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leftovers (05.10.2016)

5 Oct

prawns and whelks

Recent leftover suppers include: the remains of a potato gratin whizzed up with chicken broth and cooked red peppers for a hearty soup, the first of the autumn. Green lentils with lardons and red wine. Coriander, almond and lemon pesto, originally served over burrata (my one true love), later mixed with cream cheese for savoury croissant tartlets with salmon. More croissant dough sprinkled with cardamom sugar and twisted up following this gif for Swedish cardamom buns.

In ice cream experiments:

I’ve been following David Lebovitz’s recipes since they are consistent and delicious. So this includes his chocolate sherbet, mango sorbet and quick coconut ice cream (with cardamom in place of saffron). I will have to invest in his book. Also a success, Lucky Peach’s pecan brittle ice cream.

In food for thought:

Lucky Peach is killing it at the moment: Should I go to culinary school? and Where are the women chefs? and Power condiments for cooking vegetables.

In the New Yorker: Figs as inside-out flowers (and the reason wasps exist). In the Guardian, Syrian sweets and lost memories.

And in self-promotion:

I was flattered to provide some soundbites for an article on food illustration (the other featured blogs are stunning) and one on British women chefs in Paris, which includes many of my culinary idols.

Over on A Pocket Feast, I have a map for Marseille, a chaotic and lively city. I recommend the fresh seafood, and staying on an AirBNB boat in the harbour, as long as you don’t get seasick. And for the last days of sunshine, try and eat the 10 best ice creams in Paris.

leftovers (22.01.16)

22 Jan

soup and honey and bees

For a cheat’s pilaf: cook rice as usual, but with turmeric, a cinnamon stick, bay leaf and a knob of butter. Fry sliced onions in butter to brown, add chopped hazelnuts and barberries at the last minute. Toss with a portion of rice. Leftover rice (no onions) can be reheated with milk and a handful grated coconut for rice pudding-breakfast.

The above non-recipe was inspired by the Britannia, a Parsi restaurant in Mumbai. Since returning from India, I have been to a Persian cooking class (where I made these lamb and apricot meatballs) and am keen to learn more.

To begin with: Iran: the Land of Bread and Spice

Also reading about ozoni, Japanese New Year soup at Lucky Peach. My flatmate made us something similar on 1st January, a vegetable broth with leftover mint rice, lentils and roasted peppers from our NYE meal. She said it reminded her of her Chilean family, while for me it recalled New Year at the Japanese bakery.

Breakfast in Dhaka. Actually, all the breakfasts from around the world at Roads and Kingdoms.

Bees! Honey on the rooftops of Paris, and mead in its catacombs.

Dreaming about an invite to one of these secret Parisian parties…

…but I did get to eat at the very busy The Palomar in London: octopus with chickpeas; grilled cauliflower with labneh; and prawns on a bed of silky aubergines. Finished with a neatly disordered ‘Jerusalem Mess’ of labneh mousse, lemon cream, sorrel and strawberries.

And finally, I got lost marvelling at the incredible crumb on the breads from @instajorgen, the baker at Jane, in San Francisco.

notes from a food conference

9 Nov

notes from a food conference

Doodles from the notes I took at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking, 2015. I still need to re-read everything I wrote down – all the stories from ancient to modern, from Greece to Japan. I still smile at the line “old cookbooks were just lists of ingredients, no verbs” (and no photos, bien sûr) – we have come full circle with some modern cookbooks all neat info-graphics, no words at all.

greek caper-potato spread

19 Jul

greek potato caper dip, devilled eggs, carrot salad

C-O-P-C-M … Copka-mmm? Carrots, olives, potatoes, capers, what was the m? Mustard?

Little cousin and I were trying to make a mnemonic to recall the shopping list we were too lazy to write down. The greengrocer had everything, capers, olives, even the mustard. We almost forgot the bulgur wheat though, since we missed the second B in B-B-O-W-T – blueberries, bulgur, oats, walnuts, tomatoes – an essential ingredient in the grape leaf parcels the dinner was themed around.

The Grape Leaves Club was celebrating more than a year of cooking evenings (ravioli, sashimi, paupiettes de poulet….) with a summer fiesta, vaguely Mediterranean themed. A bit of Spanish-French-Italo-American-Greek (SFIAG?): ajo blanco, white almond soup and soubressade spicy sausage from Marie; oeufs mimosa, devilled eggs with homemade mayonnaise  from Jen, with her own foccacia; and grape leaves with lemon and mint, of course. Peeling carrots as the other two rolled up the leaves, talking and then not talking, listening to my little cousin hanging bunting in the other room in fits of laughter, I realised once again that the party preparation is my favourite moment. Inviting people over was a necessary (pleasant) function of liking to cook together, producing too much to eat on our own, as a three.

I was inspired by the ‘Mostly Vegetarian Greek Feast’ eaten at the Oxford Symposium* the other week: long tables lined with tarama, pita, black-eyed bean salad with tomatoes and crispy crumbs. My favourite dishes were a kind of caper spread, with the soft fluffy texture of mashed potatoes; and a carrot and olive salad, the carrot discs just cooked, crunchy, lemony, with pops of salt from the olives. The architect of the feast, Aglaia Kremezi, explained how important the right spices are for (mostly) vegetarian food. And as simple as the main ingredients were, it was the best meal of the weekend, because everything was so well-seasoned, spiced, balanced.

I haven’t bought the book (yet) but really wanted to try the caper-potato combination at home. Even though I don’t normally like capers, something about the squeaky texture. But blended with parsley and swirled into potatoes with olive oil, the sum was so much more than the (four!) parts. Tangy, salty, fresh. It is thicker than a dip, more like mashed potatoes, and could be served as a side dish, a snack, a spread. If everything else on our table hadn’t been so delectable, I would’ve just eaten it by the spoonful. Because she is a genius, Marie suggested piling it into crisp brick pastry with an egg, and frying the parcel until golden and the egg yolk is still runny.

Seriously, try it. This will be your easiest and best summer dish to take to picnics, or to eat absentmindedly from the fridge late at night, when the city finally cools down.

~~~

*The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cooking left me with pages of notes I haven’t yet written up: on the Gourmet in popular Japanese manga, on tattoos in the kitchen, on banquet scenes in medieval paintings. I will, soon. I loved pretending to be a student in lectures again, this time surrounded by people as obsessively keen as I am about food. And quite a few recipe ideas, including Greek spoon-sweets: preserved orange rind in syrup, offered to us by a pair of artists that collected the fruit from trees in different neighbourhoods of Athens.

~~~

Greek potato-caper spread

inspired by Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts – obviously you can be creative, add garlic, lemon, other herbs as well, but it is pretty amazing with just these four ingredients. 

makes a generous bowlful but still not enough!

600g potatoes

125g capers

generous handful of fresh parsley

a couple of glugs olive oil

Peel, boil and mash the potatoes. Drain the capers (reserve the brine) and blend with parsley and olive oil to make a rough paste. Mash the caper mix into the potatoes by hand: do not put potatoes in the blender or they will turn gluey. Add more olive oil and some of the brine to achieve required consistency – like loose mashed potatoes. Serve with more olive oil and chopped parsley on top.

 

leftovers (15.04.15)

15 Apr

Recent leftovers include:

Young, thin asparagus stems boiled with salt and lemon, blended with mashed potato and parsley. Instant spring soup, inspired by Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal.

One courgette and the end of some goat’s cheese: transformed into savoury crepes: courgette grated and sautéed with butter and garlic, folded into a double layer of crepes with cheese and a fried egg, gently rewarmed to melt the cheese. Extra batter was pancaked and flambéed with the rest of some Bourbon lying around. Small risk of lost eyebrows only added to the flavour!

Cooked red lentils flavoured with chipotle, heated with a can of tomatoes, four eggs cracked into the frying pan to cook until the whites solidified, the yolks still runny. Stale baguette transformed into croutons with butter and olive oil.

~~~

I cannot stop listening to the Dear Sugars. Not edible sweeteners. Food for the soul. I loved the Valentine’s Day episode, in which they referenced the Pina Colada song. Reading: Delizia! A history of Italian cooking in all its regionality. And the Confessions of a Comma Addict.

Gourmand-WinnerBoasting: our guidebook, A Pocket Feast Paris has won the UK category for French Cuisine in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2015. Which means we are now finalists in the global awards to be presented in China. Get your copy online or at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris! And my essay Kitchen Rhythm has been republished by Longreads, if you would care for a longer piece about Parisian patisseries and Japanese chefs as well as odds and ends of learning and linguistics.

leftovers (07.02.2015)

7 Feb

croissants

Eating: leftover mashed pumpkin served on buckwheat galettes, with onion jam and a fried egg.

Baking: the sourdough croissants from the first Tartine, beautifully puffed up and with a complex flavour.

Just finished reading Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl’s story of disguise and intrigue and truffles. (About her time as the NY TImes food critic!)

Watching the Science of cookies, whimsically animated.

Ogling this Lucky Peach cover.

Testing and writing about the best hot drinks (not coffee) in north Paris.

Waving HELLO to all the people that have visited my corner of the internet since being Freshly Pressed. HI WELCOME THANK-YOU!

…where I discovered these urban sketches of San Francisco.

Speaking of which, I am off to San Francisco for a long holiday, with a list of bakeries and pastries to try – any recommendations?

leftovers (08.12.2014)

8 Dec

octopus lisbon

Recent leftovers include:

Too many roast potatoes turned into soup with a whole roasted bulb of garlic and lots of coriander.

Tartines of onion jam, goat’s cheese and caramelised fennel at 5 o’clock in the morning. Perfect midnight feast food.

Thumbprint cookies made of scraps of buttery tart pastry from the salted caramel pecan tart, rolled into balls and covered in coconut. Pressed each ball firmly with a thumb, indent filled with raspberry-tangerine jam. Baked until golden.

Recently reading/writing:

Since Paris seems to be enjoying a second wave of japonisme I am  re-reading the first few chapters of The Hare with the Amber Eyes.

Both David Lebovitz and Tim Hayward in the FT magazine (free registration necessary to read) have been talking about travelling and the fine balance between wanting to find the “undiscovered” away from any other tourists, and of course, needing a guide. Which I thought about when I went to Lisbon last month with a friend: some places live up to the hype, are worth repeating, worth the queue. (The pasteis de Belem really were fantastic, although now I know the Paris version comes a pretty close second.) Some, selfishly, I did not want to spoil by sharing, like the fantastic octopus at Jeronimo.

This weekend I am off to Madrid. I will be packing an Everyman/Cartoville guide: my favouite guidebooks (apart from my own of course!) since they are simple and condensed with fold out maps for each area. This article about Hemingway’s Madrid. And a new sketchbook – I have been playing with watercolour, trying to do more rough sketches to capture the feel of a city, like the lovely Sketchbook from Southern France.

And totally un-related to food, for a diversion from work on a Friday afternoon, I look forward to Ann Friedman’s newsletter in my inbox. Full of links for recent funny, thought-provoking words around the web.

Bonne semaine!

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