“Pea, asparagus and Parmesan tart” from “Good Things to Eat”

Anna: I’m not really a tart person….

Jane: Guffaw! I don’t know, I’ve known you a long time  – have you forgotten the Nineties?

Anna: Thank you for that. As you well know, what I mean is that I seldom make tarts, quiches, those sorts of things. In fact I think I manage one a year.

Jane: Well this is beautiful.

Anna: I’d call it ‘rustic’. The pastry is threatening to fall apart. I’m not quite sure why, as I followed the recipe. It’s pastry alchemy. I don’t have the secret.

Jane: Did you make the pastry from scratch?

Anna: Did I hell. There’s a limit to how much work I’m prepared to do on a Sunday morning, even if I have the Archers Omnibus to keep me company.

Jane: It reminds me of the south of France. It’s delicious. Can I have another slice?

Anna: It is very good, isn’t it? But it’s not very filling. I put more parmesan in than it called for too, but I think it’s because there isn’t enough filling mixture. It feels like there’s more pastry than tart, if you know what I mean.

Jane: I do. It looks quite big and rich in the dish, but once you put the slice on the plate it looked a bit thin and sad.

Anna: Though that might have been because the pastry fell apart, as feared.

Jane: We had enough for seconds, and I still think it was delicious. Thank you for my lovely lunch!

“Pea, asparagus and Parmesan tart” from “Good Things to Eat”

“Spare Ribs” from “Forever Summer”

Anna: I wouldn’t normally make ribs, not because they’re hard to get hold of – because they’re not – but I think I associate them with being messy, and so it’s just not the first thing I’d choose to cook.  But, it’s your birthday dinner Zelee, and you’re a good part-time Southern girl.

Zelee: A full-time London southerner, and a part-time US southerner….

Anna: Ribs are appropriate!

Zelee: I found these quite light.  They aren’t lying on my stomach like a catastrophe and I haven’t had to undo my top button.  I’m going to look at the recipe.

Anna: How do you think these compare to American ribs, lightness aside?

Zelee: They’re clearly Orientally-orientated.

Anna: I can tell you have a PhD.  Amercican ribs always have that thick sweet BBQ sauce on them.  Which I love. But it is a bit sickly after a while. Continue reading ““Spare Ribs” from “Forever Summer””

“Spare Ribs” from “Forever Summer”

“Smoky Frittata” from “Plenty”

Anna: I’d had quite enough of Ottolenghi, after Friday’s cook-a-thon. So I wasn’t looking forward to choosing something for this week. But this looked quite easy. But then they all look quite easy!

Kirstin: And it needed scamorza affumicato, which is smoked mozzarella, and we weren’t sure where we would get it. But I went to Carluccio’s on Monday and phoned Anna and said “They have scamorza! How much do I need?”

Anna: So I ran home, checked the recipe and let her know.

Kirstin: I put it in a plastic bag while I took it around the V&A, because I didn’t want it to smell.

Anna: There are worse things you could smell of! There was paprika in it too, for added smokiness. Anyway, my theory was that this would be a bit like an eggy cauliflower cheese. I think Cristiana would like this.

Kirstin: She would, actually. I love cauliflower.

Anna: I thought you were being sarcastic when you said you liked it!

Kirstin: Nobody else in my family likes it. And we had some merguez sausages in the freezer.

Anna: Shhh! We’re supposed to be being vegetarian! Anyway, it smelled very smoky, and I like anything smoky. Well, I wouldn’t eat smoked tripe. But I’d be tempted, because it would be smoked.

Kirstin: Would you eat smoked brains?

Anna: I’ve had brains.

Kirstin: Were they smoked?

Anna: It was at El Bulli, and I had no choice. They were rabbit brains. I had only one hemisphere.

Kirstin: Rabbit! That’s like Percy! How could you do that?

Tom: We’ve eaten rabbit before.

Kirstin: But that was before we had Percy the rabbit!

Anna: Well, eggy cauliflower cheese. It was a heart attack in a pan.

Tom: It tasted like an omelette with cauliflower to me.

Anna: It was a smoky cauliflowery frittata. We should be drinking red wine to clear our arteries! We must not tell Peter how much fat there is in this!

Kirstin: We have some red wine, as it happens. (Opens bottle.)

Anna: Peter actually came second last week.

Kirstin: Well done Peter! (raises eyebrows) We had to serve it with a “peppery” salad. What does that mean?

Anna: Kirstin thought it meant a salad with green peppers; I thought it meant peppery leaves. We interpreted it as we wished. The recipe calls for you to cook the cauliflower in the frying pan until brown on one side. Do you then turn it over, so the brown side is exposed? It didn’t say. We had a debate about that. How would you know that it was brown on the other side if you didn’t turn it over?

Kirstin (drinking red wine): I’m going to get a hangover now. And I have to deal with small children tomorrow, and rabbits.

Miles: Mummy, if I throw my balloon, will it pop? What happens if I kick it with my shoe?

Kirstin: Try it!

Miles: It doesn’t pop! (Stomps out of room)

Anna: So what was our verdict? It was pretty easy to cook, but it’s quite hard to get hold of scamorza. We had it with sausages (shhh), so it was very much like breakfast for dinner. But it was good.

Tom: It was quite substantial. You could have that for lunch on its own. The smoky cheese was great.

Anna: And if you’re on Atkins, it’s great; there’s no carbs in it. But I liked having the salad to cut through the cholesterol.

Kirstin: Practically diet food! With a heart attack thrown in!

Anna: What do you think about aubergine croquettes for next week? I feel like a bit of a challenge. Now I’ve had my rest.

“Smoky Frittata” from “Plenty”