Reading List (26/7)

‘Please stop putting things in my brownie that aren’t chocolate, because it makes me sad’. (This is from February, but still a fascinating account of what ‘wellness bloggers’ are doing to our eating habits, body image and potentially, our health.)

I love the sound of this twice weekly pop-up. And the photos of the space look amazing. And this food studio in Edinburgh, only open a few nights a week.

This model for a small restaurant business is fascinating.

A list of dinners to make when the prospect of turning on the oven fills you with dread.

The food at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Strand bookstore in NYC has a quiz for potential employees.

A glamorous (Southern belle) version of spice cake which I intend to make for the princess the next time she visits. (Come visit Princess!)

I listened to the Bon Appetit Foodcast from July 7th last week. They talk to Jessica Koslow of Sqirl in LA. It’s a superb conversation full of jam, ideas and living by your own rules.And for some visuals of what Sqirl serves, look here. Links to the Eater Upsell interview here. Preorder Koslow’s book ‘Everything I Want to Eat’ (due October) here.

Wanderlust.

This is such a fantastic essay from Zadie Smith – on Brexit, on inequality, on London, on the future. She writes, ‘extreme inequality fractures communities, and after a while the cracks gape so wide the whole edifice comes tumbling down’. This is a well thought out piece about how, in the last thirty-odd years, the UK has fractured into spaces for those with money and spaces for those without, and how the people in these spaces live independently of each other, without seeing ‘the other’. Her discussion of how impossible it has now become to bridge these spaces, and purposively encounter people ‘other’ than oneself (she uses the example of a child her daughter was friends with at school but whose mother she couldn’t seem to start a conversation with) has stayed with me ever since.

Really thought-provoking podcast on the Food Programme last week, all about the funding for infant free school meals and the problems faced by small schools. The additional funding for small schools is being cut (it was only ever supposed to be temporary) and they will be expected to continue to provide a service for £2.30/child. This is problematic for small schools, who cannot operate on the economies of scale larger schools use, and who will struggle to keep their services afloat without additional help. In the programme they indicate that this may undo all the years of work that have transformed the school meals service in England.

Blueberry bbq chicken anyone?

Living in big cities is stressful. Community is important when you live there.

Do you need to build a restaurant empire to be a successful chef?

I listened to the Sporkful podcast on my way to work Monday. Last week’s episode was all about eating on presidential campaign trails and was totally absorbing and funny.

Pictures of Georgian London. (Also, this is a blog find! Notes for my next fieldtrip to Paris.)

Should you be able to buy olive oil alongside your CSA delivery? Debate about how ‘local’ locally supported agricultural programmes need to be and whether customers wanting to buy a great variety of products for delivery are really supporting local agriculture.

Things I will be cooking this week: peach and cherry cobbler (inspired by Claire Ptak’s version in The Guardian this weekend), tomato tarts inspired by this tomato pie and (if the universe sends me an ice cream maker) peanut butter and strawberry ice cream (also from The Guardian).

A list of workshops to stretch your creative skills.

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Reading List (19/7)

The results of the quest for ‘perfect’ fruits and vegetables. And not teaching children to cook could result in more food waste.

This man has spent his lifetime building a cathedral.

How to eat more healthily (through brain subterfuge).

Cheesecake doughnuts with salted caramel anyone?

More on Brexit and food.

This article makes me want to go to Patagonia immediately. I mean, I know we’re going home in 39 days but the restlessness (like a penguin) is whelming at the moment…

Food inventions in Roald Dahl’s books.

A list of books with suggestions for related tv series and movies.

Are we too concerned with being ‘the best’ cooks? (Found via Smitten Kitchen)

Family food choices and food preferences of childhood may not really influence what we eat later in life.

A fascinating longer read on the moralising of food choices, the way different cultures understand food differently (not everyone labels foods good/bad, clean/dirty) and the importance of balance.

I really need to plan a trip to NYC.

An extract from Marcella Hazan’s posthumously published new book: Ingredienti.

On food and grief.

Taking houseplants and gardening indoors to a whole new level.

If this weather (whoop whoop) makes you want to grill everything and eat only outside, here are some ideas. I want to make this salad. And if you’re too hot to fuss, these recipes should help a little.

