Oxford Food Symposium – for those curious about food

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I’m not sure I properly thought it through when I registered for a rare weekend away from little E, and chose to spend it hearing about and eating offal. It’s now been two weeks since I returned from my first visit to the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, this year on the subject of ‘Offal: Rejected and Reclaimed Foods’. It’s definitely not the subject I would have chosen for my first visit, but despite my ambivalence for ‘variety meats’, it was a fascinating and really enjoyable weekend. I found a really welcoming community who love food, but more than that are really curious about it. Started by Alan Davidson, the legendary food writer and researcher who compiled the encyclopaedic Oxford Companion to Food, it has grown over the last 37 years from a small gathering of mostly friends to a diverse group of 200 encompassing a huge range of ages and nationalities.

Some of the highlights of the weekend for me (with apologies for dreadful photography):

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  • Thomas Eagle (above) from Darsham Nurseries, giving a really thoughtful and reflective talk about food waste, featuring his own cavolo nero stalk kimchi.
  • Paul Rozin’s barnstorming talk about food and disgust, giving a tour through some of the psychology behind our aversion to some foods, and the different factors that cause it.

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  • Fuschia Dunlop on duck tongues (above), and describing all the different ways that the Chinese take pleasure in food that mean that foods we might consider offal are transformed into rare and exciting delicacies. I have a particular affection for all the Chinese terms for food textures, a far wider range of descriptions than we have access to in English.
  • Benjamin Wurgaft’s thoughtful discussion of laboratory-grown meat, and the philosophy of our reactions and discussions of it.

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  • Jennifer McLagan’s passionate enthusiasm for getting blood into home kitchens, through home-made blood sausage, blood meringues, blood brownies and more. I can’t say I was entirely convinced, but I admire her passion for the subject!

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  • Amanda Couch’s brilliant and unforgettable ‘performance’ of liver divination as an after-dinner activity, combining scholarly descriptions of the meaning of ‘reading’ the liver in the ancient world with a very hands-on approach to offal!

There were also a series of lunches and dinners that never failed to leave me stuffed, unable to resist just a little of everything. Some of my favourite dishes from the multi-course menus:

  • Jacob Kenedy’s mushroom risotto – perfectly rich and savoury
  • Jacob Kenedy’s Grandfather’s balls – featherlight deep-fried ricotta with candied orange and chocolate
  • Tongue with carrots and cream sauce – sublime comfort food from Fergus Henderson
  • Bread Ahead’s bread pudding – rich, dense and heavy with spices

Mostly my reflection on the weekend is that it is rare to find such a diverse group of people who are so interested in the details of food – how it tastes, where it comes from, what it means in different cultures. Food is so pervasive in British culture now – so many books, so many TV shows, so many celebrity chefs – that it would be easy to think that these people are everywhere. But being interested in making your ‘signature dish’, or critiquing Masterchef from the sofa, or meal planning for the week aren’t the same thing. It’s not that these are bad, or ‘lesser’ interests – I think there was actually very little food snobbery on display at the weekend. If I could put my finger on the difference, it was that this is  a group of people who start with food. When they look at a Renaissance painting, they see the food on the table. When they examine history, they want to know what’s happening in the kitchens of the palaces and homes. When they think about travelling around the world, they think in terms of regional specialities, and hidden recipes (as Claudia Roden does). They see the world through the lens of what we eat, how it is made, who grows it and who prepares it.

And it’s not that this is a distorted point of view – it’s genuinely a worthwhile perspective to take. Food is what we share. Some argue that cooking is what defines us as humans. Food connects us to the growing of food, how we cultivate the land, what we do with the waste, the carbon we generate, the seas we fish. It’s in everything. I found it exhilerating but also comforting to be surrounded by these people. And I hope I can go back next year.

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Sunday food links – 24 July 2016

Brilliant afternoon @osterleynt doing some vegetable gardening and admiring the flowers

So this was the week that summer arrived – finally – in England. And it seemed to bring weeks of pent up sunshine at once. From cool and grey, we went directly to scorching days and sticky, humid nights. It felt appropriate to eat from Mexico and India, in this heat. There was the first tomato from the garden, and our giant sunflower burst out into flower. We spent the afternoon at Osterley Park on Friday, digging in their garden, and admiring their gorgeous cutting garden (well, I was anyway).

Recipes:

  • Hot Bread Kitchen Traditional Challah (and burger buns) – this recipe called for Kosher salt, and they must use a very flaky brand, as mine was radically oversalted. I made up a second batch of unsalted dough and mixed them together to rescue it, and so made burger buns as well as the loaf.
  • Wholewheat chapattis – from Hot Bread Kitchen, but then needed lots of extra flour to make something that would roll out
  • Mum’s chicken curry from Meera Sodha’s Made in India
  • Indian-spiced grilled chicken from Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand with chapattis, yoghurt raita and kachumbar.
  • Gateau au Yaort from Chocolate & Zucchini – with chocolate chips. Baking with yoghurt post coming soon
  • Chili Lime Fish Tacos from Pinch of Yum

Without a recipe:

  • Baked salmon with asian flavours, over rice with broccoli
  • Chicken and black beans from the freezer, with avocado
  • Leftover sausage pasta with broccoli

Reading:

Sunday food links – 17 July 2016

Birthday book haul

It must have been a busy week, because I have very few food links to add, haven’t cooked from recipes until this weekend, and have almost no photos taken in the last week! Perhaps because it was a week full of capital-N News at work, and it was my first week back to four days for a while. But it has been a good week nonetheless.

I cleared out a few cookbooks on Friday, in preparation for more books arriving for my birthday (see the haul above!). As I browsed the (admittedly, overloaded) bookshelves to identify my little-used ones, there are so many that contain more than recipes – they are little time capsules. I hold onto these books because they can take me back to the point where I bought and first read them. Some are signed, by authors or by friends. Some I re-read and love the writing every time. Some I keep as references, because I know that even if I don’t consult them very often, they can answer questions that other books just can’t.

One of the talks at the Food Symposium last weekend was on editing Wikipedia. Cooking, in common with other areas that interest women, is under-represented, and women authors particularly. Despite all the scientific pretence we use around food, much is still unknown and undocumented, which makes holding onto great food books all the more satisfying.

Recipes:

Three(!) birthday cakes:

Without a recipe:

  • Pesto – spinach, basil, pistachio, almond, pecorino and parmesan
  • Pasta with courgette, broccoli and pesto
  • Cappelleti with pesto
  • Cappelleti with roast tomatoes and creme fraiche
  • (and a rare restaurant meal: lunch at Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House in Soho)
  • Mum catering: Roast chicken, and baked fish
  • Sausages with tomato bread salad
  • Lamb kofte (from the freezer) with rice, yoghurt and Five O’Clock Apron slow-roast carrots

Reading:

Sunday food links – 10 Jul 2016

Very pleased with this filo pie for work team lunch today. Much less effort than the little borek I was planning! Filling is from @5oclockapron - spinach and halloumi.

I’m writing this on the train, returning to London after two days at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. I first came across this meeting a few years ago, on twitter I think, when I noticed some of the food writers that I follow discussing some fascinating food topics. It seemed that some of the most interesting people in food were there, and I was curious. This year, I was determined to invest in a ticket and see what it was all about.

The theme of this year’s symposium, offal, isn’t one that particularly interested me, but I found many of the discussions fascinating despite this. Above all, it was an amazing experience to be adopted into what is clearly a very strong community of friends and novices, bound together by a common affection for food and eating. The atmosphere was quite different from any other conference or meeting I’ve been part of. A huge range of ages, from 18 to 92, I think, as well as nationalities and cultures, but all encompassing such common ground in our esteem for food and its place in culture and society.

My head and my notepad are full of ideas and questions. My bag is full of new books (oops). And I really feel part of a warm and welcoming community now. I’m going to do my best to think of something to submit as a paper for next year’s symposium, so I can return.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Fish finger tacos – a very inauthentic version of fish tacos, with the slaw below, sweetcorn and cherry toms.
  • Carrot slaw – grated carrot, sliced cucumber, and spring onions, dressed with yoghurt, lime and salt. Very successful for something made up.
  • Hastily-made milk rolls – because otherwise we didn’t have buns for the burgers. 90 minutes top to bottom!
  • Leftover coconut curry (freezer) with leftover rice pilaf

Reading:

Transforming Onions – raw, cooked, pickled and more

 

A brown onion

It’s taken me years to appreciate onions. I thought of them as just something to chop when you were making a stew or spag bol. Then they were for chicken stock – above all, good stock needs the flavour of alliums.

