Sunday, 18 March 2012

March odds and ends

Today’s lunch was spaetzle with wild garlic pesto. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few garlic leaves find their way into tomorrow morning’s scrambled eggs, while on Monday they’ll be the finishing touch to a soup/stew made with some leftovers from tonight’s roast chicken. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks they’ll also be a play on a watercress-potato soup and lots of leaves to be mixed with soft, spreadable goats cheese. And if the spring lamb prices don’t get too silly, that pesto would be great alongside some chops.

Planning for this summer’s vegetable and herb garden has resulted in a (too) long list of things I’d like to grow—tomatoes again, more of all the usual herbs, plus maybe chervil, lettuces, peas, broad beans and courgettes. I’m toying with the idea of a cold frame or mini greenhouse (really more of an outside bookcase with a heavy plastic cover) that would allow me to start seedlings somewhere other than the bedroom floor and perhaps concentrate light and speed up growth enough to make it worth attempting some larger tomato varieties.

I’ve been rereading Julian Barnes’ Pedant in the Kitchen this week. It’s probably an unusual way into the work of a Booker Prize-winning author, but I’ve again enjoyed the wit and lightness of touch with both literary references and anecdotes. Plus it’s reminded me that I really should try to cook from Elizabeth David.

It seems that Franco Manca is offering pizza master classes on the first Thursday of every month. I assume this doesn’t include lessons on how to build a pizza oven.

Also in Brixton, the Heritage Deli has opened in Granville Arcade. The Canadian, Italian and Greek and Maltese by way of the Antipodes crew are serving up artisanal salume and all sorts of savoury pies. I’m partial to the feta and pumpkin combination, as well as any of the spicy ones, as they use some of the excellent red pepper flakes I brought back from Turkey last month (exchanged for some very tasty filled pizza with mushroom and truffle oil and a little crimped pie of rabbit and peas).

We cooked goat, which was nothing like mutton (far leaner and gentler in flavour) and absolutely delicious. (The Ginger Pig is occasionally bringing it over from France along with some poulet noir and other birds. It’s claimed that lots of what’s sold in this country as goat is actually hogget or mutton.) Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy yielded up a dish of Pakistani origin which was rich with (homemade) garam masala, cinnamon and cardamom and fantastically succulent after 3-4 hours of gentle cooking.

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