Archive for the ‘Sunday reading’ Category

Sunday reading | 29.06.2014

29 June 2014

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London in June. There have already been more beautiful days of summer this month than I was ever led to believe were likely to occur here in an entire year. So let me mention two things I’ve learned these past few months: English weather is mild, pleasant, and no matter how much it rains the sun will come out at some point, if only for a minute, every day, usually at dusk. Also, no matter how relentlessly glorious all these lingering June days have been, somehow Londoners will still complain that it is sure to rain on the weekend.

One couldn’t hope for a prettier summer, and here are a few ways to celebrate:

I loved this post by the Wednesday Chef on roasting strawberries. I admit I am one of the uninitiated and have always been wary of cooked strawberries, but this has me convinced and I’ll be sure to buy a few too many overripe strawberries very soon to give it a try.

On the other hand who needs prodding to jump at anything that involves elderflower? Naturally this elderflower and coriander vodka by 101 Cookbooks has me swooning with envy.

I am the first to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of cookbooks; the sheer quantity of great-looking, amazing-sounding cookbooks, by people and restaurants I love. The list is dizzying, and the result is that I haven’t bought one in months. Part of me wants to pick up everything, the other is reminded of the many, little used tomes I have on my shelves. But once in while everything is just right, there is no question: here is a cookbook worth getting. Buvette, one of my favorite restaurants in New York, with beautiful photographs by Gentl and Hyers of Hungry Ghost Food and Travel. Can’t wait.

In the meantime I will, if I may, turn to one of my favorites, right here on Nettle & Quince. Rhubarb ice cream. Simple and spectacular.

Sunday reading | 19.01.2014

20 January 2014

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It’s the beginning of a new year and lists have popped up hither and thither. I love lists. And I hate lists. I have avoided publishing lists here because they are reductive and infuriating. For precisely the same reasons they’re also fun and addictive.

Here are my favorite new year’s roundups. But first, for all of us smug list denigrators, Ray Bradbury’s very different perspective on lists. Nothing to cackle at.

I’ve always loved Saveur magazine’s yearly Saveur 100. It’s usually a delectably random patchwork of food related topics and reading it is like taking a discombobulated road trip across a motley food world.

These 10 best upcoming restaurants selected by New York Magazine make me want to rush back to New York, especially the prospect of Wylie Dufresne’s Alder as I’ve been dreaming of those simpler dishes since he left 71 Clinton Fresh Foods.

And finally, because we all need a full 52 reasons to take a break and dream away the winter, 52 places to mentally tick off — already been, not really interested, oh why not?, and, definitely. The New York Times’ Places to go in 2014 is the quintessential list. Enraging not only for what it includes or leaves out, but because it is a crucial reminder of all the places we’d love to go, but… Yet every time it awakens the itch. For that alone it should be read.

Happy week everyone!

Sunday reading | 17.11.2013

17 November 2013

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Living in London hasn’t changed some things: Thanksgiving is approaching and, like every year, I am at once hugely looking forward and also dreading it a little. For many years we’ve hosted large parties for Thanksgiving, it is our favorite holiday. It’s also, of course, a lot of work. Being as I am, I like to cook the meal fully, I am not one for potlucks. But there invariably comes a time when everything seems to come crashing together — too many things, too little time. Thomas might tell you this happens every single time we have friends over for dinner, whether it is just one guest, or twenty five. He has a point. But that doesn’t help.

Having read many great reviews of Sam Sifton’s clever book Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well, I was anxious to soak in some of its wisdom, suffer a little hand-holding that might make this year’s preparations slightly more — um — relaxed. I enjoyed the book tremendously. It is fun and well written, full of good insights about the holiday. What to eat, what not to eat, how to set the table (and how not to), how to serve the food. Sifton’s style is at once light and unapologetically authoritative.

‘Thanksgiving is no place for irony. [...] We are going to cook Thanksgiving correctly. [...] It means there is going to be turkey [...]. There is going to be a proper dinner table [...]. There are going to be proper place settings for each person and glasses for water and wine. There are going to be candles. There will be dessert.’

But I didn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted, I realized, a timetable. What should I prepare in advance, when can I make the mashed celeriac? Will it sit for a while without becoming pasty and dry? I tend to leave everything to the very last minute, for fear of losing flavor. On Thanksgiving it’s a hard bargain. So Thanksgiving wasn’t all that helpful for actual logistics. I guess that would have been too practical; it would have tarnished its flavor.

