Saturday, December 6, 2008

recipes for dan's mother

to say that this menu is a pain would be an understatement. the real problem lies in the delivery process. the last time we had attempted a menu like this was last year and the sad fact is that age must be destroying memory faster than i'd imagined. on thursday we tried a new way with the dauphinoise, big mistake. yesterday we remembered how we had prepared them but it was too quiet to get a good test, so we'll have the big test tonight.

anyway dan was in last night and wanted the parsnip and sprout recipe. as the rugby is yet to start, here they are.

creamed parsnip (courtesy of basil's brasserie, where tony once worked and at which i regularly ate) 

parsnips cooked in salted water, mashed or blitzed.
cream orcreme fraiche (my favourite)
lemon juice if cream
salt and pepper.

mix and season to taste.

sprout pangrattata

sprout, sliced thinly and blanched in boiling, salted water.

pangrattata: you will need olive oil, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, garlic (quite alot) and parsley.

put lots of olive oil in a pan and heat, add the garlic and sweat, you can colour it a little. add the breadcrumbs and toast in the oil. when they are crispy add the lemon zest and parsley. add to the sprouts in the proportions that you like.

sorry to dan's mother if you didn't want this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

callas-di stefano

driving home last saturday i listened to a 1955 recording of lucia di lammermoor by donizetti. it was conducted by von karajan and starred mariad callas and giuseppe di stefano in the roles of lucia and edgardo. it got me thinking about the role that chance pays in your life. (i'm reading soem pop-physics at the moment about shrodinger's kittens) i never imagined that opera would ever play a part in my life, neither cooking. however many years ago, as a student, i was lucky enough to go to poland whilst it was still a communist country (if only in name). whilst there we were taken to see la traviata at the polis state opera. my most vivid memory is of how clear the voices were, even though we were sat what seemed to be miles away. it was good but i got away. i slipped further from the hook a few years later when i had the mis-fortune to see salome by strauss in vancouver (i was still a student). i've never returned to this opera, not sure i ever will. then a couple of years later and still a student, i was living in bristol. in return for some babysitting i was taken to the opera (wno la boheme) and i found that i was still dangling. it was callas and di stefano who finally landed me. totally skint and unable to go out on a saturday i took to staying in and listening to the world opera series on classic fm. the first opera, lucia di lammermoor. this was opera as it should be, exciting, visceral. the singing appears to be for the consumer rather than for art's sake. there should reall be no contradiction but if one believes the critics, there is. we, the consumers, have crass taste, preferring the high cs and es over the finer points of the score. one tenor who suffered for this was franco corelli, a massive tenor who gave the crowds what they wanted and upset the critics. anyway back to 1955. after listening once, i listened again and again. i would say that most of my opera collection is live from this era. a ballo in maschera (callas and di stefano again) is also a must listen.if it wasn't for small events i would have different memories, maybe in another universe another me is writing about those memories now. i wonder if he is cooking. anyway where i'm going with this is that the reason that we are doing what we are is for the consumer. please let us knowwhat you think, i don't want to start getting it wrong now.