“Marinated buffalo mozzarella and tomato” from “Plenty”

Kirstin: Well, here’s the thing. I was desperate to do this recipe because it looked so fabulous in the book. Ever since I bought this book, I have been eyeing up this recipe. However, I could find no buffalo mozzarella today. Maybe being in South East London on the wrong day because I almost bought one at Carluccio’s earlier on but thought better of it. Anyways! The marinade itself was easy to prepare, smelled delicious….

Anna: Technically, I don’t think you can call this a marinade. It’s more a rub. Or maybe a sauce even. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

Kirstin: And just think how amazing it would have been on buffalo mozzarella. Hmmm.

Anna: It reminds me of the picnic we had in Preston in 2003 and we bought the mozzarella from the Ferry Building in San Francisco and ate it with a lovely viognier.

Tom: God, that’s good. It’s amazing!

Anna: Tom likes it then.

Tom: Yum. Can we have this again?

Anna: It’s definitely a starter…

Tom: But it’s a good starter.

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“Marinated buffalo mozzarella and tomato” from “Plenty”

Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast

Anna: We decided that we wanted to do a proper blow-out feast, after the many abortive midweek Ottolenghi meals that we’ve cooked.

Kirstin: We wanted to give it a full crack of the whip!

Anna: Luckily neither of us was working this afternoon, because it was potentially going to be a massive faff.

Tom: But was it?

Anna: If either of us had been doing it on our own, yes. With the two of us it was still a faff.

Zoe: But was it an enjoyable faff?

Kirstin: Yes, we watched wartime documentaries in between, while things were in the oven.

Anna: And we sang along to the Brandenberg double-violin concerto as we peeled five heads of garlic, clove by clove. Between the two of us it took 40 minutes. The two most annoying things were the cloves of garlic and the bloody cardamom pods.

Kirstin: But you have such good wrist action, Anna! (Zoe guffaws)

Anna: How do you know about my wrist action? It’s all those years of violin playing! With the cardamom pods I had to get Kirstin to open the window. Two tablespoons of cardamom pods, and you had to bash them all up, and take all the seeds out of all the pods! It was about 40 pods! It was like, Christ, take me now. I bashed my head with the pestle. Or was it the mortar? Anyway, we cooked the “Watermelon and feta” to start. I’m going to compare it against the Nigella recipe. Her recipe is watermelon, feta and black olive. She has olives, lime juice, mint and flat-leaf parsley, rather than basil. But everything else is the same. So we cooked that, and then “Caramelized Garlic Tart”.

Kirstin: We called it Vampire Pie.

Anna: And then “Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli”. Continue reading “Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast”

Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast

“Castelluccio lentils with tomatoes and Gorgonzola” from “Plenty”

Anna: This started well… I thought I’d turned on the oven, but I hadn’t.  So those oven-dried tomatoes took a bit longer than 1 1/4 hours.  More like 2 1/2!  But that wasn’t Mr Ottolenghi’s fault.

Kirstin: No, that wasn’t Mr Ottolenghi’s fault, but they look really good.

Anna: Miles thought they looked like bugs.  We used Puy lentils rather than Castelluccio. But he said that we could substitute.

Kirstin: And we didn’t have the right herbs.  You forgot chives, and we didn’t have flat leaf parsley either.  But we had dill.  And with all that red onion you don’t need chives.  It still smells and looks good!

Anna: Peter’s here, so let’s eat.

Peter: Is that a starter?  Do you know what this could do with?  Bacon.  It would taste really nice with bacon.  The saltiness would complement the lentils.

Anna: I got distracted and put 3 times the amount of gorgonzola in it than there should be.  It is a bit cheesy.

Kirstin: I would never have thought to put blue cheese with lentils. But it’s really yummy.  And the tomatoes are great.  Once the oven was on they were very easy.  This is really yummy.  Would you make it again?

Anna: I would make it, with the right amount of cheese,

Peter: some bacon…..

Kirstin: and does anyone know where lego Harry Potter is? (we have spent a large quantity of time this evening looking for said Lego HP who has gone AWOL).

Anna:…. as a starter.  I’m so happy we have finally found a recipe from this book that isn’t a enormous faff!

“Castelluccio lentils with tomatoes and Gorgonzola” from “Plenty”

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.

A lovely day for a Greek feast

Today we prepared a Greek feast from this month’s book, “Jamie Does”. The starter was “Delicious Dressed Greek Greens on Toast”. The main course was “Souvlaki (Wicked Kebabs)” with Greek salad. The dessert was “Sweet and Lovely Honey and Pistachio Cake”.

Anna: I would like to point out that we chose this menu before Jamie did this exact menu on the telly. Honest.

Kirstin: The starter was very easy to prepare. And it was delicious. I would definitely make that again. The cheese and spinach was delicious.

Anna: I would make that if I had a night in on my own. The combination of pecorino and spinach… spinach is my favourite, and we had to use it because we don’t have a ready source of Greek greens in south east London. And the pecorino has that saltiness. I give it 9/10. Quick and yummy.

Kirstin: Yeah, I give it a 9. The guinea pigs and the rabbit liked the leftover spinach!

Anna: Kirstin prepared the souvlaki this morning.

Kirstin: I’m never good at marinating meat in the morning, before breakfast. It was yummy. But it wasn’t as nice as the meatball recipe. The tzatziki was easy to make, and it was sensational. Overall I give it 6/10.

Anna: I give it 5/10. It was more of a faff than the meatballs, because I had to do those peppers as well. That took about 45 minutes this afternoon, because you have to let them burn on the grill. Then clingfilm them, peel them, ripe them apart. Yes, they taste great, but it’s a faff, so it’s not a weeknight thing. Shortcut: get your marinated peppers from the supermarket. Continue reading “A lovely day for a Greek feast”

A lovely day for a Greek feast