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Spain, airfryers and blackberries
August 28 2023
One of the reasons I write this newsletter is to provide cooking and travel inspiration for myself as well as you. This week I have cooked the ratatouille, which is more like a tian, by Bee Wilson from her new book, The Secret of Cooking, featured in the Observer, the feta and peach salad by Eleanor Steafel in the Telegraph and the chicken and grape fattoush by Honey and Co in the Guardian all from last week’s papers. They are all recipes I woul make again.
The hyperbole in some travel articles is typified by an article on the Coastal Culture Trail in Sussex, where the journalist walked from Eastbourne to Hastings along the coast. There’s a reason the South Downs Way stops at Eastbourne and that walk is not pretty. My advice would be walk from the west, go to the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne and then get the train to Hastings should you so desire.
A journey back in time to the ghost village of Imber on Salisbury Plain in the Guardian. I’ve been to Tyneham in Dorset and find these areas of England evacuated during the Second World War fascinating, not forgetting the anguish of the residents who lost their homes. For more information, visit St Giles Church and Imberbus
There are two of those articles about eschewing Cornwall and going elsewhere and I always wonder why these places can’t stand on their own merits. Northumberland in the Times describing the restored castle garden, Belsay Hall, Cottage and Gardens, owned by English Heritage and a new section of coastal path. Carmarthenshire in the Telegraph.
Portobello, 3 miles outside Edinburgh in the Independent with a seafood bar called Shrimp Wreck ‘which is open year-round, come rain or shine.’ I’m adding it to my nerdy, not to say obsessive list of small seafood bars and restaurants around the UK coast. I have a friend who reads this who lives there so I am going to ask for a full report.
I think you could sort out a trip to Spain from this week’s papers. The ten best cities to visit
in the Telegraph including Salamanca, ‘the Oxford of Spain,’ Murcia which is apparently the vegetarian’s dream, Jaén ,the low-key olive capital and Logroño, capital of Rioja. ‘They all have one thing in common – hardly any tourists’ and ‘the third largest number of Unesco World Heritage Sites in the world – and only second to Italy in Europe.’
San Sebastian city guide in the Independent where they say ‘it might be known as one hell of a foodie destination with the tapas-style pintxos but ‘it’s made with all the senses in mind, from its towering sea cliffs to the subtle Belle Epoque charm’
A 52-mile hike between five refuges in Catalonia in the Guardian, where I will have another rant about the journalist who boasts in a national newspaper about not bringing waterproofs when they are doing a walk in the mountains. But they did find ‘chamois, griffon vultures, rare butterflies, an ultra-trail running legend and very few people. ‘
A food tour of Costa de la Luz, the coast around Cadiz in Spain which ‘is enjoying a foodie revolution, thanks to a growing number of cool and innovative beach restaurants and finally readers’ favourite restaurants and tapas bars in Spain also in the Guardian.
Sunshiny islands with Rab in Croatia in the Times, a tiny island which they say is Croatia’s best spot and two articles on quieter Greek islands, Milos in the Independent and Paros in the Times which they say to visit now before it becomes ‘the next Mykonos.’
In the FT, Tim Hayward wanted his salt back.
In the Guardian, Grace Dent was at 64 Goodge St in London W1. She declared ‘I’ll return to 64 Goodge Street repeatedly. They’ll never make that postcode sound romantic, but they’ve already won my heart.’
David Ellis in the Standard was there too.
He said, ‘this is old-fashioned French stuff, plain and simple. It just happens to have been executed almost flawlessly. But he warned, ‘even without a full bottle or coffees, and just a single scoop of ice cream for pudding, the bill smartly skipped past the £200 mark. So I found my dream, I just can’t afford it. You can’t have it all.’ I’m still recovering from the bill for four at Quo Vadis last week but this is now on my list.
In the Observer, Jay Rayner went to Epicurus in London NW1 which was empty and he thought it deserved to be fuller.
In the Telegraph, William Sitwell went to the Gaff in Bath and thought it was ‘seriously top notch and stunning value.’
In the Times, Giles Coren was at J M Oriental in London NW9 for dim sum and ‘considered it to be good value for dim sum of this quality.’
Ottolenghi in the Guardian is using tins to make spicy mussels with coriander seeds, jackfruit and green bean pulao with garlicky cucumber yoghurt and a mango brûlée with lime and so is Eleanor Steafel in the Telegraph with warm beans with good tuna, sumac onions and olives.
Rachel Roddy on lamb with potato, tomato and breadcrumbs and Tim Dowling on seventeen recipes with blackberries both in the Guardian. They are practically finished here in London but we picked a whole lot in Hampshire yesterday before and after a walk so I am going to study this carefully for more ideas.
Summer fish pie with a kataifi crust by Ravinder Bhogal in the FT and she has recipes for spicy summer salads in the Guardian for summer vegetable salad with roasted peanut sauce, crab and mango rice noodle salad and pork larb nachos with pickled cabbage, avocado crema and tomato and tamarind salsa. The crab salad sounds particularly good.
Diana Henry with three restaurant dishes to make at home in the Telegraph including Café Cecilia’s hake, romero peppers and aioli, ( with chips from M and S pictured above,) and Zuni Café’s onion, saffron, tomato and black olive tarts and olive oil and dessert-wine cake with Muscat ice cream and nectarines.
Barbecue dishes in the Times from different food writers including Rukmini Iyer’s chipotle black bean burgers.
Joe Trivelli again in the Observer, as Nigel Slater must still be on his holidays, with recipes for agliolini with clams, courgettes, parsley and garlic, spelt, cucumber and chickpeas, grilled green peppers and sardines, and peaches in red wine
Summer berry recipes from Mark Hix in the Telegraph with Eton Mess, booze-free syllabub with berries and stem ginger with Peach Melba and a summer fruit cordial.
The Actually Delicious Air Fryer Cookbook by Poppy Cooks with an interview and recipes for stuffed chicken breasts, salmon en croute, beef and pork meatballs, roast potatoes and a cooked cheesecake in the Telegraph.
Budget Air-Fryer Cookbook by Jenny Tschiesche
with recipes for ham, leek and cheese bake, Baked goat’s cheese pots and Chinese-style pork meatballs in the Times.
The author describes the airfryer as ‘a mini fan oven that can heat up to 200C in a few seconds, cooks food very efficiently and costs a fraction of the price of a full-size oven to run.’ They’ve both encouraged me to use mine more.