January 30, 2015 §
There has been a lot of simple without-a-recipe cooking this week, coinciding with a more concerted attempt to make proper meals for the little madam, as opposed to just assembling random bits on the fly. A roast chicken at the start of the week provided leftovers for two more meals, and the bones went into the freezer to make stock another day. It’s looking like it will be cold here this weekend, so I’m glad I’ve got some thick slices of beef shin in the fridge to braise slowly and shred into unctuous ragu.
Without a recipe:
- Slow-roast chicken, roast potatoes in the same pan, broccoli and cauliflower cheese
- Pasta with tomato sauce and chicken
- Fried rice with chicken and vegetables
- Sausages, potatoes and sweet potato, red onions roasted together
- Fish parcels with sea bream, leeks and potatoes
Reading this week:
- The Economist publishes an annual guide to the relative value of currencies, based on the price of a Big Mac around the world. They have coined the term ‘burgernomics’ for this exercise, and they’ve really gone to town with the food-based adjectives and puns in this year’s article.
- Food52 acknowledges something that should be more common – the ‘perfect’ version of a given dish is very subjective. So they give you a guide to creating your favourite brownie, whether your idea of perfect is fudgey, cakey or chewy.
- The Serious Eats Food Lab comes up regularly in these links, for their forensic approach to getting a dish right, and their interest in the nuts-and-bolts of food science. This article on recreating the perfect McDonald’s-style fries is a great example.
- It’s a common observation (and one that Eddie Izzard has views on) that pears are ripe for a frustratingly short window. When they’re good, they’re excellent – when bad, they can be tasteless, gritty, floury. The Awl takes apart the pear and how to make the best of it. It’s based on US varieties – I’ve never seen a Seckel pear here – but there is some overlap.
- How-to videos are one of the great assets of the internet, and great for teaching cooking techniques. Here is a simple video on the best way to de-seed and chop a pepper. For more on these sort of simple techniques, the NY Times has a series on basic techniques, and Poires au Chocolat has a good set on baking foundations.
- And some baking inspiration for the weekend (in addition to the marmalade cake above):
January 23, 2015 §
Winter is really here now. I think it took its time arriving, but there’s no real doubt now. Even in our sheltered corner, there’s thick frost on the ground each morning. I’m thankful there’s no snow though – we’re not equipped for it!
Recipes from this week:
Cooking without a recipe:
- Chicken curry (Spice Tailor sauce) and dal
- Pasta and sauce
And this week’s reading (which includes tidying up some old articles too):
January 16, 2015 §
A bit of a bleak week – rain battering on the skylights at night, cold winds whistling around the pushchair in the day. Highlights included a first run with my proving baskets from Bakery Bits (above), and some nice veg-centred cooking, including soup, roast vegetable salad, and tacos.
This week’s reading:
January 9, 2015 §
This week means back to normality – Other Half back to work, and baby and I return to our classes and what passes for a routine around here. This weeks’s cooking has necessarily been a bit less ambitious than last week, when there was more help around. I’m starting to perfect the art of a dinner that I can get started while her Dad settles her, and that will coast to a finish without me when I tag in.
Some of the things we’ve been eating in the last two weeks include:
Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs from Dinner: A Love Story
Diana Henry, A Change of Appetite – Tarka Dal
Sabrina Ghayour, Persiana- Spice-perfumed shoulder of lamb
Niamh Shields – pork & prawn patties
Nigella Lawson, How to Eat – roast topside of beef, eaten in sourdough sandwiches
David Tanis, One Good Dish – Very green fish stew
New York Times – Cabbage & potato gratin
Without a recipe:
Risotto with grilled chicken & roasted veg
Burrito bowl with rice, black beans, sweetcorn, avocado and leftover beef.
Mushroom & pancetta pasta
Endive, orange & walnut salad
Batch of Green Kitchen Stories Banana granola
Using up the last of the mincemeat with Poires au Chocolat Mincemeat Squares
In other reading:
- Sweet potatoes with everything at the moment:
- Talking different kinds of sense about ‘detox diets':
December 27, 2014 §
In place of the usual list of weekly reading (and because I haven’t read much this week), here are a few links to articles I’ve really enjoyed this year. Some are food-related and some are not. I hope you had a good Christmas, and enjoy the New Year.
- The ‘Busy’ Trap (NY Times) and In Search of Lost Time (The Economist) – two complementary pieces about stepping back from being always busy, and where this busy pressure comes from.
- The History Cook (FT Weekend) – historical Christmas food with food historian Ivan Day
- Why I’ll Never Cook Again (Cafe.com) – on cooking for others, and expecting too much, rather than cooking for yourself. This provoked a series of really interesting blog posts on other food blogs as well.
- A Foodie Repents (The New Yorker) – John Lanchester gets fed up with the cult of the foodie
- My newborn son, 4 billion years old (The Telegraph) – a lovely piece of science writing, giving a twist to the adoring new father genre.
- How did toast become a food craze? – yes, San Francisco has a hipster toast craze, but the story behind it is much more interesting than you might think, and includes a remarkable woman who started a cafe to save her own mental health.
- The Overprotected Kid (The Atlantic) – how kids play and how some are trying to re-introduce a little risk
- Why I am leaving the best job I ever had – a entrepreneur and CEO decides to step back and gives a frank and interesting explanation of why.
- More than 60 years after one summer together, a profession of undying love (Boston Globe) – a very sweet story of sweethearts who never really got together, until they were both retired.
December 19, 2014 §
Wow, that week went fast. I think I am done with Christmas shopping, but I always find that as soon as you declare that, you think of one more thing you haven’t got. I’m waiting for that shoe to drop. I still haven’t baked all the biscuits I made dough for last week, but I’m hoping to crack that this weekend. I did get to go to Borough Market today (see photo), and that explains why I now have two Bread Ahead doughnuts in me. So. Much. Custard.
Have a very Happy Christmas. Next week, I am going to round up some of my favourite long articles from the year.