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 eighteenth week:
It was a cold and very wet visit to the farmer’s market this week and as a result it was far less busy than usual. I assume this was because of the rain. I see my visit as a necessity since undertaking the challenge so the rain would not keep me away.
I came away with my shopping bags brimming with beautiful vegetables; spinach, carrots, potatoes, parsley, tomatoes, lettuces, salad leaves, baby courgettes, corn on the cob (only 45p each) and onions, all from from the Perry Court Farm stall. I also bought lots of lovely apples and pears (12 pieces of fruit for £4.30) from Ringden Farm. This food is cheaper and better than I can get in a supermarket.
The British cheese we have tried this week is Rosary, a soft and smooth pasteurised goat’s milk cheese made in Wiltshire. We ate it, along with some Stilton and some Little Black Bomber, for an impromptu lunch with one of our sons.
Other good things have been some smoked haddock poached with bay leaves and peppercorns, some hake roasted with onions and potatoes and an omelette with some of the Wensum cheese left over from last week.
It is a busy time of year for birthdays and things in our family and so we have been out a lot. This includes having had a lovely supper of roast quail at Riva and a delicious home-cooked Thai supper at the home of some friends.
I have been reading “Do/Sourdough/Slow bread for busy lives" by Andrew Whitley. I like the way he writes, for example under the heading “Keeping it Simple” he says, “So, take heart. You may safely ignore any methods or recipes that demand hours of kitchen time, use arcane vocabulary and make you take yourself just a little too seriously.” He also points out that what he refers to as slow bread keeps better, lasts longer and is more satisfying [than quick loaves puffed up with instant yeast] and also “few people fail to be fascinated by the miracle of flour and water coming to life.” Having made my sourdough starter from only rye flour and water and having watched it develop over four days I too am one of those fascinated people: although at the beginning I did wonder if I might have found it easier to have had another baby to look after. Anyway, the starter is ready and it really was not difficult to prepare. I have plans for it and hope to report further news next week.