November is raining and blowing full steam – or rather full drizzle – ahead and days are getting pathetically short. Having to turn the light on not just when you sit down to dinner, but to start cooking it poses all sorts of problems for a blogger. The light is all wrong. You want to eat the food when it’s hot, not after some ponce has faffed around taking pictures of it. You fancy eating the kind of mushy, gooey foods that are about as photogenic as landfill. And actually, you seriously consider jacking in the cooking and getting a takeout because you’d rather semi-hibernate while watching ‘Howard’s End’.
Which hopefully will be the telly equivalent of potato and leek soup: old school, comforting and round, but timelessly right on. And not much effort involved in cooking a big pot of soup – big enough, in fact to last the whole week in freezer portions. So that’s my job done this week!
Joking, joking – more to come. A vegetable gratin can be as good as soup and I was happy to see great Yotam Ottolenghi confirm my claim that a winter veg dish can be a meal in itself. Get some of those unloved Jerusalem artichokes, which neither from Jerusalem nor the artichoke family hail, and turn them into creamed Jerusalem artichoke dish.
As we’re approaching the season of tasteless tomatoes, at least in my neck of woods, there’s nothing else to do but stuff them. Go for the baked tomatoes with herby breadcrumbs; skip the anchovies for a vegetarian version.
If it’s meat, it should be game; in season, not too expensive and arguably the most humane meat source. We’re not talking grouse of course when saying not expensive, but if you want a special treat, here’s roast grouse with game chips recipe. For the rest of us partridge or pigeon will do – both easy to cook when filleted. Here’s the recipe for partridge breast with grilled peppers and here’s my pan fried pigeon fillet – don’t omit the pomegranate, it makes the pigeon sing. Ahem.
The side dish will have to be mushrooms, creamy wild mushrooms to be precise: fresh if you can get them, dried and regenerated in boiling water if you can’t.
And the dessert might be the super easy cinnamon swirl marble cake – which is one of those good cakes that can be eaten for breakfast. If you manage to emerge from the cave in the dark of the morning. Happy hibernation.…