As some of you may have also noticed, fermentation has become more and more popular of late. For example, the book that kept coming up on my social media feeds over Christmas was The Noma Guide to Fermentation. It is a wonderful and beautiful book. It was also a welcome present for me. But, it is K that is the fermenter in our household. At the moment, she has a big jar of kombucha on the go, and, is about to preserve some lemons. But, it is her sourdough starter – called ‘Diego’ – that has been providing us with deliciousness over the festive period. She has been making bread on a daily basis, and, from a standing start has produced wonderful loaves of white or rye or both. The photos below are in order of what she has made, and, as you can see there is the hand of an artist at play. It should encourage others to give it a go. K recommends you check out the Larousse Book of Bread.
Here, it is the time of year for salads and seafood. After my short trip north, I came home and craved fish and prawns. In the week afterwards, I ate a lot of sushi and even made a prawn cocktail, crunched up somewhat by the presence of Asian fried shallots. Those shallots, which you can buy in any good supermarket, are absolute winners in my eyes. They keep well, don’t go off, and add a certain something to all kinds of things from stir-fries to hotdogs to tacos. I love them to bits. Given it is summer, seafood and salad dominates the menu, but it is also a chance to roast meat if you have a house that can keep cool. Part of this is the festive season and getting together with friends, where you want something simple and delicious; part of it is determined by tradition. It has been tradition in my family for a little while now that I will bring a ham to Christmas lunch, where we gather at my father’s brother’s house. And, in the evening, for mum’s side of the family, we often have a roast chicken. What follows are some ideas for these two meats, nothing fancy, but something that might be easy to do a week out from the big day.
1. Maple, smoky paprika, whiskey – use the proportions of each that taste good to you. Simmer it a little to thicken it up before you baste your meat and stud with cloves.
2. Apricot jam, sherry, preserved lemon – a little sweet and sour tang in this one because of the preserved lemon. This one is better if you mix it straight rather than simmer to thickness. If you are so inclined you can place slices of fresh apricot on top afterwards
3. Orange, miso, ginger – for this you need the zest and the juice of an orange or two. Boil it up with ginger that is a paste (even a little tube from the veggie section at the supermarket) and maybe a tablespoon of brown sugar. I do love this one, for a bit of different flavour.
1. Paprika, cumin, coriander powders, salt – all in equal proportions and a dry rub on top.
2. Yoghurt, turmeric, paste of ginger and garlic, chilli, salt – a wet mix that you rub into the bird and leave for an hour.
3. Anchovy, lemon zest, green olives, capers, salt – blitz this, stuff it under the skin, drizzle in olive oil. Just beautiful. Also goes well with lamb.
As for stuffing, brown rice, cashews, mint, parsley, dried fruit. Have a good one, stay safe, and see you on the other side.