We’re in luck. By not covering the last couple of weeks, it seems we’ve missed most of the detox, diet, starve and be miserable New Year recipes. Indeed there was relatively little on the abstain front this weekend; even The Dish’s ‘Healthy’ supplement was at least spearheaded by the great sense of Bee Wilson: don’t diet. Instead, you’ll see some cracking soups, winter salads and plenty of other things to get you licking your lips, rather than counting the calories.
Soups and broths
Good soup is warming, nourishing and can be mighty tasty too. Take, for example, Anna Jones’ green peppercorn and lemongrass coconut broth; and her chicken soup for the soul (swapping the chicken with tofu) in Saturday’s Guardian Cook supplement.
Also Yotam Ottolenghi’s superb looking spiced red lentil and smoked ham hock soup in the main Graun magazine, which is dotted with a parsley and caraway salsa (I’m making that this week). See too his spicy chard soup with sourdough and feta dumplings, and a thick yellow split pea, aubergine and peanut number. Great stuff.
“But soup won’t fill me up“, your diners moan. Tell them to pipe down and wait for a bowl of Rachel Roddy’s pasta with potatoes and smoked provola cheese — “a rib-sticking and soulful bowlful that confirms Neapolitans know something about comfort.”
There’s also a zen-like, kombu-based, miso, tofu and oyster mushroom soup in the Sunday Telegraph courtesy of Japanese chef Toshio Tanahashi.
Check this out: a January cookery column about winter salads which makes no mention of ‘healthy’, ‘light’ or ‘detox’. Step forward and take a bow Nigel Slater. For his Observer recipes this week were indeed on salads, but purely because of the fact they’re delicious. For example, he suggests tearing roast chicken thigh meat from the bone, and then mixing the roasting juices with mashed black garlic, citrus juices, then tossing the meat, lambs lettuce, watercress and grapefruit segments through it. A stonking combination of flavours. Also in there, a ‘salad’ of pork belly tossed in miso, to be eaten with pickled pears and bitter leaves.
On a similar bitter-sweet-sour-savoury note, Diana Henry’s duck and grapefruit salad in the Sunday Telegraph Stella mag looks to be packed with flavour. I also like the idea of a yoghurt and pink grapefruit zest enriched sponge, soaked with grapefruit syrup and then given the icing sugar-grapefruit juice drizzle treatment. Fruit left over? Give it a squeeze and add it to a G&T along with some tarragon. [Licks lips].
Thomasina Miers’ whole roast plaice with potatoes baked in anchovy cream might well be the most satisfying of the dishes you could cook up from this weekend’s offering. I was pleased to see no pussyfooting around with the quantity of anchovy in the spud gratin, and also liked the look of her grilled hispi cabbage, celeriac and ancho chilli relish dish that followed. Do take a peek.
“Fat is flavour“. The latest Cook resident is American chef Samin Nosrat promoting her forthcoming book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat with words promoting fat, and instructions for a vigorously dressed kale sala, and a gloriously dark, caramelised onion galette.
At first glance, Stephen Harris’ Telegraph recipe this week was for a simple lasagne. A bit of cheese and pasta in January as a two fingers up to all the gluten and dairy free recipes out there. BUT actually, it’s more interesting and sophisticated than that. On closer inspection, this is no ordinary lasagne. It’s six layers of homemade pasta, interspersed with a tomato-only sauce and a béchamel No meat makes for a better eating experience, apparently (crisp, molten edges of pasta, sharp sauce, soft pasta which add up to a firm bite). One to try.
Donna Hay’s latest ‘fast’ ‘easy’ etc for the Times Magazine were pretty good: deep fried (and so crispy) egg noodles to go with five spice and black vinegar chicken, sumac baked cauliflower and blue cheese flatbread, ricotta and parmesan fritters with pesto, among other things.
Type “Honey & Co’s fishcakes with pickled pepper salad” into Google and feast on the Honey & Co duos recipe for it in the FT Weekend (plus a fragrant and spicy chermoula paste to go alongside). It looks both simple and mightily effective.
And what with there being no #Supplemental over the Christmas period, there’s been no mention on these pages of Meera Sodha’s recipes appearing in the FT Weekend. Which they did. Over Christmas. Do have a look at the back catalogue for lust veggie-Indian things, like a grand vegetable biryani (or just buy Fresh India, which is only a tenner atm).
The January concession
Best of the light dishes came via Jane Baxter in Saturday’s Times Weekend. Her selection of fast and light recipes included a spicy Thai crab omelette, an Asian fish broth and lamb kofte, all packed with flavour.
Claire Ptak didn’t spurn sugar, but did explore un-refined options in her Cook baking column, proposing an avocado chocolate mousse and a chocolate, peanut butter and date slab in the process.
Bee Wilson was a beacon of sense in The Sunday Times’ The Dish. Lines like “don’t eat as if you have a food intolerance unless you actually have one.” heralded the publication of her latest This is Not a Diet Book. She also appeared in Cook, writing evocatively about waffles (“if you love someone, you make them pancakes. If you really love them, you make them waffles“) and leaving us with a recipe which included the appealing idea of adding ground almonds to the waffle batter. Nice.
From now on, Jamie Oliver is categorising his Sunday Times recipes: green, amber and red (representing super healthy through to indulgent). Easy to raise eyebrows here, but it does look as though the general aim is to seek balance and moderation. As it happens, all are ‘green’ this week. Nice enough, without stretching the imagination (steak burrito, paprika spiced chicken thighs with bulgar wheat and, most notable, smoky sweet potato chilli).
Also in The Dish, Olympic diver Tom Daly shared recipes from his new book and Ella Mills did too.
From the internet
I’m sort of in love with these lamb manti with garlic yoghurt and spiced butter on Helen Graves’ Food Stories blog.
Also Molly Yeh’s pistachio cake with pomegranate butter cream.
It wasn’t a stove weekend, but I am getting on a number of those soups soon, plus Nigel Slater’s salads. I’ll probably use the stripy lemons (pictured at the top) in the chicken thigh salad — they appear to be some sort of grapefruit or pomelo-lemon cross.
Weekend Menu, 7 and 8 January 2017
Fishcakes with pickled pepper salad
Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, FT Weekend Magazine
Whole roast plaice and anchovy cream potatoes
Thomasina Miers, The Guardian Weekend
Pink grapefruit cake
Diana Henry, The Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine
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