Anna: I committed the schoolboy error of not reading the recipe properly before embarking on it. Well, truth be told I read it just in time. Frustratingly I had been working for over an hour, during which time the salmon could have been cooling (apparently this takes an hour after poaching and cooks the salmon through, according to Nigella). But having taken the recipe at face value I thought it was just an assembly of a few, easy to prepare, ingredients. Which is essentially what it is, apart from the salmon-cooling curve ball. So at 8.30pm I had to make a swift change of plan and postpone making this for a day. It was worth the wait. This is a proper bowlful of food. And by that I mean: it tastes good and healthy but is filling and delicious at the same time. We have had it twice in two weeks, and now I have read the recipe intro properly the cooling hour has been abandoned. Hurray!
Anna: This salad is amazing. I think it is my dream salad. I cannot recommend it enough. I mean, anything with halloumi (or feta, or any other salty cheese) gets my attention. And I have to admit that I scaled up the amount of halloumi just a little bit. But I had been for a run this morning…. Combining it with papaya though, that was a revelation. Sweet and salty. Peppery watercress. Red onions, pine nuts…. It was so simple and quick to make but tasted really indulgent and totally delicious. I’m having it for lunch again tomorrow. And I think maybe the next day too!
Maureen: Tonight we are having roast pork and Irish champ, which is just another version of mashed potatoes.
Nicholas (8): You mean strange mashed potatoes.
Maureen: They’re not strange! I think they’re delicious.
Andrew (12): The roast pork is nice. It tastes like sausages.
Maureen: Well, it should, since sausages are made out of pork.
In case you didn’t get the memo, Jamie Oliver’s next move will be world domination. He has a staff of 1,000. He makes millions every year. His “30-Minute Meals” was the fastest and best-selling non-fiction book of all time in the United Kingdom. The fact that the aforementioned book nearly killed us is neither here nor there. Jamie is an industry unto himself.
Just in time for the Christmas season is “Jamie’s Great Britain.” Bookmaker William Hill is offering 1:2 odds that this will be the best selling book this Christmas. Given how many Christmas trees had “30-Minute Meals” underneath them, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.
With the glorious Indian summer we’ve been having here in London, I thought the best way to kick things off would be with an Apple and Watercress Salad with blue cheese dressing and crushed walnuts. I’m sorry there’s no conversation for this one, but since I was eating alone, it would be a worrisome development for both the blog and myself if I did have dialogue to provide.
This was delicious and easy. The salad is basically apples, watercress, walnuts and blue cheese with a dressing of spring onion, yoghurt, cider vinegar, olive oil, seasonings and more blue cheese. I used my food processor to slice the apples thinly and quickly, and then used it again to whip up the dressing.
Anna: Have you worked out what the mystery ingredient is?
Peter: It’s the breadcrumbs.
Peter: Well they do add a certain crunch to proceedings.
Anna: Hmm. Mine have gone a bit soggy now I’ve stirred them around. I’m not convinced, and they add an extra step which isn’t required in any of my other crab spaghetti recipes.
Peter: The watercress was an interesting addition as well.
Anna: I’ve seen this in other recipes. Nigella’s has it for example. We loved that recipe.
Peter: The watercress was nearly your undoing this time….
Anna: I forgot to buy it, yes. I’m a numpty. But Sainsburys in Holborn Circus saved the day. We can’t have a day go by without me forgetting something.
Anna: You’re right. I can’t not like crab pasta, whatever the recipe. But the extra steps involved with this one, making breadcrumbs and cooking breadcrumbs, is enough for me to turn to Nigella/River Cafe/Bill instead. Sorry Lucas.
Time taken: 38 minutes
Anna: And that was with three people cooking!
Tom: All I was doing was reading the recipe out. And that was after you’d laid everything out first. But I did spend half an hour going to Sainsbury’s looking for pastry cases.
Anna: And Peter went to M&S. And nobody could find any. Where did Jamie get them?
Tom: Surely they have to have them at Sainsbury’s, if he does their advertising?
Time taken: 33min 22 secs. (not including prep time)
Anna: Bloody Jamie. He’s gone too far this time.
Kirstin: I love this recipe. I would DEFINITELY make this again. I’d make this every day. For a week.
Anna: What did you like about it so much?
Kirstin: I thought the flavours were great. And, home-made butter. Even though it took most of that half an hour figuring out how to fit the whisk attachment to the food processor. I would definitely make my own butter again! And it was a joy to take pictures in the daytime. Just a joy with natural daylight.
Anna: What a mess though!
Kirstin: You just put it into the dishwasher! It was fine….
Anna: But if you don’t have a dishwasher, you’ve got a food processor and a whisk and your hands covered in sodding butter. Anyway, tell me about how you draped the salmon in rustic waves…. and the erratically chunked beetroot….
Kirstin: Yeah, nevermind.
Anna: Really, this recipe was just about assembling various pre packed ingredients, with a bit of potato-boiling and butter-making thrown to make look more like cooking. It’s no wonder it only took half an hour.
Kirstin: It was good though, it was yummy!
Anna: I agree, but it was more faff than it needed to be. Honestly.
Kirstin: Well I’d like it again please. I wonder if I should make my own butter again. The cottage cheese!
Anna: It was just cottage cheese, with some seasoning.
Kirstin: And the beetroot with balsamic vinegar!
Anna: Yes. Exactly. Too much faff.
Kirstin: It was pretty exhausting. Did we win the cuddly toy?