Plenty of recipes majoring on the greens this weekend. Which is a good thing. (Is it me, or are recipes with a vegetable focus often the best ones anyway?)
I don’t think his column is still titled ‘The New Vegetarian’. But it’s certainly true to say that we can rely on Yotam Ottolenghi to promote non-meat based ideas. This weekend was courgette themed. That veg steamed with coriander and thin slices of raw garlic intrigued, but I was particularly tempted by a chargrilled courgette, sorrel, tarragon and parmesan salad. Admittedly, that’s partly because I’m going through a sorrel phase at the moment.
Thomasina Miers was also chargrilling vegetables for the same magazine (the Graun’s). First for a grilled cauliflower and charred tomato dressing salad. Then, more interestingly I thought, a warm, charred (then skinned) red pepper dish, dressed with a tarragon, caper and egg emulsion. Note the idea of making the mayo with cooked yolks and chopping the whites through it.
There was more sorrel in Olia Hercules’ second Residency piece for the Cook supplement, by way of a Moldovian flatbread (plachyndy) filled with egg and herbs.
And if you happened to be flatbread inclined on Saturday or Sunday, then the papers served you well. Because in addition to Olia’s plachyndy thingy, some dude’s got a spelt flour recipe book out and four of his wraps and flatbreads made it into Saturday’s Times.
A better read, I’d suggest, was Rachel Roddy’s four ways with fennel in Cook. From the same few bulbs, set yourself up with a raw salad, parmesan and breadcrumb baked bulbs, sardine and fennel frond spaghetti, and a fennel and carrot soup.
Whilst Nigel Slater’s pea and lettuce soup would “stand or fall” on the quality of the chicken stock (he suggests we make it with roasted wings), for me, the star recipe in his Observer column was one for burrata topped with fresh mint and lightly pickled strips of courgette, kohlrabi, onion.
Meat (and fish) sweats
If you prefer to concentrate on the protein aspect of your meal, don’t worry: there were still a number of meat and fish ideas flying around.
In Sunday’s Indy, for example, Bill Granger suggested that this summer’s BBQ surf and turf should be lamb, prawn and peach relish flavoured. The relish looks good (peach, chillli, garlic, honey, coriander, rice vinegar) and I liked the idea of passion fruit filled lamingtons; a nice twist on the Antipodean desiccated coconut cake.
In The Sunday Times Magazine, Florence Knight suggested a main course of pollock, with almond purée and samphire. Have any of you tried it? I’d be keen to know how it was.
I suspect the dish will be quite subtle, classy, and ingredient focused. In direct contrast, Jamie Oliver’s BBQ special in the same magazine was a wham bam bish bash bosh fest. First up: ‘Thai lamb and Asian ratatouille’. I like the idea of a 12 hour green-ish curry marinated bone-in leg of lamb. But I’m slightly dubious that it’ll still be pink in the middle after 1.5 hours in an oven at 180C, followed by a good charring on the BBQ. Charred grilled vegetables doused at the last minute in a fish sauce, lime, chilli dressing seem to be forcing the theme a little. The column also included jerk chicken; and wings and drumsticks coated in BBQ sauce and cooked in an oven over woodchips. Which my extractor is noooo good enough to deal with.
Donna Hay went big on flavour too with her chicken wing recipes in Saturday’s Times. Four methods and marinades with finger licking potential included ‘Malaysian style curry’, char sui, and pancetta wrapped with a smoky date glaze.
Staying with the four recipe theme, The Times’ Only Four was on how to use crab meat: on toast, in a crepe, through spaghetti, or in a salad. Decent suggestions.
Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter’s project cooking column provided a hearty chicken bisteeya (a pie), to be eated with fennel, radish and watercress, and beetroot and carrot salads.
In ‘the first of an occasional series of guest columns’ for the FT, Jacob Kenedy planned a picnic beyond the usual warm, sweaty hummus, warm sweaty charcuterie, and warm sweaty quiche. Instead, why not consider whipping up an octopus salad (ideally dressed when in the park) and a spag bol frittata? The recipes are straightforward and well instructed, but possibly too high admin for most.
And for the sweet toothed…
In Saturday’s Telegraph, John Whaite proposed a triptic of ‘ice creams for grown-ups‘. I thought basil ice cream with strawberry sauce and ginger ice cream with caramelised grapefruit look particularly good.
One day later, Diana Henry’s Sunday Telegraph Stella column was all about blueberries. I took most note of the suggestion that we try quick pickling them. But a blueberry and apricot crostata will please the crowds (is a crostata the same thing as a galette?). Ditto the gin and blueberry cocktail. Ditto the blueberry and ricotta hotcakes.
Last but not least, Mark Hix went big on saffron. If you don’t agree with me that this spice tastes like Toilet Duck, then you might like to try: a saffron infused gin, dry vermouth, honey and lemon cocktail; Iranian saffron rice; and a Jersey cream heavy saffron rice pudding (the ‘jam’ part of which is 1/5 of the rice pudding set aside and made sweet and saffrony).
On the Internet
Big thumbs up for Lizzie Mabbott’s clear beef and turnip soup on her Hollow Legs blog.
One non-recipe-but-still-food-based piece that’s definitely worth reading from the weekend is Bee Wilson’s on the subject of whether you should follow recipes to the exact measurement.
I’m in the ‘use as a guide or for inspiration’ camp when it comes to these things.
And this week, guidance and inspiration came from Rachel Roddy’s. Her four ways with fennel prompted cheese and breadcrumb topped baked fennel on Saturday (though coincidentally I was pondering something similar) and sardine and fennel frond spaghetti for supper on Sunday. Lovely stuff.
Weekend Menu, 13 and 14 June 2015
Burrata, fresh mint, pickled vegetables
Nigel Slater, the Observer
Chicken bisteeya, fennel and watercress salad, carrots and beetroot
Jane Baxter, the Guardian ‘Cook’
Ginger ice cream with caramelised grapefruit
John Whaite, The Telegraph
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