Sunday food links – 18 September 2016

Hard to get tired of this view. Love the way the sunshine is picking out the dome of St Paul's this afternoon

It seems as though we’ve walked through the looking glass this week, taking a single step that goes directly from summer to autumn. Going from 30C temperatures to grey and raining, with a dose of the flu, has been a bit of a shock to the system. And this week has had both seasons: still-ripe tomatoes on grilled bread, and then apple sauce with the first of the apples from the tree. Ice lollies from the freezer; and then bookmarking butternut squash soup recipes.

I am doing my best to embrace autumn, but the flu is making that a struggle. Still, I’ve been bookmarking some autumnal recipes, finally going back to finish the glorious Essex Serpent, and assembling some colder weather clothes for my autumn wardrobe. But I’d rather have the golden mists-and-mellow-fruitfellness version than the leaden sky one, all the same.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Fish and oven chips and peas
  • Firezza delivery pizza
  • Pasta with ragu from the freezer
  • Scrambled eggs on toast

Reading:

 

Sunday food links – 11 September 2016

So pretty... #eclairs #maitrechoux

This week I returned to three days a week at work after a temporary period at four days. This would have returned a bit of sanity and order to the house, were it not for the fact that I used my first free Tuesday in months to get E a vaccine booster, and then spent the next two days at home with her with a temperature…

Still, I did manage to finally put up my post about baking and substituting yoghurt and other dairy products – I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And I (rather embarrasingly) found a hidden corner of my WordPress dashboard with a stack of messages in, including my first offer of a cookbook for review! So I’m working some book posts to include this – watch this space.

It was a fairly frugal week in meals. The roast chicken with new potatoes and broccoli from Saturday night reappeared several times, with the leftover chicken made into Monday night curry, and the vegetables recycled in pasta and a tortilla. The sausages cooked with beans in the slow cooker on Wednesday covered most of the rest of the week. Pizza on Friday is always a good way to use up little odds and ends of things: in this case, half a courgette and a wrinkled box of mushrooms were part of the toppings. The counterbalance to this frugality was fillets of beautiful lemon sole I bought at a the South Kensington fishmongers, Moxon’s, on Tuesday when we were visiting the Natural History Museum. Oh, and those eclairs…

Recipes:

  • Tartine sourdough pizza from Tartine Bread – with courgette, mushrooms, mozzarella and Serrano ham
  • Slow Cooker cassoulet (really just sausage and beans) – from Slow Cooked
  • Chicken and sweet potato curry – from Diana Henry’s A Bird in the Hand

Without A Recipe:

Reading:

Sunday food links – 4 September 2016

Tartine country bread - version 1

I have sparked my sourdough starter back to life this week, prompted by my re-starting Michael Pollan’s ‘Cooked’, and getting to the Air chapter, which documents learning to make sourdough bread. That co-incided with an article on sourdough starters in my new Saveur magazine, and also prompted me to seek out the episode of Cooked on Netflix, and to finally buy Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread.

All of that means that the weekend schedule included sourdough pizza on Friday night, wholewheat sourdough waffles (from a recipe in Saveur) on Saturday morning, and a first attempt at Chad Robertson’s Country Bread (using the NYT recipe, as I impatiently waited for my copy of the book to arrive.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Grilled chicken with stir-fried beans and noodles
  • Vegetable bake – layered roasted tomatoes, courgettes and peppers, topped with mozzarella and breadcrumbs
  • Roast chicken, boiled new potatoes, romanesco broccoli with parmesan

Reading:

Sunday food links – 28 August 2016

River cafe lunch

Every year, we decide we really shouldn’t go away in August, when everyone else is holidaying – everywhere will be so crowded, it will be too hot, we should make the most of *not* having to stick to school holidays. And every year I feel a bit jealous of those Facebook photos of poolsides or terraces in France and Italy and Greece. And I feel a bit in need of some sunshine and a pool.

So we chose a lucky week for a staycation, with the weather hotter and sunnier than it has been almost all summer. We pretended to be in Italy with lunch at the River Cafe. We refilled the paddling pool in the garden, and dipped our feet in to relieve the heat. And I cooked with apricots, and mulberries and tomatoes, trying to capture the warmth of summer while it’s still here.

I’m already looking forward to autumn though – my favourite season – and enjoying the day-by-day changes that make ‘seasonal eating’ so obvious at the moment: the tomatoes going over, the blackberries ripening in the hedges, the apples getting redder, the mulberries splattering on the ground.

Recipes:

  • Apricot and Almond Custard Tart – from Nutmegs, Seven – absolutely delicious and brilliantly easy. If you have apricots, nectarines or plums nearby, make this now.
  • Pasta with bacon, corn and tomatoes – from Smitten Kitchen
  • Mulberry Jam – from Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking. I made this with foraged mulberries from Boston Manor Park. Lessons from making mulberry jam for the first time? Push them through a food mill first! Otherwise they stay whole, leave lots of seeds in the jam, and don’t really release enough pectin. Let’s hope I can get hold of some more to try again before next year!

Without a recipe:

  • Pizza – with peppers, sweetcorn, mozzarella
  • Quesadillas
  • Leftover improvised chicken curry, with leftover dhal

Reading:

Sunday food links – 21 August 2016

Nectarine almond tart

The haphazard nature of this week’s meals is a good indication that this week’s meal plan didn’t really come together. Still, I’ve been working on getting myself a bit more organised, and this week’s staycation should give me a chance to get a bit ahead on that front.

We have been making the most of the stone fruit, a really lovely Charentais melon, and lots of tomatoes (even a small handful from the garden).

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Nectarine almond tart – using up the last of the almond cream
  • Roast chicken, with a loosely interpreted Zuni bread salad, featuring spinach and currants
  • Bought fish pie for us, fish fingers and chips for E, peas and corn on the cob
  • Grilled chicken, marinated in lemon, yoghurt, garlic and sumac – with hummus, pita bread.
  • Burrito bowls – leftover pork and beans, roasted tomatoes and courgettes, leftover avocado, corn on the cob
  • Sausages, roasted courgette and tomato salad with freekeh, bread rolls
  • Tomato pasta

Reading:

I have become increasingly interested (some might say obsessed, ahem) with getting myself organised. This mostly consists of using my bullet journal to put a bit more thought into what I plan to do each day. As I’ve nearly filled up journal #1, I’ve been reflecting on what has worked and what to change as I start joiurnal #2.

In this vein, I’ve got a lot from the following books, articles and podcasts in the last few weeks:

Sunday food links – 14 August 2016


I went for my first run in a couple of weeks this morning, and coming past the mulberry trees in the park, noticed there were a lot of ripe ones, which was enough to make me adjust the route to double back and pick them at the end.

A few minutes and many stained fingers later, I hve a very small bag of mulberries. I don’t have much time to deal with them today, so other than snacking on a few, I will freeze them, and hope to  make jam with them when I have picked some more in a few days.

My Riverford delivery this week contained tomatillos, sweetcorn and coriander, and sparked a few Mexican-inspired meals. A wahaca meal kit to make chipotle roast chicken pieces, with tomatillo salsa and sweetcorn; and then smitten kitchen carnitas, in the slow cooker, with the leftover salsa and pinto beans.

Recipes:

  • Apricot tart – for French potluck lunch at work – a hybrid recipe of Bread Ahead shortcrust pastry + Richard Bertinet almond cream + quartered Natoora French apricots, all baked and then glazed with a little apricot jam and honey
  • Wahaca tomato and smoky chipotle taco meal kit – more about them here
  • Homesick Texan carnitas, via Smitten Kitchen
  • Green beans with freekeh and tahini – from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More
  • Milk bread – my recipe here
  • Justin Gellatly sourdough – Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding
  • Slow-roasted carrots – Five O’Clock Apron

Without a recipe:

  • Chicken stir fry with sugar snap peas and pointed cabbage
  • Lamb kofte (from freezer) with rice, yoghurt and slow-roast carrots (above)
  • Burgers with tomato salad, green bean salad (above) and roast carrots
  • Spinach and ricotta cannelloni (from the freezer)

Reading:

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Sunday food links – 7 August 2016

This was one of those weeks where it was tempting to do nothing but grumble about the British summer: grey skies, occasional rain, and only the warmer nights and Summer-holiday-quiet London commute to remind you that this is August and not April.

But summer definitely returned this weekend, and we made the most of it, with tomato salads, ice-cream cones and meals outside.

Recipes:

  • Pork shoulder ragu from Dinner: A Love Story with homemade tagliatelle (Sunday night dinner)
  • Gateau au yaourt with lemon – Chocolate and Zucchini
  • Anna Jones: Sweet potato quinoa bowls – liberally adapted this, keeping the sweet potato, coconut cream and chickpeas, but adding in shredded cold roast chicken and chicken gravy with shredded cabbage as the greens. No need for quinoa or rice – just a bit of naan on the side to dip into the coconut sauce. One of my favourite templates for a weeknight dinner – this was on the dinner in about 10 minutes.

Without a recipe:

  • Tacos: shredded pork, avocado, creme fraiche, lettuce, cheese
  • Pork ragu and pasta
  • Chicken curry – leftover roast chicken + Spice Tailor sauce + boiled potatoes, cherry toms and peas

Reading:

 

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: