Friday food links – 31 July 2015

Weekday cooking - bread and roasted mushroom base

It feels like I’m complaining about sickness here every other week. I suppose that is the lot of parents to a toddler at nursery – there’s always a new bug being incubated somewhere in the family. This week, although E has been coughing and teething, I seem to be the one carrying the infection, very nearly losing my voice the last couple of days. This sickness led me to cancel our Sunday lunch plans last weekend, which also means that eating this week has been shaped by the leftovers we should have eaten with friends that day. So the fridge started the week loaded with cold roast chicken, baba ganoush, cooked chickpeas, and some little vegan chocolate puddings.

This wealth of resources is both a blessing and a curse. It makes meals easy to put together, but it also tempts you to skip planning things altogether, and as the week goes on, it gets harder and harder to put together useful combinations. So I tried this week to deliberately take each meal in a different direction to avoid the feeling that we were eating the same things over and over again.


  • Smoky roast chicken, from Donna Hay in a recent Waitrose magazine
  • Vegan chocolate pudding – there are lots of versions of this pudding, made by blending sugar syrup, silken tofu and melted chocolate together. I used this New York Times version. I made this as a gluten-free, dairy-free dessert, but it is really worth trying even if you have no dietary restrictions. It’s just a deeply chocolately, super-smooth pudding, that sets with a perfect texture. Make sure you get silken tofu though – you won’t get the right texture with a firmer pressed tofu. I used this Clearspring one.
  • Baba Ganoush – loosely from a David Tanis recipe
  • Roasted mushroom base – from Martha Rose Shulman in the NY Times
  • Slightly adapted Riverford recipe box gnocchi with chicken, red pesto and spinach

Without a recipe:

  • A mushroom bolognese, using the roasted mushroom base (above) cooked with an onion, a carrot, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some chicken stock and red lentils.
  • A loaf of bread
  • A Vietnamese-style chicken salad, with the peanut dressing from this recipe (which I found a bit too salty and sour)
  • Chicken curry with chickpeas and butternut squash (using a Thermomix recipe for balti paste)
  • Chicken fried rice with sweetcorn and cabbage, and with green stir-fry sauce mixed in
  • Chicken stock in the slow cooker


Updated: I’ve just noticed that, as of the time of writing (Friday evening) Justin Gellatly’s excellent book Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding is on Amazon for only £4. So if you’re at all a serious baker, and you don’t already have this one, dash over there and get it

Friday food links – 24 July 2015

The final birthday baguettes - slashing got a bit better (left to right). Good flavour though.

Lots to cover this week, but no time, so let’s do this in bullets:

The good:

  • My birthday: a day of great food: I baked the baguette dough that had been gestating for 3 days in the fridge and we ate it with cheese, salami, prosciutto and salads. My mum made a cake. And we had a shed-painting party. A dinner out and a first trip to the cinema in about 18 months.
  • Time with family and with E

The bad:

  • A week of sickness: little E spent the weekend careering around and bumped her head about 6 times. She then got a temperature overnight on Tuesday, and spent the rest of the week out of nursery. Lots of sadness :-(
  • A bit of a lack of meal planning, which combined with the unexpected sickness and unexpected (although very welcome) extra house guests (my parents, looking after E) to mean a bit of a random week of meals.

Some firsts:

  • I restarted running – 3 run/walks this week (using the couch to 5k app). Doing the timed runs interspersed with walks is a much more enjoyable way to start for me than just running slowly.
  • I ordered a Riverford recipe box for the first time. Although this ended up not being a great week to try it out, the one recipe we’ve tried so far has been good.


Without a recipe:

  • Lasagne with pork mince bolognese
  • Spice Tailor chicken curry, with tomato dal from the freezer

Reading – no real time this week, but what time i have had has been making progress on the Ed Catmull book Creativity Inc – highly recommended.

