Friday, May 29, 2009

I wanted...I bought...I made

f u n e m? s i f m - and asparagus to go with it! Yum.

Busy week coming up - foodchain Sunday so shop for it Saturday so something simple Saturday night, maybe grilled chicken and salad what we had in the end was asparagus served with some really good smoked ham that Abel & Cole sent me to try. Have to admit I was a touch dubious about whether it would be good enough because it seems to be impossible these days to buy simply sliced packaged ham that tastes amazing - or even really good. Happy to say that this was just like proper old fashioned ham, judiciously smoked and lovely and moist. Sunday I think I will roast a half shoulder of lamb from the freezer with lentils and herbs - simple and tasty did have the lamb roasted with rosemary and garlic but had new potatoes and buttered pointy cabbage and roasted onions - and it was simple and tasty. Monday I'm thinking frittata with leeks had omelette with taragon and salad topped with some fresh sheeps milk cheese that the lovely people at Able & Cole gave me to sample. Tuesday we are out to Richmond for BBQ! Yay! Wednesday I'd like pasta with bacon and asparagus and I really liked lentils with chorizo and sheeps cheese so will get some fresh from my local veg shop, Thursday the man is - ostensibly - out so I might treat myself to a little steak and Friday both my mother and my aunt will be with us so I'm planning ham leeks and peas and maybe even a cake a ginger one with cheeses to go with.

The sun definitely had its hat on Saturday - it was so lovely out didn't need a coat or a cardi to go out to Borough. Started at Ginger Pig where I got a bit confused about quantities when I asked for a kilo of chipolatas and there didn't seem enough so asked for 2 kilos and then there were hundreds! So eventually bought 16 and it was £7.40 Forgot to buy a steak for later in the week

At Silfield I bought a ham hock for the bargain price of £2.95

Then at Booths I bought garlic, potatoes, pointy cabbage, rocket, little gem lettuce and parsley for £6.70

In Brindisa I bought a big pack of spicy chorizo for £14.20

From Lizzie at Wild Beef I bought eggs and sausages (I'm looking forward to this BBQ!) for £5.50

Asparagus from Ted's Veg - £3 - I am dreading the fast approaching end to the season

Coffee from Monmouth for £11

Fabulous pies from Mrs Elizabeth King - £4.50

Milk, pasta, bread and yoghurt from Neals Yard - £13.20

Toast bread from Flour Power - £1.20

So a not too bad £69.65

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lamb, chickpeas and vegetable stew

I have been meaning to make a version of this for weeks - bought the lamb about a month ago and put it into the freezer and then, every week since, have thought ooooh I'll have that lamb stew this week. And then didn't. I had a vague idea of where I was going with it - sort of moorish (as well as moreish) with the addition of chickpeas for flavour and texture and some seasonal vegetables like aubergine and courgettes. I wanted it to be lighter than a winter dish and had just not entirely worked out what the final dish should taste like. Hence the hesitation.

Then, on the weekend, I made a particularly fine batch of roasted vegetables to go with rare roast beef and I had myself a eureka moment. If I salted and then added aubergine early in the process, added courgettes toward the end to retain some bite, and separately roasted peppers till they were sweet and charred to be included at the very end it would keep the flavour elements separate in the way that a good ratatoiulle is constructed. Worked a treat.

Braised Lamb, Chickpeas and Vegetables

125g chickpeas, soaked overnight with a tspn bicarb of soda
1 aubergine, cubed and salted
2 red peppers, cut into 1cm cubes
2 tbspns olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tbspns oil
500g diced lamb
1 tin tomatoes
1 tbspn tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1tspn smoked paprika
1 tbspn ground cumin
2 courgettes, cut into rounds the thickness of a pound coin

Drain, rinse and boil the chickpeas for 30 minutes.

Put the chopped peppers onto a baking sheet with the oil and roast in the oven at gas 4 for 40 minutes till soft and sweet and a little bit charred.

In a large pan, fry the onions with the 3 tbspns oil till soft and golden – 20 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, paprika and cumin and stir through for a minute.

