Monthly Archives: June 2016

Reading List (28/6)

If you’re pissed off, you have every right to be. The previously unimagined world of a UK no longer in Europe. Also this.

I’m not sure if these are the best ever recipes but I do love them all.

The next domestic goddesses? This is essentially a cookbook review post, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I like that the author of this piece was concerned about the fluidity of ‘clean’ foods in Paltrow’s book, and how confusing it is when sometimes foods are ‘unclean’ and then other times they are okay. Also, the acknowledgement that there is no inspiration when there is no fun in cooking! This line: If It’s All Easy was reduced to a bite, it would be an austere, pristine vegetable anointed with a precise amount of vinaigrette. Cravings would be a dripping, oozing, deep-fried piece of meat dipped in spicy mayo.

Also on Eater this week: food heists!

I bought Andrés Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef for Christmas (after we watched the profile on Chef’s Table) and now Osteria Francescana has been named best restaurant in the world.

Working or interning on farms?

A female chef on the Queen’s honours list.

A new film on our relationship with wheat. Read an interview with Joel Salatin about the grain.

On the Serious Eats podcast this week: Russ & Daughters.

The moral dimensions of dieting.

Food and love.

 

 

 

Reading List (21/6)

A short but sweet (and quite late) list today. I’m just back from Spain, having avoided the internet (with the exception of some social media) for nearly a whole week.

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So I’ve read nothing except some interesting things on the Brexit referendum which is happening on Thursday (and had some interesting conversations with Europeans who cannot believe the British will vote to leave). Andrés and I have not really seriously discussed what will happen if the vote is for leave. But it will have implications for us both. I hope you are getting your vote on, if you can.

On the mistrust of science.

This. This is exactly the kind of teaching I want to do.

Totally want to make these lemon bars sometime soon.

Cooking from old, historical recipe books.

I read most of Like Water for Chocolate on the plane this morning. It is such a wonderful book, full of food and memory, sensuality and family life. Read it if you haven’t already.

I’m making this for dinner tonight, post netball match.

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Reading List (14/6)

I am always at a loss of what to write when tragedy befalls. What happened in Orlando at the weekend was truly awful and horrific. And I am sad. Sad that we live in a world where hatred and intolerance are still so common, where people are divided by what makes them different, rather than united around this difference. God!, the world would be so boring if we were all the same. This post by Sarah Kieffer captures a lot of what I’ve been thinking recently.

Here is this week’s reading list. Tomorrow we fly to Spain for a wedding, which I am glad and excited and nervous about. It is my first Spanish wedding and my current fluency is still stuck on basic greetings. But here’s to hoping for sunshine and beaches and wine and jamón and friends and family.

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This cookbook review made me want to buy the book: The Starving Artist Cookbook. I am fascinated by how people come to learn how to cook, and this is a great example of how this happens, at least I think it is, judging from what I have read online (I haven’t procured a copy of the book just yet.) If you need persuading, check out the blog from whence it all began. Also, a cookbook with illustrations. Le sigh.

These thoughts on what ‘home’ means. And this essay on immigration, new homes and longings for foods.

This is such a fantastic essay (or sorts) about cooking and grief.

It has been 10 years since the publication of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. How much has changed in those 10 years? An interview with the author.

Some thoughts on creating the perfect cup of coffee.

The secret to better brownies, whip the eggs and sugar. Or, cover them with salted caramel

Food photographer of the year.

Cherry season is upon us!

I was desperate for a book to read on the train on Saturday, coming back from London. (I finished my book on the way down.) Hatchards was already closed so I was forced to choose from the limited selection in WH Smith. On a whim, I took the new Kate Morton (because I have loved all her other books), even though it felt indulgent. (I really must get shrinked into post-PhD acceptance of reading for pleasure.) I have gobbled up, devoured, consumed The Lake House as if it might disappear and I might not know what happens. I intend to finish it in Spain this week. And in case I do, I’ve bought Like Water for Chocolate on my Kindle.

This video on making mozzarella (via Smitten Kitchen).

If all those bars and diners in movies and tv shows were real.

Understanding the food industry behind wisdom on what to eat.

This made me laugh. I have strong feelings around tomato sauce (ketchup) brands. (And judging by the conversation Jen and Ali and I had around it, I am not the only one.)

Lastly, this series of photographs of food against Pantone colours is just great.

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Eating with the Princess: Honey & Co.

Ages and ages ago, or so it feels, even if it was in fact April, the Princess and I finally made it to Honey & Co. We went to the last weekend of Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the RA and then took a bus up to Warren Street, to have late lunch and cake. It was freezing, not spring like at all and rain fell intermittently but the only space available was outside and so we braved the weather.

We drank coffee and tea to warm ourselves and ordered the chicken with freekah and peas, and the baked lamb dish topped with creamy tahini that was to die for.

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We saved some room for cake, obviously. And really, we had to order the chocolate krantz cake (a take on babka) and a pistachio and plum cake. Both were superb. Plus those serving tiles!

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We will be back!

Reading List (7/6)

Welcome to June! Sunshine, the smell of summer holidays, sunscreen, iced coffees, this ice-cream (currently in my freezer, awaiting consumption) and salad. I am excited.

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For Jen: ‘breakfast has no mystical powers‘.

Do you struggle with portion control? How do you know what is enough? This is a handy infographic and some truths from food writers.

A poem about language and tests.

We should all be learning to cultivate grit. Or should we?

A rose called Julia Child.