Friday food links – 17 July 2015

So, I didn't have pine nuts, or yoghurt, and I cooked it in a pan ... but this is definitely still @rrfoodstyle Cauli salad with sultanas 😊

Today rather got away from me, so this one will be short and sweet, before I turn into a pumpkin. The week has been full of leftovers of various kinds – but the good sort of leftovers. Tomorrow is my birthday, so the fridge is now stacked with lots of edible goodies: baguette dough to bake tomorrow morning, St Jude cheese from Neal’s Yard, a joint of pork, and another of beef, prosciutto, peaches, cherries and apricots. So with any luck, next week we’ll have amazing leftovers too.


Without a recipe:

  • Lamb stuffed into pittas with red cabbage salad and hummus
  • Oven fish and chips
  • Meatballs (from the freezer) with roasted cherry tomatoes and tomato sauce over pasta
  • New potato salad with mint


Friday food links – 10 July 2015

I continue to be impressed by this NYT white bread / pain de mie. Almost brioche-buttery.

I’ve been chasing my tail a little this week. Nothing much has been planned more than a few hours ahead. A few nights of pasta, quite a lot of things have been wrapped in tortillas. But other than a slight shortage of vegetables, this is a good pattern for summer cooking. Nothing heated for too long, lots of tomatoes, things eaten with fingers. It feels just right for when you’re eating dinner barefoot, with the back doors open and the tennis on.


  • Pasta with broccoli and peas, loosely from the Five O’Clock Apron Broccoli Pesto recipe

Cooking without a recipe:

  • Pizza
  • Breaded chicken with roasted tomato and pepper pasta
  • Lamb kebabs from the freezer, in wraps with hummus and salad
  • Roast chicken
  • Burritos with black beans, avocado and chicken


Friday food links – 3 July 2015

Salad for dinner. Yes, it has chicken, bacon and egg in, but still a salad!

It has been a hot and sunny week in London, a heatwave in English-weather-speak. A taste of living in a different climate, and a chance to try out those holiday eating rhythms at home, or to pretend we live in the Hamptons, or Santa Monica, or Italy. Lots of tomatoes and cucumber. Watermelon. Avocado. Ice cream or lollies for desserts. Some grilled meat, but nothing needing the oven. For once, it’s a relief to relax into the wather, knowing that it’s not going away tomorrow, and to feel that the ice-cream stash in the freezer is justified (for once).


Without a recipe:

  • Chopped cucumber and tomato salad
  • Tacos with black beans, leftover pulled pork and avocado
  • Meatballs (from the freezer) with tomato sauce over pasta
  • A big Cobb salad, or something approximating it (see photo above)


Friday food links – 26 June 2015

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Somerset...

We have been something of a plague house this week, with all three of us getting ill in quick succession. So we haven’t been paying much attention to food at all.


  • Sunday lunch of pulled pork, white buns, Yotam Ottolenghi corn slaw (from Plenty More) and tomato salad
  • Tiny strawberry cream scones, strawberry conserve, whipped cream, crushed meringues

Without a recipe:

  • Invalid food – peanut butter sandwiches, lots of toast, 
  • Leftover pork tacos
  • Salad with lettuce from the garden


Friday food links – 19 June 2015

The view from here #nofilter

We’ve been away in Cornwall all week, so there has been no cooking for me since Saturday. We’ve been in Mawgan Porth, stopping off in Somerset on the way down. The weather has been largely sunny, and we’ve done lots of toddler-friendly activities, including time on the beach, and walking around a boating lake, waving at the ducks. It’s been nice to be waited on, cooked for, and cleaned up after for a few days.


  • approximately a Nigella spatchcocked chicken with lemon and rosemary from Forever Summer, with diced, roasted potatoes, green beans and carrots

Without a recipe:

  • Mushroom and tomato pasta, using up the last of the Jennifer Perillo mushroom bolognese.

Other things we’ve been eating:

  • a really nice asparagus soup and Caesar salad at the Salutation Inn in Topsham, near Exeter
  • Slow-roasted duck with pommes Anna and wet garlic at Bedruthan Steps hotel
  • Mackerel crudo with grapefruit at Riverford Field Kitchen
  • a lot of clotted cream :-)