parsnips to get a coating of spice. 
• Roast for about 40 minutes until golden and crisp, stirring halfway through. 
• Stir in the chopped garlic and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes. 
• Serve straight away. 

For Hugh’s Spice Mix 

1 Tbsp coriander seeds 
6 black peppercorns 
1/2 tsp dried red chilli flakes 
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds 
1 tsp ground turmeric 

Add the coriander seeds and peppercorns to a dry frying pan and toast over a gentle heat for a minute or so until fragrant. Tip into a mortar and leave to cool. Add the chilli flakes, and crush the mixture with the pestle to a coarse powder. Combine with the fenugreek, turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!