Last Monday’s Supplemental predictor, uhm, predicted right: there was, indeed, an overload of diet and detox in the papers this weekend.
Interestingly, on Saturday, we also saw another laudable pre-emptive dig from Mr Ottolenghi, who refuted the idea that you can purge yourself through what you eat. His preference: simply cook food that make you feel good – without pretending that that food will change the make-up of your body. Baby squid in coconut milk with rice cakes and green peppercorns it is then.
For what it’s worth, I’m with Yotam. ‘Detoxing’ is a myth, most diets are unhelpful, and if you could actually made your body more alkaline, you’d die. So I’m afraid there are no links below to the many diet plans that were printed in the broadsheets.
Instead, I’ll pass you this simple equation for free (I write this as a natural fatty who once lost 3 stone in about 8 months): cut back on sugar and exercise enough to ensure you use more calories than you ingest. Then get an explosive bout of food poisoning whilst in Central America. You are welcome.
Ignore the fact kale is supposed to be a superfood. To my mind, it’s just a really good ingredient. So imagine my delight when I counted at least fifteen kale recipes on Saturday alone.
The Guardian helped on that front – with ten kale recipes in Cook. All great (see cooking below).
Also The Times, where Donna Hay thrust it in most of her ‘winter’ recipes. Crumbed eggs with garlic and kale on toast and roast chicken with kale and almond pesto both tempted.
The same paper had a handful of ‘easy Japanese recipes’ from someone called Makiko Sano. If we ate like the Japanese all year round, there’d be no need to cut out on anything each January. Maybe start with the soy and sesame dressed kale. Miso cod (obvs) and the soup look decent too.
Soups and salads
Speaking of soups, plenty of those this week.
I liked Gizzi’s selection in The Sunday Times. Love a good salmon and miso udon soup (heed her advice about cooking the marinated salmon gently), but the Mexican chicken broth (stock, chook, cumin, toms, sweetcorn), garnished with tortillas, avo, lime and coriander stood out.
Thomasina Miers also suggested soups as the way forward this week. Lovely spiced parsnip with fried apple number, and a strong looking (ignore the misleading picture) smoked mackerel udon soup.
Stevie Parle’s cauliflower, cumin and brown butter soup might be the best liquid lunch of the bunch. This came as part of his Saturday Telegraph column, which promoted a spot of batch cooking and freezing. In addition to the soup: venison ragu and a crumble.
On the salad front, Jamie suggested a winter salad-come-coleslaw in The Sunday Times, along with a berry smoothie.
And since chocolate comes from a plant, Nigel Slater’s chocolate fruit and nut crisp in The Observer is essentially a salad too. Maybe the hazelnut maple biscuit would be stretching things, but will still be delicious. Totally agree with his suggestion to double toast your nuts, btw.
Bits and bobs
Rowley explained to FT readers that if it’s not got rice in it, then it’s not a risotto. Then gave them a recipe for a chestnut and spelt grain, er, risotto. Could be a good’n – involves slowly cooking and caramalising an onion base for thirty minutes. I reckon it’ll need lashings of olive oil and cheese, though.
Ruby baked a sweet potato cake and muffins using wholemeal flour in Cook. In the same supplement, Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter threw mega fatty pork belly in the face of the dieters, providing instructions for perfect crackling.
Mark Hix said his Indy column was about using leftovers. No need to wait for leftovers to griddle red onions and chuck pomegranate molasses at them, though. Nor to mix cauliflower and anchovies as a ‘salad’. Clever use of old pork in a kind of vitello tonnato form, though.
Bill Granger was fully on the carbs, with three pasta recipes. All were fairly enterprising: roasted pumpkin and spinach lasagne; duck ragu with spelt penne (nice); and squid ink fettuccine with garlic and chilli squid.
Finally, The Times’ ‘Only Four’ were decent enough this week – legit seafood pasta quickies.
From the internet
Bored of recipes and underwhelmed by ‘food writing’ at the moment? This Eater selection of long form food stories is a good resource for your commute or bed time reading. Also, Claire pointed me in the direction of a new website called Aftertastes. The ‘Essay’ section looks spot on.
And if you want some inspiration to help you work on that eating fewer calories than you use equation, look no further than Elly Curshen’s Instagram hastag #ellypearfastdays. Top of the class.
Kale, obviously. On Saturday night, a quite stonking pearl barley and cavolo nero sausage stew from ‘Cook’. Helped, largely, by some brilliant Quality Chop House bacon and leek sausages. Then on Sunday, some of Nicholas Balfe’s kale crisps. Same recipe column as the stew. The suggestion to season the kale with cumin salt and lemon zest was ace.
Weekend Menu, 3 and 4 December 2014
Griddled red onions with pomegranates
Mark Hix, The Independent (Saturday)
Baby squid with rice cakes and green peppercorns
Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian
Bill Granger, The Independent on Sunday
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