winter blues

We’re in the depths of winter in London and I’ve been eating. A lot. A lot a lot a lot. Cold weather and dark nights make me want to cook hearty meals, to be accompanied by a large glass or two of red wine. It’s one of my favourite seasons, and is the perfect excuse to stay home on a Saturday and watch Hugh grant films back to back. Yes, I do that, no, I’m not ashamed. This Saturday it’s Colin firths turn!

Anyway, this meal was inspired by the cold, and is a doddle to pull together once the ham hock is cooked. Struggling for Sunday lunch inspiration? This is your guy, promise.

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the yolk broke

isn’t the english language great. ‘the yolk broke'; reading those words, you’d never conceive that they’d rhyme. say them out loud though and hey, they rhyme! absolutely amazing.

as well as rhyming, those words are also true. my yolk did broke. it got a puncture and it leaked, which never makes for the prettiest photo, but in terms of taste, if your yolk do broke, don’t worry, your teeth were going to do that anyway….

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chorizo

chorizo is amazing. cooking it makes me happy; i love seeing the oil seep out of the sausage because in my head i’m thinking of the different ways i can mop it up! pea rissotos, salads, pizzas, potatoes; is there anything that the slightly sweet, spicy warmth of the chorizo sausage cannot improve? even scrambled eggs become a dream when tossed with  a few rounds of chorizo and sprinkled with some parsley.

anyway, i digress. make this beetroot and chorizo dish and be happy because it’s brilliant and colourful and amazing.

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hummus

moving to brixton was one of the most sensible things i’ve ever done. my bank account and my tastebuds alike are thanking me for making such a frugal and tasty move. every day fruit and vegetable traders get up at the crack of dawn to sell seasonal produce at incredible prices; i can’t see it ever getting boring. last week i could get hold of watermelons but this week i’ve not seen any, such is the changing nature of the produce available.

as well as all the fresh food there is an abundance of delis and shops selling spices, herbs and grains from all corners of the world. tahini, labneh and ras-el-hanout line up alongside halva, chipotle, masa harina and bulging bags of semolina, rice and corn meal. moroccan, middle eastern, african and latin cuisines meet and fuse and love each other in a way i’ve never ever seen before and it’s both brilliant and inspiring.

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ricotta pancakes

working evenings frees up a lot of time that you never realise exists whilst working the 9 to 5 shift. to cope with this, seemingly endless, amount of time, i’ve given up breakfast and have started having brunch. brunch is a big breakfast eaten at not quite lunch and brunch allows you to lie-in. brunch feels far more decadent than both breakfast and lunch because of that elusive thing; time. i’ve recently been luxuriating over piles of pancakes, mushrooms on toast, and sweetcorn fritters. poached eggs have even made an appearance alongside a home made hollandaise sauce. these are the things brunch is made of and i’m going to be really sad when me and brunch are no longer daily companions; not least because photographing recipes is so much easier in the daylight which, here in England, we are lacking of late as the days close in and get slowly colder and colder.

with this in mind, i did the obvious thing and chose a completely out of season fruit to accompany my pancakes this morning. my local market had strawberries and, trying to forget about the drizzle coming down around me, i bought a punnet and vowed to create summer in my kitchen. what really happened was neither summer nor winter, it was, aptly, autumn. ricotta pancakes crowned with summer strawberries but bought substance and warmth by a brown sugar salted caramel and some toasted flaked almonds. if i were making these in real summer i’d add some lemon zest and vanilla to the pancake batter and serve with the strawberries and some light honey. come deepest, darkest winter, some cinnamon and baked apples would make this brunch a warm hug on a cold morning.

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mushrooms on toast

mushrooms on toast are an eternal favourite of mine. not the creamed, tinned kind that my mum says she used to live off  (i am doubtful of whether those tins contained any mushrooms at all!) but instead, fresh, wild mushrooms sauteed and served pretty simply, sitting atop of a pile of toast that is a willing sponge for all those lovely buttery juices. that’s what i’m talking about, man. they make the best saturday brunch and take all of 10 minutes to pull together; maybe 15 if you burn the toast as i did, but you get the picture. as always, i’m keeping it simple, because who wants to think about much more than tea and tv on a lazy saturday morning.

 

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pork

it’s sunday; hangover and slow roast meat day. my brother has been staying with me this weekend; providing me with many a laugh and many a cup of tea as i recover from the excesses of last night, though saying that, perhaps i should be the one making the tea as he rolled in this morning at 5:30am, beating me by at least 3 hours!

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