Kirstin: I scored some swordfish from the fishmongers yesterday! I always hit peak queue so of course it TOOK AGES but was worth it in the end. Lockdown is slowly SLOWLY easing. Swordfish may be my new favourite fish. It is the nearest I get to the sea these days. And the olives and oregano were a perfect companion to the sea taste. I also scored some samphire so there is that too. Happy days!
Kirstin: Back in the 90s. When there was no coronavirus. Or Trump. Well there was Trump, but not in his current form. There was the Gotham Bar and Grill in New York, which sadly exists no more. Tom’s godparents took us there one late August for our first experience of grown up Manhattan dining. Laurie Anderson was there. I still don’t know who she is but everyone else was very excited and even the air tasted different. Anyway. There was a cookbook to go with the Gotham restaurant. The chef used to be a jeweller, so for many recipes there were options (go with me here, there is a point. Honest). You could have EVERYDAY presentation. Or. GOTHAM presentation where the food was piled as high as you could make it go. I have pictures of us doing Gotham presentation with our friends. It was mad. And also before children.
Cue this recipe. By Alison Roman (A. Ro.) Who we love. And tomatoes. Which as all keen readers of this blog will know our kids HATE. They will get over it ONE DAY. See also herbs. So this meant that as I finished this recipe I knew that there was going to have to be everyday presentation and also FANCY PANTS presentation. And so here we are. FANCY PANTS presentation. But also yummy food which the kids missed out. And one day I will make sure they know how much they missed out. This was YUM. It really was. The fish sauce added a depth to the stock. The shallot and garlic added an extra zing to the dressing. The coriander added a fresh flavour to it all. Make this. You will not be disappointed. Simple and full of flavours. And I would recommend the A. Ro presentation.
Kirstin: I’ve been eyeing this recipe up for a while. For a long while, truth be told. Roast a chicken. Twenty minutes before the end of cooking, add some chickpeas (With two kinds of paprika) to the pan. And then some kale. Genius. Although of course I changed it slightly. Because lockdown. And also because I couldn’t be bothered with all the boiling a lemon faffing in the original recipe. Instead, I added a preserved lemon and that worked really well. Also I didn’t use kale. Because I am not a fan. Instead I used spinach.
The results were spectacular! And I definitely plan to make this one again. Although I am not sure when because I’m trying (as you know) a different roast chicken recipe every week. But I can see this one becoming a firm favourite.
Kirstin: A long time ago. In a distant galaxy before Lockdown (ie. this past January). We reviewed Rukmini Iyer’s Quick Roasting Tin. We loved everything about it; the design, the simplicity of the recipes and the yumminess of the results. Before the month was out, I had already pre-ordered her next book. THE ROASTING TIN AROUND THE WORLD. This week it arrived. And THIS was the recipe I most wanted to try.
Why? Because one of my favourite restaurants in London is Shackfuyu in Soho. All the umami feels are squeezed into each and every one of the delicious dishes in the small space. From the aubergine to the grilled salmon fillet; I am literally salivating as I think of all the feels from the flavours. And of course it is currently closed. But when I saw this recipe I KNEW it would have the same impact on me. And it did. Every last morsel in the tray was devoured. ALL OF IT. I am also on the lookout for more miso so I can make it again. Brilliant! And thank you Rukmini for giving me some of those umami feels in our kitchen.
Kirstin: Every week. I am cooking a New Roast Chicken recipe. Because it’s a little of the normal but also a little bit new. I am just a little obsessed with Milk Street at the moment, so when I saw this recipe I KNEW I had to make it. Even though I had planned to make a Melissa Clark recipe. What do I so love about the Milk Street recipes? The level of guidance with each recipe. The very precise and perfect level of help with all the stages. And we were not disappointed. The Spatchcocked chicken was supremely wonderful having been cooked under an enormous Le Creuset pot. And the accompanying gravy infused with EIGHT garlic cloves was divine. I will definitely be making this recipe (based on a Georgian theme) again. But also cooking other chicken recipes with this method.
Kirstin: I try to roast a chicken most Sundays. There is something so family-ish about it; I remember many a Sunday evening with my parents while eating roast chickens. Anchovy butter smeared all over the chicken (as in Letitia Clark’s recipe) is a classic variation on a theme, one that Alison Roman does too. So it was no surprise that we all enjoyed this recipe. It was delicious! I served it with roast potatoes and a salad, with Dijon mustard dressing. And we had leftover potatoes which I am planning to make into a frittata for lunch.
We’re in Day 8,754 of Lockdown 2020, or at least it feels like it. My lack of posts does not at all reflect the amount of cooking I’ve been doing. In fact, sometimes I feel like all I do is cook. With one son who’s 20 and another who’s 16 (17 later this week), I cannot adequately describe the amount of food I need to cook, keep on hand and plan for every single day.
The one thing I am adamant about, however, is that breakfast and lunch here are strictly self catering. I make sure that we’ve got the supplies on hand, but I’ve got enough other work to do that I can’t drop everything and make something special in the middle of the day on top of the (pretty nice) dinners I’m making every night. I’ve made this clear.
The self-catering proviso also dovetails nicely into my ongoing project to teach the boys how to be better cooks. So I was more than happy to demonstrate the other day when Andrew (20) asked me to teach him how to make a good grilled cheese sandwich/cheese toastie.
Ever since I used this recipe from Food52’s Genius Recipes, I’ve never tried another method. Also, I should make clear that I haven’t had to refer to the cookbook again. The genius hack is this: spread mayonnaise on the outside of the bread (rather than butter) before you start to grill it. The cheese you pile in the middle is down to personal preference, but I tend to use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella. Since the lockdown has begun, I’ve learned to keep bags of grated cheese on hand for this exact purpose– and also for quesadillas, which really are just a grilled cheese in a tortilla.
In any case, now that Andrew is adept at making his own, he’s been doing it more regularly. We could say he is the Pandemic King of the Toasties in this house. Nicholas, for his part, would be Pandemic King of the Quesadillas, because he likes them better. No matter. They’re both happy and healthy, and you can’t ask for much more these days.