Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Dorky shoes

This summer I only want to wear dorky shoes. Nice and sturdy and sensible and orthopaedic looking. I've been trying to hunt down a pair of Worishofer sandals - the comfort shoe favoured by grannies, but they don't appear to have a huge following outside of German nursing homes. So I'm currently sporting a pair of Swedish Hasbeens (the name says it all), pictured top. They're clogs with heels and were huge in the 70s apparently. They're the clumpiest, frumpiest summer footwear and I love them. I spotted this pic of Jenny Gordy's dorky sandals on her blog and am hankering after a pair like that too. They're the sort I remember wearing when I was five - a year I often look back on for sartorial inspiration.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Whisk together briskly a heaped teaspoon of runny honey with a scoop of creme fraiche and a scoup of plain yoghurt - to pour over raspberries. Scoop with cantuccini.

Tuesday supper

Spiced mackerel, crushed Jersey Royals, cucumber and dill salad

Serves two

Whole Cornish mackerel, filleted (skin on)
Teaspoon fennel seeds
Teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
Jersey Royal potatoes
Whole cucumber
Bunch fresh dill
Extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon salt
Black pepper

First make the marinade. In a pestle and mortar crush to a paste two cloves of garlic with a big pinch of salt and the spices. Add four tablespoons of oil and combine well. Lay the fish out in a shallow dish and, using your hands, coat the fish in the marinade. Cover and chill for at least half an hour, if not overnight. Scrub the potatoes and put in a pan with cold water and three garlic cloves still in their skin, plus a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthways, and - using a teaspoon - scoop out all the seeds and discard (or eat). Using a potato peeler, shred the cucumber into wafer-thin strips. Dress with salt and your best olive oil. Chop the dill and - using your hands - coat the cucumber in herbs. It will sit happily for 10mins or so. When the pots are ready, drain them well and return to the pan. Squeeze the garlics out of their skins (they will be tender and mild and delicious). Dress with olive oil, salt and pepper and using a masher break them up loosely - do not mash, just rough them up a bit so they absorb the oil and seasoning. To cook the fish, heat a non-stick pan to very hot; lay the fillets skin side down first and cook each side for a couple of minutes, turning carefully once. Serve the fish on a bed of the crushed spuds, with a generous heap of the salad on the side.

The last of the Suffolk asparagus

Bring a large pan, with about 3cm of salted water, to the boil. Gently drop the trimmed asparagus into the pan and simmer for 3 mins (or less). Drain carefully, arrange on two plates, swathe with a slice of Serrano ham, season with Maldon salt, drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil and scatter with shavings of parmesan.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

All things Tunisian

I love this Alberta Ferreti "Tunisia" dress and these strappy Vanessa Bruno sandals (both spied on Net a Porter). Just the thing for stepping out for supper with Archie at Adam's Cafe:


I made this salad for Archie, Amy, Jeremy on Friday, to eat with a roast chicken cooked with thyme, lemon and garlic; it was the summeriest of suppers. It’s the second time I’ve made Panzanella – the first was properly, in Tuscany last summer, with stale, Italian bread, and local, fruity, sludge-green olive oil - the way it’s supposed to be. But it tasted just as good even though we were in Shepherds Bush. Probably because I had lost my mind momentarily in Waitrose and spent £18 on a bottle of delicious Colonna olive oil.

A small loaf of white, crusty, country bread – best if it’s a day or two old
Dijon mustard
Maldon salt
Black pepper
Three cloves garlic
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 red onion
A shocking amount (a couple of coffee-cups) of really good, expensive olive oil, or half the amount of very expensive stuff and half the supermarket’s extra virgin, if you like
8 of the ripest tomatoes (the ones that really smell tomatoey)
A whole cucumber
A jar of (importantly) pitted black olives, drained
A large bunch each of fresh basil, mint and flat-leaf parsley

If your bread is fresh, not stale, rip it into bite-size pieces and bake dry on a roasting tray in the oven for 10 minutes or so. Don’t let it colour, just completely dry it out. Allow to cool thouroughly. If it’s suitable stale, just tear it into pieces and set aside.

Drop a teaspoon of the mustard into a large, pretty salad bowl and slosh over the vinegar and whisk together. Chop the onion and garlic and finely as humanly possible and tip into the bowl. Stir to combine, press down gently with your hands and leave to rest for 20 or 30 minutes – this will temper the onionness of the onions and soften them, too. Next, slosh in the olive oil, and stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the tough, stalk root of the tomatoes and chop into chunks of about 2cm. Peel the cucumber, slice in half length-ways and using a teaspoon, scoop out all the seeds (and immediately eat them). Then chop the cucummber into similar sized chunks as the toms. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and bread to the bowl, and gently toss, using your hands, so everything is properly dressed. You can leave it sitting there for 20 mins or so. Just before serving, add the olives and herbs and toss again.