Rinse the aubergines and gently squeeze out the moisture then fry with the onions for a few minutes.

Add the lamb and fry till sealed.

Drain the chickpeas.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chickpeas, cinnamon and bay leaves with water to cover.

Season with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer gently, covered, for an hour.
Add the courgettes simmer, lid off, for another 20 minutes or so till the courgettes are cooked through. Stir the roasted peppers through for the last 5 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes or rice.

Though lamb is never going to be cheap this is a really lovely dish that makes the most of the flavour. The chickpeas helps it go a bit further - this makes six very satisfying servings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I wanted ... I bought... I made

Summer on a plate

Long weekend! Yay! Sunshine a definite possibility. Unlikely but would be lovely. And the man's birthday - good excuse for a little decadence.

So we shall continue a tradition we've had for a few years now with rare roast beef and single malt whiskey. Thinking Saturday night it was a fine feast Saturday night but didn't cook the asparagus with asparagus and new potato salad and roasted vegetable salad. Then prunes in port with thick cream and a side of shortbread which I faffed about making then managed to overcook... Sunday we are off for a walk in the sun in the Chilterns so we need a picnic sandwich and dinner will be was asparagus and potato salad ready on our weary return. Monday it's posh lunch at Corrigans to celebrate the event in style so won't need much for supper lunch was indeed fab and dinner was very fine rye bread and rare beef sandwiches. Tuesday is theatre at the Royal Court for a dull piece so nothing more to plan till Wednesday finally made lamb and chickpeas and very fine it was with rice. Some spicy stirfry I think. Then Thursday the man is out but the man was in so we had some of the leftover lamb with penne so I shall have grilled pork chops as it's been a while and then I think salad Friday night with the pork chops - damn I have to share! - with some crusty bread.

Saturday was indeed sunny - just absolutely lovely with everyone cheerful to go with it. First stop at Borough was Ginger Pig who seem to be having a little trouble with queue control so now have lots of signs saying 'queue here' and 'no service here'. Apparently some people are offended when told they can't just come to the counter and be served if others are already waiting and so they storm off in a huff. Their loss methinks. Anyway I had no trouble waiting to buy a lovely piece of top rump for a week of party food first as dinner Saturday then in lunchboxes for the week and a couple of glorious pork chops Friday night with salad for £25.50

Then to Booths for potatoes - jersey royals as it's a very special dinner - aubergine, courgettes, garlic roasted vegetables, cucumber, carrots, bananas smoothies and lunchboxes, sugarsnaps lunches and baby plum tomatoes roasted for £8.60

At Wild Beef we bought eggs one broke on the way home so we had two scrambled on toast for breakfast then a couple into mayonnaise for salads from Lizzie - £1.50

Then lovely dried kuru sele olives from Taste of Turkey - £3.60

The asparagus farm stall was nowhere to be seen this week so we bought a bunch for Sunday night from Ted's Veg for £3.50

A small dark loaf of rye a whole platter of sandwiches to share with David on Monday night with a last glass of party wine from Rhodes - £2.80

Fennel salami picnic Sunday in the sunshine in the Chilterns from Gastronomica - £2.50

Strawberries smoothies and an apple juice from Chegworth - £3.50

Peppers and a box of blueberries from Tony's - £2.50

Bread, spaghetti, milk, yohgurt and cream from Neals Yard - £18.40

A brownie for the man as well as a cottage loaf from Flour Power - £3.10

So I spent £75.50 and also bought onions, another aubergine and a couple of courgettes, butter and a baguette from Comptoir Gascon

Nothing much thrown out except the last of the roasted vegetables - I was a touch over enthusiastic(!) and I cooked a little too much pasta to go with lamb Thursday night but I suspect I will never develop the ability to judge those kind of quantities

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spaghetti with breadcrumbs and parmesan

I have been trying to find a really good version of spaghetti and breadcrumbs for the last couple of weeks. Up until recently I'd often eat them at the same meal but they were always on separate plates.

I buy really good spaghetti - Rustichella d'abruzzo, as recommended by Heston Blumenthal in his Search for Perfection - and really good bread because I really love bread. As does the man. And usually we scoff the lot. But sometimes, rarely it's true but sometimes there is some bread left over and it is criminal to bin it. I'd feed it to the birds but London has more rats than people and probably birds for that matter and the rats get in first. During the heavy snow this winter I did put some out but it was not the birds that benefited so now there is a birdfeeder full of seed hanging from the tree instead and the rats dine elsewhere.

Last week miss greedy pants me had two loaves from Rhodes because they are new at the market and the rye bread I'd bought from them the week before was really good so I fancied trying a couple of different ones. Except I didn't have a use for a campagne and a sourdough so there was about a third of each loaf left over. I sliced the crusts from the outside and then sliced the remains into thick chunks and put it into the oven for ten minutes or so while I was roasting the chicken on Sunday. They dried out nicely then, when they had cooled, I ripped them into bits to put into the processor and whizzed them to crumbs. Which is like a free ingredient.

The first time I used breadcrumbs with pasta it was in a bake with aubergine that I really liked but it was a bit of a faff and slow to make midweek. The next time I crisped them in hot oil then drained them on paper while cooking some courgettes with smoked bacon and garlic and mixed the lot with the spaghetti. It was nice but the bacon was a mismatch so it's not one I'd do again. This week I decided to flavour the crumbs as they cooked with garlic and chilli then mix the lot with Parmesan and the last of a bunch of parsley chopped. Result.

Spaghetti with breadcrumbs and parmesan

350g spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped
100g fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling salted water for the time indicated on the packet.

About five minutes before the pasta is cooked warm the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs and mix together with some salt and pepper. Cook over a medium heat till the crumbs are golden and fragrant.

Drain the spaghetti and return it to the pan. Mix the breadcumbs, parmesan and parsley through and serve in big bowls.

Fast. Frugal. Fabulous.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I wanted...I bought...I made

We're out Saturday afternoon so I'm thinking perhaps fish and new potatoes and asparagus for dinner - tasty and quick but instead we had asparagus with hot chorizo for lunch then steak and salad for dinner, such decadence. Have some rice in the freezer so I think roast chicken stuffed with rice and herbs for Sunday with new potatoes and cabbage for lightness really good idea. Monday I have some lamb chops that I bought at the real food festival last week and I can resist them no longer with some spinach and more new potatoes I love lamb chops but can rarely afford them, they are just wildly expensive at Borough. Tuesday we are seeing Waiting for Godot which I am seriously looking forward to, fancy more Chinese Wednesday spaghetti with breadcrumbs and Parmesan, perhaps risotto Thursday tofu with scrambled eggs and carrot and ginger stirfry, and sausage sarnie Friday night will be cream of chicken soup with the last of that lovely bird and stock from the carcass.

It was cold Saturday morning at Borough Market - and the rest of London. Spring is faltering. Had a rethink about asparagus and fish and asked the man whether he'd like asparagus for lunch. His face lit up so I took it as a yes. As we wandered up to the market Farmer Sharp had a handwritten sign offering 4 week hung rump steak for £12 a kilo and not one to ignore a genuine bargain I bought a thickish slice for Saturday special supper - £7.80

Then to Ginger Pig - still looking shiny and fresh and decidedly rearranged - and I bought a big chicken Sunday dinner and cold in lunches then soup Friday night and some smoked and some unsmoked bacon mostly in the freezer apart from a couple of smoked rashers that I chopped into the stuffing - £17.20

At Booths I bought lots of cornish new potatoes, garlic, cucumber, bananas, spring cabbage, spring onions and sugarsnaps all used up for £8.60

Got eggs from Wild Beef tofu and scrambled egg Thursday night - £1.50

A nice hunk of Parmesan spaghetti with breadcrumbs Wednesday night and the rest in the fridge for the next month or so from Gastronomica for £5.50

A bunch of choice asparagus from the farm stall Saturday lunchtime - £3.50

The man asked if we were getting parma ham to go with the asparagus and I said I was thinking chorizo and got a delighted smile so it was off to Brindisa for a six pack of the spicy snags two with lunch and the rest in the freezer - £5.50

