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"Significantly, the charge (if it is a charge) has been levelled at the gastronomic essay and the 'learned' cookery book that they have an affinity with pornography. Certainly, both gastronomy and pornography dwell on pleasures of the flesh, and in gastronomic literature as in pornography there is vicarious enjoyment to be had." 

Stephen Mennell

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Entries in anchovy (6)

Tuesday
Nov232010

Jamie Oliver's "Spicy" lamb shanks

Updated on Monday, November 29, 2010 at 4:01PM by Registered CommenterVix

When I read ‘spicy’ I think hot and spicy, fiery, piquant. I am aware that spicy has several other meanings in relation to food (aromatic, fragrant, ‘seasoned with or containing spices’) but I think it is misleading to use the word 'spicy' in the name of the dish if it doesn’t pack any heat. This dish sits in the aromatic camp and, technicalities aside, it is a very nice recipe.

I have my friend Ray to thank for reintroducing me to Jamie Oliver; in admitting that I liked this recipe and the meatballs she made me, before I knew they were Jamie Oliver’s, I also had to admit that my dislike for him was mostly superficial.

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Sunday
Oct312010

Pan-fried plaice fillets with chunky salsa verde, puy lentils and garlic croutons

I tried out this dish for the first time the other night and it was fan-f**king-tastic. Wow! I would say this is the closest I have got to perfection for a while.

I thought it would be nice to follow up the salsa verde post with a dish that uses it, albeit not quite in its pure form. I would like to take full credit for the recipe, but I have a vague recollection of eating something like it at The Giaconda Dining Room last year. I was plied with several glasses of albarino (albarino, albarino) at the time, hence the hazy memory, but there are a few details which I remember clearly; white fish, lots of herbs, capers and croutons. The croutons were the key to the dish, giving it a wonderfully dynamic texture and providing a perfect contrast to the delicate flesh of the fish.

I have used this as the basic premise and taken it a step further by replacing the simple mix of herbs and capers with a roughly chopped salsa verde and I think it works, well, fan-f**king-tastically. The lentils I added for substance and because they go well with parsley. I found their earthiness well balanced with the tart, citrusy dressing.

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Thursday
Oct282010

Salsa verde, the green stuff

 

In English salsa verde literally translates as green sauce. This can be the cause of some confusion because there are many green sauces in this world.  Wikipedia cites five variations and suggests a shared history for the European versions:

The basic recipe is probably from the Near East and, as such, is probably at least 2,000 years old. Roman legionaries brought it to Italy, from where it was exported to France and Germany. Evidence suggests that it was introduced in Frankfurt am Main by the Italian trading families Bolongaro and Crevenna around 1700. A possible origin of the German variant are French Protestant immigrants emigrating to Kurhessen in the 18th century.

In this post, I am dealing with the Italian version.

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Tuesday
Sep212010

Marinated anchovies, Dalmatian style

 Left: anchovies in Sipanska Luka, Sipan. Right: my version at home

Following my gastronomic tour of Dubrovnik and the Elaphite Islands, I thought it would be fun to have a Dalmatian-themed week. I say Dalmatian, rather than Croatian, because like many other European countries, in Croatia each region has its own distinct culinary traditions. Wikipedia highlights that the most notable differences are between mainland and coastal regions, influenced both by history and the differences in the selection of foodstuffs. Mainland cuisine has its early roots in Slavic cookery and more recently Hungarian, Viennese and, to a lesser extent, Turkish cuisine, “while the coastal region bears the influences of the Greek, Roman and Illyrian, as well as of the later Mediterranean cuisine – Italian and French”. With regards to foodstuffs, as one might expect, Dalmatia and other coastal regions rely heavily on seafood, while hearty meat dishes are more prominent in the interior.

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Tuesday
Aug102010

Be there in five - olive tapenade

If you have ever bought this in a jar from the supermarket, then please pause for a moment before doing so next time and reconsider. It really does only take 5 minutes to make it yourself (well, 10 if you are pitting the olives) and the result is oh, so much better!

I usually make a batch of it and keep it in the fridge for sandwiches or bruschetta-style toasts, e.g. with roast tomato or Portobello mushrooms. It is great with soft white cheeses, such as goats cheese, feta or cream cheese. It also works quite well with lamb dishes, so long as you don’t use too much; it has a very strong flavour, so can overpower a dish if too much is added.

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