Supplemental #28

Stop Press: The Times in decent food on Saturday shock

The best food columns weren’t recipe related this weekend. But I want to mention them anyway, as they’re definitely worth a read.

First up, on Saturday, Caitlin Moran set the tone for an unusually (on the food front) good magazine from The Times. Her write-up of a morning spent with Jamie Oliver was top notch. To be honest, her write-up of a morning spent with anyone would be fun, but the boy comes out of it well. Gets a lot of flak, does our Jamie. But whatever mud you want to sling at him, he’s still the best presenter and promoter of home cooking we’ve got.

That piece was followed by a decent collection of recipes: from Mr O (the bloody Mary beef, the chicken tikka masala, the STP), Rick Stein (the Pondicherry mackerel fry, the octopus, the madras fish curry), and, dare I say it, even Donna Hay. Don’t worry, the world didn’t completely flip on its axis – the ‘Only Four Recipes’ were of their usual standard.

Back to the non-recipe bits: the Observer Food Monthly focused on the upcoming twentieth anniversary of Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s Clerkenwell restaurant, St John. Read, in particular, the thoughts of Rachel Cooke, Anthony Bourdain, and René Redzepi.

Nice … but not right now, thanks

I’ll bet, I dunno, 30p, that not one person in Britain makes Bill Granger’s bank holiday picnic ideas for the purposes of an actual picnic. Lobster rolls, vanilla ice cream and mango meringue sundaes (don’t know about you, but I find ice cream a little tricky in a picnic basket) and a jazzy lime elderflower and gin cocktail. Zingy lunch for sure. But picnic rug material it ain’t.

No surprise that Mark Hix is first with a game column. It’s all about grouse, and there are some interesting looking ideas: grouse with a spelt and herb salad; with corn drop scones and giroles; and with a jacket potato – the contents of which have been scraped out, mashed up and mixed with butter and grouse liver. But keep them in your back pocket for the time being. Those birds are much cheaper and more readily available in a few weeks or so.

Nigel Slater’s regular Observer mag column featured a couple of soups. I know it was a bit autumnal on Sunday morning, but I reckon we’ve a few weeks more before comfort soups are required. Still, over in the OFM, he provided five dessert recipes, which matched crunch with cream. I’m super keen on his coconut macaroons and marscapone – though I’d need a long, strong, black coffee on the side. Check the loganberry cream with crumbled flapjack recipe too. Close to sweet perfection in my book.

Remember Diana Henry’s cucumber paean two week’s ago? Well, I suspect MEMcT saw that the day after handing her own ode to the cuke in. After a momentary curse, she probably noted there was no crossover. Phew. I particularly liked the grilled cucumber and walnut salad (Dijon and white wine vinegar dressing), and am totally intrigued by the 18C idea of cooking cucumbers into a sauce (‘ragoo’) … but doubt I’ll ever try it.

This weekend’s miscellany

Rowley Leigh ranted about sous vide, and weighed in with a properly cooked pork chop with peperonata. Stevie Parle went all Turkish on us. His adana kofte look decent. And, as if by magic, fellow Saturday Telegraph columnist Rose Prince provided a recipe for Turkish pancakes.

No Yotam in this weekend’s Grauniad. Simon Hopkinson subbed in with a few typically Hoppy lunch dishes. I’m tempted by the vitello tonnato.

Ruby Tandoh’s baking recipes (also part of the Saturday Guardian package) were good again. Lovely braided vanilla and poppy seed loaf. And I’m a big fan of fennel, so was happy to see ten decent recipes for that plant in ‘Cook’ too. Fennel seed praline is a particularly cool idea for adding crunch to desserts.

There was a collection of meatball recipes in The Sunday Telegraph. Cod and coconut, chicken with curried raita, a Mediterranean classics … have a look, though I personally think you can’t outdo the meatballs of ‘The Bowler’ Jez Felwick. Google his recipes and / or buy his book.

Finally, The Sunday Times’ recipes felt a touch half-hearted this week: a few Greek-ish recipes from Belinda Harley replaced Gizzi’s column – tuna steak with black pepper, chilli and dill was probably the best of it. That said, Elizabeth David’s summer pudding is, no doubt, a classic. Just raspberries and redcurrants fill her version.

Abroad and on t’internet 

There was an interesting (I thought) column in the NYT based on a new set of recipes which, according to Joël Robuchon and his neuropharmacologist, will make you happy. (Wait, hang on Joël, are you now saying 2:1 potato to butter mashed potato isn’t the answer to everything?).

Also check out Niamh Shields’ malloreddus (mini gnocchi) recipe. It’s a couple of weeks old, but still pretty cute.

Supplemental Cooking

It was only ever going to be a St John inspired Sunday supper.

The OFM set out five classic Fergus Henderson recipes. I’m afraid I didn’t follow method for bacon and beans exactly as prescribed: I had a leftover, lightly brined pork shoulder steak in the freezer, not bacon. Which meant a little simmering, a little browning to finish and, ultimately, a delicious porky result. Lovely on top of what essentially amounts to posh baked beans.

I hope the big man doesn’t mind the deviation – from my experience of Nose to Tail Eating; a kind of British Cooking, the recipes that work best are about ethos, as oppose exact science anyway.

Weekend Menu, 16 and 17 August 2014

Grouse, spelt and herb salad

Mark Hix, The Independent (Saturday)

Pork chop with peperonata

Rowley Leigh, The Financial Times

Tahitian vanilla and blackcurrant crème brûlée

Ruby Tandoh, The Guardian ‘Cook’

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