Lovely fat strawberries smoothies Sunday and Monday from Chegworth £2 for 2 punnets

Neals Yard for milk, yoghurt and bread - £7.80

A cottage loaf from Flour Power - £1.10 - it does really make lovely toast

That's the lot for the week so far - £60.50

Also bought tofu, spinach, butter and peanut butter and am searching for semolina to make some shortbread...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rhubarb Struesel Cakes

Oh dear. I have sometimes wondered if you really do need to have special baking tins for muffins or cupcakes. Surely if you just buy a pack of those sweet little pleated cases and put them onto a flat baking tray and fill them with the required mix you'd get the same result? As the photo above attests the answer to that question is a resounding NO. Sadly.

I don't do a lot of sweet cooking but occasionally will come across something that sounds interesting/fabulous/perfect for some specific occasion. Hence the non ownership of muffin tin. One of last week's hot links in my Gourmet email was for these little rhubarb cakes and I was taken with them partly because I love rhubarb and partly because it didn't require the rhubarb to be cooked prior to baking - just chop finely and douse in icing sugar. Liked the sound of it - and here was the perfect moment to test my cupcake theory.

If I'm honest I knew before they even went into the oven this was heading for disaster. As I put the first lot of batter into the base of the little cases they kind of flattened outwards, but not too badly so I perservered. Sprinkled my little flecks of rhubarb on top then finished with dark sugar butter and put them in to cook.

Twenty five minutes later they came out of the oven looking like pull-apart buns with little pleated frills making patterns across the tray. So thoroughly wrong I had to laugh. Pull them apart I did, however and fortunately they taste great, not too sweet and lovely spice finish on top.

Rhubarb Streusel Cakes
Makes12 individual(!) cakes

For topping
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
70g unsalted butter, softened
200g fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2 cm dice
3 tablespoons icing sugar

For cake batter
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
115g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

Special equipment:
a nonstick muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Preheat oven to Gas4/ 375°F. Generously butter muffin cups and top of pan.

Make streusel for topping:
Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps.

Make batter:
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk alternately in 2 batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined.

Top and bake cakes:
Divide batter among muffin cups (each cup will be about half full). Toss rhubarb with icing sugar and sprinkle batter with rhubarb, then crumble streusel evenly on top.

Bake in middle of oven until tops are golden and a tester inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes.

Cool cakes in pan on a rack 3 minutes, then loosen edges of cakes with a small sharp knife or small metal spatula. Remove cakes from pan and put on rack to cool slightly.

Next time I might just make it in a pan - dispense with the cases altogether!

Ham hock peas and leeks

Had to make this thoroughly lush dish because the title made me laugh.

I am still on a ham hock mission and the one that's been in the freezer for a couple of weeks has had me wondering about many possible incarnations. Then I found this recipe on the Daylesford's site and was instantly smitten. It sounded simple and tasty and definitely in season - and it was vastly better than I was expecting. The stock gives it a lovely depth and the combination of cream and butter makes it really decadently silky and rich. Soft ribbons of leeks mix with the sweet crunch of peas and the clean taste of fresh parsley. Quite wonderful, especially for a Monday night.

The Passionate Cook is hosting the current 'Waiter there's something in my...' event - which is a fun way of having random bloggers give their own interpretation of a theme. I have read them occasionally and sometimes been tempted to submit a post but this is the first time I've felt it all fitted together for me. It is based aroung bistro food and it strikes me that this dish would be a delightful thing to find on such a menu. If bistro food is about simply prepared, simple to serve, tasty to eat and preferably goes well with lots of bread to mop juices then it ticks every box. Both slow food and quick, you cook the hock well in advance, then when time comes for eating it's ready in fifteen minutes.

I started Saturday as I pottered about doing those damned domestic drudgeries...

Simmer the hock in water with a few aromatics for a couple of hours while you get on with doing other things then let the hock cool in the stock. Strip the meat from the bone in largish pieces and keep the skin separately. Strain and boil the stock to reduce it by half. Put the cooled stock and the meat into the fridge till you're ready to use them. Divide the skin into two and freeze separately for adding, finely chopped, to add lushness to lentils for another meal. All this takes ten minutes of active time so hardly even rates as a distraction.

