Monday, 23 March 2009

Chorizo with crushed new potatoes

I love chorizo. I happily make the hour-long trip to Brindisa at Borough Market just for one of those oily, spicy chorizo sandwiches with slithers of marinated red peppers and a few wisps of rocket, wrapped in paper, which you eat sitting on the curb - not even noticing when a splatter of the ruby-red juices end up on your white t-shirt. I got this pic, above, from an equally keen chorizo devotee.

This is one of my favourite ways to cook chorizo at home - involving ridiculously few ingredients.

Half a chorizo sausage, sliced into thick rounds
Two handfuls of tiny new potatoes
Flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
Bring to the boil a large saucepan of slighty salted water. Tip in the potatoes and boil gently until tender. In a separate saucepan, tip in the chorizo rounds and gently cook, for a few minutes, so the juices are released and the meat begins to brown and sizzle. Turn the heat off and allow to rest. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them well and tip them into the chorizo saucepan. Turn the heat back on and stir vigourously - it doesn't matter if you break the spuds up a bit - to coat the potatoes in ruby juices. I sometimes use a potato masher to bash and crush the potatoes up a bit - it makes it look rough and peasanty, which I love. Add sloshes of olive oil if you think it needs it (I always do), plus salt and pepper. Arrange on plates and scatter with parsely. On Saturday we had it with a chicory salad with a squeeze of lemon.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Beach things

A month from now I'll be stretched out on the sand in Jamaica - and in my dreams I'd be fully kitted out in beach things from Zimmermann.

A green supper

It might only be temporary, but it certainly looks like spring has sprung out there. Which puts me in the mood to cook things like this:

Lamb chops, real mint sauce, lemon quinoa

Coriander seeds
Lamb chops
Maldon salt
Olive oil
Green chilli

Pound some coriander seeds in a pestle and motar, throw in a fat clove of garlic, a pinch of Maldon salt and pepper – and pound, pound, creating a paste. Rub this paste into the meat, along with a generous slosh of olive oil. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, pick the leaves from a large, bushy bunch of mint and tip into a food processor. Add a small clove of garlic, a squeeze from a half a lemon, a pinch of salt, black pepper and a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Whizz until smooth-ish. I always put this in a separate bowl on the table, for people to help themselves. It looks so pretty.
Tip the quinoa into a sieve and rinse well with running cold water. Heat some olive oil in a heavy saucepan and tip in the quinoa. Cook, stirring briskly, on a high heat for a minute. Pour in some boiling water (from the kettle) – enough to cover the quinoa amply. Put the lid of and simmer for about ten minutes – the quinoa grain must loosen itself from its case. Keep checking that it doesn’t dry out.
Zest a whole lemon, and finely chop plenty of flat-leaf parsley. Stir the zest and parsley through the quinoa while its hot, with a slosh of olive oil.
Meanwhile heat the grill to hot, and grill the chops for 5 mins on each side – or less, or more, depending on how you like them.
Serve chops with the quinoa and a big spoonful of the mint sauce (you need loads of it).

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A supper for the first warm day of spring

Grilled mackerel, Charlotte potatoes, mint butter, watercress salad

Serves two
Four mackerel fillets, boned, skin on
Olive oil
Four garlic cloves
Teaspoon fennel seeds
Maldon salt
Charlotte potatoes
Large bunch mint
Watercress salad and a lemon to dress it with.

Smash four garlic cloves with the side of a knife, and throw into a bowl. Crush a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a pestle and motar and tip into the bowl. Slosh with a good four tablespoons of olive oil, a generous sprinkling of Maldon salt and pepper - and swirl the marinade together with your fingers. Clean the mackerel fillets and pat completely dry with paper towel. Lay the fillets in the marinade and turn, and turn until completely coated. Leave the fillets flesh-side down in the marinade, cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for as long as poss (an hour is good). Bring back to room temperature while you heat your grill to hot (I cover the grill well with tin foil to save on cleaning). Meanwhile boil the potatoes until tender. Smash a handful of finely chopped mint leaves with some butter and Maldon salt. Grill the mackerel for a few minutes on each side (start with skin down), checking regularly. Drain the potatoes well, and while still hot, toss in the minted butter. Serve the fillets with the potatoes and a watercress salad, dressed with lemon juice, Maldon salt and olive oil.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I love the way Volga style their catalogue and shop. I was enjoying mouching in it so much the other day I was 20 mins late for a meeting. I came away empty handed but am pining for some of these pyjamas and a few tassled towels for the bathroom.

