Thursday, March 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I don't have that much access to the internet and I don't have that much time to cook at the moment. I also realised I feel more pleased if I can just make some kind of dinner every night and it is enjoyable and uses up what needs to be used up, rather than attempting experimental or ambitious things that require one-off purchases and too much washing up...
So, at some point, I thought: I don't have to keep holding this over me like something I have to do - I can take a break.
Which is what I'm doing.
UPDATE 16th March - The blogging urge is too strong! I have started up a new blog on a bit of a tangent. There'll still be some food involved, but also some craftiness and a little about trying to live less wastefully and more resourcefully. When I do food-related posts I will cross post here so LS will keep going albeit slowly! Please do come over and see me in my new home!
And thank you, as always, for reading x
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Accompanied by some equally light, playful and refreshing Chie Mihara flats, this one is made of ribbons of courgette, lightly sauteed in olive oil with a heap of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, and topped with toasted pine nuts and grapes roasted in pomegranate molasses (about 40 mins in a medium hot oven). Yay, I finally got to try roasted grapes after being intrigued about them ever since Claudia cook-eat-fret posted about this peculiar idea. They're delicious. And an excellently sweet and rich match for the light and lemony courgette.
Onto number 2, the beef and mushroom
A more classic combo, this is just thin slices of medium-rare beef steak, tossed with fried wild mushrooms, which have had a glug of red wine or sherry reduced in them. We topped it off second time round with some chopped flat leaf parsley which really added something. The shoe is likewise both classic and sexy, (albeit a little more technically proficient than my basically-an-open-steak-sandwich!) - a beautifully sculptural Nicholas Kirkwood.
Number 3, tuna and red onions
Seared tuna steak slice atop caramelised red onion (1 red onion fried off til soft in olive oil, 1tsp muscovado sugar and 1tsp balsamic vinegar added, and cooked down til dark and rich) and lovely piquant little capers. Equally elegant, smooth but spiky is this lovely Reiss patent indigo number
and, numero quatro... bold, possibly a teensy bit ugly, but bright and bam! full of flavour.
That's homemade tapenade (just a load of Crespo's dried black pitted olives whizzed up with a food processor), topped with slow roasted cherry tomatoes (an hour in a low-medium oven with just olive oil, salt and pepper), and lightly steamed green beans. It is not quite so pretty, a little messy and ott looking you might even say, but velvety deep in the roasted toms, spiky with saltiness, and very tasty. And another Chie Mihara to match...
So, introducing the Morcilla pintxo...
A lovely rich slice of roasted piquillo pepper - char it under a grill or on a hob flame until blistered, cover in cling film til cool, and peel off all that pesky burnt skin - topped with a delicious soft and smooth butterbean salad (butterbeans, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika), and a couple of slices of fried black pudding (which I'm calling morcilla, as 'black pudding' doesn't have quite the same Iberican ring to it). Scrumptious. And that, is a wedge heel from The Jacksons of Notting Hill - velvety and smooth with lots of contrast and rich colours too.
And... last, but certainly not least:
A slice of ripe beef or plum tomato. A couple of sprigs of rocket. A slice of juicy, fragrant mango. Three quickly fried fat chilli and lime marinaded prawns. A sprinkling of pepper. Vibrant and exotic and just lovely. Nicholas Kirkwood again on the right. That's not a shoe; that's a work of art.
Ok, I've spent far too long writing this post, and I am feeling like some kind of bizarre sommelier from some peculiar world where instead of suggesting a pleasant Riesling or fruity Burgundy to accompany Madam's excellent choice, I proffer instead various items of accompanying footwear...
I should get back to work.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Anyway, divert yourselves for now with this gem of a blog http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/ devoted entirely to cakes gone wrong. Awesome.
And I will be back soon - I promise...
Friday, August 15, 2008
But their time-consuming nature contributes to their appeal. Because when else do you have the time to mix up batter and stand there idly daydreaming and singing along to Broken Social Scene as you fry each little flat and floury fellow and pop him in the oven to keep warm for later? On holidays, on weekends, on those glorious days of No Work and Nothing More Important To Do Than Breakfast for HOURS!
I'm off work this week. Holidaying in the lovely north London environs which I live in. I've been perusing books in the library, crocheting on the hill, watching Scrubs and making oatmeal pancakes. Apart from the distinct lack of any weather that could remotely call itself summery, it's been lovely.
I chose these oatmeal pancakes, rather than my usual 'recipe' (eye-estimated amounts of plain flour, milk and 1 egg) because they struck me as a little more meaty and substantial, more worthy somehow. And there is somehow something about that name 'Oatmeal Pancakes' which transmits ideas of homeliness, of rusticity, of heartiness and fun to me.
The recipe is adapted from a much-loved copy of 'Recipes for a Small Planet' that I picked up in a second hand book shop a while back. It follows Frances Moore Lappe's 'Diet for a Small Planet', which espouses a non-meat but protein rich diet in response to global famine and the wasteful practice of fattening up animals before ourselves (see http://www.smallplanet.org/ for a much better explanation that this and more current writings from Lappe and Lappe junior). I don't use the book much - rather I like to delight in its enthusiasm and lovely old-school line drawings, and to marvel at the amount of milk, cheese and eggs which can be edged into pretty much any meal you care to think of.
