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 thirty-fifth week:
Another busy week, less home cooking and more eating out, a necessity rather than a choice. I have found eating in restaurants and cafes difficult in terms of the “challenge” and to be brutally honest frequently disappointing. So many don’t give details of the origins of the food. I think it is safe to assume that if this is not explained on the menu it is unlikely that the food will be even close to slow. I don’t ask, as I know it will be an embarrassing and difficult discussion, which is probably unfair to impose upon people. On the plus side I eat less meat when I go to restaurants as I think that is a safer way of eating “slow”. I often get ideas from restaurant menus though. This week there have been: cullen skink, cock- a- leekie, rabbit terrine with prunes. Also a spiced parsnip and apple soup which I managed to reproduce successfully at home on Saturday.
I used the chicken left from the weekend, thrown into stir-fried onions and mushrooms with a splash of plum vinegar and some purslane to make another very good midweek supper. I also used the bones of the chicken for stock – this has become routine now and involves little fuss.
The British cheese we have tried this week is Two Hoots Barkham Blue – a rich blue cheese made with milk from the Channel Islands. It is delicious and we ate it stirred through some finely sliced and browned mushrooms on walnut and raisin sourdough toast.
Despite reading in a newspaper that wine has eclipsed beer as our favourite tipple, I am still enjoying trying numerous British beers - always in a wine glass – these beers seem to suit this slow food very well indeed.
My husband really liked the Lincolnshire sausages, and bacon from the Farmers market. He also had a “slow” burger for a lovely pub lunch and we both enjoyed a delicious soup made from the rest of the bacon with added barley, chicken stock, cabbage and some lemon zest. Also, a much-appreciated Saturday supper of Chicken roasted with sage and finely sliced onions, roast carrots and potatoes with thyme and a salad of very finely sliced black kale with the usual dressing of rapeseed oil, blackberry vinegar and mustard. We have eaten less meat than usual this week.
Other good things have been; the usual boiled eggs with sourdough toast and real butter; red cabbage braised with juniper berries and apple juice; two new varieties of English eating apples, John A. Gold and Cameo; a Sunday supper of fresh crab with lemon, potted shrimps, mackerel pate, brown toast and little gem dressed in rapeseed oil, honey and white wine vinegar.