Slow Food London set a challenge: could regular Londoners go slow for an entire year? Would it be easy? Would it be hard? Would there be times when it would (slowly) start to go wrong?
Here, Susan Paul talks us through her fourth week.
Make some gooseberry crumble ice cream – adding elderflower cordial.
I'm ennjoying being in the kitchen, I make lemon curd ice cream too and then get really carried away and make some raspberry sauce and some cheese shortbreads.
We have friends to supper and I make roast chicken, bacon and sage stuffing from the freezer, bread sauce, young carrots with thyme, peas and spinach.
Three English cheeses to follow; Binham Blue, White Lady and Wells Alpine with some English cherries
I am in central London today but nowhere near any good food shops. We have a family supper tonight and I need to get something to cook for everyone. I am forced therefore to go to a supermarket near to the station. Overwhelmed by this experience (too much choice, too much packaging, too many people) I make a snap decision to just repeat the main course of the night before so I just have to buy some chicken and can get out of the supermarket as quickly as possible.
We sample some of the homemade ice cream for pudding.
More friends to supper (this is an exceptional visitor week) and we have some roast pepper and tomato crostini followed by baked sea trout, a lemon and thyme dressing, new potatoes and a mix of shredded little gem, and sliced baby cucumbers, gently warmed in stock. Lemon curd ice cream with raspberry sauce for pudding – I think this was all very much appreciated by Susan and Rick (who brought some exceptional white wine) so we will ask them again!
A busy day so have a very tasty left over vegetable omelette for lunch and left over roast red peppers and tomatoes on toast for supper.
Some beautiful crab and barley, with spring onions and spinach. I cook this in the style of risotto, similar to last week as it was so good.
Smoked salmon and salad for lunch (my husband has salad cream with his).
Supper at Riva, a local restaurant - delicious slow Italian food, as ever.
Lunch is a simple stir-fried squid with small courgettes, onion, young spinach leaves, chives, garlic and lemon.
Supper is a roast half leg of lamb with cauliflower in cheese sauce, runner beans and mint sauce – this all tastes of a lovely English Summer.
First month summary
I have taken to listening to Farming Today on BBC radio 4 most mornings!
We have done lots of entertaining but all made easier, I think, by using “slow” ingredients simply prepared. There is a bit of work needed to scrub potatoes and take beans and peas out of their pods etc. but generally it is not complicated or stressful.
Even before the challenge, I rarely went to a supermarket to buy food but I did use the online home delivery facility and still do for a few basic foods and household things. I have really enjoyed going to the local shops more, even though they are not within walking distance.
I have spent much less money on food since starting the challenge because I am getting more efficient in planning and using leftovers – I like having more room in the fridge too - less risk of waste and easier to find things. The food has been absolutely lovely: there have been no downsides at all really
Family and friends seem to have enjoyed all the food but of course they are not living with us. My husband says he is enjoying it too but he has lunch out on weekdays and says he follows the new regime but I am not sure I believe him!
One point of conflict between us is that, having grown up with ketchup and salad cream he is not prepared to give them up – will I be able to get him to break thishabit of a lifetime?