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September 2011 COTM Companion Thread: Nigel Slater

Here we can discuss recipes in other books by Nigel Slater. They are:

The Marie Claire Cookbook
Real Fast Food
Real Fast Puddings
The 30-Minute Chef
Real Food
Real Cooking

Happy Cooking!

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  1. Thanks so much, Greedygirl. Real Fast Food will be my alternate this month. Lots of yummy food.

    1. Baked Cod with Butter Sauce, Pg. 69, Real Fast Food

      Butter, wine, thick fresh fish fillets (2 for 2 people)...what's not to like?

      Butter is smeared on the inside of a baking dish, the fillets are placed in the dish, a wine glass (4 oz.) of white wine is poured over, dot a little more butter on the fish, roast about 10 minutes or more till opaque. Baste a few times during the cooking. Turn off the oven and remove the fish from the baking dish.

      Pour off the liquid in the baking dish into a small sauce pan. Return the fish to oven to keep warm. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup and whisk in a bit more butter along with chopped parsley. .Continue whisking till sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Plate fish, pour sauce over each and serve.
      Seriously delicious...

      1. Potatoes with Onions and Olive Oil, Pg 175, Real Fast Food

        For this recipe I used fresh potatoes new potatoes about about the size of an apple. We steamed them in their skins instead of boiling and left the skins on. When cooked to your satisfaction drain and slice into small chunks.

        In a shallow pan heat some EVOO and fry chopped large cloves of garlic and a chopped onion till onion is translucent. Add chopped parsley and S & P. Add the potatoes and carefully toss over low heat to combine. When oil starts to bubble turn off heat and serve. This is the essence of RFF... after the potatoes cooked I think the rest of the recipe took about 15 minutes...maybe. Great side dish...!

        1. Stir-Fried Cabbage, Pg. 149, Real Fast Food

          Nigel says this is a principal dish for 2 people but for us it was a side dish. G used a wok to cook the cabbage although a large frying pan would do. Also, I used 4 cloves of garlic instead of 2 and at the end added freshly ground black pepper.

          From a small green cabbage sliced in half take away the tough leaves and the inner stem core. Roll the leaves into a cigar shape and shred into thin slices. Add peanut oil and chopped garlic to a very hot wok.
          Stir-fry vigorously for 30 seconds. Add salt and the shredded cabbage and shimmy in the oil till the cabbage has wilted but still crisp. We cooked it till just beyond this stage. That's it. The bright flavor of the very fresh cabbage was delightful.

          1. Thanks, GG, for putting this up. I hope I can cook this month. I have RFF (for which I do not have high expectations, so I'm encouraged and delighted by Gio's favorable reports thus far) and 30 Minute Cook.

            Also, presumably everyone is aware of Slater's column in the Observer and, I assume, those recipes, are fair game for the companion thread if they aren't Tender or KD recipes... http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...


            1 Reply
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              TDQ... You're going to love the Real Fast book. Everything we've made so far has been great. I been cooking from it for about 2 years now, every so often, and have more reports to post.

              You can get the feed of Slater's Guardian recipes here too...


            2. Hey I know everyone is probably cooking their way through his books or links online but Toast, his first book has a movie. Here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7ZJRC...

              1. I don't have Kitchen Diaries (and neither does my library - sadmaking), but I had pretty good luck looking at the recipe list on EYB and then searching for those I was interested in on the web. I'm sure the same would be true with his other books too. I found 4 out of 6, which made me pleasantly surprised.

                The only book I had before this month was Appetite. I had remembered it as a very pretty book that I found completely uninteresting. I decided last night to give it another look. I'm sorry to say that my opinion was unchanged. I found one vegetable dish that I might make, but other than that, the post it with just 3 lonely looking "try this" recipes sat on the front page.

                1. Chicken with Spices and Cream, 219, USA Ed.

                  We've made this twice so far and will probably repeat many times over because it's a quick and easy chicken dinner. All you need other than this is steamed (Basmati) rice and a simple salad.

