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 nineteenth week:
It seems that Autumn has arrived and as the weather is changing so is my food. I am thinking about “warming food up” with spices – some chicken marinated with fennel seeds and cumin, lentil soup with roasted spices, and bacon, barley and spinach soup with nutmeg and lemon zest.
I mentioned last week that I had made the rye sourdough starter following instructions from the excellent book – Do Sourdough/Slow Bread for busy lives by Andrew Whitley. This week I have managed to turn some of my starter into a loaf of rye bread - it is amazing albeit a bit heavy. Yes, it took some careful time planning but I am sure that with practice I could improve on time management and bread quality and, having made my starter and stored it safely in the fridge, I have done the hardest bit.
I regularly have to go to the Norfolk coast where we have been this week. I used the rye sourdough to make delicious and wholesome smoked salmon sandwiches for the journey up from London.
It is easy to do Slow Food in this part of the world and made even better at this time of year because of the Brancaster mussels. We watched some being sorted by the fishermen on the marshes – any small ones are returned to the mussel beds to mature whilst the rest are sent off for purification before being sold locally. These mussels are the best I have ever tasted and need only simple preparation and a little garlic and chopped parsley by way of adornment. We bought ours from Gurneys in Burnham Market for £2.40 per kilo, which is enough for 2 people.
Vegetables can be bought from a hut at the side of the road in South Creake – only seasonal and local here – the quality is superb and the prices are exceptionally good. I bought delicious Cox’s Apples (10 for £1), Pears (7 for £1), a marrow for 40p, an impressive looking “turban” squash for £2 and a large bag of purple sprouting broccoli for 80p. There were also piles of pumpkins at varying sizes and prices.
We went to two particularly good places to eat out. Lunch at the Wiveton Café near Blakeney was deliciously local and seasonal and good value in a colourful, cosy café atmossphere ; a generous homemade tomato soup and good bread and butter for £5.50 and a sourdough bruschetta with blue cheese, local walnuts, figs and salad leaves for £7.50 and house wine at £4 for a glass. Another lunch at the Jolly Farmers in North Creake where the roast beef and home cooked seasonal vegetables was an incredible £10 each. This is a gem of a pub where the food is genuinely home cooked - it is like stepping back in time.
The British cheese we have tried this week is a very tasty Sparkenhoe Red Leicester. It is made from unpasteurised cow’s milk and has a creamy mellow flavour and flaky texture.
I have signed up for the Slow Food Christmas Pudding Challenge and so I am going to try to organise all the ingredients for that next week.