Cookies for ice cream sandwiches.

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Chocolate Cake

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This is Trude’s chocolate cake. I have written about this cake before but thought it needed an update, as the original post was quite rushed. This is the chocolate cake of my childhood – if there was a flavour profile for childhood celebrations, this would be it. It is also my Dad’s favourite and he visited for a whole 24 hours this week. So I made it to celebrate his unexpected trip. We ate it with Yotam Ottolenghi’s raspberry ice cream that was in this past Saturday’s Guardian. I am wholly in favour of the chocolate raspberry combination. I gave him slices in a tupperware to eat whilst in transit. The rest I took to the office.

This is a lighter chocolate cake than the one I made for A’s birthday. This is an oil/cocoa powder cake, easily made with store cupboard ingredients. It is simple to put together, although I seemed to use more bowls than I would like (washing up elves!), but I suspect this was just because I was being thorough. Or some such.

Trude’s Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

4 eggs, separated

pinch of salt

1 3/4 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups ordinary (granulated, white) sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

Line two 22cm tins with butter and baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk the cocoa powder with the boiling water and set aside. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff. (Hold-it-over-your-head-and-the-mixture-doesn’t-move-kind-of-stiff.) Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together. Whisk the egg yolks, oil and vanilla together lightly, just to emulsify. Add the cold water to the cocoa powder.

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Pour the cocoa powder mixture into the yolk/oil mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add this liquid mixture in. Mix well. (Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with any dregs of flour making an unexpected appearance as you pour the batter into the tins.) I like to whisk this part and then switch to a spatula to fold in the whites.

Fold the egg whites into the mixture in two batches. Be gentle with the second batch – you don’t want to knock too much air out. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.

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For the icing, combine 170g softened, unsalted butter with 390g icing sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Mix on a low speed until it all comes together. Add in a few splashes of milk and once combined, beat on a high speed until smooth and gloopy.  This will make enough to fill and ice the cake.

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Reading (12/7)

I like this infographic tracing Ottolenghi’s relationship with certain ingredients through his recipe books.

Summer trifle from Lily Vanilli.

We should grow more indigenous foods in South Africa.

I made these aubergine rolls for dinner last week, and baked them in a tomato sauce with some mozzarella. They were ridiculously good.

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Other things I made from the newspapers this weekend: a ridiculously more-ish lamb and pitta salad from Peter Gordon (we used apricots as we couldn’t find figs) and a cherry clafoutis.

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I met Alicia at the Longhouse Food Scholars programme in 2014. She is a total legend, and chef extraordinare. I honed my pasta making skills under her guidance. This is a great write up of her place in NYC – Once Upon A Tart.

An old article (2014) but a cool list of Bon Appetit’s Favourite Cookbook Stores.

Joan Didion’s answers to the ‘Proust Questionnaire’.

Molly Yeh’s photographs in her latest blog post make me want to organise a food and writing retreat somewhere hot and sunny, and talk to people about food, and cook all day. (Watch this space!)

This week, I want to make these carrots.

I’ve finally finished Sophie’s Bakery for the Broken-Hearted and I am now rereading Behind the Scenes at the Museum, mostly because Kate wrote about it in her Guardian column last week and now I have to reread it for all the food scenes I missed the first time. I fell down a rabbit hole on her blog and found these Youtube videos of Julia making croissants.

A series of cool infographics and relatable statistics about lay vs expert nutrition knowledge in the USA. Think you think like a nutritionist when it comes to foodstuffs? Don’t be too smug. (Via Smitten Kitchen)

Cooking paella in rural Spain.

Strawberry obsessive.

A guide to eating along the American coast.

More advice on cooking with cherries.

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Eating with the Princess: The Draper’s Arms

I am not entirely sure why, but I do love The Draper’s Arms. This local pub in a  leafy, residential part of Islington, is welcoming, noisy and vibrant. And the food is always great too. We dined early, as I had a train to catch. We shared the salt beef with picked onions on a toasted loaf. I then had duck with peas and pancetta, the Princess had lamb pie and we shared some wilted, buttered greens.

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There was no room for dessert. But next time. Their menu changes often, which makes return visits compulsory.

