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Hampshire, stone fruit and herbs.
August 21 2023
It’s still high jinks and holidays here as it was my husband’s birthday this week and mine the week before and we went to Quo Vadis in Soho to celebrate and then the following evening to Quality Wines Farringdon for lobster rolls, which they serve on August evenings. He requested Nigella Lawson’s chocolate Guinness cake - so easy as you just melt the butter and Guinness together and then add the other ingredients, which was a big success with his friends.
We spent the weekend at my sister-in-law’s house in Hampshire, walked by the Test River both days and am always amazed by how rural it feels, only an hour and a half from London. Whenever we go, I buy watercress from the greengrocer in Romsey and always wish we had an old fashioned greengrocer like that near where I live. Imbetween walks, went to the Leckford Estate, which is the Waitrose Partner farm where I bought some Leckford No.1 Creamy Washed-Rind Cheese, the community shop at Broughton for bacon and this time a Laverstoke Park buffalo mozzarella, eggs from an honesty box in Wherwell and apples from the tree in the garden. Now I can be one of those people I normally envy with a ‘glut’ to use up.
Longstock Park Water Gardens, owned by John Lewis. is stunning and well worth a visit. On holiday last year, I was extolling the virtues of Lidl at dinner and one of the other guests, said ‘I’d had you down as a Waitrose person’ and I’m still not sure what kind of comment that was.
It’s all about the English counties with a travel guide to Norfolk in the Independent and Huntingdonshire, the forgotten shire and the secret to the perfect holiday in Somerset in the Telegraph. The village of Chalford in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire in an area they call ‘Little Switzerland’ and the Moray coast in Scotland, are also in the Telegraph including the The Moray Coast Trail is an ideal introduction to the region 50-mile walking trail that goes from Findhorn to Cullen where you can see dolphins
49 best British bakeries chosen by chefs in the Times including some lesser known ones
In the Guardian, a car free Lake District hike on a stretch of the coast-to-coast trail with useful info about the buses but they don’t really seem to do much hiking, and a trek to the source of the River Wharfe.
This week, one of the questions is are we all going to go north for our holidays because of climate change and very hot temperatures? ‘Apparently, Tui boss Sebastian Ebel said thanks to a scorching summer, the holiday company would focus on holidays in northern Europe, to countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands. ‘
Rail route of the month in the Guardian is an Alpine epic from Zurich to Graz which is a nine-hour journey through the Swiss and Austrian Alps up to more than 1,000 metres above sea level as it crosses the Rhine-Danube watershed
West Cork for an active family holiday in the Guardian and 12 places to visit in Belgium — beyond Bruges and Brussels in the Times. Anna Murphy, fashion director of the Times, went to Svalbard, off the coast of Norway, home to polar bears and glaciers
The under the radar Greek Islands of Serifos and Sifnos in the Times for a twin break as they are a 20-minute ferry ride away from each other.
In the FT, Tim Hayward thought he’d found the ‘least French restaurant in France’ at La Chassagnette in Arles.
In the Guardian, Grace Dent was at Mountain in London W1 and concluded ‘it was buzzy, delicious, destination dining in the middle of Soho. It’s also further evidence that Tomos Parry really knows what he’s doing’
In the Telegraph, William Sitwell was also there and said ‘I was dragged up and down the mountain with doses of failure and success, but with its great service team, cheffy brains and good location, I feel this place will boom.’
In the Observer, Jay Rayner travelled to the Empire Café in Leeds and loved it. I’ loved the enthusiasm of the staff, its attention to the good things, its sweetly comic attachment to location.’
In the Standard, David Ellis went to Chung’dam, a Korean restaurant in London W1, thought it was dull and said that Kangnam Pocha in Drury Lane, Koba, in Fitzrovia, K-Town BBQ in New Malden were all much bette
Merguez sausage, corn and red onion frittata, a Honey & Co Recipe in the FT with the spicy lamb sausages adding flavour
Nigel Slater uses home-grown herbs in Observer Food Monthly to make baked chicken with herbes de Provence, green beans, watercress and flowers, roast marrow with lemon and basil pangratto, and peaches with thyme and honey. (Link to be added when it comes online)
Recipes by Joe Trivelli, joint head chef of London’s River Café in the Observer with recipes for aubergine polpetti in yellow peppers, polenta, fresh corn and ricotta, and apricots, plums and raspberries with ‘raw’ cream and almonds. I made the new potato and tomato salad (pictured below), but thought the sauce was a bit overwhelming.
Diana Henry is at the soda fountain in the Telegraph with recipes for piña-colada milkshake, hibiscus and ginger ice-cream soda, a pink lime rickey which has raspberries, lime and soda water in it and a coffee ice-cream float which uses vanilla ice cream, M&S Belgian chocolate sauce, double cream, chocolate and coffee. I don’t drink coffee but this really appeals.
It’s a Guardian stone fruit special with Ravneet Gill’s recipe for chocolate and cherry trifle and peach, almond, cardamom and basil puff tart the vegan way by Meera Sodha but you could easily un-veganise it, should you so wish and Rachel Roddy’s bread, tomato, cucumber and watermelon salad.
Ottolenghi gives recipes for grilled nectarine and cucumber salad with gochujang dressing, roast beetroot with plum dressing and blue cheese and spiced pork chops with quick apricot chutney which seem similar to Thomasina Miers’ pork belly with chilli apricot relish, and finally Honey & Co’s recipes for spicy, lamb-stuffed figs and chicken and grape fattoush (all in the Guardian).
Peach salad with pickled onions, feta and mint by Eleanor Steafel in the Telegraph to complete the stone fruit theme which she says will go well with a barbecued chicken or grilled lamb chops
The Secret of Cooking: Recipes for an Easier Life in the Kitchen by Bee Wilson
with recipes in the Observer for a tuna salad with anchovy dressing, a ratatouille tian, a white bean stew, a roasting tin chicken with fennel and citrus and a raspberry ripple hazelnut meringue.
I’ve broken my ban on buying a cookbook for the second time and have requested this for my birthday from my elder daughter. If it’s a present, it doesn’t count, right?
Michel Roux at Home by Michel Roux
in the Times, with recipes for courgette gratin, a tomato soup which includes piment d’espelette, a sausage pea and potato casserole and roast chicken with lemon and garlic butter, with ratatouille
Mediterranean Summer Table by Kathy Kordalis
German Baking by Jürgen Krauss
in the Sunday Times, the ex-Masterchef contestant who many thought should have been in the final, with recipes for sunken apple cake, plum tart with streusel and pear tart with sour cream.