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 thirtysecond week:
I have been looking more carefully at meat in “slow terms” and was surprised and pleased to learn that lamb raised in Britain is most likely to be a reliable choice. Furthermore, whilst lamb described as “new season” or spring lamb” is moist and succulent, bought later in the year it is likely to have a more distinctive taste. So, I cooked some leg of lamb with lentils, sliced fennel and anchovies for a wholesome and delicious supper.
A sizeable family gathering gave me an excuse to buy a very large Phil Truin chicken (almost 6 kilos!) from J. Seal, our butcher in Barnes. Someone had ordered it for Christmas but failed to collect it so it had been stored in the freezer. Consequently I bought it at a discount. I roasted it and we ate it with some Desire potatoes roasted in goose fat from Christmas, purple sprouting broccoli, bread sauce and gravy using stock made from the giblets. These chickens are delicious and in my view if you want a large bird, preferable to a turkey. I have plans for the remains of this lovely bird.
An omelette made by browning a few previously cooked sliced potatoes in a pan and then adding the beaten eggs seasoned with salt, and some thin slices of the White Lake goat’s cheese from last week. Once the eggs are almost set, finishing it off under the grill. Served in generous slices’ with some dressed young spinach leaves it made an economical but actually rather classy, Saturday lunch.
I bought a horseradish root and used some grated into a dressing of rapeseed oil and blackberry vinegar to flavour a beef stew - one of our sons took most of the stew back to University for a treat and I have frozen the rest for another day. Having looked up uses for horseradish root I decided to peel the remainder and cut it into chunks, covered it with wine vinegar and stored it in a strerilised jar. Apparently, whilst this process will mean the horseradish loses some of its pungent flavour, it will produce delicious and unusual aromatic vinegar.
The British cheese we have tried this week is Lord of the Hundreds, a hard, sheep’s milk cheese with a mild but nutty flavour – it is a favourite of mine.
Other good things have been: some pureed carrots with a little bit of cream; some fresh crab with lemon and nutmeg buttered toast; a delicious kitchen supper at the home of friends; some finely sliced cabbage wilted in butter; some (new to me) winter purslane, bought at the Farmers market. It has a delicious flavour rather like watercress but less fiery.
I have continued to try more British beers, all of which have been excellent. Needless to say I am still very much enjoying the challenge, saving money, avoiding waste, enjoying the health benefits of the “slow food diet” and learning a lot.