Valentines Day, Pancake Day, Chinese New Year, uhm, Day. Plenty of scope to theme the recipe columns this week.
Oh my days
Of course Valentines Day has now passed (RIP … how I miss it already). But a number of cooks decided to mark Saturday with recipes for the chivalrous but slightly unprepared among us.
The FT’s Rowley Leigh figured he’d probably play it cool and just cook seafood linguine – “a dish that we have about once a fortnight anyway”. Prawns, scallops, salmon, chilli, garlic, lemon etc.
Rose Prince suggested we make more of an effort with a host of recipes in The Telegraph. I’d say truffle, white wine and tarragon poussin is one worth trying, despite the fact the event has been and gone.
Thomasina Miers said we might as well combine Feb 14th and Shrove Tuesday this year. Her recipes for both occasions included homemade Nutella and a potato and cabbage curry with chickpea pancakes. The latter will keep the bed nice and warm, I suppose.
Jamie proposed cooking up a bunch of vaguely fluffy pancakes and stacking them into a cake. I reckon the pancake stack is a classic illustration of the problem with food porn photos – in reality, it’s neither as good as a proper cake, nor a single pancake. This recipe is in American cup format, so you probably won’t be trying it out in any event.
Mark Hix was slightly more traditional in his pancake approach: classic crepes topped with cherries in cider brandy; a chicken, cream and tarragon jobbie; and spring rolls as a wild card
Bill Granger used Chinese New Year (this coming Thursday) as his prompt for a few typically fusion things in The Independent on Sunday. I liked the idea of mushrooms with black vinegar; as well as the method for five spice cashew nuts.
There were some dumpling recipes in The Times. But I can’t link to them, I’m afraid, as all Saturday’s recipe links are borked. Awkward.
I’ll tenuously put Yotam Ottolenghi’s dumpling recipes into this section as his three ideas included prawn wontons. The pierogi and gnudi recipes were perhaps more tempting, though. In fact, definitely the gnudi (ricotta based) – they look great, served with chilli and crisp lemon skin.
Quick quick slow
Donna Hay’s recipes in Saturday’s Times were aimed at getting dinner on the table within in 20 minutes.
Whereas in The Sunday Times, Gizzi Erskine suggested three slow cooking (not slow cooker) dishes. The star of these was undoubtedly her venison hunter stew with dumplings. This involves cross cut shin (osso bucco style), port, red wine, juniper etc. and four to five hours of gentle cooking. Herb loaded dumplings are added for the last 20. Lovely job.
Gennaro Contaldo had a few recipes in the Telegraph, and also suggested we go low and slow. In reverse, his gentle menu was meringue with zabaglione; chicken stew; and (my favourite) split pea with lettuce soup.
Someone told me a few weeks ago that sausage recipes are always the most successful form of weekend recipe click bait. Whether Nigel Slater knows that or not, his snag recipes in the OFM were all banging. Where to start? Chinese sausage rice; prune, apricot and chorizo stew; kielbasa, sauerkraut and mushroom; or Cumberland sausage, shallot and cheddar roast potato mash? All lush.
He also had his usual recipes in the main Observer magazine – this week on a rhubarb theme. I’m sure the ‘barb and pomegranate instant chutney will go nicely with pork chop. Nowt wrong with a rhubarb posset either. Rubbish photos, mind.
Diana Henry bigged up cauliflower in The Sunday Telegraph’s ‘Stella’ supplement. She suggested we roast the cauli and go all Sicilian with it; soup it up; or (best, I think), make spiced fritters to be eaten with a sticky date relish.
I would happily work through Cook’s ten blue cheese recipes. This might be because a bit of blue is my Achilles heel. But there were definitely good ideas in there. Olia Hercules’ sorrel with blue cheese soup is quite possibly the star, though Rosie Birkett’s chicory, walnut and gorgonzola lasagna sounds like a February winner. And let’s just have a short pause to think about Tim Siadatan’s deep fried shallots with a gorgonzola sauce, shall we?
As you were.
Seems as though the Guardian’s weekend food editor Bob Granleese has been burning the midnight oil recently. Poor wee lamb. Aside from Slater’s sausages, he basically was the OFM this weekend, interviewing a number of different chefs on the subject of how they feed and eat with their kids. Good bits and pieces in there from the likes of Allegra McEvedy, Jason Atherton, Mary Ellen Mctague and Nathan Outlaw. Try Atherton’s chicken and pork adobo – massively underrated / unknown Filipino dish.
A day earlier, the always caring Granleese had curated a set of recipes for one. Bruno Loubet’s mustard apricots and Skye Gyngell’s rich chocolate ice cream stood out as ones to try. Marcus Wareing’s steak and chips seems fairly high admin.
To round things off, Ruby Tandoh’s baking column in Cook included a very tempting rosemary spiked lemon drizzle cake.
And The Times appeared to prompt a Civil War by suggesting that there are as many as four possible recipes for a Cornish Pasty. Leek, cheese and potato, (curried) cod and peas, and lamb are all options, apparently. Thank goodness the links don’t work – might break the internet.
Time only to give Mark Hix’s pancakes with boozy cherries and ice cream a go. Except I couldn’t get hold of the prescribed Somerset cider brandy laced cherries. So it was just tinned cherries. And ice cream. And a pancake.
Which was fine. Reminded me of the one and only time we went to Little Chef as kids – when our summer holiday babysitter made us steel the cutlery so she could furnish her new house. Happy days. (Don’t tell Mum).
Weekend Menu, 14 and 15 February 2015
Sorrel soup with blue cheese
Olia Hercules, The Guardian ‘Cook’
Chinese sausage rice
Nigel Slater, The Observer Food Monthly
Lemon rosemary drizzle cake
(and loads of crème fraîche)
Ruby Tandoh, The Guardian ‘Cook’
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