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.
- Filo Pie (or Phyllo) with a Chard Borek filling from Five O’Clock Apron (pictured above) – this is a bit of genius: a method of lining a (well-buttered) Bundt tin with haphazard pieces of filo pastry, adding a filling and folding the edges over the top. (This video explains the construction really well). Much easier than making little parcels, and just as tasty.
- Beef and red pepper burgers – BBC Good Food for June
- Broad bean salad with pancetta – by Helen Graves
- Nigel Slater’s Chicken with rice, substituting tenderstem broccoli for asparagus – from Kitchen Diaries II
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
- Claire Ptak’s luscious cherry recipes, including a cherry cream cake that’s a serious candidate for next weekend’s birthday cake (or one of them 🙂
- The Centre for London publishes a series called London Essays, and the last one was on food. Two standouts from this collection: Bee Wilson’s piece, ‘No More Daily Bread’ on the loss of a common food culture in London, and Ben Rogers on Why London needs a Royal College of Food.
- A Sweet for Eid – this piece about mamool cookies, sweet pastries stuffed with dates eaten for Eid and other celebrations, is rather lovely, and reminded me of another piece about this that featured in Saveur some time ago. Both make me want to seek out these moulds and make some myself.
- Over lunch at the Symposium today, we discussed the difficulties in finding gooseberries in the shops, despite them being a thoroughly English ingredient. It might be worth seeking some out for this Gooseberry and Sage Rye Foccacia, from the Guild of Food Writers’ blog of the year, Nutmegs, Seven.
- The New York Times compares what nutritionists think is healthy with what the public thinks (the big outliers are granola and sushi)