14.2.08

True loves, and tomato sauce for dummies.


I´ve been on a slightly mad cookbook buying spree lately. The kind that takes place on the web, when you´re bored. Not a good way to buy books, not really. Some stuff is easy to choose, but a cookbook should be thumbed first, I think.
So anyway, I have all these new fellows looking at me from their high stack next to my armchair, and I feel only a slight guilt when I look at them. No love there. They´re one night stand books. My true loves have been knocking around the kitchen for years now, and can show battle scars ; they bristle with post-its, fall apart at certain pages, refuse to open at others where I absent mindedly left a greasy spoon.
This lot are general cookbooks, the sort that have the author´s favourite stuff, culled from many other books and friends, that have Japanese noodles and pizzas and steak sandwiches jostling happily in the index . They never fail me. And their most endearing trait is that no matter how much I think I know them by heart, every time I take them up there´s something I hadn´t noticed before, or had flagged and forgotten to try.
I could cook for many years from Nigella´s How to Eat, Nigel Slater´s Real Fast Food, Lindsey Bareham´s A wolf in the kitchen and Laurie Colwin´s two heartbreakingly short little volumes. All the others, they mean nothing, really, even if they´re fun to read.

The only exception in all the books I bought last year is Relish. I´ve posted about it before, and I mention it again because, even though it might turn out to be a passing affair, I think it´s here to stay. It´s cool and witty and makes you wish you were Joanna Weinberg´s best friend, and the recipes work perfectly.

The ultimate proof of its worth was the tomato sauce test. With every book, I always check out the tomato sauce and the chicken stock. If I don´t approve of the author´s methods and opinions, I don´t even bother with the rest. If I do, I nod in agreement, but them go on making things my way, because tomato sauce and stock are very basic things, and what are you going to change?

Well, Joanna´s tomato sauce has certainly won me over to the winds of change. The method is incredibly simple, and the result is a smooth, dark orange, very savoury and velvety sauce that can play any of the million parts tomato sauce can play, and play them well. If you want chunky, then it´s not the one, but trust me, if you try it you´ll want to make sure you always have some around ever after, because it´s like all ideal tomato sauce from a jar should be, and then some.

I make it with the Thermomix, since it has to be blended at the end, and I´m always nervous of sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan. I´ve adapted the quantities to fit the machine and my taste, but if you´re going the good old fashioned way, then make a bigger batch, and you´ll be glad.

Put 2 kilo tins of whole tomatoes, and their juice, inside the Th. Add one roughly chopped onion, 3 peeled whole cloves of garlic, 4 tbs sugar, salt to taste, maybe a little dried chili, and half a cup of olive oil.
Leave to simmer for 90 minutes, and when it´s cooled slightly, blend.
Th. instructions, make it 60 minutes at 100º speed 1, and then give it half an hour more on Varoma. Don´t blend it too long or it will turn orange, not that that´s a problem, but I´m just warning.

19 comentarios:

xps dijo...

Lo siento. no soy capaz de quitar los guantes. aparte de eso la probaré. qué limpieza de cocina!! que poco salpique.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

I absolutely agree about Laurie Colwin's books. I think hers are the ones I would want with me on a desert island, if I could only bring two cookbooks.

kickpleat dijo...

i think i need to go on a "i'm bored" cookbook binge! your drawing is beautiful, as usual, and the recipe sounds amazing.

Julie dijo...

You and Lydia are so right -- Laurie Colwin's books are two of my all time favorites. Nigel Slater is another favorite. I've never heard of Lindsey Bareham but I'm off to check her out.

Pille dijo...

Love the Th. instructions - Varoma etc sound like something you need to know on another planet. A true cult thing I figure:)
Tomato sauce sounds brilliant. Even I could do it. (esp at this time of the year when there's not a single decent tomato on sight).

lobstersquad dijo...

xps: ya están fuera los guantes, gracias por la labor de edición. y prueba la salsa!!
Lydia: I know, they´re just so good and funny and you want to eat everything in them.
Kickpleat: yeah, even if you won´t really cook from them they´re such fun anyway.
Julie: check out Lindsey, she´s very down to earth but everything is delicious. I like The fish store a lot, too.
Pille: they sound like something you´d need to fly a rocket, no? but it works surprisingly well.

Melissa dijo...

Oh, I'm envious. I haven't bought a new cookbook in several months, which for me is like forgetting to breathe.

I'll just have to enjoy yours vicariously, starting with this tomato sauce...

Toni dijo...

I, too, have bought some that I thought I'd love and have never opened them. Who needs this? I must have my Claudia Roden book, as well as Biba Gaggiano's Trattoria Cooking. The rest are like distant relatives - I only visit them occasionally.

But your sauce looks good. I have no idea what a Thermomix is. Could I do this in a pot and then use a Cuisinart?

Rosa dijo...

Thanks for the Thermomix recipe! I'm curious to try this tomato sauce; love the idea of just bunging everything in together.

Casey dijo...

Who was it that wrote that a genius is someone whose ideas perfectly align with one's own?
That list of favorite cookbooks is GENIUS--completely agree re the Nigel Slater, the supremely gifted Laurie Colwin--and "how to eat" is, to me, a constant inspiration and delight. great post. genius, even :-)

La

joey dijo...

I wish I had a Thermomix! This sounds like a great tomato sauce recipe...will have to do it the regular way :)

Mary Coleman dijo...

What an amazing talent you have. I love your drawings. Just the right amount of humor and splash. And you cook as well. Fabulous.
I'm glad to have found your blog.
Mary

lobstersquad dijo...

Melissa: I´ve overstepped my mark, but it´s just such fun, isn´t it!
Toni: I´ll look into Trattoria cooking. And yes, of course, a normal pan and then any blender you have is more than fine, the Thermomix is just a very handy gizmo that´s very popular in Spain.
Rosa: It´s a very good one for not really bothering at all.
Casey: I couldn´t agree more, we´re so likeminded as to be definitely geniuses, no doubt!
Joey: the Th is a wonderful machine, absolutely, but actually the original recipe doesn´t call for it, so I think you´ll be fine.
Mary Coleman: thanks! Glad you have you around.

asha dijo...

I wanted to let you that I love your artwork and your blog, and I've linked to you! Do you use a computer program for your art or do scan what you do by hand?

anya dijo...

I really can't put it into words how much I'm enjoying your blog!!! I discovered it only yesterday and was ready to spend all night long reading and smiling, smiling and reading...Lovely! And I've even dared to take such a liberty as to link to you! :)

Your oatmeal raisin drop cookies are scheduled for baking in my kitchen this weekend! I already can't wait...:)

Cheers!

Anya

anya dijo...

oh, and your drawings are fantastic!!!

lobstersquad dijo...

Hi Asha: thanks, glad you like it. I normally draw by hand, scan, and then colour, but sometimes it´s all done straight on the computer, without black lines. Thanks for the link!
Anya: that´s so cool, thanks. I hope you enjoy the cookies, they´re my favourite thing ever.

EnriqueB dijo...

¿La receta no lleva sal?

lobstersquad dijo...

enrique B, sí que lleva sal, claro, despiste total. apunta "salpimentar al gusto". gracias!

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