“Frozen blackberries and labne with honey” from “Dining in”

For the finale I made a semifreddo-like dessert. Whisked double cream, greek yoghurt and honey. Combined with slightly cooked summer fruit. Barely folded together and then frozen. You can find the recipe here.

We served it with raspberries and redcurrants from my mother in law’s garden.

A perfect way to end the meal. A meal that we shall all remember with much fondness, not only because the food was so delicious. But also because it was so easy that it enabled us to share old stories and hear some new too.

Alison Roman. You are my hero. Thank you.

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“Frozen blackberries and labne with honey” from “Dining in”

“Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Garlic, Citrus and Cilantro” from “Dining in”

I cooked a pork shoulder for the main course. I was particularly curious about how orange would flavour the pork; I already have a winner of a lamb recipe that uses orange zest. This was a wonderfully simple recipe. And the gravy was already made, with later addition of some lime juice too. The flavours were wonderful. And my lunch guests assured me that this could definitely be cooked in the winter months too. The addition of the chiles was completely magical. It will be a tough decision in the winter between this recipe and our usual zuni mock porchetta recipe…

You can find the recipe here.

“Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Garlic, Citrus and Cilantro” from “Dining in”

“Watermelon and cucumbers with Spicy Sumac Salt” and “Cantaloupe with Arugula and black olives” from “Dining in”

Today I am going to post three courses made for a father’s day meal, all cooked from Alison Roman’s book, and eaten outside with family. I have not made any of these recipes before, but after a month of cooking from this book, I completely trust her. Completely.

The first course consisted of two salads from her fruit salad section. She starts the chapter encouraging you to try these recipes and not to skip the chapter. And so I carefully read all the recipes and chose these two as I thought they were more seasonal and would be good for an outdoor lunch. Oh yes! The watermelon was slightly spicy with the chilli/sumac combination, but balanced out beautifully with the cool cucumber. And the sweet melon was perfectly matched with the salty black olives. Tom has even suggested that we take sumac on our next holiday so we can have the watermelon salad again. And our family members all discussed when and how they were also going to make the salads.

They were both perfect. I encourage you to try them too. I can see I will be making these for years to come…

“Watermelon and cucumbers with Spicy Sumac Salt” and “Cantaloupe with Arugula and black olives” from “Dining in”

“Whole Roasted Snapper with Harissa and Sun Gold Tomatoes” from “Dining In”

Kirstin: I’ve been very curious about this recipe for a while now. We love harissa in our favourite chicken recipe from Gwyneth’s book. But I always struggle with American books and their fish recipes. And this is why; they talk about fish we don’t find over here. Or struggle to find. I have no idea, for instance, what a porgy is. Or a branzino, come to that. And looking them up didn’t really help I have to say. So over the last few weeks I kept finding myself opening the book at this page and examining it more closely and I eventually decided that the fish in the picture looked similar enough to sea bream and went with that.

Tom was out for a swanky dinner the night I made this. We had had Alison Roman’s salmon recipe the night before, so the kiddos were unimpressed that it was fish again. We don’t often eat whole fish, so as they set to eating (another reason I had chosen bream for this was because the bones are big and easier to remove than say, sea bass), it was pleasing to see Miles relishing getting the meat off the spine and Ella enjoying the juicier parts.

But the most important part of the meal was when THEY BOTH ASKED IF WE COULD HAVE THIS AGAIN.

And we shall. We shall. Oh my goodness, we completely shall. This is a genius recipe; so easy, so tasty and utterly, totally fabulous. And made all the more so by the incredible roasted tomatoes. Once again, thank you Alison Roman. You are my hero.

“Whole Roasted Snapper with Harissa and Sun Gold Tomatoes” from “Dining In”

“Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread” from “Dining in”

Kirstin: I love the full title of this recipe; Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread, or why would I make another chocolate chip cookie ever again? I’m no huge connoisseur of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made them in my time, but we’re not big on desserts in our family. I usually leave the cakes and the like from the cookbooks on this site for Maureen. She’s the baker.
But.
I’m so glad I decided to give these a go. There are a couple of extra steps which makes these exceptional; rolling the outside with sugar to make them cronchy. And also sprinkling them with salt (and using salted butter to make the dough). All of these go together to make an incredibly moreish cookie. Her last line says it all…”let cool slightly before eating them all”. And with that we celebrated Father’s Day and a friend’s son’s european roller hockey win.

“Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread” from “Dining in”

“Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions and Parsley” from “Dining in”

Kirstin: We often celebrate Fridays with fizz and friends. I usually roast a chicken and some new potatoes and then make some interesting salads to accompany the meal. But my good friend Georgia (who I’ve given this book to) alerted me to this recipe. And it was a lovely evening and I had all the ingredients except for parsley and so I thought why not. And now I will never want to make potatoes in any other way. Alison is a complete genius. The Aleppo chilli and fried onions work a treat with the slightly smashed potatoes; I smiled the entire time I made this, thinking of how much everyone was going to enjoy it. And enjoy it we did; by the end of the meal all of the potatoes were gone. My only criticism is that there was too much oil, but I’ll figure that out the next time I make this. Because there will be a next time. I’ve already been asked to never make potatoes any other way. And by the end of the meal, I had ordered another copy of the book for our fizz Friday friends too as we drooled over the salad recipes. Alison Roman I love you.

“Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions and Parsley” from “Dining in”

“Black bass with salty, spicy celery” from “Dining in”

Kirstin: Who would have thought lime pickle would be so fab on fish? Alison did. And she was completely right. It is sublime. I don’t know why more people don’t use steaming to cook fish. I used to make a recipe back in the 90s (when I was a baby, obvs) that steamed salmon in a foil packet. It was a trusted favourite for many years. And it’s lovely to know I have another recipe that I can turn to when I want to steam some fish. Thank you Alison. And of course the beauty of this kind of recipe is that it can be scaled up or down depending on how many you are feeding.

The spicy celery salad was less of a hit though. I struggled to prepare the celery the way she recommended and so used her dressing on some avocado and tomato. Which did work.

“Black bass with salty, spicy celery” from “Dining in”