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 twenty-third week:
We are hosting our neighbourhood drinks party and so I have used lots of my “kitchen time” on that. I have resolved to keep the food as “local and seasonal” as possible. The plan is:
- Hot Cumberland sausages with maple syrup and sesame seeds
- Fresh crab crostini with lemon and parsley
- Quail’s egg and smoked bacon tarts
- Roast walnuts with rosemary
- Quickes cheddar shortbreads
- Rosary goat’s cheese (the chosen British cheese for this week) with red onion jam and thyme leaves, in filo pastry
- Ginger, cherry and pecan Florentines
We have done all the shopping for the party locally. This local shopping has become a very enjoyable routine for us and this week we rounded it off with a lunch of lamb, spinach and flageolet beans at the Olympic Cinema in Barnes.
Despite all the party preparation, we have managed to eat well and “slow” albeit more simply than usual.
One of our sons recommended that I try cauliflower mash. I did and it was really very good. I pureed some cauliflower which had been cooked until just tender and added a little of the cooking water, some nutmeg and some grated Wyfe of Bath cheese but I think almost any cheese would be good. It all needed reheating in the oven – 15 minutes at 180c. We ate this with slow-cooked beef casserole laced with English mustard, garlic, wine vinegar and finely chopped parsley.
The grated swede salad with carrot and parsley was so good last week that I have made lots more. Other good things have been: the red peppers and tomatoes, bought at the farmer’s market, which I roasted with some anchovies and thyme - we ate them with potato and rosemary sourdough toast; more bacon, spinach and barley soup with lemon zest – this has become a firm favourite; and a simple omelette of fried potatoes with thyme.
I am making a few things in
anticipation of Christmas as I am going to be busy with other things over the coming weeks and so need to be super organised. This week I have put some lemons in large sterilised jars and added sugar and vodka to make some lemon liqueur for Christmas presents. This will only take a couple of weeks to “brew” and then I will strain it into bottles. I use a similar process to make an orange gin but that takes much longer to “brew” – I started mine last January using some Seville oranges but it will be ready in time for Christmas.