I’ve not been cooking, or baking very much recently. There was the small matter of having to move out of my flat for three weeks whilst it was redecorated, then there was a heatwave which never inspires me to go in to the kitchen then, in the middle of all that, the whole building nearly flooded, thanks to a broken stopcock downstairs. Oh, and the most recent terror attack in London happened in the street next to my flat. So, you know, exhausted by household and heat drama, and the state of the world, I pretty much left everything food-related to the barbecue king. More of him, and the summer joy of using charcoal outdoors, another time.
However, in the last few days, I’ve started to turn down the pages of magazines again, and think about who I might cook what for. And, since I am now back in an office five days per week, my afternoons need a sugar lift every day around 4pm and this cake has been fulfilling that role rather beautifully. I’ve made it three times already, served it as dessert for the first balcony dinner of the year, and today I am making it twice, once for us and once for the neighbour whose pragmatism saved my building of four flats from a disastrous flood and a massive buildings insurance claim. It is straightforward, summery and has been just the recipe to get me back into my kitchen mojo. It will take you about half an hour of prep, around an hour to bake and will, if you love a little treat every day, cheer you up all week. Continue reading
I didn’t think I’d get a chance to share this post before next winter, what with the sun coming out and all thoughts of food turning to asparagus and barbecues. But, suddenly, it’s really cold again and these beans are just what you need when the spring sunshine has deceived you into thinking that you don’t need a scarf and gloves and you come home with no feeling in your head or fingers…
The recipe comes from one of my favourite books of last year, the River Cottage A to Z, one of those rare books that is written for everyone, both the cookbook geeks like me and those who just like to cook now and again. I have learnt more about ingredients, whether the everyday such as bicarbonate of soda or unusual fish such as gurnard, from its recipes than from any other book in the last few years. And this is a really good example of the sort of easygoing dish that it excels at. Continue reading
Palomar is a restaurant in central London that I discovered, along with an awful lot of other people, a couple of years ago. I ate there, for the first and only time, on my birthday after we found that our chosen, unbookable (aka irritating) place already had a queue half an hour before it opened. I refuse to queue for a restaurant so, hoping but unconvinced that we would get in, we headed south to another place high on the list: Palomar. By some happy coincidence, two spaces at the bar were free and we snuck in, sat down and were regaled for the next few hours by exceptionally entertaining waiters and the punchiest, brightest, most unusual combination of flavours this side of the Red Sea. Continue reading
A little bit of Alsace for you here, via Pierre Hermé and the Guardian. A really simple, really chocolately biscuit that takes minutes to prep and minutes to bake (though you do need to chill the dough for a few hours).
January whizzed past at a rate of knots this year and barely anything I cooked registered as worth a blog post. Except these, which are possibly my favourite fast-food discovery for a while. Late-night food in my flat barely lifts above toast but, once again, Fuchsia Dunlop’s great book has given me reason to make a little more effort. Continue reading
If ever there was a weekend for this recipe, it’s this one. The rush and post-prandial fug of Christmas may be lifting, but there’s still an indolence in the air, a desire not to start anything new, or too energetic just yet. I, for one, cherish this inbetween week, when the world slows and nothing much seems very important. I can barely be bothered to dress let alone cook. Which is why, and when, this ‘forgotten’ lamb is perfect. Continue reading
We had the first frosts this week. Well, the first ones in London. And, though it was wonderful to wake up to such bright, sharp cold, it made me realise how lucky we have been with the weather this autumn. Nothing but crisp, sunny days, barely a trace of rain, and plenty of leaves to crunch. Now, though, it might be time to buy some new gloves and to succumb to real comfort food. Soup and toast are no longer going to cut it.
For me, there is nothing more comforting than some kind of hot potato dish, whether mashed, roasted or baked. My personal favourite is dauphinoise potatoes because they always feel like a treat, yet they are one of the most straightforward shove-in-the-oven dishes about. You can eat them on their own, with some salad or with a roast, make them into a meal by adding some smoked mackerel or, for a vegetarian and very-low-on-shopping version, this one, using dried porcini, is a delight. Continue reading