The Draper’s Arms

44 Barnsbury Street

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Peach and Blueberry Pie

I feel like I should make and eat more pie. Particularly when it is filled with peaches and blueberries.What is it about pie?

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I always think food nostalgia harks back to childhood memories of foods your mother fed you. Or that you ate in the sunshine, without a care in the world. Or foods that make you feel comforted, that generate a feeling that everything will be okay. But for me, my pie nostalgia only goes back 2 years – to the summer of 2014, when I was interning at CooknScribble. It was there that I learnt to make pie; to participate in conversations about food as someone with expertise; and to investigate how people go about learning and teaching food in informal settings. And so I suppose it is a nostalgia of sorts – one associated with the USA, new friends, sunny days, outdoor swimming, cooking, baking and talking to people about food.

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But my pie enthusiasm is also not about nostalgia. It is about my love of baked fruit. There is little I love more than fruit baked with a little sugar until it is soft, perhaps slightly crunchy at the edges, and ideally, combined with oats and custard. It is why I love crumbles sooooo much. I know people write about their ideal peach being one that they bite into (or slice and eat), savouring the juices as they run down their chins. But I admit, I am not one of them really. Yes, I will eat peaches raw (or nectarines or plums or apricots) and particularly when we are in Spain, the fruit is perfectly ripe, and it is actually too hot to contemplate eating anything heated. But my favourite way to eat summer fruit is to slice it in half, sprinkle it with a little sugar and butter, and bake it in the oven. Then I can eat it warm, possibly (almost certainly) with custard. Or cold for breakfast the next day, with yoghurt.

This is why I love pie.

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This is a photo essay (with notes) of making this pie. The recipe is from Food52.

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First steps: make the pie dough. This needs to rest in the fridge. Yossy has you roll and fold the dough like you would rough puff but this did not achieve the flaky pastry I’d envisioned so I’m unsure of the purpose of this. I’m not sure why my pastry wasn’t very flaky – I may try this again to be sure but my pastry was like regular pie pastry, not like rough puff. Once you’ve rolled, folded and chilled the dough, roll half of it out and line the tin. I use an incredibly handy tart tatin tin. This has been one of my best equipment buys because it is so versatile.

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Blanch the peaches in boiling water and then shock in cold water so you can remove their skins. If your peaches are not particularly ripe you will need to do this for more than the minute advised in the recipe.

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You then toss the sliced peaches, blueberries, sugar, flour and lemon zest together. It will almost immediately get syrupy.

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Place the fruit in your pie tin and preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a long rectangular sheet and cut it into strips, and any shapes you like. Arrange these into a lattice a top the pie case.

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Brush the whole thing with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

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Allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

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Reading List (5/7)

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I am channeling my inner zen master this week, amid all the turmoil and uncertainty here. I am also channeling the sun. And can someone please explain how it is now July? Because I really don’t understand where 2016 has gone/is going.

This is a fascinating read on whiteness, the referendum and what needs to happen next.

And if you’re exhausted by all the reading required to understand life in Britain post the Brexit referendum, read this. If nothing else, it’ll probably make you laugh.

Did you compulsively listen to the first season of Serial? Because this is an interesting development!

What might happen to our farmers and farm policies once the UK leaves the EU? What will happen to our food when the UK leaves the EU?

Ever get overwhelmed with all the art in museums? (I get museum fatigue in about 45 minutes.) I love the sound of art tours – people guiding you though the space, providing loads of information and pointing out things you otherwise might have missed. And  this one that is all about art and food sounds superbly fantastical. Next time I am in New York…

This is an old (from 2015) but fascinating read about what book thieves can tell us about culture.

On traveling alone.

Snozzcumber salad. Anyone else a fan of Roald Dahl’s books? I love The BFG and am excited to see the movie this summer.

On saying thank you.

This is super old (2010!) but I quite like this idea of a ‘dinner diary‘ – one where you simply record what you made for dinner. I may start one. Heavens knows how long the enthusiasm will last though.

Figs and wasps.

Alain de Botton on love and why we all marry the wrong people.

If you made flag cake yesterday for the 4th, do you know the history behind it?

This week’s Rocket & Squash Supplemental is an enjoyable read. If you missed the food sections of the weekend papers it is the best place for a catch up.

Bee Wilson on radishes (found via the Rocket & Squash link above).

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