My latest crush
I never thought I could turn my back on my first love, the one singled out to be the love of my life. But it seems I can. I´m in the middle of a love-affair. It could be just a fling, but I don´t think so. Maybe I can juggle both loves?
See, I adore Nigella. She was the first, and the best. I bought "How to eat" when my cookbook collection numbered five or six volumes. The skies opened, angel voices floated down , I saw shining lights everywhere, and walked in a daze to the market to buy cartloads of chicken bones.
But now, well, I´ve got this huge crush on Lindsey Bareham. I can´t help it. I love N, but by now I know her books off by heart, and I need a little novelty. And Linsdey is not unlike Nigella, in that she´s British, and chatty. Her books are full of good old stodgy stuff like shepherd´s pie, but won´t let you down if you´re in the market for cous cous and tom yam soup. And they´re very well written, and entertaining, so you can read them for their own sakes, never cooking from them.
The first Lindsey book I bought was A celebration of soup . It´s one of those Penguin paperbacks that have no photos, and can be carried around in a pocket. There are recipes for every kind of soup you can think of, and many stews, and every sort of stock. That´s to be expected, but she ups the ante and also gives every sort of complement and addition. Dumplings, herb pastes, little pies and breads, there´s so much in there, you could cook for a whole year and not be bored.
I loved it straight away, but was a bit intimidated by the stern instructions on using aything other than home-made broth. However, I did one of the four or five mushroom soups listed using a cube, and it was totally perfectly delicious.
That book could have kept me occupied for ages, but you know how it is. One day you´ve worked very hard and are pretty bored, but still at the computer, waiting for an email. You click into Amazon because, well, why not? And then you run amok. Of course.
I bought three other of her books. This is where you can see I´m in the throes of a violent crush. You don´t need four books by the same author. Nobody can write that much without repeating things. But if you´re in love, you won´t mind hearing the same old story over and over. Maybe.
Of the three I bought, I thoroughly recommend The Fish Store.
It´s the book of a real home cook, rather than a cookbook author, with recipes that could suit every occasion. But here you get the feeling that the occasions are mostly friends and family tucking in after a long day out on the rocky beach.
And you feel that things are there because they´ve been done a million times for real people. Not in a test kitchen, and nothing included to round the thing off with the trendy ingredient du jour.
You can read more about it here, and check out a couple of recipes.
There are plenty of shortcuts, and yes, cubes. Lindsey owns up to being a stock snob at the time of writing A celebration of soup, but to have mended her ways. That made me feel much easier.
Yesterday we had "Cheat´s pissaladiére".
It´s a tart, which is bad in this scorching weather. But it´s just as good cold as hot, so you can make it in the morning when you´re energetic and it´s not too hot, and then enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch or dinner. And my oven was on, because of the brownies, so I figured, why not?
It´s as simple as this: pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Roll out 350 grams of puff pastry to fit a baking tray. Prick with a fork so it won´t rise.
Spread over the 400gr can of fried onions ( this is what I found in my market, and it´s excellent).Cut the anchovies from a 50 gr. tin lengthways, so you have about 12/14 pieces. Distribute along the pastry, in x shapes if you can be bothered. Dot with about 20 black olives.
Leave in the oven for 20 minutes or so, until the pastry is puffed and golden.
It´s seriously good. Next time, I´ll try it with a proper home made pizza dough base.