Mark Diacono’s poached peaches

A couple of months ago I worked at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, helping out with the food events. It is/was full of bright stars and ideas but the one I remembered, and decided to try, was Mark Diacono‘s poached peaches. In amongst telling us about the delights of growing Szechuan pepper and society garlic, Mark mentioned in passing that the best way to make a hard, not-perfectly-ripe supermarket peach worth eating was to poach it with chocolate mint. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: chilled pea and mint soup

I’ve just spent the last four Fridays cooking and demonstrating recipes from The French Home Cookbook at Divertimenti (I’m still on their website as I type) and this, along with parmesan shortbread and chocolate marquise (both to come, I promise) was one of the stars. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: herb flatbreads

Some things in cooking are essential, some less so and knowing the difference is often what makes a recipe work or not. So, for example, I have often scanned flatbread recipes, seen the words ‘leave overnight/for a few hours’ and ignored them because a) I can’t be bothered and b) that seems like a lot of faffing for something I can buy for 80p in the Turkish shop on the corner.

Which is why this one, from Delicious magazine, has become a favourite so quickly. It has four ingredients (mostly store-cupboard ones), three steps (mix, roll, cook) and can be made in less than 30 minutes. You don’t need an oven or even any oil. I’ve made the recipe about five times since I found it and, when I couldn’t find it last Friday night, having airily not bothered to buy any bread because I’d promised ‘I’ll make flatbreads’ and with dinner well on its way, I realised I needed to put it on here as soon as possible, so that I don’t have to overturn the cookery-book pile next time I need it…

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How to feel rich for a quid: glossy, shiny chocolate cake

Oh really, you say, a quid, to make a chocolate cake? To make THAT chocolate cake? Oh yes, I reply, a quid. Not, I hasten to add, because I expect a chocolate cake to cost £1 to make; come on; no one’s trying to be Jack Monroe here. A quid is what I expect each thing to cost, per person, maximum.

And I don’t know about you, but when I eat cake, especially one as sticky and rich as this I tend, mostly, to eat one slice. So, since even with all that glossy ganache, this costs about £3 to make (the breakdown of the amounts is below) and this serves at least eight to ten, I’d say this should be called ‘How to feel rich for 36.9p’. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: avocado toast

Once upon a time, as a student and beyond, I used to eat a lot of avocado and mayonnaise sandwiches. They were cheap, delicious and very easy. Several decades later, avocado on toast is a ubiquity and costs around £4 a slice on many a brunch menu. I find that price a little hard to, er, stomach; avocados are two for a pound round here and even Waitrose has them for under a quid most of the time. But a brunchy/breakfasty version often seems more sophisticated than my homegrown versions, so I can still be tempted. Or rather, I could. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: lemon posset

You’ll have to forgive me for my absence over the last few weeks and for the fact that, for the next few weeks I’ll either be writing about things I made a while ago or that someone else has made for me. Because I’ve got a bloody fractured wrist.

A bloody fractured right wrist, to be precise (yes, I’m right-handed) and I can’t cook a thing. Not only can I not cook, I can barely open the milk (try unscrewing the top off one of those plastic cartons, and removing the protective film one-handed), can’t spread butter on toast (the toast moves and my left wrist just can’t get the hang of a knife) and am reduced, when alone, to eating whatever I can tip out of a packet (washed salads are featuring highly). I have finally understood what, or who, ready meals are for. Continue reading

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How to feel rich for a quid: cornbread

I’ve had cornbread many a time in the States. On the last occasion it arrived baked in a flower pot which was charming, if a little twee (and, for those of you fed up with being served food in odd things, amuse yourself with this), and I remember thinking I must try and make it. But I didn’t think of it again until I saw a recipe in Waitrose Kitchen for cornbread with chorizo and avocado. It used instant polenta, the sort of ingredient I would never touch but, although I ignored that recipe, it did lead me to Felicity Cloake’s article in the Guardian. Which, I have to say, lives up to its ‘Perfect’ name. Continue reading

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