Ham hock peas and leeks
1 ham hock, cooked as above
4 leeks
25ml olive oil
50g unsalted butter
75ml cream
200g shelled peas - I used frozen
30g flat-leaved parsley

Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan and toss the leeks gently over a medium heat until well coated with oil, season with salt and pepper, add butter and cook slowly for about ten minutes.

Add 100ml of reserved ham stock and cream to the leeks, reduce by half, then add the peas and simmer for approximately 3 minutes then add the pieces of hock. Simmer for another minute or two until the ham is warmed through and the peas are just cooked. Stir through the parsley.

Serve in a warm bowl with lots of fresh crusty bread - I bought a white loaf from St John which is some of the nicest bread made.

A most perfect meal.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I wanted...I bought...I made

Spaghetti with courgettes and fried breadcrumbs

Deeply tempted to buy more pies for lunch Saturday - suspect the man may well be in accord with me on that one. In fact we had slices of toast topped with grilled red peppers (from a jar) topped with the other half of the morcilla fried topped with a fried egg for one of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten. Ever. So then we just had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Might try again for spare ribs and have them Saturday night Asparagus becasue it is irresistable with jersey royal potatoes that the nice man at the Real Food Show gave me and prosciutto which though really good was perhaps a little strong with the other elements. Sunday we are out in the evening so might do proper Sunday lunch ...might. Did! Slow roast shoulder of pork with new potatoes and buttered spring cabbage. Lovely. Monday I think ham hock with leeks and new potatoes so very good, Tuesday the ever delayed lamb casserole no no but lentils topped with a poached egg, Wednesday some pasta chinese - ma po tofu, pepper and black beans over rice that was very tasty and Thursday frittata and salad no eggs left so it was pasta with zucchini and fried bread crumbs. Yum. Friday we are seeing Peer Gynt and so we can have a little Japanese beforehand. And somehow I need to get some asparagus in there!

Oh. My. God. Ginger Pig has been transformed in the last week from a slightly shabby circle of chiller cabinets to a shiny shop of new things that now opens on the front of the market rather than off to one side and with one counter directly into the market. Looks great but the butchers are still getting used to it I think - they seemed to be tripping over each other a little but cheerful as ever. Bought a piece of pork shoulder on the bone to slow roast Sunday morning then lunches till Wednesday while we are out at the cinema. It has slightly wrong footed the man that the plan was to see the early session of Star Trek - definitely more his kind of film than mine but it had such a slaveringly good review in the Guardian I figured it would be a treat for him. Was better than I was expecting. £12.80 for the pork.

At Booths I bought bananas, cucumber, cornish new potatoes, spring cabbage, parsley, carrots, sugarsnap peas, beetroot but no tomatoes as they had some unripe english ones and some glow in the dark dutch ones and I was fairly sure neither would bring me joy - £9.20

Over the other side I bought some coarse mince freezer and eggs rhubarb cakes, one breakfast and one dinner from Lizzie at Wild Beef who was very excited to be off the New York Sunday for 3 days to go to her daughters graduation - whirlwind! £9.50

Liked the bread last week from Rhodes so this week bought a small sourdough - £2.50

Parma ham from Gastronomica £4.50

Coffee at Monmouth £10

Strawberries smoothies Sunday and Monday from Chegworth and an apple juice to keep us going - £4.50

Asparagus from New End Farm who are there just for the season and last week's was very good indeed - £3.30

Peppers from Tony - £1

Pasta, yoghurt, cream and milk from Neals Yard - £11.50

No brownies - am thinking of making rhubarb muffins... spent £68.80 and also needed rice, tofu, butter, onions and a superior loaf of bread from St John which we had with ham and leeks Monday and with lentils Tuesday and the other half nestles in the freezer

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lentils with Chorizo and Morcilla

I've never eaten morcilla before this week though I am a fan of blood pudding - both the british and french versions. A trawl through my Moro cookbook offered a fairly lush sounding recipe stewing lentils with chorizo and tocino which in spanish is a kind of ham fat that I didn't have so replaced with smoked lardon but in the Philippines is a sweet cured pork dish traditionally served for breakfast with garlic fried rice and eggs which sounds like a fairly fabulous way to start the day. Might need to investigate.

