“Spaghetti with Clams” and “Lemon Sorbet” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”

Kirstin: We normally make the clams recipe from River Cafe Book 2. So I’d never noticed this recipe before. It’s next to “Spaghetti al limone”, which we used to make all the time, so that’s odd. It’s easy to prepare. I took Miles to the Chinese supermarket to buy the clams, and he had a fit, and was very interested in the death of the clams. ‘Why do they have to die?’ he asked.

Tom: I hadn’t realised this was a different recipe until I noticed the lack of lemons.

Kirstin: There’s more wine, which I thought worked really well. I liked the way you put the oil in, then you add the wine, and then the garlic and chilli into the mix.

Lee: The bin-bowl in the middle gave it that decadent Roman feel. You just throw your shells into the bowl. And afterwards my bowl was pimpled with parsley, which was nice. You like that word? Pimpled.

Continue reading ““Spaghetti with Clams” and “Lemon Sorbet” from “The River Cafe Cook Book””

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“Spaghetti with Clams” and “Lemon Sorbet” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”

“Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!

Anna: We wanted something we could reheat for Peter, and that could feed six. And it needed to be easy enough to do on a Wednesday night.

Kirstin: And it was raining when we chose it, so we chose a risotto, something warming.

Lee (Kirstin’s mum): Comfort food!

Anna: It was a bit of a faff. It was delicious, but a bit of a faff. If you have two people cooking it, and you have guests…

Kirstin: My mother and her best friend from school, 60 years ago!

Anna: If I was cooking it I would not cook it on Wednesday.

Lee: If I were. And you didn’t always stir it in the same direction. The rice is shaped in a special way, so you have to stir it the same way.

Kirstin (through gritted teeth): See? This is the kind of stuff I have to deal with all the time. Yes, the rice has an internal magnetometer in each grain. It can tell which way it is being stirred, right mum?

Anna: We don’t know how it would have tasted if we’d stirred it in one direction.

Tom: I’m saying nothing.

Lee: That’s a first! Continue reading ““Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!”

“Risotto Primavera” from “The River Cafe Cook Book”. Starring Lee!

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book”

This evening Anna prepared a River Cafe feast. Her intended guests were unable to come and eat it because of the closure of the Blackwall Tunnel. So Kirstin and her family had to step in at the last minute to eat the food. The menu: “Pork Cooked in Milk”, “Spinach with Oil and Lemon”, “Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil and Parmesan” and “Bitter Chocolate Almond Torte”.

Anna: I was trying to find something appropriate for a Sunday, having guests round, that wouldn’t cost a fortune — that didn’t involve a whole shin of veal.

Kirstin: Or hare. Continue reading ““Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book””

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book”

A “River Cafe” meal with a history. Maybe too much history.

Our first meal from “The River Cafe Cook Book” this month reprises two old favourites that were served together one fateful night, many years ago. Anna will explain. The recipes were: Grilled Squid with Chillis and Penne with a Slow-Cooked Sausage Sauce.

Anna: Well. Um. Well. I was having my first proper dinner party.

Kirstin: No it wasn’t! I did dinner parties with you!

Anna: No, this was a proper two-course meal, not just lasagne when we were 16! Kirstin drove me to Waitrose so I could get the proper parmesan, the proper rocket. And I had a massive problem with grilling the squid,  and I was trying to impress someone who was there, if we’re honest. Kirstin had to take over. It was a successful night!

Kirstin: More for some people than others. Where is he now? Continue reading “A “River Cafe” meal with a history. Maybe too much history.”

A “River Cafe” meal with a history. Maybe too much history.

Cookbook of the month, June 2010: “The River Cafe Cook Book”


This month’s book is a modern classic, “The River Cafe Cook Book” by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Kirstin: Rewind to 1996, when we got married, we were given a copy of this book as a wedding gift. It was on our wedding list. We had our honeymoon in Italy, and I was obsessed with Italian food. There really weren’t many Italian cookbooks out. There was Marcella Hazan, but there wasn’t much else. So it was a revolution, not only because it was new and Italian, but because of the photography. It was a new way of doing cookbooks. Very simple, nice cover, beautifully designed. Now everyone does that. The availability of ingredients has changed, too. I was looking through it again, and in poultry, they go on about grouse and partridge. That kind of thing used to be really difficult to get hold of. I can see some real old friends among the recipes, and I’m looking forward to trying them again — and some new ones — in the next few weeks. Continue reading “Cookbook of the month, June 2010: “The River Cafe Cook Book””

Cookbook of the month, June 2010: “The River Cafe Cook Book”