Hi kids. How was your weekend? Not long enough? Thought so.
I bet the key, niggling, nay, burning question on your time poor mind is “which recipes from the weekend papers should I have bookmarked?” Well worry no more – just read on.
Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
Rhubarb got a fair bit of coverage across both days. Bill Granger’s use of barb in a crumble paired with kaffir lime leaves in The Independent on Sunday was intriguing – I’m a sucker for the aromatic kaffir lime in desserts since having it as a stunning ice cream, which slowly sank into a warm, bitter choc mousse at Mayfields a few weeks ago. His banana, cardamom and lime tarte tatin sounded good too
Granger’s Indy stablemate, Mark Hix, devoted his Saturday section to the plant. I’ve pickled some pink slithers after being enthused by one recipe in particular.
But it was Yotam Ottolenghi’s coupling of roasted rhubarb with tarragon that really got me cooking; I was pretty sure I’d not had that match before. More on how it went below. As an aside, I enjoyed Yotam’s token nod towards Valentines Day – three tasty recipes, none really suitable to cook for two persons. Is the message is to share the love, or to boycott Clintons?
Easy does it
The Saturday Times was, once again, bottom of the class. This week’s book advertorial guest cook was Granger. Fine. But, as per the last few weeks, all the recipes were on an ‘easy’ theme and were fairly uninspiring. The subject of this weekend’s ‘Only Four Recipes You’ll Ever Need’ was popcorn. Great.
Simon Rogan subbed in for HFW in The Guardian and had also been given the ‘easy’ brief; though this time with the specific purpose of sorting our mid-week suppers out. I don’t know about you, but I reckon there’s nothing quite like passing a vin blanc reduction through a fine sieve then frothing it with a stick blender before spooning it over a halibut steak … on a school night.
King Nigel was good in The Observer, though. I particularly liked the idea of pearled spelt ‘paella’ with mussels and clams.
And Diana Henry continues to impress in the Sunday Telegraph ‘Stella’ magazine. Her chocolate, fig and hazelnut cake strikes me as a must bake. Madeira, brandy, cardamom, orange zest are in there too… this is a cake for grown ups. I think it’s worth nodding you towards her Mexican red pork with chilli and chocolate too. Though, Stevie Parle’s harira in Saturday’s Torygraph might just edge the interesting winter warmers.
Rowley cooked a classic steak and kidney pudding for FT readers, Gizzi gave us three sausage casseroles, and Niamh Shields’ scientific cheese sauce on Eat Like a Girl is a highlight of blogger recipes over the last week.
So yeah, that Ottolenghi romantic rhubarb and tarragon thing.
The rhubarb was actually just one part of a dish – the sweet and sour balance to a fairly savoury rice pudding. Unusually for recent times, the rice was baked rather than boiled down in a pan. I liked how the rice was finished, post oven, with sweetened cream and yoghurt, though I wonder if the suggested cooking time should be 50, not 70 minutes. That aside, it was a gorgeous dish; and an easy one to prepare well ahead of eating as it’s all served chilled. Maybe more notably, I’ll be sprinkling tarragon over rhubarb again in the future.
Weekend Menu, 8 & 9 February 2014
Pearled spelt with mussels and clams
Banana, cardamom and lime tarte tatin