Ciao. I’m writing this from Tuscany, in the midst of an awesome, biblical display of thunder and lightning. The power’s gone, but the internet continues. Weird. Maybe that’s why heaven is having a hissy fit.
Plenty of things to salivate over in the papers over the weekend. Did / does anything catch your eye for a spot of cooking?
We’re on to week three of strawberry themed columns. Stevie Parle’s bit in the Saturday Telegraph was all red and dimpled. Blitzing the fruit up with Moscato d’Asti and freezing into a sorbet was, I felt, the most tempting suggestion.
Rowley Leigh also used a punnet or two in the FT. In this instance the berries were crammed into at pie. Personally, I find it hard to love cooked strawberries. They’re too, well, jammy, for me. But this still looked fairly luscious. R-Dog says a soggy bottom is inevitable.
BBQs and seasonal eating
Of course, the reason for the strawberries is they’re well and truly in season. Plenty of others based their copy on the time of the year, too.
Diana Henry wrote evocatively on childhood trips to Spain, and then set out a clutch of Spanish themed recipes for summer days. My favourite featured more strawberries: cava and lemonade jelly topped with sherry soaked strawbs.
The Guardian Cook’s, 10 Best section may well have been the top collection of recipes this weekend. Their selection of BBQ ideas was diverse, interesting, tempting, useful. Cider brined pork chop, miso glazed veg, zinger quail … all of them are worth a look. Much better than a burger and BBQ sauce chicken wing fest.
Mary-Ellen McTague proposed a a bunch of BBQ options in the main pages of The Guardian too. These were on a vegetarian and vegan friendly theme. I liked the idea of BBQ cauliflower with homemade hazelnut butter; just make sure you flavour and lubricate the grill with chicken skin, pig or beef fat first.
Yotam got pretty deep and analytical in his introduction to a summery ice cream column. I guess an overdose of cold stuff can make a man philosophise. Certainly, that helps to explain the number of gelaterias I saw today around the old thinkers’ area in Florence. My guess is Dante and Machiavelli would’ve thoroughly enjoyed Mr Ottolenghi’s grilled bread pudding with lemon and basil ice cream.
English bits and pieces
The other writers’ recipes were still suitable for late June/early July. But they didn’t hang everything on there being sun.
Tom Kerridge was back in Cook with his British food. This month the focus is Kent. Three eclectic dishes, each with a twist – new potato, summer vegetable and oyster soup; beef shin with beer and hop gravy; herby panna cotta. It’s good they’ve got those twists. Though it’ll take Joe Punter a bit of sourcing to be able to include them in their own attempts. Summer savory; fresh hops; or oysters in the local Budgens, anyone? No?
Before Mr Kerridge started trawling our Isles, the go to chef for British regional cooking was Mark Hix. On Saturday, Hixy was showing his floral side in the Indy, with four recipes highlighting the fact you can’t move for edible flowers in London’s restaurants at the moment. I quite like the trend. But note that my Mum was throwing pea flowers and nasturtiums at our food twenty years ago. She was presumably following Delia. So this is either a cyclical habit, or very, very dated.
Bill Granger’s spicy broths and soups in the Indy on Sunday were decent. Generically ‘Asian’ but tempting, nonetheless. Hot and sour broth with fish cakes is a good’n. But the star recipe of the column (and possible the whole weekend), is clams with rice in a miso broth. Right up my street.
Finally: big Nige made some sandwiches in The Observer; Gizzi had a bunch of American-ish recipes, July 4th and all that (the pig cheek Boston beans); and Georgio Locatelli’s sardine and wild fennel linguine made it into The Sunday Times too. Love Georgio.
Have a look at Emma Gardner’s yeasted waffles on Poires au Chocolat. A thoughtful approach to recipe writing.
Also, I’ve been enjoying browsing the food section in The Japan Times. No recipes, though.
Soz. Away again. So it was just platters of salume and the Gazzetta dello Sport, a la James Richardson.
Weekend Menu, 28 and 29 June 2014
Clam and brown rice miso broth
Bill Granger, The Independent (Sunday)
Tom Forster, The Guardian ‘Cook’
Barbecued cauliflower with hazelnut butter
Mary-Ellen McTague, The Guardian
Grilled bread pudding with lemon and basil ice cream
Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian
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