The broadsheets were pleasingly restrained this weekend – there was no sight of additional monthly/quarterly/one-offbecauseeveryoneelseisdoingit food specials. So, for once, it was largely down to the regular columnists to provide reading material and cooking inspiration. They did a sound job.
Tis the season
Seasonal ingredients always provide the themes for 25-50% of the recipes in the papers. This week, we had Mark Hix suggesting four dishes with seasonal vegetables. Lots of pea shoots in Hixy’s groceries, it seems. I particularly liked the look of his ‘gyoza’ pea dumplings in a pea, ginger and spring onion broth.
Stevie Parle was trying to think of ‘inspirational’ ways with asparagus. A legit topic now we’re into the second half of the season, though I’m not sure any were particularly ground breaking recipes – just confirmation that sparrow gras is nice and goes well with things … Turkish eggs the best shout, I thought.
On Sunday, Diana Henry was promoting hake in the Torygraph – this is a much worried about fish that’s actually in decent stock at the moment. I enjoyed the prompt (see below). Her idea of Portuguese hake baked in mayonnaise has sofa and box set night written all over it. Fennel puree, red pepper and chorizo looks a good match for the fish too.
Slater hit the early summer side dish on the head with a couple of grain based salads. Pearled spelt, bacon, cherries, sherry vinegar. Lovely job. Ditto one from mograbia (fat couscous), caramalised shallots, cornichons, olives and mint.
The Honey and Co. book is going to be a must buy when it’s released in the next couple of weeks. Have a look at these recipes in the FT, then head on over to Amazon.
There was a rare appearance for Jamie O in Saturday’s Times. His recipes to celebrate the World Cup punctuated a football focused magazine. Basically, this meant they printed a few Oliver dishes loosely based on dishes from countries represented at this year’s tournament. Half of them featured a flatbread.
On the same theme, the Brazilian restaurant Cabana appear to have sneaked out a book in time for the football. They had The Times’ ‘Eat!’ advertorial space this week. Kinda intrigued to see how chicken grilled in cachaca comes out. Ditto chimichurri monkfish.
Closer to home, our man Tom Kerridge’s British column in the Guardian’s ‘Cook’ was on East Anglian food. Chicken, crab, strawberries. Lush.
Yotam made some biscuits for his Guardian column. I usually find it difficult to get excited about recipes on the biscuit topic and rarely bake this kind of thing. But, shit the bed, coffee and cardamom madeleines sound friggin marvellous. Added to the list.
Bill Granger’s Indy on Sunday slot was filled with a few summery puddings. His Frozen berry cheesecake grabbed me: cream cheese, greek yoghurt, condensed milk, red currants and blackberries, blitzed (along with a few other things) in a food processor, churned in an ice cream machine and frozen. He seemed to suggest then just serving it as ice cream in scoops. But I picture it carefully removed from a spring release cake tin, dusted with a nutty cheese cake ‘base’ top, and sent out in wedges.
Gizzi looked at the art of the soufflé. She’s right about knowing the recipe, getting everything measured out and having an oven at full tilt for when you need it. And I particularly liked the two featured dessert soufflés: chocolate with rosemary salted caramel, and rice pudding soufflé with strawberry sauce. Pictures were more homely and enticing than a perfect Escoffier schooled soufflé. But maybe that’s the point.
As if by magic, following last week’s post on the food sections of global papers, the NYT have suddenly launched a beta test for their own cooking site. I guess Rocket and Squash is more influential than I realised …
It looks to be a decent site, easy recipes, a few of them intriguing. I like, for example, Sam Sifton’s pickleback slaw.
Over in blogworld, there’s a nice post and recipe on Gin and Crumpets for a comforting chicken and leek pie with suet crust.
I went to and from the Ottolenghi madeleines, a Henry hake dish and Hix’s pea dumpling broth thing. But in the end, as part of a long weekend of cooking, I followed none of those to the letter. Instead, I took inspiration from them, and ended up poaching hake in a sherry laden fishy broth, livened by loads of fresh bits (chervil, mint, samphire, podded peas, pea shoots). Sometimes the recipes are simply a starting point, aren’t they?
Weekend Menu, 31 May and 1 June 2014
Vinaigrette of [early summer] vegetables
Red current and blackberry frozen cheesecake
Coffee and cardamom madeleines
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