On the other side of the Thanksgiving-reading spectrum lies Edward Behr’s minimalist column for Food52. It’s palate-cleansing like a shot of aquavit.

Somewhat related but not exactly are Yotam Ottolenghi’s celery recipes published in last week’s Guardian. I am firmly in Ottolenghi’s camp. Celery deserves to be treated as a proper vegetable and score the starring role. The recipes sound incredible and would sit very well on a Thanksgiving spread. Or would Sam Sifton approve?

Finally, for those unconcerned by Thanksgiving or in need of an escape from cranberries and pumpkin pie, this fascinating article about Venice caught my attention recently, as I perused the internet for interesting eating suggestions in view of a short weekend trip to La Serenissima next Friday to catch the tail end of the Biennale (!!!). Some things do change when you live in London…

Sunday hurricane reading | 28.10.2012

28 October 2012

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As New York shuts down completely bracing for an ominous storm with the weirdly frivolous name of a John Travolta love interest from the 1970s, there will be plenty of time for reading, cooking, and baking. Provided the kitchen is well stocked and electricity lasts.

As it turns out I haven’t gone shopping in three days but there are at least four pounds of butter in the fridge, and about as much sugar in the pantry. So to start, tonight I will begin making these, hoping the roof stays over our heads long enough to bake them in the morning. The gorgeous buns from this consistently beautiful blog looked very tempting when I first saw them six months ago. They are irresistible today.

But now I wish I had bought pork shoulder rather than steaks the other day because I’m in the mood for slow cooking, flavors melding, dark, and comforting, and the gathering clouds seem to be the perfect backdrop, if there ever was one, for stew.

To be honest I wasn’t craving a recipe for Cheez-its, and I’m still not sure whether I am planning to make these crackers, but they are so incredibly sweet looking, in a delicious not-really-scary-Halloween sort of way. I may brave the storm to buy some cheddar, just in case.

And once all the real baking and wishful cooking is done, I will re-read this essay by Michael Chabon. It’s worth it.

Later I may pick up a book. Stay safe.

Sunday reading, in print | 03.06.2012

3 June 2012

For a couple of years I practically stopped buying cookbooks. I felt I owned quite a few and wanted to get better acquainted with those before acquiring new ones. But recently the temptation has been too great, so I’ve ended the moratorium.

I am hugely excited by April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig, which I’d awaited impatiently since my first meal at The Spotted Pig quite some years ago. The book lives up to the high expectations. It’s lovely, design and photography wise; it’s personal, from the introduction to the headnotes and of course the recipes themselves. For a mouth-watering preview, check out Lottie + Doof’s timely rendition of the rhubarb fool with cardamom cream, as well as the Amateur Gourmet’s enthusiastic post about curry, which Adam unabashedly calls The Best Curry of Your Life, though, in the book, April simply calls it ‘My Curry.’

Recently, I really enjoyed Joe Beef chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan’s interview in Lucky Peach magazine, all the deadpan talk about the grueling and sometimes outright unsavory realities of restaurant life. Had I known about the restaurant when we were in Montréal last summer I would have loved to go, though admittedly, as with another long-coveted Montréal dining experience Au Pied de Cochon, I would probably not have made a reservation in time anyway. For now I have the inspiring cookbook. And I am plotting to go back and be better prepared.

Have I mentioned how much I like Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants? His beautiful recent cookbook includes the most beloved recipes — creamed spinach that is reason alone to go to Blaue Gans, the quark and paprika spread liptauer that should accompany every summer apéritif, gulash for the colder months… — but also unexpected stunners: ramp spaetzle! It is high time to acquire a spaetzle hobel.

And a happy surprise arrived right around my birthday a couple of months ago when my mother sent me Jennifer McLagan’s Odd Bits: How To Cook the Rest of the Animal. As the name clearly states, it’s all about cooking cheeks and tripe and brain and kidneys and such. Brilliant. Especially since a very real butcher recently opened very near us, one that receives entire carcasses and cuts them up right in front of you, tongue, head, trotters, and all. A truly accessible world of nose to tail eating lies ahead.

Happy Sunday!

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Related posts

Sunday reading | 15.04.2012

Sunday reading | 26.02.2012

Sunday reading | 12.02.2012


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