Recipe: A little pick-me-upma in the evening

MARGARET STEARN had most accommodating hosts in Bangalore: when they realised how much she liked upma, a southern Indian snack taken in the early evening, they served it almost every day. It wins her a copy of Patricia Wells's guides to Paris and France. Ms Stearn stresses that a small serving is ample. She serves it for lunch with a side dish of yoghurt and a tomato salad.


(Serves 6)

Ingredients: 4oz/110g semolina

1tsp mustard seeds

1tbs cashew nuts, finely chopped

1tbs split red lentils, boiled 10 minutes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

small cinnamon stick

1/2 tsp each of cumin, coriander, turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

pinch chilli powder

juice of 1 lemon

7oz/200ml water

2oz/60g creamed coconut

small bunch of fresh coriander

Preparation: Roast the semolina in a dry pan over a fairly high heat for about five minutes; reserve. Heat a little oil and cook mustard seeds, cashew nuts and rinsed lentils for a few minutes. Reduce heat, add onion and cook for about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in water, lemon juice and coconut, add semolina and cook gently until it forms a thick paste. Stir in coriander leaves. Serve warm.

Our second winner is Jean Jacobs of Nottingham, who first encountered this garlicky gazpacho in Andalucia years ago. We know gazpacho as tomato soup, but there are hundreds of regional varieties whose name comes from the Arabic for 'soaked bread'. Ms Jacobs found this recipe in Flavours of Spain by Jan Read and Maite Manjou.

Gazpacho with Grapes

(Serves 4)

Ingredients: 2oz/60g almonds or pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1tsp salt

2oz/60g stale breadcrumbs, soaked and drained

4tbs olive oil

2tbs good white wine vinegar

1/2 lb/225g white seedless grapes, skinned

Preparation: Blanch the almonds in boiling water and skin. Leave for a few minutes, then grind. Combine with garlic, salt, breadcrumbs and drip in olive oil little by little, stirring. Add vinegar and when the mixture is smooth, stir in 25fl oz/3/4 litre of water. Cover and chill. Add grapes just before serving.

Next week, the last of your holiday recipes. New recipes are welcome for our following category: how to dispose of the summer glut of tomatoes. Garrison Keillor recounts the good folk of Lake Woebegone sneakily leaving bushels on one another's front porches. We only want cooking solutions. The prize will be a copy of Entertaining all'Italiana by Anna del Conte. Send your recipes, stating the source, if not original, to Emily Green, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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