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Entries in olive (7)

Thursday
Aug062015

Gilpin's Chicken Tagine Thing

A few weeks ago some very dear family friends of mine all congregated at the Commonwork Farm in Kent to cook for the open day there. They have been doing this annually for many years now but in 2013 it gained particular significance. Our friend Gilpin, who used to be the head chef there, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of cancer. We were all left with a little less laughter in our lives. Gilpin was larger than life. We still have a lot of fun together, but we miss his presence keenly. 

A few months after his death the open day gave us all the opportunity to come together and say our goodbyes in an informal way in a place that Gilpin loved and where he was loved. Against the backdrop of bucolic English countryside – rolling hills, wild flowers and the smell of cut grass – we looked on as his wife, Gayle, trudged up and down over a neatly ploughed field scattering his ashes with the help of a ladle she had borrowed from the Commonwork kitchen (unbeknown to the new head chef). She read a goodbye poem to Gilpin and we all laughed and cried and sang and laughed some more. It was sad, it was funny, it was moving and it felt utterly appropriate.

 

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Friday
Jun102011

Tapas no.4: Ensalada Campera from Movida Rustica

 

Next up is a dish that may seem a bit simple to some, but it is one of my favourite things to order on a hot day in Spain and I was so pleased when I was reminded of it. When talking potato salad in the UK or Oz, most people think mayonnaise. Of course, mayonnaise has its place – indeed in Spain Ensalada Rusa, a potato salad which has more mayonnaise than it does potato is very popular – but in the height of summer it is this light and fresh salad of potatoes dressed in vinegar and olive oil that win my heart and apparently Camorra’s too,

“Mum would always have a potato salad in the fridge over summer: roughly cut potatoes, ripe tomatoes, onions, olives and a little egg. A little plate of this makes a great lunch on a hot day.”

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Sunday
Jan022011

Charlie’s olive, goat’s cheese and roast cherry tomato tartlets

Updated on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 3:58PM by Registered CommenterVix

I am still trying to pin down my father for some (any) of the recipes from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In the meantime, I have this canapé recipe from my sister. The tartlets are a little time consuming and fiddly to make, but the recipe itself is straightforward and they look great.

In the past I have found tartlets this small have not worked especially well for me because it is hard to roll the pastry thin enough so that it does not overpower the taste of the filling. For this reason, I have also found that they tend to be quite dry. Charlie has overcome these issues by using very moist ingredients, one of which – the olive tapenade – is strong enough in flavour to counteract that of the pastry.

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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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Thursday
Aug192010

"The tart" inspired by Elizabeth Hodder's Tomato, onion and goat's cheese tart

On Saturday I put up a recipe for shortcrust pastry from my friend Lizzie’s book, The Book of Old Tarts. That post was really just a preamble to this most important of recipes. It is not just any old tart, it is the tart, or so it has come to be known in my household. Indeed for a long time it was the only tart I ever made, because although I was very tempted by other recipes, it was just so damn tasty I could not think of any reason to make something new. My sister loves it so much that she would brag about it to all her friends, but not a single one ever got to try it because I was not allowed to make it for guests; the tart was not for sharing.

Until this week, I had only made the original recipe once and I now feel rather guilty for having written it off so quickly. The first time I made Lizzie’s recipe I found it a little bland; this is probably because I did not season it well enough, but also because at the time I was a teenager with little appreciation for the less is more approach to cooking. Having made the original recipe for a second time, I can now appreciate that its simplicity is its most appealing quality, a perfect balance of flavours and textures. As Lizzie says in her introduction to the recipe,

Successful tomato recipes are those where the distinctive taste of the fruit surmounts the other flavours. I think this tart succeeds in this, but partly through its soft texture.

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