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Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in fennel (5)

Friday
Mar272015

Fennel gratin with leeks and anchovies

Friday fun-day! Today I did my first live cooking demo at the Natoora shop in Turnham Green. And they call this work! Well, sign me up and call me ‘Chef’.

A month ago I started working for Natoora, the UK’s biggest importer and distributor of fine quality produce. Their main clients are restaurants - Ottolenghi, Heston, Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse – you name them, Natoora supply to them. There’s also an online and retail shop where you can buy all manner of delicious things and then some.

In the last 4 weeks I have tried so many new varieties of fruit and vegetables that I am starting to lose count. Oranges? Yes. Tarocco oranges with a blush of pink – new favourite.  Tomatoes? Obviously. Danterini, Marinda and Iberico tomatoes – everyday please. Radicchio? Been there. Radicchio Triestino – just about the most beautiful vegetable I’ve ever seen:

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Sunday
Mar242013

Dad’s Provençal Seafood Soup

 

Continuing the French theme, here is my Dad’s take on a Provençal fish soup or stew. It's similar to a bourride, using many of the same aromatics, but without the egg yolks. Also, a traditional bourride is usually just fish, but Dad uses a range of seafood.

I asked him to send me the recipe, which was characteristically vague – a pinch of this, a slug of that, “loadsa garlic”. Having eaten it many times when I was younger I was able to guesstimate, but I have tried to make it more user-friendly for you. However, there are some things that are hard to quantify and that are really up to you. For example, the amount of stock depends on the consistency you want; how much saffron depends on the quality of the saffron and how much you like the taste of it; what seafood you use is up to you, which means it is hard for me to give accurate cooking times.

I made this for my flatmates a few weeks ago and they both thought it was fab. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Dad’s, but then these things never are when you try to replicate them, are they?

“What do you think is missing?” asked Jen.

“I don’t know. A little bit of love?”

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Tuesday
Oct192010

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Roast breast of lamb with fennel salt

Updated on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 10:00PM by Registered CommenterVix

A colleague sent me an email last week asking whether I had any ideas for what he should feed his five flatmates on Friday night. My advice must sit within the following parameters: it had to be good and nothing “too crazily adventurous, just something I might be able to cook given my mediocre skills in the kitchen”. Well, where should I start? Are we talking one course or three? Animal or vegetable? Cold or hot? The possibilities are endless.

I wrote back to that effect and was given a few further pointers: meat yes, fish no, veg yes, mains only, and “wintery is cool though not anything too wintery like stew” (there goes that idea). This was slightly more helpful, though it still leaves the food enthusiast with far too many options than is sensible, particularly if you are not too bothered about the answer (I never did get a response).

Since he had not specified a type of meat (and as it gave me an excuse to deviate longer from the rather boring task I was undertaking at the time) I suggested a chicken, a lamb and a beef option, one of which was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Roast breast of lamb with fennel salt

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Thursday
Sep232010

Zapecena Riba, hrvatski for baked fish

I had originally intended to spend this week celebrating the last of the summer sun by recreating all my favourite seafood dishes from my week in Croatia. However, there was a slight flaw in this plan: seafood, or lack thereof.  

I work 9 to 5 and the only decent fishmonger in my corner of London is open 8.30 to 5, which doesn’t leave a very large window. So I have had to make do with Sainsbury’s, which means sacrificing not only on flavour and freshness, but also on range. I didn’t really expect to find octopus or scampi on the Sainsbury’s fish counter, but I thought mussels would at least be a safe bet. Well, apparently they are out of season at the moment, although I have read other sources that suggest otherwise. I hope to make it to the fishmongers this weekend, but in the meantime, rather than substitute ingredients for the dishes I had planned, I have decided instead to find some alternative Dalmatian recipes to suit what was on offer.

Of the various recipes I found online, this one was the most reminiscent of the food I experienced on the Dalmatian coast; fresh produce cooked simply with minimal seasoning so that the flavours speak for themselves.

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Saturday
Jul172010

Angela Hartnett’s ricotta and spring vegetable salad

Updated on Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 5:02PM by Registered CommenterVix

 

My Dad was given a copy of Angela Hartnett’s Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Cooking by a good friend of ours. He was visiting from Australia and left it with me to lighten his load while he was travelling around. When he returned to Australia he forgot to reclaim it and what a happy accident that was. I love it!

One of my favourite of the recipes I have tried is her ricotta and spring vegetable salad. Apart from being quick and easy to make, it is wonderfully versatile. It works just as well as an accompaniment to meat in a main course, in particular lamb, or as a starter and ingredients can be substituted according to what you have in your fridge. Hartnett herself attests to this versatility:

In southern Italy they have firm, salted ricotta, which is grated over salads and pastas like parmesan, but I like the cool, soft ricotta in the salad against the crunch of the spring vegetables. You could also use goat’s cheese, and whatever vegetables are available.

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