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 fiftieth week:
I have used a lot of eggs during this challenge. I keep meaning to try a soufflé, as I don’t think they are as difficult to make, as the name seems to me to suggest. I am sure I will get around to it before long but this week I made an omelette as usual. This time I heated some leftover roast parsnips in the base of the pan, added the beaten eggs with a little salt and finely sliced spring onions and then put a layer of thinly sliced Mayfield cheese on the top and cooked it over low heat until just set. We ate it with some young kale leaves (a new thing for us) and a dressing made with rapeseed oil, English mustard and plum vinegar.
We had an unexpected visitor – known for his good appetite - to supper and so I retrieved some of my husband’s cheese and potato soda bread from our freezer and we ate it warm with some good butter whilst our chicken was roasting. I had also made a rhubarb and orange dessert cake so we had that for pudding with a glass of iced orange gin. The remainder of the cake went in our freezer for another day.
I am always glad that I have bothered to freeze some good things. I have done much more during this challenge and am trying to be better organised about how things are labelled and stored. I am not quite there yet though. This week I thought I had defrosted a chicken and potato pie, which, it transpired, was actually macaroni cheese so we ate that for supper instead: it was fine; unlike the time I meant to defrost a pot of stewed rhubarb, which turned out to be carrot soup. I really am going to make more effort on this and have reorganised the drawers in the freezer with a view to avoiding mistakes in future.
I tried more strawberries from two different sources but none were either sweet or tasty – I think perhaps it is still a bit too early for them. I was delighted to see small apples at the Ringden Farm stall this week and they still taste very good; so we will be relying on those, some stewed Bramley apples and stewed rhubarb for our fruits for the time being.
The British cheese we tried this week was Mayfield. I used it in the omelette as already mentioned. It has a sweet and nutty flavour and the texture is rather like Emmental – we liked it very much.
I am still using the horseradish vinegar made earlier in the challenge but all the blackberry flavour made last summer has been used. This year I plan to preserve more things in “industrial quantities” as they have really added a special something to our food.
Other good things this week: more asparagus, simply boiled briefly and eaten with butter; roast pork with a black pudding beignet and spring cabbage for a pub lunch out; a casserole of rabbit with bacon and prunes; turbot, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven with lemon and thyme. I bought courgettes, courgette flowers, some small cauliflowers and some purple radishes amongst other things at the Farmers Market this week, so I have to give some thought as to what to do with them for next week – something special I think.