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 forty-sixth week:
I cooked the pig’s trotters gently for 3 ½ hours on the hob. They were tender and my husband ate the little delicious meat they produced and I made a stock with the remnants adding onion and thyme, which was later, used to make lovely gravy to accompany pork chops. Honestly, probably not worth the time and effort.
Midweek we had supper with one of our sons and his girlfriend at the Canton Arms in Stockwell. It is not possible to book a table in advance so we arrived quite early. This is a delightful venue which serves delicious food for example: potted brown trout with pickled cucumber; dripping toast; grilled Essex mackerel; cauliflower soup and buttered almonds and the list goes on. We chose a glass of chilled Seville orange rose to start followed by slow roasted shoulder of lamb with potatoes braised with onions and herbs, and for dessert marmalade and whiskey ice cream. Everything was delicious and the leftover lamb was parcelled up for our son to take home for supper the following day and probably the day after that.
We had a friend from Brazil staying with us from Thursday to Sunday and so enjoyed showing him all our local and seasonal in London, which was very much appreciated. Slow roasted short ribs of beef with horseradish cream, chestnut chutney and wilted cabbage; roast chicken with bacon, sage (from our garden), onion and lemon stuffing; a cassoulet made with duck, bacon and sausage accompanied by red mustard leaf salad and a “picnic” supper of foods from the Farmers market and Barnes food shops – pork pie, crab, pickled herring, more red mustard leaves with dressing, root vegetable coleslaw and British cheeses.
It’s only a few weeks now before I come to the end of the “Slow Food Challenge” and I have been reflecting on the whole experience which has been a very good one for me and my family. I have not covered all the things I had expected to in these pages as I have been surprised at how many lovely things to cook and eat there have been even in what I expected to be the “lean” months.
So, I think it appropriate to mention onions here. Nutritious and delicious they are available all year and are I think my most useful vegetable. They are a key element to so many recipes and indeed a star in their own right – onion soup; sweated with sage as a companion to roast chicken; marinated with oil, vinegar and a little sugar for salads; stuffed with sourdough crumbs, bacon and herbs and roasted; even raw and sliced finely in a sandwich with good cheddar cheese.
Also I made some beef stock from the bones of the beef ribs just adding onions and water and it is very tasty so I am going to freeze it until I want to make some onion soup with perhaps left over cheese on toast.
It may sound a bit over the top to be making stock from beef bones, chicken or lamb bones etc. but I am hooked on it as I have found that, for the little effort needed it is worth it for the good flavour it gives to our food.