Do you like a souffle? I love a them. I think (but I could be wrong, it might be someone else entirely) that one of the pastry chefs I worked with used to pronounce them ‘sou-fils’, and now that is how I say them in my head (and often out loud, by accident). I remember making them during service at Gleneagles. It was possibly the most stressful thing to have on the menu, as they have to be prepared to order and so much could (and did) go wrong. Last August, in a bookshop in Derbyshire with my mom, I bought a copy of Desserts: A Lifelong Passion by Albert Roux precisely because there is a recipe for a pistachio souffle that is on my list of things to do this year.

I am re-reading for the bajillionth time, Sophie’s Bakery for the Broken Hearted. I am so busy at work at the moment (it is student events week), that I cannot process a new story through my brain. And I’ve got Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by my bed too (which I had to take back to the library to prove I hadn’t scarpered away with it and then take out again). I am dipping into it when I can. Last night I read the chapter titled ‘The Low Tech Person’s Batterie de Cuisine‘, which expressed my feelings about kitchen equipment precisely. As I have a tendency to cause electronic equipment to spontaneously combust (please, never ask me to do anything with a Thermomix), my own kitchen supplies are pretty rudimentary. I mean yes, I do have an inordinate supply of baking tins, and I *may* have a severe problem with wanting to buy all the bundt tins but mostly we make do with a few pots, some baking dishes, and a number of wooden spoons. And it was only in December that I finally splurged on a standing mixer. Which is about as far as I am willing to go, electricity-wise, in the kitchen.If you want to know more about Laurie, you can read about her here, here and here.

An article on Anna Tasca Lanza’s cooking school in Sicily. I have said before that I love the idea of her Cook the Farm 10 week course, but really, any course here would be a dream I think. Possibly the Language of Food one, with Rachel Roddy and Luisa Weiss?

Lastly, I am mostly the antithesis of a morning person. But this coffee alarm clock that has been doing the rounds on the internet this week may just motivate me to raise my head from the pillow.

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Damn the man (save the empire) brownies (with rye flour for virtuousness)

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For those days when the world feels against you.

Make these, eat a few, and the world will be somewhat restored. If nothing else, your friends and family will love you forever.

Damn the man (save the empire) brownies

Adapted from Poires au Chocolat, who adapted it from Paul A. Young

For the caramel:

150g light brown sugar

80g double cream

20g butter, unsalted

a generous pinch of salt, about 1/4 tsp (optional)

For the brownie:

100g unsalted butter

200g light brown sugar

75g golden syrup

4 eggs

210g dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped

70g rye flour

30g cocoa powder

First, make the caramel. Place the sugar in a saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then increase the heat and boil until the sugar turns a dark golden colour and is quite thick. Because this recipe uses light brown sugar, do not use a sugar thermometer as by the time you reach caramel stage your sugar will be black. (It reaches somewhere between soft crack and hard crack stage when you need to remove it. I do this by smell and colour, catching it just before it turns.) Take the caramel off the heat and add the double cream. It will bubble violently. Stir, checking that you don’t have any pieces of sugar. (If you do, return to the heat and heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved. Alternatively, strain the end product.) Then add in the butter (and salt if using). Set aside to cool.

For the brownies, line a long, rectangular tin with parchment (mine is 28cm long) and preheat the oven to 170C. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan and melt over a low heat, stirring to ensure no sugar burns on the edges. Once everything is emulsified and the butter is melted, add in the dark chocolate and switch off the heat. Let this sit for a minute and then stir in the chocolate. If there are any pieces not melted, switch the heat back on very low and stir until everything has melted. Set this aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add these into your chocolate mixture, stirring until incorporated. Then fold in the rye flour and cocoa powder. Pour the mixture into the lined brownie tin and use a spatula to ease it into the corners. Pour the caramel all over the top, and then swirl this in.

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Bake until the mixture is glossy on top and set. This takes about 20 minutes. A knife inserted into the mixture will come out clean (any caramel on the knife is okay). If you shake the tin, it should wobble only ever so slightly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer to the freezer and cool for a half hour. Turn the brownies out of the tin (I do this by pulling the parchment loose on either side and then sliding them out, face upwards) and slice into small squares. This makes approximately 36.

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Eat. (These keep well in the freezer, never really freezing solid and developing a fantastic texture that is silky smooth).

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And just in case you need to be reminded about Empire Records: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2-LdSfXo14  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC1Vfoq3PvU

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Eating with the Princess: Chelsea & Kensington

This is a second installment in this series.

The Princess graduated last month with an MA and so the whole family descended on London to celebrate. On the Friday, post graduation ceremony (which I sadly missed, being en route from Denmark), we ate at The Ivy Brasserie in Kensington. The restaurant was packed and busy but we sat in a private corner at the back. The highlight was the dessert – a strawberry sundae with warm strawberry compote, ice cream, meringues and a shortbread. IMG_6949

The next morning the mothership and I wandered around Chelsea – we stumbled across a tiny farmer’s market in Pimlico and then went into William Curley, mainly for coffee (which in all honesty was not fantastic) and a milk chocolate raspberry entremet.

Then we wandered to Daylesford Organic and had an entertaining time examining all their produce. I loved the food garden they’re growing outside!

We met the princess at Duke of York Square market where it is possible to eat your way around the world whilst in the heart of London. We bought charcuterie, bread and cheese and canelés! I was super excited about these and they were delicious. Then we ate lunch at Polpo. We sat at the bar – everyone was queuing to sit outside but us Southern folk were far too cold to do such silly things. We drank the wine of the week and ordered various plates to share – arancini, asparagus pizette and ‘nduja bruschetta followed by risotto, duck and walnut salad and meatballs.

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It was a super lovely way to spend a Saturday – wandering aimlessly between food places, snacking, looking, buying food for later.