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This week's seasonal recommendation

 

What to cook this week?

Sun, 12 March, 2017

Food science is the best kind of science for me; in fact the ONLY kind - let's be honest. Did you know that if you hold your nose you won't be able to tell if you're biting into an onion or an apple? I'm out of onions - the only reason I've not put it to the test yet.

Eating is a multi-sensory experience which the apple-onion fact is the proof of, as explained and supported by weird food facts in a soon coming book by Charles Spence, 'Gastrophysics'. I knew that. But still it's going to be a must read. And by the way, apparently you can't tell red wine from cold coffee, either, without the sense of smell.

It will be then fitting to cook some smelly - in the nicest possible way - foods this week. If you're going to do the apple/onion test, you might as well chop up both and add them to this tasty loaf, apple and onion bread, wholegrain and packed with seeds it is too. A very healthy loaf - and the smell of fresh bread is deservedly appreciated, not just by estate agents. Or make the bacon, apple and cheese muffins - as a friend of mine says, the smell of bacon is the best aromatherapy.

Cooking with oriental spices guarantees olfactory bliss, even if you're cooking fish. But then really fresh fish should not smell at all. The bottom line is the steamed fish in a wok, with garlic, ginger, sesame and coriander. If steaming is not your favourite option, try the spiced monkfish: a very lightly curried dish which provides a lovely waft, instead of full-on curry pong. There's a thought: maybe I should try curries holding my nose?

Wild mushrooms - that's one of the best smells, and apparently sun dried ones are even more nutritionally valuable as a source of vitamin D. Get hold of some dried porcini and make the lentil and mushrooms dish - lentils don't smell particularly nice but the mushrooms will balance that out. Or throw them in with some pasta - just reconstitute the dried ones by soaking them in hot water, as explained here.

Finally - cakes, since what smells better than a cake baking in the oven? Chocolate cakes are always a good idea, and the chocolate pound cake can in fact double up as a breakfast cake. Or maybe - just maybe - it's time already for the first batch of hot cross buns? With the stickiest, messiest, nicest glaze in the world!

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