Real food, mostly in moderation, seems to be the default position for our papers’ food writers. This week, however, many recipes felt particularly hearty, possibly even excessive. Which is actually very thoughtful of the scribes – it’s vital to bulk up now in order to make it through winter.
This is not a kale, celery and beetroot juice booster
In amongst the OFM awards was a clutch of potato recipes by Nigel Slater. At first glance I didn’t think there was much to note. Then, chicken liver ragu with creamy mash and chive oil (nice) caught my eye, before spuds in smoked garlic and cream drew me in further – potatoes cooked in oil and water to the point the water has evaporated and the tubors soften and soak up much of the oil and brown in the rest. Smoked garlic infused cream is added once the potatoes are sweet and sticky. You know, to lighten things a little.
Just reading through ‘Cook’s‘ selection of ten ‘British’ puds helped pad out the old love handles. It was hard to look beyond Izy Hosack’s sticky banoffee cake with salted caramel. But I smiled at the Viennetta recipe – primarily at the idea of constructing one instead of simply opening a box and sliding from the tray, but also the suggestion we can claim the Viennetta as a ‘British’ thing. I’ve added it to ‘homemade chicken chow mein Pot Noodle’ in my book of Reimagined Retro British Classics. Incidentally, Rowley Leigh’s recipe in the Financial Times was as British as they come – stuffed baked Bramley apple with custard.
The winner of the ‘Couldn’t Care Less About Juicing’ Award was Mark Hix. Snuggled in his onion themed Saturday Indy column (among baked shallots with pickled walnuts, lamb’s kidney with sweet caramelised onions), was an extraordinary DEEP FRIED ONION LOAF. Which as far as I can tell is essentially a tonne of onions chucked in a fryer until you can’t fit any more in, pressed down, and fried till golden. I assume this creates a dense, crisp on the outside, juicy and soft within bread loaf shaped onion bhaji. Should you spread it with butter?
Leaves are turning
October, innit. Which means squash and apple and pears and stuff.
I think Stevie Parle’s Telegraph column was the weekend’s best all rounder. To be transparent, I’ve a huge soft spot for the subject of the piece – quince – so he was on to a winner at the outset. But the recipes were strong too. Not least because they highlighted the fruit’s flexibility: roast and served with grouse; baked and stuffed with lamb; and poaching juices reserved for a cheeky posset. Lovely stuff.
Ottolenghi went with a squash theme in Saturday’s Guardian. Little fritters will be good, and I imagine a dish of sweetened Brussels sprouts salsa over char grilled squash and feta will be rather more-ish.
It was a Tom Kerridge week in ‘Cook‘. His tour of Britain has now reached Scotland. I’ll leave the venison and chicken mousse Wellington to others (for me, a Wellington is rarely even the sum of its parts), but would happily look again at his recipes for brandy snaps filled with scotch and brown sugar cream, and a toasted barley risotto with black pudding.
Diana Henry included a barley risotto too – to go with smoked haddock. Her other extreme comfort autumnal dishes included braised lamb with squash and harissa.
I couldn’t see Bill Granger on The Independent website. Perhaps he’s off juicing. There were a few Lorraine Pascale halloween things, though, and also some recipes for ‘British curry week’. (We need a curry week?)
One of Thomasina’s Guardian recipes had sorrel in. The other chard.
Ruby Tandoh claimed that we should use instant coffee not proper stuff when baking. Which I’m certain is not the case. Like wine, much better to cook with something palatable, than the dregs of a shipping container, swept up along with over roasted loose husks before being ground, bound by chemicals, painted brown and branded ‘convenient’. Apart from that her recipes were good …
Of course The Times‘ ‘Only 4’ was back to normal after last week’s high point. So on Saturday we got four ways to cook cauliflower. None of them roasted in sea salt and rapeseed oil till nutty and brown. Which is the best way.
Papers from elsewhere
I was in Bavaria all weekend. But can’t say I looked at the food pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. So I’ve no idea what the recipes in German papers are like. Next time.
There was lots of cooking – by myself and others – but I’m afraid nothing derived from the papers. In the unlikely event you’re interested, the highlight might’ve been a pudding consisting of a sabayon flavoured with porter from a brewery we visited, poached then caramalised pears, and a crumble made of (used) malt from the same brewery. Delicious.
Oh, and there were wurst.
Weekend Menu, 18 and 19 October 2014
Baked shallots with pickled walnuts
Mark Hix, The Independent (Saturday)
Smoked haddock, parsnip and barley risotto
The Godwins, The Guardian’Cook’
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