ZITE WITH SARDINAS, FENNEL AND RAISINS
This dates back to April. I had this beautiful pasta I had brought back from Naples a year earlier, and these sardinas. I decided to adapt a recipe from the Silver Spoon which uses fresh sardinas. Instead of frying the fish etc, I just used it straight from the box.
The recipe also uses fennel and sultana raisins: the mix was surprising to me, which was one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe. The result was quite nice!
- Soak 25g sultana raisins in warm water.
- Boil 200g chopped fennel for 15-20 minutes. When straining, keep the water and set aside. Chop the fennel into smaller pieces.
- In a frying pan, fry one chopped onion in a tbsp olive oil for 5min. Add 8 anchovies. Soak the raisins and add them. Add the fennel and 25g pine nuts. Add a bit of saffron (quantity depends on whether you use powder or pistils, but the taste should be clearly perceptible). Cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
- Pre-heat the oven at 200°C. Oil a large oven dish.
- Cook 300g pasta (zite are long tubes which need to be broken in smaller pieces in order to be cooked) al dente in boiling water mixed with the water from the fennel. Drain and mix with half the sauce.
- In the oven dish, put a layer of pasta, a layer of sardinas (since I used canned sardinas, I didn’t need to fry them first. The recipe says 350g fresh sardinas, I think I used 2 of these small tins), a layer of sauce. Continue until all ingredients are used, with sauce on top. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Serve as soon as it’s out!
Cheap Lecture and The Cow Piece
Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion
This is the first part of Cheap lecture. It was a lot of fun.
Trout and asparagus-quinoa risotto.
It’s asparagus season, and that’s definitely green. I’ve been trying different recipes.
Speaking of artichokes…
The word artichoke comes from the Italian carciofjo, which comes from the Hispano-Roman carchiofa, which itself very likely originates in the Arabic haršûfa.
Marie Mahler - Artichaut, 2010
Imagier de mots provenant de l’arabe et du français
Editions du Ricochet
Paru en octobre 2010
format des illustrations originales: 20 * 20 cm
format du livre: 15 * 15 cm
The Big Man lived in Los Angeles, on its Westside, but to the rest of the partygoers that city and its overpopulated unpleasantness were far away, and the reference to the ethnic divisions in Los Angeles led to a moment of awkward silence filled by the laughs and squeals of children inside the inflated castle. In the circle of Maureen and Scott’s friends, discussing any topic related to ethnicity was on the fringe of what was considered polite. Many now had interracial children, and all believed themselves to be culturally sophisticates, and had given their progeny names like Anazazi, Coltrane, and Miro that reflected their wordly curiosity. They avoided discussing race, as if the mere mention of the subject might cause their fragile alliances to come apart. “Mexican” was a word that sounded harsh, somehow, and it caused a few of them to look at Araceli.
Maureen’s maid was a woman with the light copper skin of a newly minted penny, and cheeks that were populated with a handful of summer freckles. Araceli’s Mexican forebears included dark Zapotecs and redheaded Prussians, and in her family she was on the paler side of the spectrum. But in California, and at this party, she stood out unmistakably as an ambassador of the Latino race. Still, she appeared oblivious to the Big Man’s comments as she walked past. Others glanced briefly at Scott: he didn’t have any of the qualities associated with “Mexicans” by those in the metropolis who were not Mexican, but his surname was Torres, after all. Scott was sipping his sangria and had just closed his eyes and wasn’t listening either. He was, instead, trying to discern all the different fruits in this beverage: grapes from the wine, of course, and also orange and apple. And is that pomegranate? Pomegranate? That takes me back.
Héctor Tobar, The Barbarian Nurseries, 2011.
My first time cooking artichokes! I decided to start with an Italian recipe from the Silver spoon book. Then I got stuck when it came to which part of the artichoke was edible and which wasn’t. After some fumbling on the internet, I thought that only the hearts were usable, so I got rid of most of the leaves, but in the end I think I could have kept more. Peeling the artichokes also involved a lot of lemon so that they didn’t darken too much.
Anyway, here is the recipe:
1. Peel 4-5 artichokes, rub some lemon on them as you go, chop them in small slices, and put them in a salad bowl filled with water and the juice from half a lemon.
2. Heat up a tbsp olive oil in a pan, fry some chopped garlic and parsley. Drain the artichokes and add them. Cover and cook for a few minutes on low heat- Add 2-3 tbsp salted water and cover again.
