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-sixth week:
Lots of good things for the cold weather this week. Some dumplings made with breadcrumbs, grated cheese, nutmeg, and parsley, simmered gently in stock made from the remnants of the weekend chicken. More of the parsnip soup with cumin and apple made last week and stored in our freezer – I added some cubes of crisp roasted bread (also from our freezer) and chopped parsley.
Even a bread pudding, which is more like a wholesome aromatic cake but made by soaking stale bread in water for an hour before draining and mixing the bread with brown sugar, mixed spice, egg and sultanas which are baked in a cake tin in the oven for 45 minutes. Also some mushrooms stuffed with breadcrumbs, Stilton cheese, onions and thyme and baked in the oven. All these things included surplus bread which I save as breadcrumbs or something to make good things for another day.
Other good things: a delicious beef casserole flavoured with orange rind, bay leaves and celery at the home of one of the children – a special treat for us; a venison casserole which included some redcurrant jelly (made in week 10) with a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate stirred into the sauce; a rice pudding flavoured with cardamom, orange and muscovado sugar; some full fat cow’s milk yoghurt from the farmers market; a kitchen supper at the home of some friends – potted shrimps, chicken casserole and apple strudel; the usual and now essential boiled egg (this week from Barmer Hall Farm) with sourdough toast and real butter from the Farmer’s market.
The British cheese we have tried this week is Norfolk Charm, a Wensleydale style cheese that I used with caramelised red onions and thyme for a pastry tart.
I ran out of green vegetables towards the end of the week and so used some frozen peas. I am delighted to find that these are perfectly acceptable for the “slow food challenge” – as well as tasting good they add a welcome splash of colour when fresh green vegetables aren’t to hand.
Breakfasts continue to include English apples but we have not tired of them as they taste so good. There are so many varieties with quite different flavours and textures it seems as if we are trying completely different fruits. We also have porridge on cold days, made with a mixture of water and full fat milk from the Farmer’s market. And occasionally my husband has some bacon or sausages or an egg but never all three together.
I am still enjoying the challenge not wasting any food, saving money and time but eating delicious food.