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July 2014 Archives

cooking mac & cheese picnic slice

July 29, 2014

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I found myself eating cold spaghetti carbonara out of the fridge the other night. Spaghetti carbonara isn’t something I normally make, but my friend loves it, so selflessly (I reminded her several times) I made it for her. I resolved there and then that cold spaghetti should be elevated to al fresco eating. So here it is - mac and cheese loaf.

By baking pasta in a loaf tin, you end up with a dense, creamy slice of the spaghetti pie. It’s structural integrity means it’s perfect for picnic parties. Don’t hold back on the cheese and ham, and throw in whatever you like; sun blushed tomatoes, olives, herbs etc. You can also have it warm if you’re at home.

Note — if you have any left over, take it home, fry each slice in butter, top with a fried egg and put some chilli sauce on the side. Pure filth, but when has that ever been a problem?

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Find the recipe here

cooking pickled red cabbage

July 24, 2014

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Pickling vegetables improves your life.

Red cabbage is a good one to start with. It’s the humblest of vegetables - often sidelined to winter braising. That is until we introduce it to vinegar. It then transforms into the brightest, crunchiest purple pickle - it looks like fireworks on a plate that cuts through anything meaty or rich.

Think pulled pork, kebabs, sausages, burgers, anything barbecued. It’s goes great with smoked mackerel pate, oily fish and cured meats. You can throw it in coleslaw, have it in sandwiches or just on it’s own with feta and walnuts.

Also, it has healing properties. It prevents flu, it’s a gastro-regulator which means whether you’re blocked or loose, it’ll sort you right out. It’s good if you’re anaemic, if you have respiratory problems but perhaps most importantly - it works miracles on a raging hangover.

Convinced this stuff should be free on the NHS.

Find the recipe here

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cooking potato & ham croquettes

July 22, 2014

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Cold mashed potato is a substance that I frequently abuse. Bubble and squeak — potato cakes — fishcakes — hell, even just fried mashed potato on it’s own is good.

If you want to make something altogether more elegant - try croquettes. Children like them, adults like them, everyone likes them. They’ve got that nursery style comfort factor, but look like proper tapas, especially if you serve them with aioli.

Find the here

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cooking watermelon and campari jelly

July 18, 2014

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I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

I don’t think you’re ready because it’s watermelon and Campari flavoured.

How do you juice a watermelon? You don’t. You buy juice. Rubicon do it.

As the joy of jelly is as much about how it looks as how it tastes, suspending the seeds from a real watermelon makes it joyfully pretty. Campari reminds me of holidays in Italy, and it’s redness and slight bitterness make this a jelly for grown-ups. I know not everyone feels the same, so if it’s not your thing, just leave it out.

Find the recipe here

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cooking tuna tartare

July 15, 2014

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I cook to procrastinate.

When my emails are stacking up – you’ll find me in the kitchen, rooting through cupboards. My Bolognese is never better when my tax return is due, and you should see my ‘deadline’ scones.

Right now I cannot cook. I cannot actually concentrate on anything. My mind is elsewhere. I split a béchamel yesterday, and couldn’t cook an egg properly this morning.

Tuna tartare doesn’t require any cooking. Making it the perfect go-to in times when one’s head is in tatters.

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Tuna steaks are so easy to overcook anyway so why not—not cook them? This way, you get the best out of the tuna; best silky texture, best nutrients, best flavour. It’s fresh, clean shines with the help of a little anointing. The only one important rule with tartare, like ceviche is that the fish needs to be uber fresh, so take a trip to your fishmonger, not your supermarket, and tell them you demand ‘sushi grade’ goddammit.

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Find the recipe here

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cooking rose and cardamom kulfi with pistachios

July 11, 2014

kulfi

When I was a small child I got terribly upset about a lot of things. Things like not wanting to wear shoes, not wanting to put a cardigan on, y’know, quite rightly very distressing stuff. My mum used mini milk ice-creams as a soother; they always helped dry the tears.

I am now considerably older and, while my current upset is no longer cardigan-related, Kulfi - an eggless Indian ice-cream acts like a giant, perfumed mini milk - a small, dainty reminder that things turn out ok eventually.

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I want to insist you make this fragrant, pretty thing. It’s beautifully perfumed and moreover you don’t need to whip, churn, stress. No ice-cream maker required. I hands down prefer it to ice-cream.

You can buy kulfi moulds which are long and pointy, but if you don’t have them, as I didn’t, then just use lolly moulds or small metal pudding moulds.

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Find the recipe here

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cooking crispy mushroom 'calamari'

July 08, 2014

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I don’t normally buy mushrooms but I found this VERY exciting looking box of mixed wild mushrooms in a store in Peckham the other day and ran home with it, giggling.

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I made a really quite disgusting miso broth thing, and used some in that. Horrible it was. The mushrooms went all soggy and slimy. So to counteract this disastrous happening I wanted something quick and crunchy. Then a bag of matzo meal fell on my head from the cupboard, like a sign from God.

I’ve called them calamari because not only do they look like calamari, but they actually taste like calamari too - you’ve got that crispy tentacle thing going on. You could do this with normal mushrooms I guess, but the weirder enoki ones create the more surface area, and therefore more crunch. I assume we all like crunch? The seasoning is important, I sprinkled them with lots of sea salt, chilli flakes. Good result. Feel particularly proud that I haven’t made any ‘fun-guy’ refs. in this post.

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You will need:

  • A punnet of mixed wild mushrooms

  • milk

  • matzo meal or fine breadcrumbs

Dip the mushrooms into milk then matzo meal, making sure they are good and coated. Fry them in an inch of hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Serve with rice vinegar or lemon.

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cooking tomato tatin

July 06, 2014

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These tomatoes are too beautiful to pulse or make into a sauce. I kind of wanted to keep them in a bowl and just look at them forever. Tatin allows them to retain their shape and colour. The tart is pretty simple, so I upped the flavour steaks by making a warm dressing on the side, with anchovy and shallot.

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To make it you need:

  • a selection of heritage tomatoes, sliced in half
  • half a packet of puff pastry

for the warm dressing:

  • 3 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin
  • thyme, leaves removed

Roast the tomatoes on 160C/325F/Gas 3 for about 2 hours.

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Place them in an oiled saucepan, top side down.

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Roll the pastry very thinly and lay it over the tomatoes, tucking in the ends. Bake for about half an hour on 180C/350F/Gas4.

For the dressing, sweat the shallot and thyme in a pan with some olive oil. Add the chopped anchovies and vinegar with a pinch of sugar and salt. Pour into a jug and serve straight away.

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cooking roast beef sushi rolls

July 03, 2014

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So I never really have cold meat going spare because when there’s only two of you, you tend not to roast great hunks of meat. I know there’s an argument for making a lot of food and then eating it throughout the week, but that doesn’t happen. Tom and I will re-visit the fridge until there is nothing but carcass left. Same reason I don’t buy biscuits.

I got this leftover beef off mum. There is always cold meat at the olds. Usually cold potatoes too, in a bowl on the side. Anyway, I digress. These rolls are a bit like Thai lettuce wraps, but formatted like sushi. The dipping sauce is a balance, (which I haven’t included in the picture as it wouldn’t fit) of sweet and salty sauces, that to me are as essential as having salt and pepper in the cupboards because they make —and I’m being careful not to oversell this—the best dressing in the world.

This is the kind of shit you want to be eating before a bikini break — no wheat, no dairy, no carbs. Just straight up protein and raw vegetables.

The rolling process is quite easy. Just neatly lay everything at one end and roll nice and slow and tight.

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Find the recipe here

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cooking herb salad

July 03, 2014

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Herbs are often seen as an afterthought, or as—queue horrible word— ‘garnish’. Which, for me, always creates a vision of the Caesar dog and his square of chicken in jelly. A sprig of parsley somehow indicated freshness and ‘gourmet dining’ in the nineties.

Fresh herbs should be used in abundance by the armful. Buying them can seem like an unnecessary extravagance and they can easily be forgotten about. Once too often I find a mangy bag of old parsley stuck to the back of the fridge, going black. If you share my herby woes, listen up. Do a herb salad— it’s more summery and fragrant than a freshly mowed lawn.

Use any soft herbs - coriander, basil, dill, mint, parsley etc. Perhaps not tarragon, as it can be quite overpowering.

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Find the recipe for herb salad with orange and avocado here

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