The pancakes worked well. They're thick but not stodgy and the oats give you something to chew on. I covered them in combinations of honey, yoghurt, banana, lemon juice, sugar and jam. Messy and delicious.
Oatmeal Pancakes (adapted from Ellen Buchman Ewald's Recipes for a Small Planet)
(makes enough for 3-4 people)
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp oil
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups milk
1. Mix dry ingredients well
2. Stir in wet ingredients until all well combined
3. Fry on a hot pan (I used a little butter and/or oil to do mine) until brown on both sides.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
And now, there are 38 minutes til hometime. I've expertly wasted a good chunk of afternoon work time so I had better do something before I escape into the lovely warm summer's evening...
Update - I've finally got internet access and the recipe together at the same time!
Biscotti (adapted from Leith's cookery bible)
Mix in a bowl: 200g plain flour; a pinch of salt; 1/2 tsp of baking powder; 40g ground almonds; 75 g sugar; 75g chopped or flaked almonds.
Make a well in the centre and add two lightly beaten eggs. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients to make a firm dough.
Roll the dough into a long sausage shape about 2 cm in diameter. Slice into two or three sausages so that they fit on a baking tray.
Place the rolls at least 5 cm apart on the baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven (190C/350F/gas 5) for 20 minutes.
Remove the rolls from the oven nd turn the temperature down to 80C/175F/gas 1/4
Cut the rolls at a 45-degree angle into 1cm slices and place on the baking sheet. Bake for a further hour, turning the biscuits over after 30 minutes. Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Sweetly squashy sweet squash
Tart chewy sundried tomatoes, wrinkled lipstick red
Crunchy little brain-like walnuts
Thyme, just a few leaves like light snow in spring
And parmesan, of course, dear parmesan.
(ps - for risotto instructions and quantities see this post - cut out the lemon and fennel, and add the tomatoes near the start of cooking, the squash and walnuts right at the end. Squash should have been roasted in a medium-hot oven in olive oil for about 30-40 mins until soft and brown-edged. Walnuts - just break them up a little and chuck them in. )
Update - In response to a request I am amending my lazy ways, and putting a whole recipe here!
Skin a butternut squash and cut into chunky dice (about 1" across). Coat in oil and roast in a preheated medium-hot oven until soft (about 30-40 mins)
Meanwhile, fry off a finely diced onion in a generous slug of olive oil over a low heat.
Once soft, add a handful of chopped sundried tomatoes and about 400g/14oz arborio rice, and stir until all the rice is coated with oil.
Tip in a small glass of white wine and stir in.
Cover with a generous amount of vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and put the lid on. Stir every 5 minutes or so for the next 30-40 minutes, making sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom, and adding more stock or hot water as required by the rice (I never bother with the one spoon at a time method - it's ever so time-consuming and I'm not sure it makes that much difference - do try not to forget your risotto tho - it will burn!)
When the rice is cooked to your taste, stir in a little butter and parmesan for extra creaminess (optional), then add the squash and a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts, stir lightly to mix through
Serve scattered with chopped thyme and parmesan shavings
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Of course, we mocked. A boiled onion! A boiled potato! But, oh, how I know now - sometimes a simple boiled potato - smooth, fresh, nutty - can be truly a thing of beauty.
Recently this is the kind of thing I've been hankering for in the evenings. No complicated melange of unusual items and techniques and flavourings, just a few unadulterated lovely ingredients.
How can you go wrong with some good parma ham and a plate of ripe melon?
And the other day I delighted myself by using the leaves off the beetroots that would often I suppose get thrown away. Certainly I've never cooked with them before. Wilted quickly in a little butter and served on toasted home made bread with a squeeze of lemon juice and a poached egg, they made a really enjoyable supper. It's so much more satisfying to make something easy and pleasing out of some odds and ends hanging around than to spend too much time and money to churn out something slightly disappointing.
And then, we had the meal at the top of this post recently, which finally gives me some kind of recipe to post. With asparagus starting to appear all over the place my mind drifted to homemade mayonnaise. I'd made it once before in an electric food mixer, and really wasn't that impressed, but I had a little time to kill and thought I'd give it another go.
So, I'd like to report that if, like me, you thought you needed a mixer to make mayonnaise, you can consider yourself corrected - a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease is all it takes.
And it's good. Very very rich, but a plate of fresh olive oil and lemon juice dressed asparagus, those lovely boiled potatoes and a dollop of silky, sharp mayonnaise is really quite, simply, superb.
- Beat one egg yolk and a pinch of salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon
- Add 75ml oil (olive or half olive and sunflower as I used to make it less strong flavoured) DROP by DROP, beating all the time. The mixture will get very thick.
- Beat in a squeeze of lemon juice
- Add another 75ml oil - this time you don't need to be quite as careful but still pour in little bits. Alternate the oil with small quantities of white wine vinegar (about a dessertspoon in total).
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.