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 thirtyfirst week:
The cold weather has made me keen to eat slow and comforting food.
Some porridge for breakfast a couple of times this week. Porridge is easy to make, very good for you and it’s cheap. I know there are lots of different methods and personal preferences for making porridge but I made mine in a simple way as follows:
Put 50g of oats in a small pan with 175ml water and 175ml milk.
Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the mixture for about 5 minutes or so, stirring it from time to time.
Stir in a pinch of salt and eat it with a little brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
These quantities make one very generous serving.
Also did some Bramley apples stewed with brown sugar and a stick of cinnamon and have stored some in our freezer for future breakfasts.
Boiled a small joint of gammon, adding an onion, a carrot, a bay leaf and some black peppercorns, which made a good stock. All that was then needed to make a delicious soup was to simmer some barley in the drained stock for 20 minutes and then add small chunks of the gammon, chopped parsley, and some lemon zest. No salt needed as the stock from the gammon was salty enough.
Enjoyed a mid week lunch at the Riding House Café. We sampled several small dishes of what I hope was fairly “Slow Food”: split pea and ham hock soup; devilled crab; Stilton with pickled walnuts; beef fillet with parsnip puree and wild mushrooms; turkey and gammon terrine with black pudding and crisp sprout leaves. It was a nice way to eat - I made a mental note to try using split peas, which I know are nutritious and cheap, and might be a good substitute if fresh vegetables are scarce in the coming months. A popular item at the restaurant, although we did not try it, is macaroni cheese, which prompted me to make that comforting dish later in the week.
The Farmers market in Barnes was open again on Saturday but with fewer stalls than is usual. Fortunately for me these included those selling apples and pears and vegetables. It was pouring with rain but I was glad to go and stock up with lots of good things for the week. I also visited the Real Cheese shop and bought eggs and some White Lake, a British goats milk cheese made in Somerset.
Other good things have been: homemade rice pudding flavoured with nutmeg, lemon zest and a bay leaf (I had forgotten how easy to make and cheap this delicious treat is); some roast walnut and parsley pesto which I used to trickle over a potato tart; our usual Rookery Farm eggs, soft-boiled with toasted sourdough bread and butter.