The food of Italy seems to have perennial allure to we Brits. This weekend saw a host of recipes from that country which, somehow, seemed quite ‘new’. For these and the rest of the weekend’s cooking, read on.
The Guardian’s ‘Cook’ supplement led on the Italian front with a double sized special about the food of The Boot.
We saw the return of the ‘ten best’ feature, in which ten recipes from different regions were showcased. On the whole these seemed to be a cracking match of lesser known yet really appealing recipes; there was tiela from Puglia, farinata from Liguria and Tuscan peposo. I urge you to take a look.
Perhaps less traditional, but no less tempting, were Anna Jones’ nettle and slow cooked onion risotto, and ricotta gnocchi; also Oliver Rowe’s seasonal ravioli and ‘orzotto’ made with barley; and Rachel Roddy’s superb sounding/reading chocolate almond cake – eat for breakfast, in the afternoon or evening.
And do take a look at Anna Del Conte’s Ten Commandments of Italian cooking.
The OFM also spent time in Italy, though it focused solely on Rome and a new book by Eleonor Galasso. I can think of at least 3 books on Roman food that have been published in the last 12 months. However it appears there are still plenty more recipes to go round: like bucatini with clams and minty potatoes for a quick but delicious spring pasta dish; tortino di verdure incartato for those who like a project; and a custard pie from Nonna (yes, a pie not a tart). It’s Sicily next, btw.
Observer Food Monthly at Fifteen
Despite those lovely recipes, this month’s OFM was most noteworthy because it was marking 15 years in the game. One way they did this was through 15 recipes from Lord Slater. All very him (obviously). My favourites included roast pork shoulder stuffed with black pudding and apple; lamb belly flatbread (roasted quickly, rather than braised then crisped); a few simply trimmings like lettuce with herb mayonnaise and smoked salted almonds; and then the puddings – hot summer pudding with sloe gin, and coffee meringue with chocolate and ginger cream.
Look, too, at Len Deighton’s ‘cookstrips‘. This month, macarons. (I love this feature.)
And, finally, through the launch of this year’s OFM Awards we learn that “The Blog is Dead, Long Live the MicroBlog!”, the old “best blog” award having been replaced by “best instagram account”. Now I know you want to vote for me – that’s very kind. But how about a cheeky Boaty McBoatface campaign? My money is on @DeliciouslyStella.
Elsewhere this weekend, many of the writers were thinking hard about strong flavour combinations.
Within a Telegraph piece by Xanthe Clay on the food scene in Hobart were two particularly intriguing recipes: for miso glazed pear trifle with burnt-honey cream; and grilled calamari with onion and roasted calamari broth.
I’m a fan of a fridge / larder forage, so it was good to see Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan’s store cupboard cookery book getting a bit of airtime in The Sunday Times. Broccoli pasta with spicy anchovy crumbs is a favourite of mine, so thumbs up to that. Jamie O’s Mexican take on prawn cocktail is pretty cute-kitcsh too.
In the FT Weekend Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer proposed making sesame crusted bagel batons to be dipped into a zaatar flecked radish tzatziki. I could certainly go along with that.
There were recipes for lighter eating by Sophie Michell in Saturday’s Times Magazine, taken from her recipe book ‘Chef on a diet’. Most appealing (to me) were the suggestions of roasted chicken thighs with artichokes and chorizo; saffron and tomato braised mussels and clams with clementine gremolata.
In the same supplement, a tasty pear and ginger cake from Nadiya Hussein – with the triple whammy of treacle, golden syrup and light muscovado.
Also in Saturday’s Times (in the Weekend section), there were thoughts on cooking together as a married couple from Masterchef Professionals winner Mark Stinchcombe and his wife Sue, plus recipes for chicken in a crust with mushroom butter; and orange soufflé. And six ideas for asparagus via Sam Pearman of Cheltenham based restaurant group The Lucky Onion (I liked the brown shrimp, egg and chervil combo).
Back in the Saturday Guardian Magazine, was the cracking idea of pomegranate molasses roasted grapes to go with bacon, waffles and yoghurt. Heck of a breakfast, that, Tommi.
And Holy £*@&, check out Yotam Ottolenghi’s butterbean mash with padron peppers and jalapeño sauce … then read on in the same column for an oxtail and butterbean stew, which I suspect is lush.
Didn’t get enough of Nigel in the OFM? Here he is on peas – or, more specifically, with recipes for a herb, mozzarella and pea galette; and a little prawn, pea, radish and orange number.
On the internet
Jazzed up hummus is good, isn’t it? You know, topping a bowl of the stuff with something rich and fatty (lamb and ghee) or with a touch of crunch and zip. With that in mind, this hummus with Aleppo asparagus and sumac radish salad on Food52 seems like a good idea.
Or, how about this Lebanese knafeh dessert – a baked shredded filo, cream and mozzarella number, sprinkled with orange blossom syrup?
Though the thing on the internet you should really be looking at contains no recipes at all. Please read Ruby Tandoh’s well researched and written piece for vice.com on ‘The Unhealthy Truth behind Wellness and Clean Eating’.
The first recipe I read over the weekend was Yotam’s butter bean and padron pepper thing; and it was the only thing that I contemplated making. Dead easy and packed with flavour.
Weekend Menu, 14 and 15 May 2016
Bucatini with clams and minty potatoes
Eleonor Galasso, The Observer Food Monthly
Jane Baxter, The Guardian ‘Cook’
Warm summer pudding with sloe gin
Nigel Slater, The Observer Food Monthly
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