The Financial Times quarterly food special is supplement worth looking out for. This week we saw the spring edition. It was excellent and I want to draw your attention to a few things – not all of them recipes.
FT Spring Food Special
First, Fuchsia Dunlop’s piece on (non-deep fried) spring rolls. She writes so well and is quite obviously the expert in her Sichuan field. Have a look, too, at this little instagram video she posted of a street vendor making the pancakes. Great clip.
Secondly, it was interesting to see a selection of néo bistro recipes from Gregory Marchand and his restaurant Frenchies. To be honest, I hope the book they came from will err more towards the adventurous side of Parisian bistronomy. Pork shoulder braised in milk with marinated fennel and wild garlic broth with crab meat hinted at what might be.
There was plenty more, but the third thing you should definitely check out is the extract from Jonathan Meades’s forthcoming autobiography. The former Times writer was the restaurant critic I first started reading. His natural scepticism and droll tone still resonates.
“There would be no new foods. There are no new foods. There will be no new foods. There are only rediscovered foods. Save for those from the Midi and the Midi Moins Quart, many of the recipes collected by Mrs David and Jane Grigson throughout France are uncannily akin, in all but name and minor detail, to those in Farmhouse Fare and Secrets of Some Wiltshire Housewives … Recipes that the English forgot or merely abjured in the collective conviction that what came from elsewhere was necessarily superior.”
Purple sprouting head £#€&
Enough high brow thinking. What else was cooking?
The Times had its usual “the only four recipes you’ll ever need” feature. This week it focused on purple sprouting broccoli. I suppose Tony Turnbull covered the main bases – anchovies and garlic; tahini; soy and ginger; almonds and lemon …
… yet there was a fifth purple sprouting recipe floating around that trumped them! Mary Ellen McTague’s Roman style broc in The Guardian involved aggressively reduced red wine, raisins, pine nuts and anchovies. One to remember. Her other recipes were Spring veg themed.
In fact, wait, what’s this? Mark Hix was also cooking with purple sprouting and none of his recipes repeated the only four we’ll ever need. My head is spinning … (but whilst it spins, it’s worth noting that the sprouting and gorgonzola combo looked good. Ditto the scrambled egg, chilli and sprouting/rape greens idea)
In fact, purple sprouting was also a featured ingredient in the Sunday Times Magazine too. This little column included combos and ideas not listed among The Holy Four. What does this all mean? I need to lie down.
Sweet and salty temptations
Stevie Parle was cooking with lettuce. Not purple sprouting (phew), not new, but often underrated and worth adding to your repertoire. The Mongolian crisp lamb and grilled Caesar salad recipes particularly appealed to me.
His Telegraph stablemate, Diana Henry, focused on miso in her Sunday Stella column. Tuna sashimi with red miso dressing looked particularly good.
On the internet, the best thing I saw this week was from US based website, Serious Eats, who looked hard at how best to make macaroni and cheese waffles. Insane. Methodical. Awesome.
Bill Granger was advocating pizza parties in the Independent on Sunday. Meh.
Gizzi was still away in The Sunday Times. So Ollie Thring covered again, this time featuring a new book by Alain Ducasse – in praise of London. Frenchman jumps on trendy British restaurant bandwagon shock. The Clove Club’s famous buttermilk and pine chicken featured, as did truffled egg toast from Spuntino and a Quo Vadis goat’s curd, lemon curd and marmalade shortbread number. Perhaps ironically, the ST’s classic dish was an uber French lobster thermidor … by our own Gordon Ramsay.
As always, there were loads of recipes and other interesting articles in The Guardian’s ‘Cook’ supplement. I enjoyed their interview with a North London cheesemaker the most.
If you’ve a copy of The Guardian’s magazine, keep it, frame it, take it to a bank vault and lock it away. For in there is a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe WITH ONLY TWO INGREDIENTS. This is pretty seismic. Paneer: warm milk, add lemon juice, drain, squeeze, chill. Easy, satisfying stuff. I couldn’t resist giving it a go.
Yotam included a couple of other recipes for using up the paneer. But I decided to fry it and have it in a flat bread wrap with a carrot and nigella seed salad, a sprinkle of green chilli and a squeeze of lemon. A good light lunch.
Weekend Menu, 5 & 6 April 2014
Roman style purple sprouting
Pork shoulder braised in milk with marinated fennel
Goat’s curd, lemon curd and marmalade shortbread
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