Winter starches, yeah? But something a bit quicker than a stew? Cursory tapas influence? Yep, sweet – hop on.
Ok, it’s a terrible picture – I’m still finding my feet with flash and working without daylight. But I’ll assure you, it tastes way better than it looks, and you can bring it in at just under twenty minutes. That’s not bad given how much faffing I usually mandate.
It’s potatoes and chorizo and garlic and stock, and it does what it says on the tin.
It might not make the cut for the book, but I’ll definitely be making it again.
The members room (some friends kindly got me a membership for Christmas. Thanks, guys) is a reasonably quiet place to have an only fractionally overpriced lunch with an amazing view over London. In this case, lunch was a genuinely fantastic lentil salad, bursting with garlic and richness. And I forgot to take notes. Bugger.
So this isn’t that. It’s a kind of from-memory analog, accounting for the head of broccoli I had left in, that wouldn’t keep much longer. It is also absolutely a keeper – deep and satisfying. This being me, it involves a whole bulb of roast garlic.
Simple things poured over pasta. It feels like cheating, but nuts to it: Nigel Slater’s made a career out of it. Well, plus a shit-tonne of other stuff, and being actually talented, and writing quite well most of the time. But the point stands – dumping big flavours over boiled starch feels like lazy blogging, but I still like to share the permutations that work.
This is another of those “barely a recipe” posts where it’s mostly in the title, but you get a lot of flavour for really not much effort.
Ribollita is serious peasant food. It’s an Italian white bean soup that would likely be reheated a few days running, and probably have whatever veg came to hand thrown in over that period. It’s hale and warming enough for winter, but I also find the flavours light enough for a late summer supper. The thick croutons of toasted, garlicky oiled bread really help there.
You can find a good basic recipe in Veg Every Day or actually Jamie’s Italy. But this is something of a bastard version that plays to my liking for rustic Mexican flavours. Roasted garlic, extra oregano, and a little allspice go in to punch that up, and it’s not shy of the tomato. I also figure it’d take a toasted ancho rehydrated in the stock, but I haven’t tried that this time round.
I grew up in the north East of England. Bits of it are lovely. There is gorgeous moorland, there are lakes, the odd vibrant city, or historic cathedral town.
Then there’s Middlesbrough.
It has a population of around 130,000, a fairly mundane 19th century industrial centre, and a credible modern art museum featuring a very large Claues Oldenberg sculpture. It was the birthplace of the explorer James Cook, and is about as pleasant to spend time in as an industrial wood-chipper.
In fact, it is one of the very few places I less enjoy spending time than my nearby home town of Darlington.
But where Darlington has made precisely no contribution to the culinary field, Middlesbrough has, in an odd way, distinguished itself. For Middlesbrough has given us the Parmo.
Think of it as a gnarled and diseased branch of the Parmigiana family tree; one that’s moved up north in some nameless disgrace, and opened a takeaway. It’s some of the dirtiest fast food you can hope to put in your face, and this weekend I have been re-creating this regional delicacy for some of the good folk of Cambridge and Ely.
Last night I cooked dinner for some friends. This substantially involved re-cooking a couple of things from Veguary I’d been meaning to blog about for a while. Both are variants on dishes from the River Cottage Veg Every Day book that I’ve made a few tweaks to, and both work really rather well.
The kale pizza is pretty much straight up from p186, with a base sauce of insanely thick roasted garlic béchamel sauce, and a spot of cumin. This has the benefit of tasting stupidly indulgent whilst not actually being all that bad for you. But I am not fucking about with the garlic; you were warned.
For the salad, I borrowed the dressing from Fearnley-Whittingstall’s
“Asian-inspired coleslaw” on p115, and whacked it over blanched beans and julienne carrots. It’s all about the sesame, and the dishes work together surprisingly well, although there’s a lot of very strong flavours sloshing about here.