It’s quite fun to do this occasional series and look back on my week in food. Or at least it is for this food blogger who has to confess she spends a lot of time thinking about where to eat or what to cook. It’s been another week of family favourites and also going back to a Thai restaurant I hadn’t been to for a time. Here’s how it went:
Saturday – Sunny Moussaka
Last Saturday was actually quite sunny but of a cool English springtime kind; the sun I was thinking of was in beautiful Greece, blazing from a cloudless azure blue sky, and sitting by the edge of the Ionian Sea with a plate of moussaka. Moussaka is one of my family’s favourite dishes and I’ve been using Claudia Roden’s recipe in her A Book of Middle Eastern Food, first published way back in 1968 (click here for recipe), for many years. When I make a big one for the family, I’ve recently taken to making a couple of small, individual ones at the same time, layering it all up in a small dish, and then freezing. It’s such a treat to be able to lift one out of the freezer on another day, let it defrost and then bake for the easiest of suppers.
Sunday – Lunch at Corto Deli
Jonathan was away on the ski slopes and so Lyndsey, Freddie and I headed off for a treat of our own – lunch at Corto Deli. I’ve written about it many times; it’s one of our very favourite places, from morning coffee where you’ll be served a very authentic Italian cappuccino (no US or Australian influences here); lunchtime salads, focaccia or ciabatta sandwiches or perhaps one of Romina and Marco’s home-cooked hot dishes like lasagna or melanzane parmigiana. We ordered Freddie a child’s portion of pasta with tomato sauce, which he loves, while Lyndsey and I chose to share one of the big antipasti plates, all the meats and cheeses cut freshly straight onto the large wooden board. There were bruschette, little treats of bresaola wrapped round fresh asparagus, and a basket of breads. We finished with home-made cake (they make the most gorgeous cakes) and coffee.
Monday – Aubergine & Tomato Pasta Sauce
I make this sauce quite often, usually freezing a portion for another day. I sometimes serve it with polenta (click here) but on Monday ate it with pasta. I made it early in the day because on Mondays I pick Freddie up from nursery in the afternoon and I decided to be organised and have something ready to warm up for supper when I got home.
Tuesday – A Surprise Visit
I was due to visit my daughter Nicola in Worcestershire this weekend but because the installation of their new kitchen was behind schedule, and would be only at the ripped out stage with not much chance of cooking going on, Nicola suggested coming down to London to visit me instead. It was a nice surprise to have her for Tuesday evening and we decided to walk down Twickenham high street to Masaniello in Church Street for a meal. Another favourite haunt, regular readers will remember I go there a lot! We shared some starters and then both chose paccheri (short, fat pasta tubes) with a seafood sauce for our main dish. It was gorgeous!
Wednesday – Thai Day
When I meet up with my friend Tina it’s usually in Guildford. She lives to the south of the town and I come from the north. It’s not exactly halfway but it’s the best place to meet, a lovely town and plenty of places to eat. She introduced me to Rumwong a few years back and we hadn’t been there for a time. I like Thai food but rarely cook it myself so it’s a treat to go to a good Thai restaurant.
Thursday – An Italian Day
When I look after Freddie on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, we always go to Your Bakery Whitton (less than 5 minutes from their house) for our morning elevenses … although generally because of my very early start it’s nearer 9! Foodwise, the bakery is one of the best things in my life. Stefano did his pastry chef training in Switzerland and so while there’s an Italian base, there’s a touch of French coming in too, especially with his pastries. The croissants are the best I know anywhere and are certainly more French than Italian; my flat white of course has an Antipodean background and is very good indeed. Freddie and I shared the croissant and he had a babyccino. Then it was time for the park! I buy my bread at the bakery, the cakes are glorious and at weekends there are invariably some extra treats to tempt you.
Still in Italian mode I made a mushroom risotto for my supper. I always use chestnut mushrooms for the nutty flavour; sometimes I actually add real chestnuts (click here). What I often like to do is add some dried mushrooms, soaking them for a while (at least 20 minutes) before cooking, and using the soaking liquid as a stock. I love cooking risottos. They’re the ultimate sophisticated comfort food but also I find it so relaxing to gently stir, adding stock slowly and doing it all properly. It’s a great way to wind down at the end of the day.
Friday – Bolognese Night
Well after my post earlier in the week about Mary Berry and the great Bolognese debate, I had to eat some Bolognese myself! Actually, when home on a Friday night, either alone or with company, it’s almost always Bolognese on the menu (click here). It’s a nostalgic hang-over from when I always made Bolognese on Fridays once my kids had hit their teens and were going out on a Friday evening. They could eat some early before they went out, leaving their parents to eat at a more sociable and less hurried hour later on; the ragù only had to be reheated. I had a portion of my ragù in the freezer last Friday night, so I only had to defrost and heat, but I bought some tagliatelle in the morning so I could eat it in Italian style with their preferred pasta!