It felt good, after four weeks away, to dive back into the fold of our weekend papers. Indeed, it was particularly good to find only one or two fleeting references to Christmas. My inner Scrooge hopes all that jazz was dispensed with over the last week or two … but suspect most is still to come.
Long haul treats
Loads of food from far off this weekend. I like to think it was a concerted editorial effort to ease me back in gently.
Ruby Tandoh kicked things off with a reminder of my massive week long Hong Kong dim sum binge. I’m intrigued by her egg custard steamed bun (lai wong bao) and may well try it out when I have a moment. Earl grey spotted dick was closer to home – though I’ve not seen a cylindrical one before.
Ten Nordic treats in Cook reminded me of my trip to South Sweden back in October. I liked the look of most of the recipes, but I’m not sure I’ll ever use them.
The same goes for Nigel Slater’s curries in Sunday’s Observer. Thai duck curry half tempted, but the vegetable curry that followed seemed to lack oompf. I rather wish it’d been a second Thai themed recipe.
For me, the best idea across the myriad Grauniad food pages came in the reader’s recipe swap section. Check out this West African chicken & peanut butter stew.
Mark Diacono’s Sichuan pickled apples in The Telegraph’s gardening pages brought back memories of almost permanently numb lips in Chengdu at the start of November.
I’m always drawn towards an egg curry – have a look at this South Indian one by Arun Kapil. Still can’t decide if it’s worth a bookmark?
Finally, Bee Wilson wrote yet another thing of interest in The Torygraph: a run down on wasabi (and where and how to get the fresh stuff).
Fear not Farage, there was plenty of home grown stuff too.
You can always rely on Mark Hix to push British ingredients and cooking. This week his theme was the humble chestnut. Partridge stuffed with their liver, chestnut and celery was a cracking start. But I also thought the cocktail recipe (chestnut distilled gin, chestnut syrup, tangerine juice, candied chestnut) was pretty ace.
Stevie Parle focused on one nut too, as he proposed walnut and amaretto cake, walnut pesto, and walnut heavy granola. The nut was walnut, in case that wasn’t clear.
The FT Weekend Magazine was mostly food focused and also mighty. Rowley Leigh was on board, of course, with some relatively unusual party snacks – salsify and Parma ham rolls and oyster buns. Though I suspect you and I are more likely to replicate some of the high end gastro pub recipes in the same supplement. I loved, in particular, the minced venison version of a cottage pie (with a parsnip and potato mash top, juniper, mace, port and chestnut mushrooms in the filling); also The Sportsman’s chocolate and salted caramel tart; and The Hinds Head’s individual Sussex Pond Puddings, which I think I’m going to try next week.
Over at The Times
No weekly review is complete without a bit of News UK bashing.
But, WTF?!, it seems as though there’ve been a few changes.
First of all, Lord Oliver appears to have become a regular on the Sunday paper. Can’t be cheap – maybe having people actually pay for online content does work after all? This week he provided a chicken under a brick recipe. Which was accompanied by a few bashed olives, a handful or two of capers, loadsa basil, lemon and a glug of olive oil … all sounds rather nice to me.
Apparently Gizzi’s still at the same paper, though she was away this issue – Bruno Loubet subbed in with pan fried bream and mussels on a lumpy pistou and a raspberry and basil mousse thing.
Then there’s the matter of Saturday’s paper.
It was confusing enough to find an excellent set of Tom Kerridge roast recipes (chick w smoked pap, black cabbage and anchovies; fez walnut pear slow gin, plaice w mushroom ragu , cumin lamb parsnip mash).
But Donna Hay’s red velvet desserts in Eat! really sent things spinning. Have a sneak behind the pay wall, if you can – all four look stunning. Not least the marshmallow iced sponge, the trifle and, most impressively, the red velvet cheesecake (chocolate biscuit and almond base, ricotta, chocolate and red food colouring baked filling). Nice.
That said, Gino D’Acampo’s risotto recipes were worth only the briefest scan. And, reassuringly, the ONLY FOUR RECIPES YOU’LL EVER NEED featured pea and ham, ‘winter’, spiced butternut squash and French onion soups.
What’s that scraping and scratching noise you say? That’ll be the bottom of the barrel.
Bill Granger pushed gluten free cakes.
And The Hemsley’s were, like, sooo Christmassy.
I had a good read of my favourite blogs when I got back, and wholeheartedly recommend Danny Food Urchin’s potted squirrel post, and Helen Graves’ fancy new layout (and fridge) over at Food Stories tower.
Mark Hix’s chocolate dipped candied chestnuts were a successful way to ease back into the cooking malarkey. Lovely job.
Weekend Menu, 29 and 30 November 2014
Danny Kingston, Food Urchin
Partridge stuffed with chestnuts and celery
Mark Hix, The Independent (Saturday)
Red velvet cheesecake
Donna Hay, The Times (Saturday)
There’s a fortnightly newsletter for the blog, which brings together the latest posts on Rocket and Squash and a few other things from elsewhere that you might find interesting. It’s published every other Tuesday. If you’re not already an email subscriber, look down and to the right a bit and fill in your details.