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 thirtythird week:
The food left from the family gathering at the weekend was put to good use:
I stripped the remaining meat from the enormous Phil Truin chicken and used the bones, and even the skin, some parsley stalks, thyme and black peppercorns, covered the lot with cold water and let it all simmer gently, covered, for two hours. I usually add carrots and or onion or something but the remains of this bird filled my biggest pan and so there was no room! This nevertheless resulted in a very good stock indeed. It seems therefore that good quality bones make good quality stock - I am going to save it for something special.
The enormous liver from the enormous bird was sliced and fried with mushrooms and only a splash of sweet sherry and some salt and pepper added. With some winter purslane stirred through at the end of cooking, piled on to some buttered sourdough toast, it made a special Monday supper.
I used the leftover chicken meat between layers of leftover pureed carrot, leftover bread sauce, leftover gravy and some fresh young spinach leaves for a pie (actually 3 separate pies) topped with potatoes mashed with butter and milk and seasoned with freshly grated nutmeg and a little salt. All this use of leftover food may sound a bit like a “dog’s dinner” but we ate one for supper on Tuesday and it looked and tasted absolutely delicious – equal to a good Shepherd’s pie – possibly better.
There were a few roast potatoes left from the weekend meal too. These were sliced and browned in a pan and then with the addition of beaten eggs, a little salt and the last of the White Lake goat’s cheese provided another delicious omelette.
So, we are continuing to get exceptional value for money as well as the taste benefits from all this high quality food.
On Tuesday I had lunch with Shane Holland, Chairman of Slow London when he introduced me to Terroirs near Trafalgar Square. It is described as a wine bar but also serves delicious and “slow” food. We sampled a range of small dishes; duck rillettes with cornichons, smoked eel with celeriac remoulade, a salad of endive with walnuts and a salad of cavalo nero with anchovy dressing. And to drink, cloudy Prosecco which was particularly good with the food. It was a special lunch and I came away with even more enthusiasm for the “challenge” having had lots of my questions and concerns positively dealt with by Shane.
I had bought some cavalo nero from the farmers market last week and decided to use it for a salad similar to the one we had eaten at Terroirs. I stripped the stalks from the leaves, washed and dried them and tossed them in a dressing of rapeseed oil, wine vinegar and a clove of crushed garlic and added some shavings of some of the Lord of the Hundreds cheese from last week. This was a very good use of the cavalo nero.
A couple of days in Norfolk at the end of the week and I bought more vegetables from a smallholding which has a stall at the side of the road. More cavalo nero (called black kale in Norfolk), Pink Fir Apple potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, leeks, Conference pears, eating apples (Spartan variety) and cooking apples (Howgate Wonder variety).
I used the black kale for another salad but for this one I stripped the washed leaves from the tough stalks, cut the leaves into very fine shreds and tossed them in a dressing of rapeseed oil, blackberry vinegar (made in week 11), mustard and added a few roasted walnuts. We ate this salad with some roast partridges, boiled Pink Fir Apple potatoes with parsley butter, bacon stuffing and bread sauce and it was very much enjoyed by all.
The British cheese we tried this week was Wissington, a Ewe’s milk cheese made in Norfolk. It has a mild flavour and we ate it with soda bread and fig relish, which was a lovely combination.
Other good things this week: Brancaster mussels, pear and almond crumble with chestnut honey, and egg and bacon sandwiches with tomato relish.
An exceptionally good week of food in terms of flavour, economy, quality and enthusiasm for Slow Food.