Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday Supper Strawberry Shortcake

C indulges me. In alot of things.

So when I said I wanted to make strawberry shortcake with the strawberries he merely nodded and went about his business, as I expected him to do. BUT. He didn't know what to expect. The Strawberry Shortcake that he knew was the one his sister played with and who is trademarked by Hallmark.

So he was rather pleased when I put this before him for dinner on Saturday night.

Simple, light and airy cakes (thin ones- I don't like them thick) still slightly warm from the oven. Sliced strawberries with a touch of vanilla sugar and a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. And ice cream. Not whipped cream. Ice cream.

Summer on a plate.

And yes, it was dinner. We're the grown ups now. We make our own rules.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You are what you eat

If you opened your fridge to a stranger, what would it say about you?

Mine would say that I'm an alcoholic with penchant for cheese and random things in old Bonne Maman jars.

Photographer Mark Menjivar did an entire series on the premise. Find them here under Portfolio you are what you eat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tart Tart Pie

When C & I moved to London 18 months ago, we left a lot of stuff behind. Books, sofas, daleks. But most importantly, kitchen stuff. We gave away, made friends take and sent to storage all manner of kitchen necessities that we had acquired while living in Toronto. Not that we came with nothing. Oh no. C & MM laughed, pointed and ridiculed me for the random things I insisted that we bring. One cooling rack (also serves as a trivet!), one decent knife (can't chop an onion with a Swiss Army knife), Riedel O wine glasses (I heart them- thanks Ebot/Gnomily!), et al. I'm so pleased I dragged it all here. Nothing has gone to waste.

Anyways, we've since started to repopulate our kitchen with even lovelier things, but I've been lacking certain baking implements, namely a pie plate and tart tin. I don't know why it's been so difficult to locate a pie plate. I thought England invented pie? Isn't it a traditional end to a roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy dinner? Shouldn't there be a pie shop on every corner? And tart tins? The ones with removal bases? Why can't I find them everywhere?

Sigh. I finally tracked both pieces of kitchen love down in a lovely kitchen store called Gill Wing in Angel. I should, perhaps specify that I tracked down appropriate versions. There were others but they weren't quite what I wanted. If you're going to bake love you need to have love bakeware. Right?

So! First off I made C's favorite - apple pie. It tasted great. It looked … well, the pie plate looked great. But sadly we ate the whole thing too fast for a photo. And really, do you need a recipe or photo for an average apple pie? I didn't think so.

However! The next week I decided to inaugurate the Tart Tin with the Chez Panisse Almond Tart care of David Leibovitz. I've wanted to make this since David posted it on his blog. But I've never owned a Tart Tin with a removal base. But now I do. And life just got that much better.

Here it is.

Isn't it beautiful? It wasn't perfect, I'm no pastry chef (YET!) but it was delicious and satisfying to make. I will definitely be making it again.

This week I decided to go with a more traditional crust and tart. A Pear and Frangipane Tart. The crust and I were having some difficulties so I tore it up and flung part of it on the table, which then splattered across the room. After a certain amount of swearing, fridge time and patience (and more swearing) the crust came together. Not quite as beautifully as I'd hoped (you mean second time STILL doesn't make me a pastry chef?) but delicious nonetheless.

They are so satisfying to make! So very homey but elegant and accomplished at the same time. Now I need further inspiration. Which are the most delicious, loveliest tarts? Which should I make next? Suggestions? Requests?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


From the Ethicurean:

Edible San Francisco contains this anonymous quotation: “Despite its artistic pretensions and its many accomplishments, humankind owes its existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

Sunday, June 07, 2009

One kilo of chorizo and monkfish

On a lovely Sunday, after the flower market and a walk through Victoria Park, I went to the butcher. Not just the butcher, the Ginger Pig Butcher. A place where I feel 100% comfortable buying (and eating) meat that is love, beautifully packaged and lovingly tended. I was going to buy a chicken to roast, maybe some bacon rashers and that was about it. But, it being Sunday and they being closed Monday, they were having a sale. A sausage sale. A kilo of sausage for £6.50. Now, I love chorizo. And I love a good deal. And really, I'd be losing money by not buying the kilo of sausage.

So I bought my chicken. And a kilo of chorizo.

I am the type of shopper who normally buys just what I need. I think the most chorizo I've ever purchased was three solitary sausages. Now I lugged home a kilo- which, for your information, is about 12. A dozen chorizo sausages all for myself. I was giddy with delight.

Thank god we have a freezer.

While C has been away I've not been cooking, or eating terribly well. Lentils and rice most night, supplemented by copious bowls of oatmeal (until I ran out of oats and was too lazy to go to the store and buy more). So at the market the day before I had decided to treat myself and buy a chunk of monkfish for my dinner.

Monkfish & Chorizo for One

1 onion, sliced in half moons and lovingly caramelised
1 chorizo, chopped into chunks
1 piece of monkfish for one

Once the onion was brown and ever so soft, I threw the chorizo chunks in the pan and let them brown, oozing out spicy sausage juice. Then the monkfish, cooked to perfection in the chorizo oil, then served on a bed of salad greens with the chorizo and onion on top.

Hardly even a recipe but so good.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A lunch to take pride in

I just had one of those meals where you sit down at the table and look at the plate before you and feel incredibly pleased with yourself.

It wasn't anything particularly special. Just a plate thrown together. Herb salad from the pots on the balcony, toasted nuts from the jar in the cupboard, a dollop of muhammara (my condiment du jour), some bread and grilled halloumi.

But the inspired combination and prettiness of everything on my plate brought me great pleasure.