The first #Supplemental of 2018 is a long one. I blame the tabloids.
The Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
Guys, pancake day is on 13 Feb; Valentines 14 Feb; and then Chinese New Year begins two days later. You can feel the wide eyed editorial panic coursing through the internet: “how will we fit it all in? does this mean we need more vegan content for the rest of the year?“.
The Telegraph decided to take pancakes out the equation early with a long piece on Shrove Tuesday, Lent and links to masses of recipes, some innovative, some traditional, some crepe; and another by Xanthe Clay on the perfect pancake. Expect Valentine-flavoured noodles and dumplings next weekend.
Is it award season? I suppose we’re never really without gongs. Which must be comforting to Stephen Harris of the Sportsman and Saturday Telegraph, as it means there’s always an prize he can base his intro on, if nothing else springs to mind. The latest acknowledgement was for best gastropub (difficult to argue with), which prompted a gastropub menu of pickled herring and cabbage salad; duck with cherries and his old faithful chocolate mousse cake and raspberries. Yes please.
Blood orange brings out the fennel in us, and the latter bulb is what Flora Shedden based her column on, with a celeriac and fennel soup, and fennel seed biscotti.
But the stand-out set of recipes from the Telegraph’s weekend offering, and possibly the papers as a whole, came via Diana Henry, who proposed three superb-sounding roasts, plus a handful of sage advice thrown in for good measure — “there are two aspects to roasting that aren’t negotiable: the meat has to be good (go to a decent butcher) and it has to rest.” Amen. Which to cook first between pork shoulder, black grapes, juniper and marsala; roast chicken with preserved lemons, bay and sweet potatoes with yoghurt and olives; and roast lamb with apples and Somerset brandy??
The Times and Sunday Times
The Donna Hay Times Magazine remit seems to be ‘Easy’ or ‘Healthy’, and occasionally both. This week was a ‘both’, with fragrant and light curries, which included an aubergine and chickpea green one, a salmon green one and a turmeric and beef jobby. The ‘green’ comes more from kale (in the aubergine) and spinach (in the salmon) than coriander, which is inauthentic but’ll taste okay in a western kind of way.
There were western tacos in the Weekend section too, courtesy of the people behind burrito bar Benitos Hat. Asparagus and red and yellow peppers; prawns and red and yellow peppers; spinach, chorizo, potato and radish. I didn’t bookmark them.
Sunday’s glossy offering was, like, well rebellious, as the magazine editors chose to publish a basket full of health-minded and vegan recipes OUTSIDE the permitted January time slot.
Mimi Spencer’s “positive approach” to midlife means recipes means “dishes that can help boost immunity, support heart, bone and brain health, guard against diabetes, aid digestion and balance hormones, all focusing on gorgeous, fresh ingredients full of variety, vitality and energy.” For me it’s the bit after the Oxford comma that’s interesting, and in fact the recipes are fairly appealing on a purely taste basis. Salmon miso with pickled cucumber; nicely spiced slow roast lamb with figs baked in pomegranate molasses stood out.
The vegan material had more legs than most of the items pedalled over the last month, as it came from Mildreds, whose presence as a vegetarian and vegan option in London for decades has proved more than faddish. Genuinely can’t see how scrambled tofu would be half as good as a puddle of coddled Clarence Court’s. But the butternut and pistachio boreks will be enjoyed by most. And even better if you swap the vegan margarine for butter.
The FT Weekend
The Honey & Co duo’s recipe was something between a lazy souffle and a pastry-less quiche: broccoli, goats cheese, yoghurt, cream, eggs and flour, simply mixed together and baked. Would be good with some sharply dressed bitter or peppery leaves.
