What a week of contrasting weather – from a wet, cold and windy first day of summer on 1 June when I actually put my central heating on, to a glorious couple of sunny days on Sunday and Monday. I do think the weather affects what we want to eat. Dull, grey and cold days require something comforting while sunny days call for bright joyous strawberries and the uniquely summery taste of fresh asparagus. Here’s how my week went:
Tuesday – A Reading Alternative
The Richmond Hill Reading Group plans their weekly meetings for a 3-month stretch. When we last had a planning meeting, it was decided that there was no point in setting a reading subject for the day after the May Bank Holiday as many people might be away. It was left that anyone around could always meet for a drink. Louise came up with an even better plan: to go to Le Salon Privé (on the site of the now closed restaurant Brula) for their Tuesday Steak Night. You get any steak for 50% off plus a small carafe of house wine. In the end 4 of us turned up and when we saw that the final bill was only £58 including tip, it really did seem like a good deal and a great way to spend a Tuesday evening – assuming there’s no book club, of course!
Wednesday – Stefano’s Croissants
I look after Freddie on Wednesday mornings while Lyndsey is at work, but as it was half term and she’s a teacher, she was home. However, Stefano’s croissants were calling to me from Your Bakery Whitton and also their excellent coffee so I met Lyndsey and Freddie there. Freddie gets so excited just at the sight of them being put on the table that he actually squeals with delight. You can just see his hand reaching out for one in the photo above. Owner and baker Stefano will say hello is he’s around and we tell him how much we love his croissants; simply the best I know. The bread is wonderful too so I bought a sourdough loaf on the way out.
Thursday – The Easy Route
The weather had been so bad all week, I actually caught a cold. In June! I felt rather sorry for myself and took the easy route for supper, taking some aubergine, tomato & pine nut ragù I made a week or so ago from the freezer. I ate it with some instant polenta I buy in Carluccio’s. I like to season it well with a big knob of butter, a generous grating of Parmesan, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Suppers don’t come much more comforting than this!
Friday – Tradition Rules
It was another easy freezer route to supper. If I’m in on a Friday evening I nearly always eat Bolognese ragù. I make it in bulk and freeze in single portions. It’s a big nostalgia hit for I’ve been making it for Friday nights since my kids were in their teens – and they’re now in their mid-thirties! I didn’t eat it with the Italian cook’s favourite accompaniment of tagliatelle but some orecchiette instead. Just because I had some. And because I love this pasta so much. I also buy orecchiette from Carluccio’s. I’ve tried a few makes and likes theirs best.
Saturday – Easy Bake
I decided to make some of the blueberry rock cakes I wrote about recently. It was my dear friend Jane’s birthday and I thought it would be nice to take some round to her when I delivered her card and present. I made a double batch so that some could go to Jane & Terry, another lot to Jonathan, Lyndsey & Freddie and there were a good number to take up to Nicola & Rachael on Sunday. After all that baking I took to the freezer again in the evening and brought out two of the smoked haddock fishcakes I made recently. They’re a great standby in the freezer.
I ate them with some tenderstem broccoli over which I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil and squeezed on some fresh lemon juice.
Sunday – Summer at last!
Is it only in England that the weather can change from 15C one day to 26C the next? It was glorious and I had a lovely trip out into the wilds of Worcestershire (well, they’re wild to this Londoner!) and a day with my daughter Nicola and her wife Rachael. I wrote about the lovely pub lunch we had at The Talbot at Knightwick.
Monday – A Summer Supper
It’s nice when people give you a foodie gift that inspires you to cook something a little bit more special – especially on a Monday evening.
I wrote about the lovely asparagus, salmon and strawberry supper yesterday – click here.