Anne Else, gourmande. I write about the food I love to make and eat, where it comes from, and anything else to do with food that takes my fancy or drives me to drink.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
A fringe of leaves
The first time I ever ate artichokes was in Albania. They're wonderful things, so beautifully shaped, and it feels so decadent eating them - delicately nibbling off the bottom of each leaf until you get to the succulent heart.
Last week my friend Lesley and I had lunch with Ali at Eastbourne. She's a great gardener and has a magnificent row of artichokes, and she cooked them for lunch.
You can do them in a pressure cooker for about 20-30 minutes, depending on size and age, or just boil them steadily in a large covered saucepan for 40-50 minutes, until an outer leaf pulls off easily, and when you push a sharp knife or skewer down into the heart, it feels soft
The small ones early in the season take less time, but Ali says she tends to leave them till they're bigger - the leaves are a bit tougher, but there's more favour, and more heart. And she always washes them well first, to get rid of any passengers - "finding a cooked earwig on the leaf you're about to eat is not nice".
The best thing to have with them is garlic butter: melt what looks like a suitable quantity, and add crushed garlic to taste, some black pepper, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of olive oil (not extra virgin) to make it a bit less rich. Mayonnaise is good too.
What I had for dinner - a real-life list of everyday food
The last of my Sharwood's Tandoori Spice with chicken thighs - you mix it with yoghurt, vinegar, lemon juice and oil to make the marinade, then bake the chicken and serve with rice and salad. Otherwise, classic schnitzel with Austrian potato salad (recipe coming soon), leftover bits of schnitzel with easy tomato pasta sauce with a hint of chili on fettucine. For Frances's 92nd birthday, a gorgeous beef fillet (her shout) with baked grated potato cake (see recipe labels list) and veges, then at her request, classic apple crumble. We're eating up the last scraps tonight.
Quite a good run lately. Ready-cooked chook instant "roast" with baked veges on Thursday, potato and vege curry with bits of leftover chicken on Friday, pea and ham soup on Saturday, terakihi in a chili crumb coating with leftover curry and brown rice tonight.
Pride goes before a fall - all very well to boast about dinner parties, but lately it's been much less exciting. A pretty slapdash parade of dinners. Chicken curry for three nights (I made a big one on purpose), interspersed with quick basic fish-in-microwave (1 minute for terakihi) and other basic no-brainers like home-made pizza and bacon and egg pie. But for tonight there's a beef casserole in the slow cooker - that should do two dinners, though with Jonathan I might well be wrong about that. Well, he is 6ft 2in.
I don't mean to boast at all, but I had three three-course dinner parties the week before last. They all worked very well. See lemon tart and cheesecake posts. The other nights we lived very well on the leftovers.
Sunday: Terakihi, sald and potatoes.
Saturday: Chicken bolognese - I'll put up the recipe next week.
Sun 24: Courgette and potato fritters, bacon, red cabbage salad.
THE COLOUR OF FOOD
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