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Holiday time and summer vegetables
July 24 2023
I am going on my holidays to France and the next Cook’s Edit will be on Monday, 14 August. Everyone keeps asking me where I am going; a night in Bergerac, a week in a little house nearby and then down to the foothills of the Pyrenees for four days. This will be followed by a night at Canfranc, the huge Spanish railway station on the border, mentioned in the Times this week, although we did book it a while ago. We are driving to Pamplona and round to St Jean de Luz for the final two nights. True to form, I have made a list of daily markets in the Gironde, Dordogne and the Béarn and the distances from the places we are staying. I’m packing my microplane and the box grater without the handle, which fell off, but I can’t take a knife as we are travelling minimally with hand luggage only. Expect much market and mountain spam on Instagram.
It’s been a Diana Henry kind of week. Her blackberry and Pinot Noir jam and her apricot and vanilla jam from Salt, Sugar, Smoke and also strawberry jam. When friends came to dinner, I made her roast summer vegetables with ajo blanco, a lentil, avocado and carrot salad and Nigella Lawson’s watermelon, feta and black olive salad. To follow, we had my vanilla and Baileys coffee ice cream (see last week’s newsletter) with Ottolenghi’s chocolate tahini sauce. You just whisk everything which is all cold together and no one guessed it had soy sauce in it.
10 picture-perfect places on the coast of the UK in the Guardian where different writers share their favourite beaches, islands and secret spots. A cycling holiday on the Isle of Wight and brief mentions of the Sail Loft at Southwold, Selina at Brighton and the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth, which were all Victorian resorts.
The 20 best coastal walks in the UK in the Times but a lot of them are not circular which necessitates a car shuffle or a bus or simply walking back the way you came. and walking part of the Ridgeway on the Oxfordshire and Wessex Downs in the Guardian.
An arty weekend in Newmarket in the Guardian as the National Horse Racing Museum is one of three venues across west Suffolk jointly hosting a huge street art exhibition. The Urban Frame: Mutiny in Colour by leading street and contemporary artists, including Banksy, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.
The Churn Valley in the Cotswolds in the Telegraph, which is’ a stream running from Seven Springs, south of Cheltenham, to the Roman town of Cirencester. The Churn eventually becomes the Thames at Cricklade. It includes Colesbourne Park which styles itself ‘England’s greatest snowdrop park.’ I have been here and always feel a visit to see snowdrops is the first sign that dreary January is over. It is lovely.
A timely article in the Telegraph, as the horrific fires burn in Rhodes and Corfu on how to swap the beach for the mountains in the Alps. Amongst their recommendations are Zillertal in Austria, best for hiking, Serre Chevalier, Vallée Briançon, they say is best for eco escapes and Haute Maurienne, in the Vanoise, France which they say is best for variety.
In the Czech Republic, visiting Cesky Krumlov, the ‘Prague-in-miniature’ that’s embracing responsible tourism in the Independent which has a romantic medieval castle and pretty, cobbled lanes.
The Bohinj railway from Trieste, through the Julian Alps to Lake Bled, is the best way to see Slovenia. ‘This overlooked (and under-booked) train journey is the prettiest in Europe,’ says the Times.
Thessaloniki in the Times which they call ‘a lively Greek city with better nightlife than Athens with delicious food, and a gorgeous seaside setting.’
In the Guardian, Grace Dent thought Mallow in Wood Wharf, London E14, was ‘a restaurant that ransacks the world’s cuisines, taking flavours, dishes and cooking styles from every corner, and makes them vegan without even saying that awful V word that so rankles some diners.’
In the Observer, Jay Rayner was at Sharkbait & Swim, in Deptford Market Yard, London for oysters and small plates delightful small seafood restaurant.
In the Standard, Jimi Famurewa was at Mountain in Soho, London W1 and thought it was ‘all so rousing, so unforgettable and, yes, so deserving of the fuss and attention. ‘
In the Telegraph, William Sitwell was at London Shell Co in Highgate, London N6, their third fish restaurant after two on barges on the Regents Canal, and said ‘the sooner London Shell Co roll their concept out, on barge or land, the better it is for us all.’
In the Times, Giles Coren was at Sushi Kaneska which is extremely expensive at £420 a head.
Diana Henry made a feast of summer vegetables recipes, inspired by Italy, which all sound fantastic, honey and harissa roast apricots with spinach, labneh and couscous roast summer vegetables with ajo blanco and fennel, courgette and pickled red onion salad with feta. Nigel Slater followed the same theme with recipes for summer vegetable and herb rice, and peach, raspberry and redcurrant sundae.
So did Mark Hix with recipes using herbs and vegetables from the garden including alternative cocktails such as herb fritters, bolting herb and cheese tarts, lemon, ginger and artichoke thistle mocktail, rhubarb fizz, peatini, lemon verbena and gin in the Telegraph.
Ottolenghi does aubergines in the Guardian with recipes for aubergine and red pepper pahi with fenugreek and curry-leaf oil which is a sweet-and-sour Sri Lankan curry, prawn-stuffed aubergines in tamarind tomato sauce and aubergine and chraimeh b’siniyah, which is a vegan casserole of battered veg in a spicy tomato sauce.
Thomasina Miers’ recipe for tomato and red onion quiche, Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for summer strawberry cake with luxury Bird’s custard and Ben Tish’s recipes for summer granitas, strawberry, rhubarb with rose and pistachio and almond with roast grapes and Rachel Roddy’s summer chicken minestrone - all in the Guardian.
Stir fried lettuce with chilli and fermented tofu by Fuchsia Dunlop in the FT
Curry butter mussels and corn by Eleanor Steafel in the Telegraph which she advises serving with chips for mopping saying ‘Bread is lovely, chips are better.’
Imad’s Syrian Kitchen by Imad Alarnab
Imad Alarnab, cooked for more than 400 refugees in Calais while he himself was stranded there. By May 2021, he’d opened his London restaurant, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen. His first cookbook is a combination of dishes served up at the restaurant and his late mother’s recipes.
School of Wok: Simple Family Feasts by Jeremy Pang
in the Sunday Times with recipes for garlic fried rice, tantalising tamarind prawns, and crunchy greens with mushrooms.