Friday food links – 17 April 2015

Magnolias everywhere

My last week of maternity leave has now come to an end. I’ve had a brilliant year, but I think the time is right to go back to work, and I’m confident Ellie is going to learn a lot at nursery that I would struggle to offer at home. So there has been a type of reverse nesting this week, preparing to re-emerge into the working world. This involves: a) panicking about being able to get everything done, get E to bed and still manage to get some dinner on the table (answer: buy a slow cooker); and b) very belatedly getting around to all sorts of jobs that require someone at home (sofa to charity – tick!). Fortunately, there has also been a bit of time to enjoy the sun, and do a little gardening.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Steak and wedges
  • Chicken risotto in the oven

Reading:

Friday food links – 10 Apr 2015

Yesterday's no knead bread, this morning's toast.

I’m now into the last two weeks of maternity leave, so this has been a week of firsts, lasts and letting go gradually. I am going back to work three days a week, so there will still be time for swimming lessons, walking to the park to see the ducks, and just lazing around on the living room rug. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that that our lives will necessarily be more planned and regimented from now on. Getting us both dressed and out the door for 7:30am, getting dinner on the table for us both, and organising shopping and deliveries will all be more challenging from now on. Considering a slow cooker, but also knowing that this is not a magic solution.

Fortunately, our last full week of freedom has been warm and sunny. We bought new shoes, went to Kew to see the magnolias in full bloom, rode around the supermarket in the trolley, and played on the swings in the park. The biggest hit with E for dinner (and lunch) was a very mild chicken curry with lentils and cauliflower. She’s been sucking it off bread, eating it by the spoonful and even getting her hands in the bowl and shovelling it in with her fingers. Our sea bass, potatoes and broccoli were summarily rejected in favour of more curry. I’ve also been hunting for some more prepare-ahead baby-led weaning options for when my preparation and imagination fail me (and pinning things I find here). Food52’s Cooking for Clara column is a good one – I made these baked beans this week.

Recipes:
* Earl Grey and Honey tea loaf – Justin Gellatly’s Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding
* Moroccan carrot salad – Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite
* Baked beans – Food 52
* Chicken stir-fry and broccoli with ginger – Fuschia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice (a library one this, but I think I may have to buy it myself – see also Sassy Radish on this book).
* Chicken Adobado – Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made Simple
* Banana cake for First birthday monkey cake in a couple of weeks – Smitten Kitchen recipe

Without a recipe:
* Chicken stock
* Chicken curry, loosely from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook
* Saucy Fish sea bass, with new potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli
* Burgers and wedges

Reading:
* This piece on food in Homer, Alaska is a wonderful piece of writing, and is nominated for a James Beard journalism award (via Orangette)
* Apparently merveilleux are the new macarons
* Baking a cake for the first time can be daunting – here a cook (but not a baker) shares her worries
* The head chef at Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi restaurant left to be a school cook – inspiring stuff.
* Lots of sweet recipes appearing over Easter: carrot graham layer cake (graham crackers are more or less digestive biscuits); Ottolenghi on chocolate; Diana Henry on pistachios
* Lizzie at Hollow Legs has a new book out on Asian cooking – she lists her 5 essential ingredients here. (I must make another trip to Chinatown soon).

Friday food links – 3 April 2015

Spring in full swing in somerset #nofilter

This week should have seen the emergence of Spring in the UK – it’s April, it’s Easter, it’s time. But it’s been very windy, and wet, and generally shown very few glimpses of a better time ahead (that photo above is an exception). Combined with still recuperating from illness, and retreating to Somerset to do so, this has been a bit of a slow food week.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Me – mostly not cooking anything, but from my mum, pork spare rib chops, whiting with a herb crust, salmon biryani and pasta

Reading:

Friday food links – 27 Mar 2015

Cake! A @konditor_and_cook coffee and walnut cake.

This week’s food has been anchored around Sunday’s roast chicken. Having acquired a gruesome cold from my daughter, I had very little energy, so did no more than throw a bit of salt on it and put it into a hot oven for half an hour. I added potatoes and some chunks of sweet potato when I turned the oven down, and roasted for another hour. The bones were cooked for stock on Tuesday, and the cold chicken made into curry, and then fried rice. We’ve also been snacking all week on the coffee and walnut cake I made from the Konditor & Cook book – pictured above. Unfortunately, I’ve completely lost my sense of taste and smell with this cold, so I have no idea if it tastes of coffee or not!

Recipes:

  • Coffee and Walnut cake – Konditor and Cook (above)
  • Hot Cross Buns (again) – this time with fruit!
  • Tarka Dal – Diana Henry’s Change of Appetite

Without a recipe:

  • Roast chicken with potatoes and broccoli
  • Chicken stock
  • Chicken and mushroom korma (Spice Tailor)
  • Charlie Bigham lasagne
  • Chicken and egg fried rice with broccoli and spinach
  • Fish curry (from the freezer)

Reading:

Friday food links – 20 Mar 2015



We’ve been living in a plague house this week. Little E became ill on Sunday, and we’ve both had milder versions of her symptoms. As it happened, we were supposed to be on holiday this week, so while we had to cancel going away, it did mean we could both be around to look after her.
So comfort food has been the order of the week: lots of eggs and potatoes in various forms.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Takeaway Byron burgers :-)
  • Cod with potatoes, leeks and fennel, a bit inspired by @bartsfishtales on Instagram
  • Bubble and squeak

Reading:

Friday food links – 13 Feb 2015

Cow pie for dinner. @RosieRamsden recipe, @breadahead puff pastry.

Excited to have got my hands on the new James Morton book, ‘How Baking Works‘. This feels like the book I should have written, so very interested to see what he has to say. I also cleared out my cupboards a bit (with a little help from my mum) and unearthed an ancient tin of condensed milk (which can’t go off, right?). This prompted me to make a Dan Lepard chocolate cake, and a tin of no-boil fudge. Unfortunately, the oven decided to break while I was baking the cake, meaning I baked it for twice as long as I should have, the first stint at a very low temperature. So I’ve ended up with something much drier than it should be, and singed around the edges for good measure. It’s a testament to Dan’s recipe that it tastes good nonetheless.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Sausage pasta
  • Chicken burritos
  • Parsnip risotto (from the freezer)
  • Fish curry (with Spice Tailor sauce)

Reading this week:

Friday food links – 6 Mar 2015

Snowdrops

This week has shown a hint of Spring. Sunny days have brought out crocuses, daffodils and the first spikes of tulip leaves. The wind is still cold, but at least it shows that things are moving in the right direction. I’ve once again been spoilt by my mum’s cooking all week, so not much to update on for my cooking. We’re trying Five O’Clock Apron’s Chicken Shawarma for dinner tonight.

Meanwhile, I have a day off from being a mum, and I’m very excited to be heading to Bread Ahead’s cooking school at Borough Market for a day all about pastry. I’m hoping to get comfortable with pastry again. Lately it seems like my shortcrust always shrinks, my choux generally comes out lumpy and under-inflated, and there’s never time for flaky pastry or puff.

Reading this week: