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 twentyfirst week:
We have had so much lovely food this week despite having been really busy with other things. I think it is because I am buying good fresh ingredients and am preparing them simply.
Following on from the success of the oxtail last week, we tried ox cheek. Long slow cooking (2 ½ hours at 150c) in a covered casserole with finely sliced onions and with a teaspoon of butter blended with a teaspoon of flour and dotted over the meat. This is a cheap and, after the slow cooking, very tender and delicious meat. We added some English mustard and watercress and ate it on sourdough toast.
Other good things have been: a warm salad of Brussels sprouts - yes really -cooked until just tender but retaining a bright green and fresh colour - with crisp bacon with a dressing of rapeseed oil, maple syrup, English mustard and white wine vinegar, and a few small pieces of the Stichelton cheese from last week scattered over the top – it was absolutely delicious.
I also made several jars of a simple onion and raisin chutney to give as Christmas presents.
We are hosting our local neighbourhood drinks party in a couple of weeks. So in anticipation of that, I have made some cheese shortbreads using our British cheese for this week - Quikes extra mature cheddar - and will store them in our freezer for the time being.
Other good things were: halibut baked with some of the savoury bread crumbs described last week, and the tomato soup made last week which is absolutely delicious, and to my delight I find I can buy even more tomatoes this week that I will give the same treatment.
For a supper with friends on Friday: some roast sea bass, from the Suffolk coast, with blackcurrant vinegar and rosemary and some shredded cabbage, leeks and black kale sweated in a little butter, followed by Bramley apple and almond dessert cake which needed no other embellishment. A delicious lunch out at the weekend – rare rib of beef with roast vegetables and a sauce made with globe artichokes I think. But the highlight of the week was a soup of young spinach, bacon and barley using the chicken stock my husband prepared and stored in the freezer back in the summer – it was cheap, easy to prepare and utterly delicious.
A neighbour has kindly given me rather a lot of quinces. I have not used quinces before so I am trying to work out what to do with them.
I have been absorbed in reading Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets by Joanna Blythman . It rings very true.
Ed: Our quince tip - keep them in the fruit bowl to perfume your house, or tuck them under slices of apple in a crumble for a particularly fragrant dish. Also utterly delcious cooked with roast pork!