I Heart Cooking Clubs: Cheerio, Nigel Slater!

This is my first time on this new food site (rather than my old one which doesn't exist any more, pending future incarnations, as is my wont! with blogs that is!) posting with the really really nice people -- and good cooks -- over at http://iheartcookingclubs.blogspot.com/ -- I made an extremely easy dish from Nigel Slater's book Real Fast Food. It's from his fish chapter, his "Anchovies on Bread," though you can't see the bread -- as usual he was right, and I should've just assembled everything on the bread rather than make a pretty platter of the ingredients first...

I loved his advice in the recipe's intro "It is worth remembering that something like this stands or falls by the crustiness of the bread and the flavour of the tomato." Actually, this recipe taught me that though the farmers are still saying tomatoes are in season in this area, they're not tasting like they do in high summer...

This is I Heart Cooking Club's last week with Mr. Slater, so they're posting any recipes of his they wish to use this week rather than having a super specific theme; coming up is a cook who is new to me, Diana Henry -- I very much look forward to discovering her. Hopefully I'll be able to join these lovely people more often, though I might not be able to -- but it's very much worth checking out their site even if you're not cooking with them.

This Week in My Kitchen

I'm joining in with the marvelous cooks at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/ .

Mine was not super busy this week...The first meal here was done with the help of those pre-prepped meal kits for a salad, and a bought delicious olive bread, though I added a couple dishes of my own, including a fabulous salad from The Longevity Cookbook which has become my favorite cookbook ever so far!

From the same cookbook I made a cool cucumber soup we adored. Hmm, and whose "finished" picture I did sideways; I don't seem to have the software to right that, sorry.

Lastly, here I am getting ready to cook a bean soup that had two trillion ingredients; thank goodness for food processors!  It was bland, though, until I added Williams-Sonoma's porcini-enriched salt, and cheese! and served it with a nice roll and good olives.

A Delicious Indian Dinner

(Note that this is my first re-posting of a menu/recipe/restaurant review/etc. from the previous incarnation of this site....Some are just too good to let them stay in the ether! though with the few reviews I re-post I'll remind readers that of course now, years later, restaurants may have changed...)

This was just perfect, with a mild vegetable dish, rice, easy sides, and a spicy chicken dish.

Vegetables Korma: A Sweetish Vegetable and Fruit Dish from India (see recipe)
Chicken Chettinad (premade, by Kitchens of India; it's a black-pepper-spiced chicken-in-sauce dish)
Cucumber Slices
Radish Slices (I used the Indian long white ones, but they taste a lot like the round red ones)
Basmati Rice (it's very easily made in a rice cooker)

Menu planning from 1906

Today I was very happy to see how easy it would be to adapt in 2014 from the ideas in the 1906 International Cook Book by Filippini, which has menus for every meal for every day of the year! Yes, we are changing it immensely -- Chef Filippini tells his readers to do that anyway -- e.g., we indeed are not having three meats for dinner -- but it's very easy to change his menus at least for this coming week in September to be quite easy. Here are some of my adaptations...Yes, they include some already-made items, but I've found some inexpensive options that are made with only the same ingredients I'd make them from myself (anything that's not truly a food makes us feel ill, a Very Bad Idea! including "organic" additives), and surely there is nothing wrong with that -- and often they're less expensive than the raw ingredients in our area!....

oatmeal or cereal with peaches

cornmeal pancakes (he suggests some rum and some orange in them, that sounds tasty!) served with maple syrup and/or confectioner's sugar

(and the others either leftovers or otherwise super easy)

a lunch
boiled eggs in a simple white sauce with tarragon and parsley
tomato soup

a few simple dinners
green salad
roast beef already made
nice rolls already made
potatoes already prepared
green beans
chocolate with toasted hazelnuts

green salad with various other raw vegetables
potatoes already prepared
nice rolls already made

green salad
vegetable-filled pasta with a tomato sauce, both already made

green salad
hash browns

anchovy toast
vegetable soup

In case you're interested, here's a taste of the original menus -- hmm, obviously I adore options.
For the peaches and oatmeal breakfast, the original was: 
sliced peaches and cream
oatmeal porridge
stuffed eggs with sorrel
fried whitebait
tripe with Lyonnaise
grilled white potatoes
raisin cakes

For the egg lunch, the original was: 
eggs Molet Jacksonville actually from that day's suggested breakfast
that day's lunch was...
tomato broth
stuffed devilled crabs
country captain
pear Charlotte