Coooo cooo cooo, coo coo

There was a wood pigeon cooing from the neighbour's rooftop this morning, and I turned off the radio and flung the window wide open to listen to it. Wood pigeon calls always remind me of Hans Christian Anderson fairytales - The Last Dream of the Old Oak or The Little Robber Girl. I know pigeons are everywhere in London, but somehow their coo is completely transporting. For a moment or two I'm not in our flat in Shepherds Bush, I'm in a stone cottage deep in an enchanted wood somewhere.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Sausages, mashed swede, winter salsa verde

Serves two greedy people, with some leftovers
6 Cumberland sausages
A whole swede
Greek yoghurt
Large bunch parley
4 sprigs mint
1 clove garlic
A handful shelled walnuts
Maldon salt
Pinch brown sugar

Tip the sausages into a baking tray, season well with salt and pepper and roast in a medium oven for 20 mins, regularly shaking and turning. Meanwhile, peel the swede and chop into large chunks, tip into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 mins, or until tender. While the sausages and swede are cooking, put the parsley, mint, garlic clove, pepper, salt, walnuts and two tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor and blitz to a thick paste. Add the pinch of sugar to taste. Drain the swede well, allow to steam in the hot pan to get rid of some of the moisture, add a large hunk of butter and mash until smooth. Stir in tablespoon of Greek yoghurt, salt and pepper and gently heat through when you're ready to serve. Arrange on each plate the sausages, with a pile of mash, and a heaped tablespoon of the salsa verde.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Barbara Hepworth

In fact, I've decided she is my fashion icon.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

I've always hankered for my work uniform to be an artist's smock. These two - from the Carrier Company and Toast - are the kind I'm sure Barbara Hepworth would have worn, casting her bronzes and chisseling in the studio at Trewyn.

Pea and taleggio risotto with anchovy crumbs; radicchio

Large onion
3 cloves garlic
Marigold Bouillon powder
Risotto rice
Piece of taleggio the size of your palm, chopped into hunks
Frozen peas
Tin of anchovies
White bread
Olive oil
Sea salt

Drop a tablespoon of bouillon into a saucepan, pour in a litre of boiling water, place on a gentle heat and stir.

Finely chop an onion and three cloves of garlic and sweat, without colouring, in olive oil for about 8 mins. Turn the heat up and tip in three or four large handfuls of risotto rice. Stir vigorously for a minutes.

Slosh in a ladleful of hot stock and stir, stir, stir, massaging the starch out of the rice as you go. When the stock is absorbed, add another ladleful. When you have used up half the stock, tip the peas into the stock pan, and allow to simmer gently as you continue to spoon and stir the risotto, combining the peas gradually. Continue until all the stock is used up, or until you like the consistency of the risotto. It should have bite, but be creamy and smooth.

Take the risotto off the heat and add the hunks of tallegio, gently folding. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the risotto and leave for 5 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, tip 3 anchovy fillets and a slice of white bread (crusts removed) into a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Heat some butter in a pan and cook the crumbs over a high heat until they are golden and glistening – don’t let them burn.

To serve, spoon the risotto onto plates and sprinkle with the anchovy crumbs. Serve with radicchio salad:

Radicchio salad

Gently pull the leaves, whole, from the bulb, and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil, the scantest dribble of lemon juice, a pinch of brown sugar, sea salt and pepper.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Saturday lunch

Assemble on a plate: a slice of Poilane sourdough bread, warmed a bit in the oven; Waitrose Hot Smoked Mackerel Fillets; a hunk of Moody's Rosary Ash goat's cheese; watercress dressed with extra virgin olive oil and seasalt.