Nigel Slaters Real Food by Nigel SlaterNigel Slaters Real Food was originally published in 1998 and accompanied the television series of that name at that time. I have just discovered it, the book. Ive bought the older, 1998 hardback edition (it was republished in 2014) second-hand online via an Amazon seller for the grand price of ?0.01 before postage. What a find! What a bargain! The book is pristine, looks unread, and may even have been unloved by some fast food addict, but I only had to flick through the pages, then delve a little deeper into the commencing Potato section to go into a state of calory-craving salivating frenzy. Potato and Smoked Mackerel Dauphinoise. I can do that. I could do the others too. Thats what I like about Nigel Slater, his recipes are doable. At least, thats one of the things I like about him.
Another thing I like about Nigel Slater is that he is an entertaining wordsmith. His cookery books are worth reading even if you never try one of the recipes. He begins:
When I say butter, I mean unsalted, when I say salt, I mean Maldon sea salt; and when I say sugar, I mean the golden unrefined stuff from Mauritius. Pepper is ground from a mill as I need it and not, absolutely not, bought ready-ground. Oh, and when I refer to a grill pan, I mean one of those heavy ridged, cast-iron grill pans that sits on the hob...
Nigel would be proud of me, I have ticked all those boxes before even opening his book. Could I be the next Nigel in the kitchen. A Nigella? Hardly likely, but I can aspire to it and with this book there is a chance of it.
He lures, entices, seduces with words of food.
[about potatoes] ...Perhaps it is the pleasure I get from squashing a naked, virginal steamed potato into the gravy of a lamb casserole, or that moment when the creamed potato topping of a shepherds pie—at first crisp and furrrowed, then underneath smooth and soothing—hits my tongue. Maybe it is hearing the salty rustle of the thinnest frites round a sizzling and bloody steak. Or could it be that second when I smash open a baked potato with my fist (the only way to ensure a truly fluffed spud) and its solid white flesh turns to hot snow?
There are plenty of recipes for vegetarians to enjoy and although I havent quite gone over to the other side, my meat mostly comprises of fish and chicken, more fish than chicken. Im edging towards being a piscatarian.
The book is divided into sections:
Clearly, this is seriously real food. Although there isnt a fish section, which is a little disappointing, there is a place for plaice and if you go to the index at the back, youll find a number of fish dishes there, e.g. Baked Plaice with Parmesan Crumbs comes under the Cheese section.
By the way, full page colour photographs accompany recipes so you are not left, as some cookery books leave us, wondering if the ensuing disaster on the plate is how it should have turned out.
In Real Food, half a dozen or so recipes are not Nigel Slaters inventions and that is made clear but they deserve to be part of the book.
Nigel Slater’s mushroom and spinach korma
The hardest thing is eating out. Vegetarians get a rough deal here unless they dine at specifically vegetarian restaurants which is tricky to do when you are mainly friends with meat eaters. All too often restaurants offer very limited options for vegetarians and the lack of originality is astounding. Soup is also popular as restaurants try to kill two birds with one stone by making the obligatory soup option also the vegetarian one. I bought some mushrooms for dinner in the week without a plan.
T he snow that made the garden such a magical sight last winter is still nowhere to be seen. The mild temperatures have already encouraged young growth on the raspberry canes, roses and even the chard, so I have been out with the pruning sheers, working till my fingers can take no more. The crisp remains of last year's runner beans have been yanked out; the soggy nasturtiums are on the compost and, at last, the barbed and trailing stems of the loganberries have been pruned and tied back into some sort of order. Any outside work at this time of year leaves me numb with cold. There are gashes along my arms from tugging out blackberries and pruning the wine berry plants that did so well.
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Spinach and Mushroom Pie
December 30, 8 Comments. After some investigations online, I came up with something a little different: a stand-alone rectangular pie made with two sheets of puff pastry encasing thyme-y mushrooms and onions. Ohhhh I am so glad I just stuck to the recipe for this one. In a large pan over low heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the onions are completely soft. Add the mushrooms and bring the heat up to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes more, until the onions are cooked through.
Put g of sushi rice in a medium-sized saucepan and pour ml of warm water over it. Set aside for 30 minutes. Bring to the boil; lower the heat to a simmer and cover with a tight lid. Cook for 12 minutes; remove from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Using a food processor, make a paste of 75g of salted peanuts, g of young spinach leaves, 50g 2 tbsp of Thai red curry paste and ml of groundnut oil.