3. Cook some penne rigate (I used pipe rigate) al dente in salted water. Drain and pour the artichokes on the pasta. Add some pepper before you serve. (I also added some slices of grana padano, just cause I always like some cheese, but it’s entirely optional).
In the end, this dish was quite nice, especially because of the combination of parsley, garlic and pepper. Also, the end result doesn’t look at all the way it looks in the book, so maybe I should try again. I guess next time I’ll try one of the artichokes gratin in that book, maybe the one with artichokes and tuna.
When I saw the Chines woman and her daughter playing cards at their restaurant table, the water and the lights of Sidney harbour shimmering behind them, it set me thinking about Stuart, and the reason he had to give up driving his car.
I was going to say ‘my friend Stuart’, but I suppose he’s not a friend any more. I seem to have lost a number of friends in the last few years. I don’t mean that I’ve fallen out with them, in any dramatic way. We’ve just decided not to stay in touch. And that’s what it’s been: a decision, a conscious decision, because it’s not difficult to stay in touch with people nowadays, there are so many different ways of doing it. But as you get older, I think that some friendships start to feel increasingly redundant. You just find yourself asking, ‘What’s the point?’ And then you stop.
Anyway, about Stuart and his driving. He had to stop because of his panic attacks. He was a good driver, a careful and conscientious driver, and he had never been involved in an accident. But occasionally, when he got behind the wheel of a car, he would experience these panic attacks, and after a while they started to get worse, and they started to happen more often. I can remember when he first started telling me about this: it was lunchtime and we were in the canteen of the department store in Ealing where we worked together for a year or two. I don’t think I can have listened very carefully, though, because Caroline was sitting at the same table, and things between us were just starting to get interesting, so the last thing I wanted to hear about was Stuart and his neuroses about driving. That must be why I never really thought about it again until years later, at the restaurant on Sydney harbour, when it all came back. His problem, as far as I can remember, was this. Whereas most people, as they watched the coming and going of cars on a busy road, would see a normal, properly functioning traffic system, Stuart could only perceive it as an endless succession of narrowly averted accidents. He saw cars hurtling towards each other at considerable speeds, and missing each other by inches - time and time again, every few seconds, repeated constantly throughout the day. ‘All those cars,’ he said to me, ‘only just managing not to crash into each other. How can people stand it?’ In the end it became too much for him to contemplate, and he had to stop driving.
PUMPKIN DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA GRATIN
This is more or less a variation on this recipe,which had turned out a but too dry for my taste. This time it was much better!
So anyway, this time I used pumpkin because I had it at hand, and cooked it in the pressure cooker before roasting everything together.
1. Remove the skin and dice the pumpkin into big cubes. Steam-cook for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker, or 20 minutes if you use something else (I guess you could also boil it but beware that it doesn’t fall into pieces).
2. Meanwhile, soak a handful of dried tomatoes in water and leave them in and pre-heat the oven at 200°C.
3. Chop an onion or some shallots, and heat some oil. Cook them until they are translucent, then set aside.
4. Remove the tomatoes from water and chop them in 2 or 3, and dice roughly 100g feta cheese into small cubes.
5. Once the pumpkin is ready, put it in an oven dish with the onion, the tomatoes, the feta cheese. Add some olive oil and mix it in with the rest. Add some pumpkin seeds on top, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
Delicious simply with some rice.
Various Pets Alive and Dead, Marina Lewycka, 2012.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH-ALMOND-CURRY SOUP
I heard about this recipe from someone who owns a Thermomix (which is apparently a great kitchen appliance that does more or less everything). After some googling around, I found a recipe which I then adapted for my Thermomix-less kitchen. It’s delicious.
1. Wash and chop a leek into pieces. Dice a butternut squash into big cubes.
2. Heat a tbsp olive oil in a big pot or a pressure cooker, and sauté the leek for a minute. Add 30g almond powder and a tsp or 2 curry powder. Mix and cook for a minute.
3. Add the pieces of butternut with a pint of stock (the recipe says beef stock, I used vegetable stock). Cover and cook for 10 minutes with a pressure cooker, 20 with a normal pot (check that the butternut is soft enough).
4. Mix everything using for example a hand blender. Season with some salt.
You can add some roasted sliced almonds for decoration (I didn’t have any at home).