Along with these essentially pork and bean things in my stew there was also morcilla a sausage that is properly thick - about 5 or 6 centimetres across and stuffed with pig’s blood, rice, onions and spices. During la matanza where family, friends and neighbours gather to celebrate the slaughter of the pig Spaniards make good use of just about every part of the pig from the trotters to the ears. The blood is quickly drained into a large pan and immediately taken to the kitchen where morcilla is made for the first part of the feast. What isn't eaten on the day is hung to be saved for another day. Proper nose to tail eating!

Lentils with Chorizo

4 tbspns olive oil - I used rendered pork fat from roasting crackling
2 sweet chorizo, each 10cm long, cut into 1/2cm rounds
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
100g tocino - I used pancetta
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 dried noras peppers, seeds and stalks removed, broken into small pieces and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
250g brown or green lentils
2 small morcilla or half a big fat one, add the small ones whole, thick slices for a big one
2 tbspns roughly chopped parsley

Heat the oil or pork fat over a high heat till very hot then add the sliced chorizo and fry till crispy. Remove with a slotted spoons and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, tocino or pancetta and a pinch of salt. Fry for about ten minutes until the vegetables are beginning to colour. Add the garlic, bay leaves and drained nora peppers and cook for 2 minutes more.

Return the chorizo to the pan and add the lentils and morcilla. Cover with 1 litre of water, bring to the boil then simmer gently for about half an hour till the lentils are tender, adding a little water if the liquid falls below the surface of the lentils.

Season with salt and pepper then stir through the parsley.
Serve in deep bowls with perhaps a drizzle of olive oil and definitely crusty bread.

Good cold next day for lunch.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Garlic Mayonnaise

It is spring, that loveliest of seasons. The parks turn from smudges of grey to acid green, my clematis drips with ten thousand creamy flowers and Borough Market stalls start selling asparagus and strawberries and spring lamb. Joy.

I bought my first bunch of asparagus for the season on Saturday planning for it to be the centrepiece of a simple snacking supper. I love the stuff so much I really wanted it to be extra special so I decided to make mayonnaise into which we could dip the warm green stalks. I seldom make my own mostly because it seems incredibly decadent - it is such a fabulous rich concoction that I could happily stand and eat a whole bowl with a spoon. For some reason I think that might not be good for me on a weekly basis.

But for the first of the asparagus it had to be. I had some new season garlic in the fridge, pale and delicate and a very good match for my simple supper plan. I'd bought fresh prawns as well that would be divine dipped and some lovely ratte potatoes that would make a good salad to use the remains to go with burgers Sunday night. Frugal and decadent.

There is much palaver about the supposed difficulty of making mayonnaise but it is fairly simple and straightforward, particularly if you have a whisk attachment for a stick blender. Which I do. In this recipe I use olive oil which makes for a very rich mayonnaise indeed but you could make it using vegetable oil just as successfully. The following quantities makes enough to keep you blissfully happy for a long weekend.

Garlic Mayonnaise

250 ml olive oil or vegetable oil if you want a lighter mayonnaise
4 cloves of new season garlic or 1 ordinary clove, peeled and halved
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
A few drops of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a small pan warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the garlic very gently, and cook till the garlic turns golden, about 4 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

In a clean bowl - or a food processor - whisk the egg and yolk then slowly add the rest of the olive oil, literally a drop at a time at the beginning, whisking all the time. As it starts to thicken and become straw coloured increase the volume of oil to a thin steady stream. When you have incorporated about two thirds of the oil add a few drops of lemon juice then slowly add the rest of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Mash the golden garlic finely into the oil in the pan then stir it into the mayonnaise. Taste and adjust the seasoning or add more lemon if you need to.

Try and resist eating it all in one go - it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days if you have the strength of will.