For the super easy roast beef dinner, the original was: 
salted almonds
shin of beef Liée
terrine of smelts
Brabant potatoes
veal mignons with sauce Bordelaise
string beans Poulette
roast turkey with cranberry sauce
romaine salad
hazelnut ice cream

This Week in My Kitchen

With the lovely people at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2014/09/this.html ...

an olive-pistachio quick bread (not as tasty as I'd hoped):

Latin Kale from my super-fav Longevity Cookbook by Rebecca Katz (fantastic):

a fresh pickly thing only I liked!:

a bean-kale-nut-winter squash dish (just okay):

a Mesoamerican-ish dish with summer squash (you can tell we're sort-of between seasons here), with roses my husband had just brought home; I served the food with a favorite avocado toast inspired by Gwenyth Paltrow's It's All Good (I just spread out a softish avocado half onto a piece of toasted seed bread and top it with balsamic reduction and finishing salt and pepper):

homemade granola, my favorite sweeter one (I just posted the recipe at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/09/my-favorite-homemade-sweeter-and.html ):

totally amazing eggs I've been adoring since 1978 and am having here for a mid-morning snack at my desk with tea -- you brown the butter and add a good squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper -- it's from the Egg section of my favorite cookery encyclopedia, seen in the left column, from Woman's Day:
Next-to-last, I made a very easy and very delicious carrot salad from my favorite raw cookbook, which I must add to the left column's list of favorite cookbooks -- Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People, revised edition.

...and one more cup of tea.

Just to point you to the left side of this page...

I just added pictures of my favorite food magazines I've used recently...and of cookbooks many of whose recipes I use over and over and over so thought I should mention...and, for anyone who adores menu sources even half as much as I do, the "cookbooks" I use most often for everyday menu inspiration -- this one, from 1937!, is my favorite -- these have ideas for absolutely every menu of every single day of the year, how fun! --

A source of lovely recipes from London

The Firmdale Hotel group (out of London and New York) offers a delicious service called Firmdale Food at Home; you can download pretty recipe plans through https://www.firmdalehotels.com/b/firmdale-food-at-home/ (just click on a photo on the right, or a name on the left).

Their Ham Yard Hotel offers afternoon tea; the autumn menu includes these perfect options for dessert:

gingerbread, coconut, and mango ice cream
oat and raisin cookie with malted milk ice cream
cinnamon palmiers with espresso sorbet and milk ice cream

This is a picture of my favorite of their London restaurants:

This Week in My Kitchen

This is my first post from my new "food" home to the lovely cooks over at http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2014/09/th.html ....

I had a lot of fun with the cooking I did this week. First up were some fun "cupcake frittatas" from a recipe in this month's Cook Vegetarian (from the UK) by "Hemsley + Hemsley"…though if I make them again I need to increase the flavor:

Next was an interesting Kelp Pot Noodle dish from the same ladies in the same magazine. In fact, their dishes are so interesting with their techniques I've never seen anywhere else that I ordered the book from which they had been excerpted, Hemsley + Hemsley's The Art of Eating Well -- especially after seeing (it could be an error) that the American edition, according to Amazon, is SIXTY fewer pages than the original, British edition. Not only have I seen errors creep into cookbooks whose ingredients and their measurements have been Americanized, but it's more fun, and just as easy, if one owns a kitchen scales and knows a few British food terms, to use the original. This also avoids the problem of an American editor's deciding for you which American food to substitute for a British one; frankly I'd rather decide for myself based on my own experiences.

Here's an easy salad I made one night.


Here's a lunch, raw vegetables with leftover onion chutney and pecan butter on toast.


Last dinner mention for this week: The Best Thing I've Made in Years. Cook Vegetarian featured chefs' all-time-favorite vegetarian dishes, and I made Thomasina Miers' Roasted Red Pepper and Goat's Cheese Tart which was totally amazing, though I made quite a few changes and found that it took forever in my slow way of cooking. I didn't use her suggestion of premade butter pastry, though that would've been luscious and taken a lot less time! but what I chose instead I think was even more delicious as well as better-for-u -- a whole grain oil pastry from the 1970s New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook. The crust didn't look fancy, though! I made it even less fancy though much easier by both mixing the ingredients right in the pie pan and then pressing them out rather than rolling them -- the pastry is very fragile.

