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 twentieth week:
The English apples and pears are still cheap (from the farmers market) and delicious and we have been having them for breakfast with full fat goat’s milk yoghurt and oat bran. We have also used up some of the stewed plums made and frozen in the late Summer.
We brought back some partridges (£3.50 each) from our trip to Norfolk. I roasted them with bacon and we ate them with some of the redcurrant jelly we had made in the Summer and some savoury breadcrumbs. These are a good use for leftover bread if you have the luxury of a food processor to make it into crumbs. Use around 120g of crumbs and stir in a couple of peeled and crushed cloves of garlic, some chopped thyme and or parsley, some grated lemon zest and some salt and pepper. Stir in a tablespoon of rapeseed oil, spread the mixture over a baking sheet and bake in the oven, preheated to 200c, for about 20 minutes or until they are crisp and golden brown. They freeze well too so I often keep a bag in our freezer and use them to scatter over roast chicken, or roast tomatoes or white fish.
The British cheese we have tried this week is Stichelton, a blue–veined cheese made using unpasteurized cow’s milk. Coincidentally, I see that this cheese variety is eight years old this week. It is yet another lovely cheese and particularly good with pears and watercress.
I keep thinking the tomatoes must be finished but they had some very ripe ones at the farmers market. I bought loads to make soup, as I know I am going to miss them in the coming months.
I also bought a huge head of celery as it looked so fresh and beautiful. I used that for soup too and added some of the leaves finely chopped at the end and we ate it with some of the Stichelton on sourdough toast.
I bought curly parsley this week as it looked so fresh – I usually buy the flat leaf one but the curly variety is very good too and I think it lasts a bit longer. I have used lots of it already, some in the celery soup and some in an oxtail stew. I cooked the oxtail, covered in equal quantities of red wine and water and added some salt and pepper, a bay leaf and some sprigs of rosemary in a casserole with the lid on. Oxtail is a very cheap cut of meat and needs long slow cooking. I cooked mine for 3 hours at 150c until it was meltingly soft and starting to fall apart and we ate it with honey roast parsnips, watercress and some sourdough toast.
As well as all the lovely vegetables mentioned above I also bought small cucumbers, young spinach, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and Perry Court Farm Apple Juice– a bulging bag full of lovely things for £21.
The beautiful turban squash I bought last week has proved impossible to peel or cut – I tried but it is almost as hard as a rock but since it is so attractive I am keeping it on the kitchen worktop for now. I did however cook the marrow with a stuffing of bacon, breadcrumbs, onions and the last of the Sparkenhoe Red Leicester cheese, also from last week.
I am making the most of the watercress, as I know that will be finished soon too. We have eaten it with smoked haddock and I also had some in a salad with figs, Stichelton cheese and walnuts. I buy it form the greengrocer in Barnes.
I have gathered together most of the ingredients to make the Christmas puddings and plan to make a start on 23rd November which is “Stir up Sunday
Ed note. You can roast the squash in it's skin. When cooked it will feel soft to the touch, and you can scoop out the flesh. Delcious with butter and pepper, or as Susan writes, it makes the most beautiful edition to the kitchen windowsill.