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 seventh week.
Monday 14th July – Thursday 17th July
We are still enjoying all the locak strawberries and raspberries for breakfast. We usually have some with yoghurt and oat bran. I used to think it best to have “low fat yoghurt” but since starting the Slow Food challenge I have been looking more closely at labels and have now decided to change to full fat yoghurt, eating more simple and untouched foods.
I haven’t preserved any of the berries taking the view that they are to be enjoyed at their best in their season. I have mentioned before, they are not cheap so it is not worth making them into jam unless you can grow your own fruit.
We have a fig tree in our garden, which after many barren years has suddenly decided to produce many fruits. There was one ripe one this week and it was delicious, and a real joy to taste something so simple but wonderful from the garden.
Other highs this week were some roast beetroots with Norfolk White Lady cheese; chicken soup with mint, barley, lemon and spinach leaves; and some corn on the cob with melted butter.
I am still awaiting the delivery of a book on bread making ordered last week but as an extra this week I have pickled some green beans with red onion and dill. If this works I might post the recipe in due course.
Friday 18th July
We have a friend staying with us for a few days. Supper is a piece of hake, roasted with potatoes, summer squash, onions and thyme with a dressing of rapeseed oil, honey, and sherry vinegar and some runner beans. Hake is an exceptional fish, especially cooked in this way so that it can be brought to the table in the baking dish with the vegetables and carved up rather like a saddle of lamb in shape and it is not too expensive – about £3 for each serving. We also sampled another British cheese, which this week is Old Winchester, as part of our try-a-new-cheese-a-week.
We have also been enjoying some good (English!) gin and tonic, perfect for the hot weather!
Saturday 19th July
Lunch is hot- smoked salmon and pearl barley with spring onions and shrimp poached in fish stock. Supper is our usual slow roast shoulder of lamb with mint sauce and mixed baby squash and some chocolate biscuit cake because our guest loves it, as do we.
Sunday 20th July
A simple roast chicken and green salad (actually just a lovely lettuce from the Farmer’s Market) and a dressing of rapeseed oil, white wine vinegar, English mustard and honey - so very simple, but utterly delicious.
Week 7 thoughts
The slow food regime has most definitely made me feel better and this feeling is, I am sure, due to a balanced healthy diet with regular meals. Except for high days and holidays I would previously have avoided butter for example but now I will happily have some on vegetables or bread. During week 1 of the challenge, I bought some raw butter from Hook and Son at Borough Market – it was so delicious and I have often thought of just how good it was. Now that I have settled into this new regime I have become much more selective about how I spend money on food. Having previously thought the raw butter too expensive I am now going to add it as a staple to our regular foods; I would rather enjoy the pleasure and simplicity of, for example, a boiled egg with some good bread, good butter and watercress than so many other, more expensive things.