Quite a lot of words this weekend. Plenty of recipes too, many of them sweet: a couple of pavlovas, roast apricot sorbet with pistachio cookies, tahini and preserved lemon cookies, raspberry ice cream cake, more ice creams, and more things involving tahini and pistachios. You’ll probably need a dark coffee to get you through it all.
The Times and Sunday Times
What does it mean to be ‘An Influencer’? The title gets bandied around a lot these days — spat or scratched, more often than spoken or scribed, I suspect. In the world of food it’s quite funny to consider the idea that a handful of humble food nerds are ‘influential’. They’re (we’re?) not really. Not in the grand scheme of things. Not beyond a marginally larger handful of food nerds anyway. Oh, I say that, then read in The Sunday Times Magazine that @ClerkenwellBoy’s #CookforSyria campaign has raised more than £500,000 for Unicef. Remarkable … The ST mentioned the campaign because there’s a #BakeforSyria book about to be published, and so the coffers should swell a bit more. Extracted in the magazine were recipes from the likes of Lilly Vanilli (another driving force behind this sweeter part of the project), Honey & Co, and Meghan’s fave, Claire Ptak — with, respectively, pomegranate tarts in a crisp sesame case, a cream filled-kinda-pistachio-baklava called ‘ketmer’, and tahini and cardamom swirl-buns. Loads of other stellar contributions. The book’s available here.
Palestinian cook Rawia Bishara has a celebrated Middle Eastern restaurant in Brooklyn, and a recently published book titled Levant, from with The Times Weekend Magazine snatched a handful of summer dishes. I liked the look of stuffed baby aubergine with rice and vermicelli pilaf, which both get piled on toasted pita, along with a spiced tomato sauce and yoghurt. Also grilled sesame prawns.
I’m not always 100% positive about Nadiya Hussain’s recipes. But she’s 100% a charming and engaging presenter and personality, as you’ll see in Sathnam Sanghera’s interview with her in The Times Magazine (and you’ll also read how this totally normal person is trolled and racially abused on a daily basis — even in the comments to the piece). The magazine also house a bunch of her ‘favourite family recipes‘. Of the cakes and bakes, a raspberry ice cream cake stood out, and I was also drawn to her spinach and paneer kati rolls. Plus a chaat that doesn’t require a mix of sev and and puffed rice — instead it’s crushed tortillas, peanuts, coriander, a mint sauce that involves mayo and tamarind paste mixed with ketchup. So all sorts of wrong, but also weirdly right.
The Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
Stephen Harris pushed the pavlova for his Telegraph column. He keeps his ingredients fairly traditional — including both cornflour and vinegar with his egg white and sugar. But does add a twist in a last minute singe of the meringue with a blow torch. So the mongrel love child of a Swiss and Italian meringue. Rationale being that he likes the bitter caramel note as it tempers the sweetness of the meringue and its strawberry and chantilly cream topping.
Also in The Telegraph, Xanthe Clay introduced the trend for ‘adult’, ‘bewildering’ and ‘down right weird’ ice creams, then provided recipes for a veritable counterful of flavours, including honey nut cornflake milk, carrot cake, rose and cardamom, and Gelupo’s mango and sticky rice. There’s even a recipe for the cones. (If ice cream recipes are your thing, consider La Grotta Ices, which is out in a week or so).
And then there was some saucy stuff from The Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine’s Diana Henry. In summertime, she’s all in favour of banging something on the griddle, then pairing that with a feisty accompaniment. So spoon a load of smoky chimichurri (the ‘smoke’ is from the unusual (I think) addition of paprika to this South American salsa), mango and tamarind paste relish, a sweet-sour-hot-and-fishy dipping sauce, red zhug, or a preserved lemon, olive, raisin and coriander relish. I like the look of all of them.
As an aside (as it’s not strictly from the weekend), did you see Debora Robertson’s homemade dog food that’s good enough for us all to eat? Hound feeders, check out the intro article, then get the book.
The Guardian and Observer
Yes please to each and every one of Yotam’s lamb dishes in the Guardian’s Feast supplement: berbere spiced lamb and potato filo ‘snails’; lamb meatballs with vermouth braised fennel; and strips of lamb shoulder marinated in soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, cumin and sugar, sticky aubergine, chilli, coriander and more cumin. Yum.
Also in Feast, a really intriguing tomato puff tart from Meera Sodha. There’s a tangy caramelised onion and tamarind base, topped with a spiced pistachio and coconut paste, and then the tomatoes.
Rachel Roddy mused on the act of soaking and simmering chickpeas. Sounds a mundane subject, but she makes it as legitimate and interesting a read as if it were [insert whatever your most pondered cooking technique is here].
I tried a couple of interesting ices at the weekend. One, a lemon curd topped with cucumber sorbet, and the other, a lychee and apple ice lolly — just things that some one was selling from their front yard (in east London, natch), and both great. The spirit of both seemed to be similar to Nigel Slater’s recipes in Sunday’s Observer: a lemon and lemon thyme sorbet of sorts; and a frankly irresistible roast apricot sorbet served with pistachio cookies (that’s a must try, I reckon).
The FT Weekend Magazine
Finally (on the print side of things), there was lots to read in a very enjoyable and even occasionally informative FT Weekend Magazine Food and Drink special.
On the recipe front, Skye Gyngell offered a couple of suggestions for using up surplus ingredients: the first was a lemon curd meringue (not going to lie, it’s not often I have 8 egg whites kicking around; I tend to find a meringue leads to surplus yolks); and the second root vegetable crisps (again, not really from leftovers, but I did like the suggestion to serve them with honeycomb).
Also, the Honey & Co duo, Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, provided a glimpse of their new book, At Home. It looks to be neatly divided (for us two, for friends, for the weekend, for a crowd), and they’re a pains to say how it’s all very simple. On show in this supplement: a pasta, pea and preserved lemon salad; sea bream and harissa siniya, which is harissa marinated sea bream, chunked and cooked with onions and tomatoes, then topped with whipped tahini for a final bake; and tahini and preserved lemon cookies.
See, too, the selection of bottled cocktail recipes, including Salon’s ‘Peashooter’: elderflower, dry white wine, soda and pea pods.
From the internet
Nik Sharma’s paneer paratha (in the San Francisco Chronicle) will do very nicely indeed.
Weekend Menu, 9 & 10 June 2018
Fresh peas, shoots, preserved lemon and ricotta
Anna Jones, The Guardian ‘Feast’
Sea bream and harissa siniya
Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, The Financial Times Weekend Magazine
Roast apricot sorbet and pistachio cookies
Nigel Slater, The Observer
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