When I first moved to the UK lots of people asked me if there was anything I would miss from California. I gave the obvious answers: family, friends, Californian zinfandel, sunshine. But it never even crossed my mind that there was something bound up in California’s identity that is nearly impossible to find in the UK: Mexican food.
So the next supper club will be at Follies on March 22 and, with enough support, I’m hoping to make it a five course vegetarian feast to ring in the spring equinox.
A few months ago I bought Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite on a whim; I saw a tweet from Leite’s Culinaria about this white bean purée piled high with beautiful purple radicchio and red onions and it looked good enough that I went straight onto Amazon and bought the cookbook. I have not been disappointed.
So this salad is just, like, incredible. Believe me, I needed convincing too because melon is at the top of my ‘don’t like’ list. Melon and cucumber are the two foods that I have not grown to like as I’ve reached adulthood. But somehow, in some magical, mysterious way, the honey dew in this recipe works. Maybe it’s the punchy cilantro or the fiery kick of jalapeño drawing the attention away from the paltry, watery sweetness of the melon. Or maybe it’s the tartness of the unripe green tomatoes that just seems to create such a harmonious bowl of food.
Light and fresh, crispy and vibrant, vegetable tempura is the perfect supper for a week night or a special weekend treat accompanied by spring onion pancakes (I use this recipe) or teriyaki tofu. The key to crispy, light tempura batter is ice cold sparkling water and mixing the batter at the very last moment before frying.
After my trip to California, I came back to England craving vegetables. Usually I would have been so packed full of vegetables after a trip home that I would come back here craving junk, but this was such a whistle-stop tour that there was very little eating at home and when we did it was what was quick and satisfying − cheese, bread and wine. So I came back wanting vegetables of all colors, all at once and right now! These tacos were the perfect antidote to a week of gout-inducing luxury.
Back in August of last year, we had a fabulous meal at Donostia in Marylebone, London. While we were there, we enjoyed the most amazing piece of Ibérico pork we had ever had. Playing second fiddle to the pork though, was an incredible romesco sauce. While I was at home in California, we barbecued a nice piece of halibut and for some reason the romesco sauce popped back into my head as the perfect accompaniment to the meaty Halibut.
Chili pastes are all the rage these days with the Asian varieties like sriracha taking the biscuit for most people. And I can’t disagree, sriracha has depth of flavor rather than just pure heat and makes the best. chicken. wings. ever. But stepping a bit further west to the Middle East, the condiments stashed at the back of Jerusalem are full of interest and intrigue and there’s more plenty of spice for chili lovers too.
As Christmas is less than two weeks away, A Crust Eaten will be getting in the Christmas spirit this week with some incredible edibles you can make to share or gift this holiday season. There are a couple of things I make each year, chocolate chip cookies and lemon curd come to mind, but this year I wanted to try something new.
I had a cold last week. And I don’t get sick. Like ever. So although you might expect the infrequency of illness to rouse some sympathy from the hungry belly party of this get-up (aka Rhys), it doesn’t. I still had to cook dinner. All week. Even though he had the week off and I had to work. And I was sick. Did I mention that I was sick?