Very fine with warm asparagus, fresh prawns, with chicken or ham, as a dip for crisp raw vegetables, with tuna and beans - anywhere that decadence seems good, really.

Friday, May 01, 2009

I wanted...I bought...I made

Still have very little appetite at the moment after being ill last week so there's not a lot of pleasure in thinking a lot about what to eat. Which is usually one of my favourite activities.

Still have the makings of a lamb casserole and moorish lentils so that's two nights sorted. But it is bank holiday so it seems a shame to not have a few special things though the snooker final is also on the tele so a few plates of cold collation will probably keep the man happy... Do that for Saturday special I think, things you can pick at and eat with your fingers if there's a napkin handy. Including asparagus. Sunday some chinese perhaps burgers in fact with mince from the freezer and fabulously decadent potato salad with garlic mayonnaise and Monday lentils would be good made a spectacularly good braised tofu puffs casserole with shitake mushrooms and cellophane noodles and the leftover stock that I had frozen after slow roasting pork in chilli and fennel. Tuesday last weeks lamb casserole finally made the lentils but the lamb remains in the freezer, Wednesday a quick pasta salad with duck friton but no dressing so it didn't really meld, Thursday duck salad pasta experiment with courgettes, bacon and breadcrumbs that needs a little refining, Friday could be almost anything as we are going to the Real Food festival at Earls Court so there will be grazing and high hopes of purchasing of something particularly sublime.

Had been thinking I'd like spare ribs and coincidentally the man expressed the same desire and then, oh no! there were no spare ribs to be had at Borough Market. Not at Ginger Pig, not at Northfields or Silfields or anywhere. Bugger. Bought pork mince instead thinking Balls! And now it's in the freezer where half will be made into spicy balls and the rest is split into small amounts for adding to stirfries £8.50

The fruitless search for ribs ended on the other side of the market where we discovered the stall for Rhodes bread which I had failed to find last week. As we stood dithering about what to buy Jeremy turned up - he is the fine young man who, should I need to buy lunch on Thursday or Friday, cooks me a hot chorizo, peppers and rocket roll (using Rhodes bread) on Whitecross Street. He was working for Artisan Food's stall for the day - so that was an unexpected surprise. We eventually bought a dark rye which was very good plain and toasted and a small campagne which I had planned to have with supper but the man wanted an English stick to it's in the freezer and will crispy up nicely perhaps this weekend - £5.20

Then to Wild Beef for eggs scrambled on toast as brunch after the market and sausages - we ate the pack we had in the freezer Friday night and I do like having some more, just in case - £5.50

There was a new farm stall selling asparagus and I bought a fat bunch fabulous dipped in garlic mayonnaise - just the one though I was tempted to buy two(!) - £3.50

At Gastronomica cheese stall I bought a rochetta still in the fridge and a big lump of truffle cheese snacked on with a glass of wine and in a sandwich for lunch Thursday - £13.50

Then at Gastronomica meat stall I bought braesola - the collation plan coming together - £5

Since it is now officially spring I bought strawberries at Chegworth for the first smoothies of the year - £3 for two sweet smelling punnets

From Shellseekers I got a tub of fresh pink little schoolies already peeled Saturday night treat was getting better and better - £4.80

At Booths I bought bananas, cucumber, lettuce, ratte potatoes, green beans, courgettes, garlic and carrots for £9

From Tony I bought 3 red peppers a pound and the man noticed that Farmer Sharp was selling packs of air dried mutton for £5 - we'd never tried it so here was the perfect opportunity

The next generation are joining in creating the excellence at Mrs Elizabeth King with hot pies to accompany the fine pork pies that we eat so many of. There was a first place prize for the new steak and kidney pie. The man loves nothing more than a hot S&K pie and I simply adore a good steak pie so that sorted lunch Saturday and my little ozzie heart was filled with joy at just how good they are - £5

Needed yoghurt for smoothies as well as milk and an english stick from Neals Yard - £6.70

And that was all - no brownies! Cost £75.70 Also bought spring onions, butter and tofu and a stick of bread from Comptoir Gascon.