Out with the old, in with the new. Sort of.
We’re in a transition week. It’s too late for BBQs, picnics and ice cream, but too early for squash, stews and shrooms. Which leaves the seasonally prompted columns a choice of: the end of summer berries, last gasp tomatoes and mid season plums.
Mary Ellen McTague plumped for the berry option in The Guardian. I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: I like how MEMcT’s recipes aren’t overly prescriptive. As much as anything, they (and the column as a whole) are for interested cooks. Rough ideas and starting points. So if you’re interest in blackcurrants, raspberries and whimberries, take a look.
Gizzi Erskine’s Sunday Times column was also summer berry themed. I particularly liked the mixed berry and pastis clafoutis.
Plums are the perfect summer to autumn transition fruit. They’ve been around for a few weeks now, and Mark Hix’s plum focused piece in The Independent is one reason to hope that they will be around for two or three more. How does braised wild duck (on a Persian theme) with plums sound? Or plum and cobnut ‘cheese’, plum compote rippled coupe (ice cream, made with clotted cream, served with more clotted cream and ginger nuts), or a goat’s cheese and pickled greengage salad? Good stuff.
Nigel Slater also wrote about plums – proposing an anise scented plum sauce to go with shredded duck, and a simple plum compote.
Stevie Parle was hanging by his fingernails to the last of the tomatoes. I thought a tomato salad with an almond and garlic dressing probably the most interesting of his three recipes.
Oh hi. Did I mention I’ve got a book out?
Saturday’s Guardian launched Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book ‘Plenty More’. There wasn’t much of an intro. But I guess we know already that this will be a quality source of delicious dishes. There were eleven recipes in the paper, including sweet and sour leeks with goat’s curd and currents, Thai red lentil soup, baked orzo with mozzarella and oregano (basically a cuddle in a pyrex dish) and courgette baba ganoush. Plenty more where those came from. [Sorry].
Hugh FW’s latest release continues to get coverage in The Times – it sits well with the whole healthy and easy theme of the Eat! supplement. I liked the look of his St Clements polenta cake with blueberries and also the excellent aromatic nutty chicken – which has spiced nut butter shoved under the skin before roasting. Nice one.
The Times also noted the impeding release of Ollie Dabbous’ first book. Looks like he’s aiming at the chef and wannabe chef market, rather than thirty minute supper crowd. Recipes for his celebrated aliums in pine infusion and coddled eggs are more about process and time than difficult technique, but still probably too much of a faff for most. (Indeed, if you can’t be bothered, the eggs taste just like a Heinz Toast Topper, so you could probably just buy a tin of that).
The Sunday Telegraph had one of those random weeks, where a chef linked tenuously to celebrity (in this case, Donna Karan’s daughter) subs in for the regular writer. To be fair, the pappardelle with whipped controne beans and mussels was tempting.
On Saturday, The Telegraph’s baker, Rose Prince, got all protective about British apples. Rightly so. They’re super at the moment. Buy them, then try her tarte Tatin. Or, for that matter, Ruby Tandoh’s apple themed baking column in Cook – the cider caramelised apple lattice will be ace.
Also in Cook, there were ten bread based recipes, including panko coated, deep fried scallops with mozzarella. Does that work? José Pizarro’s ‘candied orange torrijas with bitter orange caramel’ definitely does.
Have a look, too, at Itamar Srulovich’s second column for the supplement. Personal. Self-deprecatory. Unpretentious. I think Itamar’s short residency ends next week, but suspect we’ll be reading loads more from him in the future.
Great recipe from Rowley Leigh in this weekend’s Financial Times: sardines in saor (as well as a method for sardine paté).
Finally, Bill Granger suggested three ways with salmon that you might not have tried before. I’m not sure they ‘scale new heights’. But better than just baking fillets in the oven and eating with a salad.
Abroad and online
The New York Times noted that British food writing rules – bigging up Ottolenghi and Diana Henry in the process. Nice to see.
From the blogs, take a peek at Belleau Kitchen. I enjoyed yesterday’s ‘white man makes noodles’ post. But even before reading that, I was going to recommend his beetroot, pecan and cheddar bread from earlier in the week.
The prompts of Messrs Slater and Hix ensured I bought and stewed a few kilos of plums to have with my muesli over the next few days. I also really liked the idea of pickled greengages in the Hix column. So I grabbed a bag of those as well. It’s a dead easy recipe – and the pinch of cardamom smelled inspired. Thing is, the recipe stated they’ll last for 3 months, but gave no clue as to when I should start to crack into them. Tomorrow? Next week? Hmm.
Weekend Menu, 6 and 7 September 2014
Sardines in saor
Braised wild duck with plums
Apricot, walnut and Lavender cake
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