This week has confirmed that October is the month where proper autumn turns up. My kitchen thoughts start to turn to slowly cooked tomato sauce, pasta bakes and risottos, apple cake and crumble. I should start thinking about making Christmas cake as well, although I’m not quite ready for that. I’m still clinging on, if not to summer, then to the warmth of early autumn, partly by buying yellow shoes…
- Pannellets – gluten-free Catalan almond pastries made with sweet potato, almonds and sugar, and coated with pine nuts, along with…
- Tartine’s Country Bread, both for a Spanish potluck lunch at work
- Marcella Hazan tomato sauce
Without a recipe:
- Beef stir fry with broccoli and runner beans
- Butternut squash risotto
- As promised last week, a vegetable tart using leftover olive oil pastry
- And a bakewell tart traybake with Nigella’s butter biscuit dough as the base.
- Meatballs from the freezer, with tomato sauce and pasta
- Apple crumble, using the most damaged apples from our tree
Finally finished The Essex Serpent – oof, it’s good. In fact, I’m quite tempted to go straight back to the start and read it again. So many brilliant turns of phrase. It has nuanced, human characters – men and women, and a way of writing sections that feel like they hover over the characters, telling you what everyone is doing at that moment in time, that felt very Under Milk Wood. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Victorian novel, go and seek it out now.
On a more practical note:
- When you don’t think you have anything you can write about, note Niamh Shield’s evocative recipe for cheesy scrambled eggs (don’t you want to dash straight to the kitchen to make it?); and David Lebovitz writing about cold toast (I was going to say “on cold toast”, but that didn’t sound quite right…). Thom Eagle’s ‘Meagre Bread’ sounds anything but, using warm chickpea puree to kickstart the rise, which has to be tried.
- I was reminded of a chapter in The Food Lab this week. By which I mean I’ve been reading about pasta bakes, especially this one by Smitten Kitchen, and thinking that somewhere I read about soaking pasta instead of boiling it. And Kenji Lopez-Alt has done the research so you don’t have to: a half-hour soak in warm water is as good as parboiling pasta, so just soak while you make the sauce, and you’re ready to bake.
- Elly at Nutmegs, Seven has a wonderful list of her favourite teas. Gingerbread Chai and 40 Thieves with figs and almonds sound especially tempting. In fact, the only things that stopped me from ordering half of these immediately were a) the amount of space in the cupboard and b) the money I spent on yellow shoes yesterday (see above).
- Claire Ptak’s pear crisps coated in chocolate sound delicious – and likely to be consumed in half the time it took to make them.
- Very late to this, but I finally read the Easy Ottolenghi supplement that came out in the Observer a couple of weeks ago. Unlike most recipe supplements, this one’s a keeper – especially the lamb and feta baked meatballs and curried fish with leeks and peas.
- This is a wonderful post from Rachel of Make a Long Story Short on Sunday dinners, and that comfy sense of home you get from making a roast dinner with lashings of gravy: Chicken, and all my other love stories.