We made a five onion soup at culinary school, pale green with leeks, garlic, onions, spring onions and shallots, and thickened with potato – an exaggerated leek and potato soup, both sweet and savoury – and I started to appreciate the flavour of onions in their own right.

Over time I started to detect when onions were missing, to choose to add them in to keep things balanced. I learnt that I could tolerate raw onions if they were first soaked in vinegar, to remove some of the harshness. In the last couple of weeks I have added extra onions to recipes that didn’t call for them – a carrot filling for an Estonian pie and a Nigel Slater pilaf. An onion sweated in butter is a guarantee of savoury richness for both of these.

Sliced leeks

Onions, and all their brethren, are amazing and versatile ingredients. They have those pungent, tear-inducing chemicals in them that flood out when you cut into them, but when those dissipate, you also get a lot of sweetness and savoury flavour, which make them the most versatile vegetable you can have with you in the kitchen. If you’ve only ever used them when making soups or stews, or if you’re put off by raw onions (as I am), then you’ve got a treat in store.

Behind the recipes – why do we need onions?

Onions are sweet, sugary vegetables, disguised behind a sulphurous attack-force. Cutting or crushing an onion or garlic releases several sulphurous compounds, through the action of an enzyme, that make your eyes water and your breath smell. This process can be slowed down by chilling, the compounds can be washed away, or the enzyme can be deactivated through acid or through cooking. Once these sulphur compounds are out of the way, the sugars in the onion come through, and can create caramelisation with the right cooking. Not all of the onion family have the same compounds in them. The harshest, that cause your eyes to water, are found only in the onions, shallots, leeks and chives. Shallots, red onions, chives and spring onions are all milder in taste than yellow onions and garlic. Spring onions and leeks have more ‘green’ flavours, from the leaves.

Red onions

Ways to prepare onions

Here are some of the ways you can transform onions in the kitchen:

  • Raw – not my preference, although I like the Thomas Keller trick of pouring boiling water over them in a sieve to remove the harshest, oniony notes first.
  • Acidulated – not true pickling, just soaking the raw bits in some vinegar or lime juice keeps the crunch but leaches away some of the eye-watering compounds, making a much nicer salad onion. Bonus: soaking red onion slices in vinegar turns them all pink and lovely. I do this often to add to a Greek salad or a salsa for tacos.
  • Softened/sweated – for a stew or soup, you want to remove the harshest notes, and bring some sweetness, but not too much sugar. Translucency is what you want, and softness to help the flavours fade into the background and form the base flavours. Keep the heat low and stir fairly often. A good puddle of fat helps too.
  • Browned – not the same as caramelised, browned onions are cooked fast and hot, and are good for curries or making a tarka to go on top of dal. To get really nice crispy onions or shallots, good for garnishing Thai salads and many other things, slice very thinly, toss in a little rice flour, and fry in hot oil.
  • Caramelised – these such a useful thing to have around. Their extra sweetness gives a strong base to stand up to other strong flavours: the thick savoury flavour of beef stock in a proper onion soup; a strong cheese in a caramelised onion tart; a counter to the acid in a tomato sauce. Proper caramelisation takes *ages*. Allow 45 minutes to an hour to get them there, and you don’t need to add sugar. But make them in bulk and you can freeze in little portions. Momofuku’s David Chang, via Lucky Peach, has a good method for making them in a large frying pan. I like to use my slow cooker and leave them in there all day.
  • Baked – an underrated vegetable, and one I don’t often think of, is whole onions wrapped in bacon and baked, perhaps with a bit of cream. A brilliant accompaniment to roast chicken.

Roasted onions

  • Roasted – throw wedges around a roasting chicken or joint to create a delicious vegetable, and to massively improve the gravy made from the juices. I can’t remember where I got the idea, but I always roast beef on a layer of thick onion slices, protecting the juices from burning on the bottom during the initial sizzle, and creating deeply caramelised onions which make unbelievable gravy.
  • Pickled – I never think to buy commercial pickled onions – they are always too strong for me. But I have a favourite homemade version from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Their red onion pickles are a bit on the syrupy side, but delicious, and such a beautiful pink colour. Very good on a burger.

If you want a mild onion flavour, use spring onions, shallots or red onions. Or take some of the sting out of the onion by pouring hot water over the chopped onion, or by steeping briefly in vinegar (this works particularly well for sliced red onions, whose colour bleeds out to stain the whole slices fuschia-pink).

When you don’t have time to chop and sweat an onion, use spring onions, scissored into pieces if that’s easier for you than a knife. (And then practice your knife skills on onions when you get a chance – onions are cheap).

How to chop an onion

Chopping onions

First, top and tail the onion, and halve it from top to bottom. When peeling onions, if that outer brown layer will only come away in little shreds, take another layer off the onion. Life is too short, and onions are too cheap, to waste your time chipping off fragments of brown skin.

If you want little squares of onion, take each peeled half and slice in three different directions: start with horizontal slices, parallel to the chopping board. Then vertical slices from stem to root, almost but not quite cutting through. Finally, slice across to create squares.

Sliced red onion

For strips of onion (this is often my preferred cut, if only because it’s so quick to prepare), remove the root end in a wedge from each half. Slice the remainder of the half along the lines from stem to root, starting at an angle to the board, and gradually moving the knife around to be vertical. These slices separate more easily than half-moons cut across the onion, and are a good cut for starting a curry, a stew, or a soup that will be blended later.

Sunday food links – 3 Jul 2016

Tube over the canal #morningrun

It has been a long week, but some parts have skimmed along easily all the same. I went for a run this morning, in the sunshine and with a cool, fresh breeze scudding along the canal, and it all seemed a bit better. Getting out into the air, seeing some greenery and some sunshine has an endless capacity to make me feel better, and to help me get perspective. And despite the showers, the heat of the sun, strawberries and tomato salads mean that I think it’s actually summer.

A big piece of news too: we completed our new house purchase this week, somewhere further out in the sticks. While there is a long way to go before we move in, I am excited and hopeful about creating a family home there over the next year. This slow transition suits us well, and will give us lots of time to figure out how to make it all work before we up sticks.

It has been a pretty good week in food. I renewed my enthusiasm to tackle some of this month’s (or rather last month’s) food magazine recipes, and with some very good results – not least the pie below, which has been pudding every evening through the weekend. It’s inspired me to be a bit more thoughtful about next week’s meal plan and hopefully there will be more good stuff then.

Recipes:

https://flic.kr/p/JDkf41

Without a recipe:

  • Pulled pork buns with salad (pork from freezer, bbq sauce stashed in the fridge, bought burger buns, tomato salad, potato salad)
  • Waitrose frozen pizza base with mozzarella, ham and tomatoes
  • Cheese on toast…
  • Fried rice with leftover peanut-lime chicken
  • A leftovers tart: ham, cheese, tomato, broccoli and spring onion quiche
  • French toast with cherry compote and bacon (post-run Sunday brunch)

Reading:

Not much food-related reading this week, so instead, some other things I liked:

Sunday food links – 26 June 2016

Finally dealing with the strawberry glut. Jam and some put aside for shortcakes for pudding.

What a week. I don’t want to get into the issues too much, but when I look back at the cooking and eating for this week, it’s entirely entwined with The Vote. I made an Estonian carrot pie for the first time, to take to a potluck European lunch at work, that I had conceived in a spirit of hopefulness at the end of last week. I woke at 5am on Friday, checked my phone, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was teary for most of the morning. I made brownies over breakfast, because, as a friend says, if you bake brownies, whatever else happens, you’ll have brownies. (She baked on both the night of the general election and this Thursday evening).

A visit to a friend and her new baby made the best of a dark day on Friday. And there were those brownies, and some sunshine. There’s something like grief that comes with the loss of a future you thought you understood. With a realisation that your country is not the one you thought it was. That even the things you thought were solid and lasting can disappear overnight. It will take some time to adjust.

My current strategy is just to try and keep away from the discussion until I have to jump back into it at work on Monday. And to keep looking for #reasonstobecheerful wherever I can. This week, those reasons included the amazing perfume from my climbing rose, the soothing tones of Glastonbury, especially James and Adele, strawberry shortcakes, and ripe cherries massacred by my daughter. All we can do is go on.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • An approximation of Salad Nicoise (in that it didn’t have olives or anchovies)
  • A rough interpretation of Anna Jones’ grilled ratatouille from A Modern Way to Cook, a grilled veg dinner of courgette, tomatoes, aubergines, new potatoes, and quick pickled red onions.
  • A traybake of chicken breasts, sausages, cherry tomatoes and red onion, served with jacket potatoes (Friday night comfort food for a post-referendum world)
  • A rerun of Yotam Ottolenghi’s beef shin and butterbean stew, from the freezer
  • And then again in tacos with rice, avocado, veg and cheese.

Reading:

Strawberry Shortcakes: Behind the recipe

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Making strawberry shortcakes is a good marker of the start of summer. Shortly after we revamped our garden, about 5 years ago now, I planted five strawberry plants, which due to my inattention, have multiplied and spread many times over. We now have a huge patch of gangly strawberry plants, which bring a lovely glut of fruit at this time of year. We have to share with the pigeons, but now there are so many, I don’t really mind that.

Preserving the flavour and taste of strawberries beyond their short season is always a challenge. Jams and preserves work really well, concentrating the flavour as they cook. You can also make simple preserves by roasting or cooking gently in syrup to create something that will last for several weeks in the fridge.

As for making the most of the fresh ones, strawberries and scones always seem the perfect match to me. A slightly crisp-edged scone acts as the perfect support to thick, whipped (or clotted) cream, which is the ideal partner for strawberries.
Slice and macerate the strawberries in a bare sprinkle of sugar and a drop or two of balsamic, and they will be glossy and sweet and with just enough acid to counter the rich cream.

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The American approach is to make shortcakes – close relatives of the scone, but with a good deal more butter in them, and slightly more sweetened. Like scones, they get their rise from baking powder, and the liquid and dry ingredients are combined at the last stage, and the dough mixed just enough to come together. With the extra fat, they get extra tenderness and richness, so they are bit more protected from overhanding than a regular scone (good news when it comes to toddler-assisted baking!).

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Behind the recipe

There are two levels of why this works. First, the shortcake itself should be barely sweet, a little crumbly, crisp on top and light inside. These contrasts are part of what makes it work. Butter, or in some recipes, cream, coats the flour and gives that crumbly texture, that’s also rich. The baking powder lifts the whole thing up and creates that fluffy, open texture. A high oven temperature gives a nice rise and gets the tops a little brown and crisped. Using an egg helps keep the whole thing together and stops it getting too crumbly, so it will still hold up to being spread with cream, jam and fruit.

The other reason it works is because, in the final assembly, you are putting together lots of exciting contrasts. What makes a dish satisfying is often lots of changes of flavour and texture. They give you the feeling that each mouthful is different, and fool your brain into trying a bit more. Here, the bland, rich shortcake is set against the cool, thick cream and the sweet-sharp acid of the strawberries. Adding a drop or two of vinegar to the strawberries enhances that sharpness, which makes the contrast with the cream more interesting. The crisp and crumbly textures of the shortcake contrast with the smooth, rich feel of the cream, and the soft resistance of the berries.

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RECIPE: Strawberry Shortcakes

adapted from Nigella Lawson in How to be a Domestic Goddess

I adapted this recipe to use the Thermomix or a food processor, rather than the Nigella method, which involved grating the frozen butter. For the original, handmade approach, use Nigella’s link above.
I also converted it to use double cream in place of single, as you are likely to buy some anyway to serve with the strawberries. But single cream or a mixture of cream and milk, would also work fine.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients

  • 325g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, cold from the fridge
  • 1 large egg
  • 125ml double or whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/400F.
  2. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar to the bowl of the processor. Add the butter in chunks.
  3. Pulse the processor /Thermomix until the butter is cut into chunks no larger than peas (I took mine further, until more like breadcrumbs, and they turned out fine).
  4. Beat the cream with the egg, and add almost all of it to the flour - leave a couple of tablespoons of mixture in the cup. Mix gently together with a spatula until all patches of loose flour have disappeared. It’s easier to do this in a separate bowl, but I usually can’t be bothered, and just do it in the Thermomix bowl, working around the blade. If it seems too dry, add a little more liquid. If you can, keep some back to glaze the shortcakes with.
  5. Turn the shaggy, crumbly dough out onto a floured work surface. Fold it over on itself a few times, scraping up the loose and crumbly bits,  until it starts to form a single piece of dough. Using a rolling pin or your hands, flatten it out to about 2 cm thick, and cut into shapes, either using cutters or just dividing it into squares. I think those using cutters tend to rise better. Re-roll the scraps to use up the dough.
  6. Place the shortcakes on a lined baking tray. Brush with any remaining egg and cream mixture (add a splash more cream if there’s not enough). Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden on top.
  7. Allow to cool, but they are good served warm.
  8. To serve:
  9. Wash, hull and slice strawberries. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of sugar, and add a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar. Leave to macerate for 30 minutes or so.
  10. Whisk double cream until it holds a trail from the whisk (or use whole fat creme fraiche or clotted cream, which didn’t need whisking).
  11. Slice open the shortcakes, and pile on the strawberries and cream just before serving.
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Further reading