The Guardian and Observer
And so to the first #Supplemental mention of the new tabloid format Guardian and Observer. Let’s be honest, three weeks in and we’ve all completely forgotten how a Berliner newspaper looked and felt. On the one hand, that’s because the tabloid overhaul’s been neat and effective. On the other, it’s because, consciously at least, format and design means more to the people producing something than those consuming it. Plus, who buys a hard copy paper anyway? (JOKE)
The biggest change for those of us who turn to the food pages, is that the Weekend Magazine features (recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi, Thomasina Miers, Meera Sodha plus the restaurant review — now by Grace Dent and Fiona Beckett on drinks) and the Cook supplement have been brought together in one new, mini, tactile and tidy magazine titled Feast. I say brought together, but really Cook has disappeared, with Anna Jones and Rachel Roddy making the cut, but other names and features missing out.
What I loved about Cook was that it provided context to the recipes within it — space for long introductions and beautiful photography gave us an insight into the people providing the recipes, and reason for us to try them out. There’s less room for that in Feast, which is laid out to look like a contemporary cookbook. It is recipe and image focussed (refreshingly the latter is purely of the dishes; no lifestyle shots), with little time or space for prose — and the idea is you should collect and stack them in a binder, old skool-style.
It’s good. It’s for cooks. I like it. Though I do think they should add an extra piece of paper (and so four more sides), affording Rachel Roddy a little more space, one or two others a few more words, and *cough* add a regular column on side dishes.
To this week’s content:
Diana Henry’s main competitor was Yotam Ottolenghi (no surprises here) who suggested three frankly brilliant ways to use up old bread: a spicy lamb and bread ‘lasagne’; seafood stew with a sourdough crust; and Pumpernickel ice cream with caramelised crumbs (just add a shot of espresso OMFG what a killer supper party dessert).
Thomasina Miers’ ‘quick dish’ was a sprout, fennel salami and fennel seed gratin (and isn’t online yet).
Anna Jones offered new ways with swede, via a carbonara (hold the Italians back, it’s probably very good) and sweet maple and black pepper roast swede (to serve with lentils).
To date, there’s always a pause between the regulars, and a ‘six of the best’ feature. Expect this to be where new books are promo’d. This week, six lush rice bowls from Tim Anderson (ex Masterchef, current Nanban owner and author of the excellent Japaneasy, also not yet online).
Meera Sodha’s ‘new vegan’ dish was an old Gujarati one — potato and cabbage curry — and is online(!).
Tamal Ray baked scones with an intriguing kiwi and apple compote (I think he alternates with Ruby Tandoh in this baking spot). Rosie Birkett baked some leek, walnut and gruyere cheese tarts. Rachel Roddy a potato and porcini bake. And Felicity Cloake’s old G2 Perfect column has moved to the weekend, this week featuring vindaloo (Felicity, I hope you’re outraged they don’t trust your photography anymore). Waiting on these to go online too — I’ll add them when they do. (Do you get the impression they want us to buy a copy on a Saturday?)
Oh, and one more thing: on Sunday, Nigel nudged us towards his three postcards from Iran, Turkey and Lebanon, which are currently airing on BBC Two. Braised lamb with turmeric and yoghurt ought to be something that many Observer readers cut out and keep. And having said Mildred’s filo pastry will be decent, his fragrant, floral, sweet rolls will be better.
From the internet
What’s that thing about great minds? Like Yotam, American chef and food writer Samin Nosrat focussed on stale bread this week in the New York Times. Here, though, she shows the value of having a decent word count where she gets to provide context to her recipe (a French onion panade), which allows her to tempt you to make it, and also to pass on her understanding of cooking — in this instance the role of water (or lack of it) when caramelising onions, and then liquid’s impact on texture in the final dish. If you like her approach, consider her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.
Weekend Menu, 3 and 4 February 2018
Pickled herring and cabbage salad
Stephen Harris, The Telegraph
Roast pork shoulder with black grapes, juniper and rosemary
Diana Henry, The Sunday Telegraph ‘Stella’
Maple and black pepper roast swede
Anna Jones, The Guardian Feast
Pumpernickel ice cream (and a double espresso)
Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian Feast
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