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-fourth week:
This week I have been using up things in our freezer. I have to admit that whilst a freezer is useful for storage and particularly for avoiding waste, a piece of defrosted meat or fish does not have as much appeal as something bought fresh from our butchers or fishmongers. Nevertheless, with the addition of the fresh vegetables from the Farmers market I have made some very successful meals.
One such thing was some crab lasagna which I cut into slices and gently fried in a tiny amount of rapeseed oil until it was golden brown and we ate it with a salad of land cress dressed with lemon, honey and oil. Another was some smoked mackerel, which I broke into flakes, and we ate it on sourdough toast with real butter and a salad of young leaves with sliced baby cucumbers and Spring onions and a dressing of horseradish vinegar and oil. I defrosted some ox cheek to make a casserole and just before eating it, added a dressing of finely chopped anchovies, garlic and parsley and we ate this with cabbage and leeks sweated in butter.
By Thursday we were ready to stock up with more slow foods for a host of visiting family and friends over the Easter weekend. We were expecting lots of people so keeping the meals as simple, “slow” and as stress free as possible was particularly important. Here are some of the things we had:
Friday lunch: Whole Gilthead bream which the fishmonger informed me was sustainable and from Cornwall (four large ones were plenty for eight people) – baked in the oven with sea salt and rosemary and eaten with raw baby leeks marinated in lemon and garlic dressing with rocket leaves, and my husband’s now famous (in our family at least) root vegetable coleslaw with mustard dressing. We also had a huge loaf of sourdough bread and butter. For pudding we had chocolate cake.
Friday supper: Pot-roasted salt silverside of beef with potatoes, roast beetroot and white sprouting broccoli, which we had not tried before but it is very good and looks great, horseradish cream and chestnut chutney. We followed this with British cheeses: Stilton, Lincolnshire poacher and our new one this week – Perl Wen, a creamy white cheese, with oatcakes and figs soaked in desert wine.
Breakfast offerings were: porridge made with jumbo oats, Conference pears, poached eggs, bacon and sourdough toast or spelt toast with sunflower seeds.
On Saturday we had a pub lunch of fish and chips or fish pie; and for supper, a light meal of fresh crab, brown shrimps and salad followed by Bramley apple and cinnamon crumble.
On Easter Sunday we had a large roast chicken, which I cooked at 150c for three hours whilst we went out for a long walk. We ate it with land cress and more of the delicious slaw and followed that with some homemade coffee ice cream.
We have slow roast lamb planned for tomorrow’s supper and probably a special stir fry with leftover chicken for lunch but this evening it will be a light supper at the pub.
I was interested to read about the Rosewood Slow Food and Living Market in Holborn and I am hoping to visit it soon.