This is for and about home cooks - the women all over the the world (and through the centuries) who put dinner on the table every night. They know how to cook quickly, easily, economically, healthily and satisfyingly whether for one or a dozen.

Part memoir, part diary of shopping, cooking, reading and thinking about putting supper on the table, by a former fashion/design writer/consultant whose secret love has always been food.  


Chicken with Ginger, Cumin & Sesame Seeds

Pollo al Ajonjoli from "Delicious!!" by Penelope Casas

Pollo al Ajonjoli from "Delicious!!" by Penelope Casas

Delicious, understated and wonderfully subtle is this simple Moorish chicken with ginger, cumin and sesame seeds from Penelope Casas' "Delicioso!".

It is a dish I go back to again and again as it is quickly and easily made for a weeknight supper and yet sophisticated enough for special guests. I confess, however, that I do not always follow Penny's instructions precisely; as with any recipe that is simple and familiar, it slips into your own routine. While Penny's instruction for a whole, cut up chicken is unquestionably more economical (and the leftovers are great) when in a hurry (which is most of the time) I fall back on the most extravagant choice of boned chicken breasts, quickly cut into smaller pieces. Also, in place of chicken broth I often throw in a glass of white wine (or even water). This is how I make it (I like lots of sauce).

ALL YOU NEED IS: (for 2 greedy people)

2 chicken breasts cut into 2 or 3 pieces each, depending on size

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onions (or shallots)

1 large clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon flour

2 tablespoons minced parseley

½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

few strands of saffron

½ teaspoon ground cumin – preferably freshly ground

3 teaspoons sesame seeds

¼ cup chicken broth


Cut chicken breasts into 2 or 3 pieces each, depending on size

Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper

Heat oil in shallow casserole and brown chicken on all sides

Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onion is wilted. Sir in the flour then sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the parseley, ginger, saffron, cumin and sesame seeds.. Add chicken broth, cover and simmer about 50 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve. 

Easy Mermeester: Baked Prawns, Eggs & Cream

Laurie Colwin's Nutmeg Cake