On top of it you spread a totally amazing tapanade.

Then I topped it with tomatoes, already-roasted red peppers, both goat and a nutty hard cheese, basil both Italian and Thai, and pecans and almonds and onions. 

…Then you bake it, then I sprinkled it with both smoked sweet paprika and dried chili bits.

She says it makes enough for 4; I actually find it a bit too good for that! and think it would make a better appetizer for 8.


Also in my kitchen this week….My other kitchen looks super rustic and I love it; in fact, my theme photo at a now defunct cooking site -- of which this is its wobbly resurrection -- a site I used to do with friends from around the world -- included that rustic kitchen; you can see it a bit at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2014/09/an-historical-note.html .…but we moved most of our furniture to this house where I do all of my cooking nowadays. For ages I had all the spices in a rustic cabinet -- sorry I forgot to photograph it pre-move -- but it meant I had to go into another room every time I needed anything, because like most American kitchens ours is packed with built-ins, with no room for an antique cabinet. So I decided to be boring but practical and move things around. Here they are on their way to their new home:

And here they are right where they really belong, where I do almost all my food prep. (There's yet another picture of my obviously favorite food magazine this week, Cook Vegetarian!)

And here's their old home, where I'm just keeping finishing salts that I hope won't be affected by the sun -- before, with the spices there, I had to keep the doors closed all the time. The little plates are my preferred souvenirs (actually a bit bigger would be my preferred but I never have room in my suitcase!).

A cool and free 100th anniversary ecookbook

Compliments of Sun-Maid: http://www.sunmaid.com/book/ -- from whom I just bought some delicious raisins today -- is a very generous 175-plus-page ecookbook.

Doesn't this bread look delicious? Hmm, much better than the raisin bread I made today! I should've looked up this book before trying that other recipe -- the raisin package is where I heard of this...

"Basic" cooking, c1945

Yes, I know, the cookbook cover designer was simply trying to present a repertoire. But to me it looks like, "Oh, these old food dishes? I just whipped them up after I got home from work an hour ago. Yes, of course my kitchen and apron are spotless..."

Filling the Freezer This Week

I very rarely do this but it's so fun when I do get around to it: Making chutneys, breads, pickles, tarts, etc. ahead of time, to fill a freezer/refrigerator/pantry -- though truth be told I've never actually made "real" preserved food like could go into a pantry. My grandmother used to fill her cellar with canned fruits and vegetables from their acres of fruit trees and their many fields. This looks just like their cellar! minus the maid-type person!

...Her only cookbooks for such foods were, for jams and jellies the pamphlet found in pectin packages, which she never kept but would just get again the next year, which I guess makes sense because perhaps the company would've adjusted their product a little year to year and you would want to use their newest recipe...and a booklet from the company that made her jars. I've not been able to find the jar one she used, but these are similar. This looks most like hers; it's from 1948, which makes sense, given that was about when she and Grandpa settled on their farm, after the war.
This one is from 1917! and through it I discovered an extremely cool-looking site: http://historiccookingschool.com .
Here's a pretty one from 1930:
Lastly, here's the cover of a 1930s? 1950s? French magazine? on canning; ah those ladies are so chic even when they're canning, their children are underfoot, their friend is jabbering, and they're carrying a ton -- note the wonderful jam jars like you can get when you buy Bonne Maman's preserves today:

......Back to 2014. This week I've gotten a nice start on making these for people arriving after an overseas trip, both as a welcome and to make for easy suppers!
   ...an olive-rosemary bread
   ...an amazing tapanade-tomato tart I'll post about soon
   ...mini frittattas made in custard cups
   ...homemade granola or muesli (someday I'll post favorite recipes for that)
   ...beans-butternut squash-bacon dish (making tonight)
   ...ploughman's chutney (yet to try)
   ...cucumber-citrus pickles

An historical note

If this happens to look a bit familiar, it's because it is. This is a reincarnation of a site I hostessed with friends from around the world, when I lived on the other side of the planet; it looked like this:

I hope this site can live up to my predecessor! Sadly but also happily, my former fellow writers are busy with their own lives; one prefers to write in her native Japanese; etc., so I'll be on my own, except that I'll be linking when I can with some of those wonderful linky parties of cooks all over our globe.

A new emphasis for this new site will hopefully be retro/heritage/historical cooking, which is a new interest of mine...but so new we'll have to see how that works out!