Entries in vinegar (7)
“I think that this is the best thing I've ever eaten!”
I think that this is the best thing that someone's ever said about my cooking. I have called this Regan’s tart because this is what he said when he tried it a few years ago in the South of France.
Usually such a compliment would have had me gushing with pride, but I had to show some restraint. Regan is my cousin Kirsty’s best friend. Kirsty loves cooking to and is very good at it. He said it in front of her. He was in the doghouse.
It has been much talked about since – both Kirsty reminding Regan of his thoughtlessness and Regan angling for a repeat. In this context it was with great trepidation that I offered to make it again this weekend, not just for Regan, but for Kirsty too. Eek!
A few weeks ago we hosted a BBQ and moonlit cinema in Jenny’s magic garden*. It was magical.
My contribution to the feast was two salads, a fig and goats’ cheese salad and this heritage tomato salad. I was working on Borough market during the day and I couldn’t walk past this colourful and vibrant array of tomatoes:
This salad is so simple it doesn’t really warrant a recipe. It is all about the tomatoes, with minimal interference from other extras. If you want to keep things really simple you could skip the Dijon and onion.
I used sherry vinegar, cause it is my current favourite, but I also like balsamic or red wine vinegar. What’s your favourite? Use that.
I recommend tossing the onions and tomatoes together half an hour before you dress the salad as it gives the tomatoes a great flavour.
It was a pity that it was dark by the time I served it because half the fun is seeing all the different shapes and colours. This photo doesn't really do it justice:
I made this salad for 12 people as a side. I have halved the quantity here, so this recipe should serve 4 as a starter or 6 as a side dish.
750g heritage tomatoes
½ small red onion
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 tbsp sherry vinegar, or to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Handful basil, roughly chopped
Chop or slice the tomatoes into whatever shape you fancy. Slice the onion into thin, half moons. Toss them together in a large bowl. Cover and leave for half an hour.
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, add the basil and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Slice the tomatoes into full circles. Arrange it on 4 plates in concentric circles. Slice the onion into thin, half moons and sprinkle the onions over the top. Cover with clingfilm and leave for half an hour.
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salads just before serving and sprinkle the basil over the top.
* My flatmate Jenny does the gardening at our house. She makes it look so pretty and colourful, it’s enchanting. One of our friends, Fran, crowned it the magic garden. He’d been zoning out in a deckchair for an hour or so when he finally came to and declared, “Jen, your garden’s like magic, innit!” It is.
A few days before New Year’s Eve I took my friend Tina, a chef who is visiting London, on the obligatory foodie tour of Borough markets. This, of course, necessitated a visit to Neal’s Yard Dairy. I didn’t actually need any cheese but it is one of my favourite things to do and, if you are going to try everything in the store, you have to purchase something. So I decided to do some sort of cheese canapé as part of the New Year menu.
I started out with grand plans – a pear, Stichelton and walnut salad on chicory leaves – but I decided that a) chicory might be too bitter b) radicchio, my preferred alternative, would be too hard to find and c) it didn’t go with my other Asian themed canapés. I then thought I might try my hand at making oatcakes, which I’ve never done before, and make them really thin with a slice of Stichelton, a slice of crisp pear and a walnut on top. This would work well at the end of the meal, I thought, alongside the dessert canapé. In the end I couldn’t be bothered making oatcakes (I already had plenty to do) and I couldn’t find any ripe pears so I decided to make a chutney.
Updated on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 9:49AM by Vix
People are often surprised that, as a ‘foodie’, I like certain foods deemed ‘junk’ by most. I am talking about tin spaghetti, plastic cheese, chicken nuggets, fish fingers... that sort of thing. I think really they are secretly pleased because, in all honesty, I have never met someone who didn’t secretly have some such vice. For me it goes back to childhood; my sister and I were only allowed these foods as treats so it still feels a little bit naughty indulging in them from time to time.
When we were in NZ, our host Dawn cooked a magnificent fry up the morning of the wedding (sadly, I have no photos, otherwise it would have been included in my post on the subject). As part of this feast, she cooked something I would never have dared try – ‘tin style’ spaghetti in tomato sauce. It was brilliant! Even my Mum (hater of all things junk) commented on how good it was. The trick was that she did not try to make it posh. There were no herbs or aromatics, it was just simple, sweet tomato sauce with intentionally overcooked spaghetti. Just like the tin... but better.
Now let me get something straight before you all give up on me now: I do not think tomato ketchup should be or ever would be labelled as junk – I’ve never met anyone who didn’t eat it. The above is relevant because, until recently, I was also of the opinion that this was something that one should not try to replicate, better to leave that to Mr Heinz. But, here's the thing, Dawn's tomato ketchup was homemade too.