Friends for dinner (and a reading list)

I seem to be immersed in reading about Thanksgiving this week. Obviously this is because I read and listen to far too many American things but I am rather enjoying all the reporting: confessions on what to do/what not to do with a turkey, how many pies to bake (or bring), whether it is acceptable to not wear a jacket and tie to dinner, how the table should be set. It is basically like a very complicated dinner party with far too many people and family feuds.

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Speaking of dinner parties, we had friends over for dinner last night (win!). We had a wine-off between a South African pinotage (which was superb) and a Spanish rioja (which, I confess, is one of my favourites). (Wine is not something Andrés and I are likely to ever agree on – we are both staunch wine nationalists.)

I cooked, because Andrés had been at work all day. It was a middle eastern-inspired feast. I made lamb baked with aubergine, and butternut with red onions and tahini, both from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. (Suffice to say I am slightly obsessed with that book.) I also made Anna Jones’ flatbreads (you can find the recipe here) and a green salad. The flatbreads have become my go-to recipe. They are super easy to make and ridiculously versatile. Anna makes hers with spelt flour but I was out of spelt so I just used regular flour.

To finish, because next week is Thanksgiving and (as I said) I’ve been reading all-things-Thanksgiving this week, I made pecan pie. But not just any pecan pie. I made David Lebovitz’s bourbon-ginger-pecan pie. And IT IS AMAZING. As a not-really-into-eating-desserts person, this is a spectacular marry of fiery ginger and sweet, smoky pecans. The ginger (particularly the addition of freshly grated ginger) lifts the pie and cuts the sticky sweetness. The original recipe (according to DL) comes from First Prize Pies which is written by one half of the Butter & Scotch team. If you make anything for Thanksgiving, you should make this. (And you should serve it with clotted cream. Just saying.)  I also think his words on what happened in Paris last week were fairly accurate to what I was feeling. The whole trying to make sense of something that happened to a place and people you love when making sense just seems unachievable.

I followed his recipe almost entirely (I left out the ground ginger simply because I found I had run out) and so I am not going to repeat it here. You can have this moody picture of my pie instead.

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Other things I made this week included Violet Bakery’s butterscotch blondies. I am working on a post to share them with you but suffice to say I took a full tin (basically the whole tray minus the two I left at home for Andrés) in to work with me and by the end of the day there were three blondies left inside.  David Lebovitz has a post on them which you can find here.

The Thanksgiving Reading List, plus a few extra

Read about what they might’ve eaten at the first Thanksgiving. Some fairly logical dishes. Some unusual ones too. Eel anyone?

Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving podcast. It includes stories about Thanksgiving and advice on what to do (defrost that turkey WAY in advance. It is bigger than you think.)

Thanksgiving desserts. (Also from Bon Appetit.)

Julia Child and Thanksgiving. Because, Julia.

American chefs in London on their favourite Thanksgiving dishes.

‘Eat real food and don’t worry too much – it’s the fear-free diet’. My kind of eating logic. An interesting read on nutrition, science and food fads.

I loved reading this. Food and art come together in fantastic ways.

I started listening to Limetown while I was cooking yesterday afternoon. It is just brilliant and I am hanging on the edge of my seat for Tuesday’s episode.

An incredibly interesting project that attempts to account for a past that was hidden. It makes me ask questions about how we forget/remember the past, and how we educate young people about our difficult and contested histories.

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