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 fortieth week:
I have had a vegetarian diet for most of this week. There was no particular reason except that I thought I would try it. Lots of good things: Cauliflower soup with cheese and nutmeg; yellow split peas with onions, kale, parsley and spices; roasted beetroot with rosemary; carrot and lentil soup; cabbage soup with this week’s British cheese - Snowdonia Ruby Mist; boiled eggs; poached eggs; frittata layered with potatoes and softened leeks; finely sliced kale with plum vinegar dressing; raw cauliflower, carrots, radishes and sourdough bread with a warm anchovy dressing rather like Bagna Cauda . I didn’t miss having meat but I would not like to give it up altogether.
I sorted out the spices in our cupboard and I am afraid I had to throw several jars of ready ground spices away as they had turned to non-descript dust. Ready ground spices rarely last very long and I have resolved to do my best to avoid them in future. I made the spice mixture for the split peas by toasting some whole spices (fennel seeds, cumin seeds, a stick of cinnamon, star anise and cardamom pods) in a pan and then ground them to powder in a small coffee grinder – you could use a pestle and mortar instead but I would probably omit the cinnamon stick and star anise as they are probably too hard to make into a powder.
I did not force the vegetarian diet on my family and friends, so I have still been cooking meat for them; lamb chops with potatoes and spinach – all cooked in the same pan and then eaten with lavender jelly; slow cooked chicken stew with barley, lemon, bay, carrots, onions and parsley; slow cooked beef, potatoes, carrots and parsley with a dressing of oil, mustard, and my homemade horseradish vinegar. The beef, salted silverside, was a large piece, bought but not eaten at Christmas. So I had cut it into four pieces and frozen them. It was particularly good done in this very easy way and I am looking forward to repeating it. Indeed I have found all the “one pot” meals I have been making recently to be both delicious and easy to cook.
There was more rhubarb to add to the stewed Bramley apples for breakfasts but this week I baked the rhubarb in the oven with brown sugar. We still like Cox’s apples very much despite having at least one each day since September!