Mums, eh. We literally couldn’t exist without them. Most of the papers decided to acknowledge this truth in some shape or other over the weekend. Which was great. So how many of you cooked for your dear mam? Using one of the weekend’s recipes? Well? Hmm?
Shame on you. Lets see what you could attempt when making amends next year.
Ottolenghi led in the Guardian with three recipes that even he acknowledged were extremely tenuous in their linkage to the alleged theme. Still, they were all pretty stonking and worth trying (at any time of year). A sprouting mung bean, avocado, kohlrabi and edamame salad had a cracking Asian dressing: Umeboshi plums, rice wine vinegar, soy, lime juice. Banging combos. There was a vibrant and lip smacking sounding ricotta and carrot thing too. The carrots were roasted in orange juice, and some of those juices squeezed out to make a dressing.
Big Nige doffed his cap in Sunday’s Observer by offering a couple of recipes for sweet-toothed Mums: a hazelnut meringue and rhubarb ‘mess’; and almond shortbread. Have a read of his childhood autobiography Toast for memories of his Mum. It’s very touching.
On which note, there was a lovely piece in Saturday’s Independent in which chefs and writers recalled a dish their Mum cooked. No recipes here, but it’s an enjoyable yarn. Tracy MacLeod’s story is particularly well recounted.
It’s definitely spring now
Mark Hix’s asparagus piece last week was followed (wait for it) with a wild garlic one. It’s good for “sexing up dinner parties”, he says. I say: sure, I’ve long thought there’s nothing hotter than snogging someone just after eating a mouth full of pungent wild garlic.
For our sexy party, Hixy proposes using the green leaves in a spelt risotto, mutton broth or with buttermilk fried chicken by way of a Ramson mayo. Holy shit I’m turned on.
Stevie Parle sprung around too – though in his case it was about using the last of the winter vegetables in a fresh and vibrant way. I like the idea of squash agrodolce and also grilled leeks with salsa di erbe.
Buttermilk is an ingredient for all seasons. But Diana Henry’s ideas for the ingredient in the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine felt appropriate for the first morn of British Summer Time. (Damn you clocks). Now Diana proposed a buttermilk chicken with winter slaw back in January. But oven baked chicken tenderised in buttermilk and served with a little gem lettuce (and buttermilk dressing salad) definitely works for April. I couldn’t resist trying her buttermilk tart with blueberries. More on that below.
Mary Ellen McTague’s column in the Guardian was enjoyable (again). Ruff puff, this time. Straight talking and helpful prose, followed by clear recipe, followed by a bunch of ideas for how to use it in practice (pasties, sausage rolls, savouries, pies). Done.
Bill Granger suggested a spot of smoking in your home kitchen. The recipes look decent: tea smoked chicken salad with a Sichuan dressing; hot smoked salmon with beetroot and radish; smoked steak BLT. This is all very positive – and more adventurous than usual for Bill. He fails to mention that you need a professional standard extraction fan if you want to keep your housemates happy.
Oliver Thring subbed in for Gizzi in the Sunday Times. Ollie always writes with great tempo, and we duly romped through many of the dining experiences he had whilst on a recent trip to Peru. Handily, he picked up three recipes whilst there. Gaston Acurio’s classic ‘tiger’s milk’ ceviche stood out as one to go back to.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for Claudia Roden’s classic flan a l’orange elsewhere in the ST Magazine.
Saturday’s Times provided us with the “only four rice recipes you’ll ever need”. I’m not sure about that. But Vivek Singh has provided four ways to flavour basmati (yoghurt, ghee, pilau, lemon). This week’s pointless ‘Eat!’ advertorial was on a ‘Dirty Food’ theme. My guess is ‘Easy Chicheti’ next. Yawn.
Rowley Leigh cooked a Venetian sausage and rice dish for FT readers – risi e luganeghe. It’s with risotto rice. But it’s not a risotto, OK?
The highlight of the Guardian’s ‘Cook’ supplement was an ace set of tart recipes. Five or six of these really look worth trying. I’m going to start with Maria Ella’s chocolate, orange and anise tart, which is set in almond pastry.
Diana Henry’s buttermilk tart stood out when I saw it go up online on Friday evening. I was intrigued by her pastry recipe – which used double cream rather than milk as a bonding liquid. The pastry was certainly short as a result (extra fat?) and I found it a little tricky to line my tin. But it baked fine and contributed to a subtle and sophisticated tart. The filling was super easy. Blueberry compote worked beautifully on the side.
Weekend Menu, 29 & 30 March 2014
Squash agrodolce with lamb chops
Chocolate, orange and anise tart
There’s now a weekly newsletter for the blog, which brings together the latest posts on Rocket and Squash and a few other things from elsewhere that you might find interesting. It’s published every Tuesday. If you’re not already an email subscriber, look down and to the right a bit and fill in your details.