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-ninth week:
We have had even more good food than usual this week. Marrow bones roasted and eaten with toast, lemon, capers and parsley; Aylesbury duck, slow roasted with flageolet beans, thyme, garlic, mustard and honey; slow roast short rib of beef (enough for 3 for £9) with cauliflower in a Stilton cheese sauce.
A few days in Norfolk and so we had mussels – the last of the season I think. And oysters – we are trying to become experts in opening them. We also tried more local beers and a local white wine from Humble Yard which was surprisingly good.
My husband made pasta from scratch – using the “oo” flour I bought a few weeks ago. He used some to make sheets of lasagna, which he layered with béchamel sauce, fresh crabmeat and parsley - absolutely delicious. He also made a few ravioli stuffed with some Stinking Bishop (the British cheese we have tried this week) that were also delicious with a few drops of olive oil and some thyme leaves. We were both delighted that the pasta turned out so well at this first attempt – I am hoping he will become an expert before too long.
Lots of no meat meals too: omelette with a base of potatoes and Wensum soft cheese; cauliflower soup with Stilton cheese and rainbow chard; purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy dressing; free range eggs laid a few minutes from our Norfolk base, poached and eaten with toast and butter; stewed apples with raisins; stewed rhubarb with ginger.
A Sunday roast of a half shoulder of lamb slow roasted with potatoes, onions, garlic and rosemary with mint sauce made in the Summer - £8 and enough for two and also enough left over for a stir fried meal for two with added lemon, onions, garlic, mint vinegar and purslane. A simple salad of rainbow chard with a dressing of rapeseed oil and blackberry vinegar and melted Stinking Bishop cheese to end a week of delicious local and seasonal food for around £30 per person.
I haven’t mentioned it before but our increased use of fruit and vegetables has resulted in lots and lots of peelings. I have been dutifully composting these and this week I dug through the compost container to find to my delight that the bottom of the bin was full of dark compost ready to put on the garden – another benefit of the slow food challenge.
Two items of particular interest in respect of the food we eat this week. The first a report in the Sunday Telegraph last week about farmers being forced to convert their land from food production to other uses in order to stay afloat leaving us to rely more heavily on food from abroad. It a great concern to me that we could let ourselves become so dependent on other countries for our food.
The second is the publication of a new book by Joanna Blythman – “Swallow This: Serving Up The Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets” which contains some shocking but sadly not surprising food facts.