The Tabernacle at Notting Hill plays host to a Spanish treat of food, wine and fun featuring Elisabeth Luard in conversation with Bee Wilson. See below for tickets and details….
Polpettini – little Italian Meatballs
These are the best and most delicious little meatballs ever. An easy and tasty supper for a family of four, they are popular with everyone in my house.
The recipe is from the original Nigel Slater recipe in his marvellous The Kitchen Diaries, but I removed the breadcrumbs and flour for my Gluten Intolerance Cookery Classes.
These are nice served with some rice and some greens such as broccoli or wilted spinach. You could also serve them with noodles and tomato sauce.
- 500g fresh pork mince
- grated rind and juice of one lemon
- one small bunch flat leaf parsley, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 large tablespoons of grated Parmesan
- 10 chopped anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tbs Olive oil
- 200ml chicken stock (optional, see note)
- Prepared the ingredients and then mix together in a food processor
- Blitz until well mixed then remove from the bowl
- Make about 18 little meatballs, using about a heaped teaspoon for each one
- Warm the olive oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs.
- Fry until on all sides, for around four minutes until golden on all sides, then lower heat for a further six to eight minutes to ensure the middles are cooked
- Tip any excess fat from the pan then add the chicken stock and allow to bubble down for a few minutes until nicely reduced.
Note: If you don’t have any stock to hand, you can omit this bit and serve with just some nice olive oil drizzled over, or with some fresh tomato sauce
You’ll never buy a pizza again after trying this fantastically easy recipe. If you have never made your own pizza, it doesn’t get easier than this. The only thing to remember is to have a really hot, pre-heated oven, and strong bread flour rather than normal flour. I have also taught pizza making in coeliac cooking classes which were very popular. We used Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Bread Flour http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/biscuits-and-cookies/gluten-free/gluten-free-white-bread-flour-x-1kg/
You can use a flat baking sheet, but I use these pizza bases from Lakeland. They are a good investment if you want to make pizza on a regular basis.<
Both my sons agree that this is a very tasty pizza and well worth the small amount of effort!
For 2 x 33cm/13 inch diameter pizzas
For the base
- 300g strong white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 200ml warm water
Basic margherita topping
- 4 Tablespoons of tomato puree
- 125g mozzarella
- 3-4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2-3 Tablespoons grated cheddar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 240C/220C for fan or Gas 8. Make sure you do this well in advance so that oven is really hot when you are ready to bake
- Place the flour in a bowl with the yeast and salt and mix well
- Add the oil and warm water and mix to a sticky ball
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes
- Divide the dough in two and roll and stretch each out into a 33cm/13 inch or so round shape. You will find the dough quite tough to work with so exercise patience and a bit of elbow grease and you’ll get there.
- Place the rounds onto baking sheets or pizza crispers
- Spread the tomato puree evenly over both bases
- Drain and pat the mozzarella with kitchen towel to dry as much as possible. Tear into little pieces and scatter evenly over the pizza bases.
- Sprinkle over the cheddar and Parmesan and cook for 8-10 minutes until base is crispy
From this base you can add any toppings you like, such as extra grated cheddar, pepperoni, fresh tomatoes etc. If you only want to cook one pizza you can store the other rolled out pizza in the fridge for a day until ready to use, or you can wrap the dough before it is rolled and freeze until ready to use. It will defrost in an hour, so ready to use when you need it.
NOTE: If you have a bit more time, you can leave the dough to rise for an hour before knocking back and rolling out. This will give a lighter base.
Miraculously it didn’t rain during the weekend of the Abergavenny Food Festival. This was just as well for the Bloggers Breakfast attendees, as we assembled in the open air on Sunday morning in the Linda Vista Gardens. This was an informal gathering hosted by Kavey who writes the http://www.kaveyeats.com blog. Food Bloggers are a friendly crowd, liking nothing more than to meet and chat about food to other enthusiasts. As food festivals grow in popularity, the Abergavenny Festival is considered one of the friendliest and best by foodie festival enthusiasts. Over a bowl of Rude Health muesli, I also met food blogger Jann, http://eatingwales.com who mentioned her recent recipe for Spiced Parsnip Soup. This bought back an instant memory of the first time I tasted the original Jane Grigson recipe for Curried Parsnip Soup from her excellent Vegetable Book. The book was first published in 1978 and things have changed a lot in the intervening years. The use of the word “curried” to describe a dish is definitely a no-no these days. Describing something as spiced, hints at using a special blend, rather than a generic curry powder, and thus an intriguing depth of flavour. The Grigson recipe uses beef stock which would not be used today for a vegetable soup, and flour which I consider unnecessary.
However the recipe was rather racy for it’s day and delivered on flavour and fun.
It was deemed a suitable dish to serve to a choir of monks who had given a concert in St Woolos Cathedral in Newport. No one had turned the heating on and it was a bitterly cold winter night. The monks sang, we shivered and then we headed off to the outskirts of Newport for the Curried Parsnip Soup supper. It was probably down to the extreme cold but everyone was in high spirits, and vast quantities of wine were consumed, especially by the monks. I didn’t know what to expect, but the monks were highly entertaining; I remember a lot of hilarity and saucy jokes. After supper, as we stood outside in the midnight air waving goodbye to the monks, it stuck me as all fairly surreal. It turns out to have been an unforgettable evening as the thought of Parsnip Soup, curried or spiced, transports me straight back to that evening.
Here is my updated version which is ideal for the Autumn nights closing in:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground tumeric
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
- 300ml good quality vegetable stock
- juice of half a lemon
- Salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220C Fan 200 or Gas 7
- In a roasting tin combine the oil and spices
- Add the chopped onion and parsnips and mix well
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked.