Claire Ptak’s recipe for shortcakes with apricots – another sweet-tart fruit that works well with cream and crumbly shortcakes.
The secret to James Beard’s mother’s shortcakes is supposedly a grated hard-cooked egg yolk!
Ruth Reichl’s strawberry shortcake recipe is very simple – just flour, baking powder and cream.

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STRAWBERRYSHORTCAKE

 

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Sunday food links – 19 June 2016

Part 2 of #reasonstobecheerful : roses. This climbing rose in my garden is spilling over with blossom at the moment, and smells amazing. If you're in the UK there's sure to be one near you too - if not in a garden, then in a park or garden you can visit.

Welcome to the new Using Mainly Spoons! After a bit of technical fiddling around with all the settings today, I am now moved over onto a self-hosted WordPress platform, which means a fresh new theme, and hopefully some new functionality. Although there shouldn’t be much noticeable difference, apart from the look and feel, this means I will have a lot more control over things like the ads that appear here, and I’ll hopefully be able to do some more interesting things with the blog layout in future. It’s been a bit daunting to get to this point, but I’m glad to have made the switch, and I’m looking forward to trying out the new plugins and seeing what additional things I can do with them.

This week was our return from holiday, back to work on Wednesday. As the Co-Parent was travelling, it also meant lots of lovely meals from Mum and Dad, who came up to stay with us. So a very easy return to work for me!

We returned to a strawberry patch overflowing with fruit, so there will be more on things to do with strawberries coming up. It’s nice to be at that point in the year when days are getting reliably warmer – if not sunnier – and the cherries and strawberries come in. I’m not the only one who was left feeling saddened and disheartened by the news this week (I wrote about this on Instagram) My solution has been to try and find the positive things in each day, even little things. To fight the hate with love, with the good things that we can achieve and enjoy together. And one of those things is roses, like the one above. They seem to be having a spectacular year, and a proper lungful of real roses is a marvellous thing.

Recipes:

  • Lamb kofte from Delicious Magazine’s June issue – with tomato and yoghurt sauces and rice (inspired by the yogurtlu kebab we used to have at Efes in Cambridge)
  • Strawberry Shortcakes – from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess
  • Barbecue chicken – sauce from Dinner: A Love Story – marinaded and then baked in the oven. Served once with new potatoes, and again as tacos with avocado and black beans

Without a recipe:

  • Fish curry – Haddock, flat beans, tomatoes, new potatoes in a Spice Tailor pre-made sauce
  • Mum’s lasagne

Reading:

Sunday food links – 12 June 2016

#lovecornwall #makelightessentials

This week we have been on holiday in Cornwall. Like a fool, I packed based on the chilly, grey London that we had the previous week, all layers and thin jumpers, opaque tights and jeans. And we’ve had a glorious week of mainly sunshine, with a few stints of thin cloud. It’s being wrong for all the right reasons.

We’ve been taking full advantage of this lovely spot on the Cornish coast by playgrounding, exploring, chilling, reading, eating, ice-creaming and generally being as lazy as you can get away with when you have a two year old.

In the quiet bits, I’ve been occupying myself with readying this blog for a move to a self-hosted site (watch this space), reading blogs and ‘The Essex Serpent’ and more experimenting with my bullet journal (for which I also bought some new coloured pens – yay!)

Obviously a week of being catered for means no cooking, but we’re back to usual next week.

Recipes/without a recipe:

None of that – on holiday!

Reading:

In addition to The Essex Serpent, and various bullet journal posts: