Sunday food links – citrus

Sliced oranges

Citrus fruits are a bright glowing lamp of seasonal eating in a particularly cold and grey week in February. Not only is it in season, with lots of varieties out there if you look, the sharp flavours seem ideal for brightening up this murky weather.

If you look carefully, you can buy a vast variety of citrus fruits at the moment. Supermarkets should be offering oranges and ‘easy peelers’ in abundance, but greengrocers and online you can find much more. Bergamots, blood oranges, pomelo, even Seville oranges are still available at the time of writing (you can get them online from Riverford and Natoora via Ocado).

Bergamot lemons

Citrus fruits are so rewarding to cook with. The juice can stand in for vinegar and brighten and sharpen everything from salad dressings to roast vegetables to pasta sauce. The zest carries flavour a long, long way. Rubbing it with sugar is a good way to make sure the citrus oils carry evenly through something baked. And if you find yourself using more juice than zest, you can always zest the extra fruit and freeze it for another time.

I am not the only one who is thinking of citrus this week. Catherine Phipps’ gorgeous looking book ‘Citrus: Recipes that celebrate the sour and the sweet’ is out this week, and the Food Programme have devoted today’s episode to it. Nigel Slater suggests a brussels sprout, clementine and almond salad. Naomi Knill, aka Ginger Gourmand makes a salad of blood orange, fennel and hazelnut. Choclette preserves the flavour by making blood orange squash.

Chopped Clementines

Citrus marries well with almonds in cakes, complementing the richness with sharp zest. Felicity Cloake adds her characteristic investigation to find perfect sticky orange cake, which you may know as Claudia Roden’s orange cake, or Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake. Nigel Slater’s first Kitchen Diaries book includes a recipe for demerara and lemon almond cake (although the demerara needs a lot of work to persuade it to cream with the butter).

The other great marriage for orange flavours is chocolate. If you’re not simply candying orange peel and dipping in chocolate (simple, but hugely time consuming), Ruby Tandoh evokes the shop-bought cakes of her childhood with a chocolate orange marble cake.

Marmalade jar

You can’t consider citrus without thinking of marmalade, one of the best ways of preserving both the juice and zest. Boiling Seville oranges whole is the classic method that will give you a firm set and sharp flavour. I have used June Taylor’s method to use clementines, lemons, grapefruit or other citrus mixed together, and giving a brighter result. There is also a lovely David Lebovitz recipe for bergamot marmalade if you come across some, which would probably work well with good lemons.

Sliced lemons

Finally, I’ve never made it, putting me firmly in Jeremy Lee’s bad books according to this column, but this 2014 recipe for Seville Orange tart remains bookmarked nonetheless.

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Sunday food links – 30 October 2016

Pumpkins on a table

I had a wonderful day at the Makelight studio in South London on Friday, with photographers Emily Quinton and Catherine Frawley. I have books on photography and did one of Emily’s online courses earlier in the year, but nothing can really compare to first person teaching, when you’re able to ask questions and get feedback on the images you’re taking.

I have the best of intentions about food photography, but I never put much planning into it – it’s always an afterthought from the food I want to make. And that’s what came across in the workshop: planning your shots, especially when and where you will take them, is what makes the difference. Catherine and Emily have no patience for anything other than natural light for food photography, so that means taking photos when the light is available, not when the food is ready.

I was fairly pleased with some of the images I got on the day, but there is so much more to practice and learn at home. First on the list is to get hold of some nice textured backgrounds to use (see above for the lovely old wood table in Emily’s studio).

We’re off on holiday today, so the shortage of food reading this week will probably be made up for with the reading list next week (at least I hope so!)

Recipes:

  • Fish with rye and bacon crumbs – from How to Hygge with baked sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Pizza dough – using the country bread recipe from Tartine Bread (at time of writing, a ridiculous £2.99 on Kindle!)

Without a recipe:

  • Lasagne
  • Fish fingers and chips
  • Spelt risotto, with roasted squash and sausages
  • Slow cooker beans from the freezer, with a leftover sausage and some Norwegian meatballs from the freezer

Reading:

 

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Sunday food links – 23 October 2016

Not very many recipes on the list this week, mainly because I was lucky enough to have my Mum catering for us for most of the week, while the other half was travelling.

This week, I have been inspired by my new copy of Signe Johansen’sHow to Hygge‘ to make a few Scandi-inspired things, including the meatballs for Saturday night, and I have plans for fish with rye and bacon crumbs in the week. I’m also going to be playing that game of trying to use up everything in the fridge before our holiday, which could well result in some strange combinations towards the end of the week.

Finally, I’m very excited that I get to meet Emily Quinton from Makelight in person this friday when I attend her Food Styling and Photography workshop. If you fancy getting to know your camera a bit better, or just taking better Instagram photos with your phone, do check out her online courses and in person workshops.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Apple crumble
  • plus lasagne, baked chicken and fish pie from my Mother in Law and mum.

Reading:

Sunday food links – 9 October 2016

I have a suspicion that these will not be the last things I buy because my daughter suggested it #notsorry #yellow

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…

Recipes:

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

Reading:

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:

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Sunday food links – 2 October 2016

https://flic.kr/p/MKgeGY

Each week I start figuring out what to write here by asking myself “what kind of week has it been?” It’s often hard to find a pattern or theme that emerges from the haze of drop-offs, dinners, work, nursery, bedtimes and bathtimes. This week, I think the biggest one has been a slight sense of disorganisation in the kitchen, that has led to some fairly weird leftovers.

The week started fairly well, with a leftovers quiche made with olive oil pastry on Sunday. Then there was a slow cooker adaptation of Ruth Reichl’s pork and tomatillo stew on Tuesday, which only got better through the week.

However, I also made a samosa filling with runner beans and potatoes on Sunday, which never made it out of the fridge and into the (by now, dried out) leftover filo pastry. The second piece of olive oil pastry has been sat in the fridge all week too. And there’s some biscuit dough that I defrosted to bake with E that is also stubbornly lurking in there.

And it’s all nicely symbolised by the sourdough starter that I refreshed on Saturday morning – and then neglected until we got in late on Saturday afternoon. A good intention to use up leftovers, or make something frugal, where ultimately my optimism got the better of me, and I ran out of time and energy to see it through.

It’s too late for the samosas, but the pastry and the biscuit dough can both be rescued today. A tart with the leftover vegetable bake, I think. And a biscuit base for some apples or jam. And so today is a bit better.

Recipes:

Without a recipe:

  • Waitrose pizza
  • Leftover pork stew with avocado and rice
  • Leftover vegetable bake with feta

Reading:

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 – 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:

Sunday food links – 3 Jul 2016

Tube over the canal #morningrun

It has been a long week, but some parts have skimmed along easily all the same. I went for a run this morning, in the sunshine and with a cool, fresh breeze scudding along the canal, and it all seemed a bit better. Getting out into the air, seeing some greenery and some sunshine has an endless capacity to make me feel better, and to help me get perspective. And despite the showers, the heat of the sun, strawberries and tomato salads mean that I think it’s actually summer.

A big piece of news too: we completed our new house purchase this week, somewhere further out in the sticks. While there is a long way to go before we move in, I am excited and hopeful about creating a family home there over the next year. This slow transition suits us well, and will give us lots of time to figure out how to make it all work before we up sticks.

It has been a pretty good week in food. I renewed my enthusiasm to tackle some of this month’s (or rather last month’s) food magazine recipes, and with some very good results – not least the pie below, which has been pudding every evening through the weekend. It’s inspired me to be a bit more thoughtful about next week’s meal plan and hopefully there will be more good stuff then.

Recipes:

https://flic.kr/p/JDkf41

Without a recipe:

  • Pulled pork buns with salad (pork from freezer, bbq sauce stashed in the fridge, bought burger buns, tomato salad, potato salad)
  • Waitrose frozen pizza base with mozzarella, ham and tomatoes
  • Cheese on toast…
  • Fried rice with leftover peanut-lime chicken
  • A leftovers tart: ham, cheese, tomato, broccoli and spring onion quiche
  • French toast with cherry compote and bacon (post-run Sunday brunch)

Reading:

Not much food-related reading this week, so instead, some other things I liked: