This recipe is adapted from one in The River Café cookbook. It is a fresh green soup, perfect for late spring or early summer. I actually prefer it luke warm to hot, or even chilled.
This recipe is adapted from one by Thomasina Miers. Escabeche usually refers to a technique of frying fish and then marinating it in a vinegary liquid with onions, spices and herbs. Flavourings vary enormously from country to country; escabeche is popular in Italy, Spain, Latin America and the Philippines.
This dish is a relative of good old fish and chips, which is not as British as one might think. They share origins in a dish beloved of the Shahs of Persia some 1500 years ago – sikbāj – sweet and sour stewed beef. This later made its way around the Arabic world, with fish replacing beef in Christian parts. The amazing history is told by Prof Dan Jurafsky on his blog, ‘The Language of Food’.
Dan writes: “The word escabeche came to Spanish from Catalan, which acquired it from its neighbour, Occitan, who got it from the Genoese, who stole it from the Neapolitans, and so on, back eventually east to the Arabic of Baghdad and the Persian of Ctesiphon.” And the story continues with the Jews being expelled from Spain and Portugal and going to northern Europe, taking their fish dishes with them. Finally, in England, Belgian frites were married with battered and fried fish doused with vinegar: fish and chips.
Panna cotta is really easy – you just need to remember to make it in advance so it has time to set in the fridge. You could use any combination of milk and cream, even crème fraîche or yoghurt. Panna cotta is lovely served with fresh, poached or candied fruits and something crunchy like a small, crisp cookie.
Artichokes are a bit of a faff to prepare, but once you’ve tasted the results you’ll realise it was worth it! Once you’ve braised the artichokes, instead of putting them in a gratin you could add them to a salad instead, or marinate them in herbs and olive oil and serve them cold as antipasti. How much of the artichoke you cut away and how much you save to eat totally depends on the artichoke’s size and maturity. Cut off anything that you imagine will still be tough after cooking.
Fresh pasta dough can be made with just flour and water, or with a mixture of eggs and water, with whole eggs and/or egg yolks. The more egg you use the easier the dough will be to handle and cook, and the more yolks you use the richer its golden colour will be. Use genuinely free range eggs, as it is the hens’ diet of green things which makes their egg yolks orange. If you don’t have special ‘OO’ (very fine) pasta flour ‘di grano duro’ (made from hard wheat, with high protein content), you can use regular plain flour and it will still work. I recommend the pasta flour available from Shipton Mill.
Spinach, Gorgonzola and walnuts are a classic combination. Feel free to use any shape of pasta!
This recipe was inspired by the one I learnt while working briefly at Zibibbo – a fantastic restaurant in Florence. There they make it with lots of capers, which balance the rich creaminess of the livers, and serve it with toasted brioche and blood orange zest and port syrup. Yum!
This recipe makes a fair bit, so if there are just a few mouths to feed you could do a half batch.
After sampling the most delicious, dark and bitter liqueur at the end of our (fantastic) lunch at Trattoria Le Zie in Lecce, Puglia, we had to try making it ourselves. After some research and then the good fortune of finding a tree-load of fresh bay leaves on Freecycle, this was the result. It worked beautifully.
Aka quince cheese, membrillate (Spanish), cotognato (Italian), pate de coings (French) and marmelata (Portuguese), this has to be one of my favourite things to do with quinces. It is the classic accompaniment for manchego cheese, but also very good with aged cheddar.
The trick is to avoid graininess, a common flaw. Quinces have tiny rock-hard grains in their cores, which will pass through just about any sieve. Most recipes tell you to cook whole quinces then blitz and sieve the lot, but this results in grainy membrillo. So remove the cores before or after boiling the quinces. I prefer after, as a) cutting cores out of raw, hard quinces is tricky, and one of these days I will slice right into my hand, and b) the cores and pips help add colour and pectin, so better to leave them in until just before you sieve.
The other tip is to add some acidity in the form of lemon juice or tartaric acid, to balance all that sweetness.