- Remove from the oven and put into a food processor or liquidiser with half the stock and blitz until smooth.
- Add the rest of the stock slowly until you have the consistency you like
- Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper
- Put into a saucepan to reheat if necessary, check for seasoning and serve as it is or with any of the suggestions below.
The soup is great as it is with some lovely crusty bread for a family lunch or supper, but if you’d like to tart up the presentation you could add some dry roasted cumin seeds to scatter on the top just before serving. Crispy fried onions are also nice with a dollop of crème fraiche, or a little double cream swirled on top of the soup with some chopped chives or chopped flat parsley also looks good.
If you don’t have an array of different spices in your cupboard, these days you can buy good mixes such as Bart’s Mild Korma Blend. Use two-three teaspoons of this instead of the suggested spices above. Remember to check the sell-by dates of spices regularly as the quality and aromatic qualities diminish over time.
When getting together for a family party, there was no room at the inn for me and my husband, and Chester the dog. A google search for “boutique, dog friendly B&B, Cardigan” found us the newly opened Oriel Milgi http://www.orielmilgi.co.uk/ in the tiny village of St Dogmaels. Home of the ruined St Dogmaels Abbey, the village has one of the last working water mills in Wales, Y Felin Mill which produces fabulous bread and flours.
I always stop by and pick up some of their wholemeal rolls to fill with local crab bought from Mandy, the local fisherman’s wife, who is two doors down from Oriel Migli. I use their wholemeal flour to make soda bread, but you can buy a handy soda bread mix, which is ideal for holiday cooking.
Since St Dogmaels is near to the popular Poppit Sands, we were able to get up early and walk the dog on the beach to work up an appetite before returning to Oriel Milgi for one of their special cooked, and locally-sourced breakfasts. When we were there their daily special was scrambled eggs with smoked sewin, which was a revelation. There are plenty of walks and activities in the area, and Helen and Anne are keen to recommend the best place to eat. The bed was the most comfortable we have ever slept in and the furnishings and restoration of the house are impeccable.
I can’t recommend the place highly enough; Helen and Anne made the three of us very welcome and nothing was too much trouble. It is the kind of place you desperately try to find an excuse to return to. We even enjoyed walking on the beach in the rain…
WELSH FOODALOUGUE 2012
There were yet more food treats to discover discovered on our August trip to Ceredigion. We always find an excuse to stop at the welcoming Wright’s Food Emporium in Nantgaredig
http://www.wrightsfood.co.uk/ where they serve great coffee, fantastic food and sell all kinds of delicious things. We topped up our wine carafes from the barrels they have and had a fantastic breakfast of grilled halloumi and heirloom tomatoes. If you time it right you might be lucky enough to sample one of their freshly baked Portugese custard tarts. These are heavenly and we once came away with a whole tray to share with the family; they didn’t last long as they are impossible to resist.
This time we left with some amazing Welsh Haloumi, made by Cothi Valley Farms in Talley, Llandeilo http://www.cothivalley.co.uk. Their produce is available at most of the farmers market in the region so we were able to pick up some more while we were there. I made a great dish of Harissa Lentils with Grilled Welsh Haloumi which is, as all my recipes, the tastiest and easiest dish to achieve.
It doesn’t really need a recipe, but it is basically chopped onion, sweated until soft, along with finely chopped celery and carrot. When soft, stir in a couple of teaspoons of Harissa, lots of chopped flat parsley and a packet of already cooked Puy Lentils. Drizzle with some fruity olive oil and top with freshly grilled haloumi.
I have never before made a Key Lime Pie, but after my sister Felicity made a gorgeous one for a family party I had to have a go! This very popular party dish is named after the fabulous small key limes native to the Florida Keys. Key Limes are apparently tarter and more aromatic than the limes we get in the UK. There are many recipes, some using a baked crust and baked filling and others, like this one, using chilled biscuit crumbs and filling. I was sceptical about the mixture of cream, condensed milk and lime juice setting enough, but somehow during mixing a reaction occurs between the acidic lime juice and condensed milk which causes it to thicken magically. It might not be the most authentic version, which includes egg yolks, but it is certainly the easiest and it is so tasty that I think it is permissible to swap authenticity for ease and taste.
I used gluten free digestive biscuits to make this suitable for people with wheat intolerance, but you can swap regular digestives for these.
Since writing this a fabulous version with ginger by star baker Ryan has appeared on The Great British Bake Off. His was a baked version and I am going to try and get my hands on that recipe as Mary Berry was so impressed with it. However, sticking to my rule of easy and stylish and most of all tasty, my recipe certainly fits the bill.
You will need a 23cm/9 inch fluted, loose bottomed flan tin. Mine is 4cm/1.5 inches deep.
- 250g gluten free or regular digestive biscuits
- 100g slightly salted butter, melted
- 1 x 397g can condensed milk
- finely grated zest and juice of 5 large limes
- 300ml carton double cream
- Melt the butter in a small pan and finely crush the biscuits
- Mix the melted butter and biscuits together and press carefully and evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the flan tin
- Put in fridge to chill for at least 10 minutes
- In the meantime wash and dry the limes and grate the zest finely. Juice the limes
- Combine the condensed milk and double cream in a bowl and whisk together
- Add the lime zest and juice and whisk until the mixture has thickened.
- Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and return to fridge to set for at least two hours.
- When ready to serve carefully remove from the flan tin, place on a serving plate and decorate with lime slices