                  Melt butter in a large pan, add some olive oil then add chicken pieces ( thigh and drumsticks) that have been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook chicken till the skin has turned golden. Add chopped onions and garlic and continue cooking about 8 minutes. Next add 2 tablespoons fresh curry powder (Madras) and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Cook this for 4 minutes then add chopped tomatoes, and chicken stock. Simmer till chicken is cooked through...about 15 minutes. Now stir in 1/4 cup of cream (1/2 & 1/2) and taste for seasoning. Spritz some lemon juice into the sauce, as much as to your liking, and cook for 1 more minute.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gio

                    I made this after seeing the Wednesday Chef post about it sometime last year. It's a wonderful, rich, easy dish.

                  2. A Spicy Sauce In Which To Toss Noodles, Pg. 123, USA Ed.

                    We used vermicelli for this recipe and angel hair the next time and both worked out very well but of course Chinese noodles would be best. Great for a no-time-to-cook meal.

                    Put all these ingredients into a food processor and whizz up:
                    1/2 cup tahini, 5 T light soy sauce, 2 T dry sherry, 1 T wine vinegar (rice), 1/2 t sesame oil (dark), 4 minced cloves garlic (I included 1/2 t red pepper flakes), 4 T water. Pour into a pan, slowly bring to boil, then pour into a large serving bowl. In the meantime cook the noodles. When noodles are cooked add to bowl and toss everything together. This is terrific with any salad but I like greens and bean sprouts with an Asian dressing.

                    1. Tomato Salad, Pg. 185 , USA Ed.

                      Simple. Very simple but oh so lovely especially now when we're getting such wonderful tomatoes from home gardens, farm stands and farmers' markets. NS says he likes this with under ripe tomatoes but it really doesn't matter, IMO.

                      Slice tomatoes to the thickness you prefer. (Place them in one layer on a serving platter), sprinkle over salt (Maldon), pepper, and sugar, chopped fresh parsley and basil, then drizzle (really good) olive oil. Let this stand for at least 15 minutes (if you can wait that long) then Eat. Any leftovers are terrific in a sandwich with a couple of slices of Genoa salami, J/S.

                      1. Tuna Sandwich, Pg. 112, USA Ed.

                        Don't laugh. This real fast food, remember. He bases this recipe on "the classic Pan Bagna" or bread stuffed with Salade Nicoise then weighted down... much like a muffaletta without the tapanade.

                        Take a round loaf of bread or a baguette and slice in half horizontally. Sprinkle both cut sides with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, minced garlic. Place a layer each of sliced tomatoes, onions, bell pepper (red, jarred, sliced in strips), anchovies (in oil, drained), pitted black olives, tinned tuna (Italian tuna in olive oil, drained). Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and press down with your hands to disburse the dressing throughout the bread. Slice and enjoy. I let the sandwich sit a few minutes weighted down with my grandmother's old flat iron (weighs a ton). NS calls this a snack. I called it dinner.

                        1. I pulled the 30-Minute Cook off the shelf for the first time in ages the other night and discovered plenty of spattered pages!

                          There are a couple of things I've made time and time again. They are:

                          Chicken with garlic, cider and cream. p153
                          This is a lovely dish of chicken breast, pan-fried in butter and oil with blanched garlic. You then remove the chicken, add cider, and mush the garlic into the liquid. Once it has almost evaporated, add cream and S&P, and return the chicken to the pan to warm through gently. A quick, easy and luscious dinner.

                          Sausage and bean hotpot, p196
                          A hearty one-pot dish that's great on a cold night with a glass or three of red wine. Fry good sausages in a little oil until browned but not cooked through. In a casserole combine 2 x 400g cans flageolet beans with a tin of butter beans, some passata, harissa or chopped chillies, grainy mustard, English mustard and halved tomatoes. Add the sausages and bake at 450F for 20 to 30 minutes until everything is bubbling and lightly browned on top. Scatter over some parsley. We love this and it's good for mid-week when you haven't got much time or energy. You don't need anything else apart from maybe some lightly cooked broccoli, or perhaps a hunk of crusty bread.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: greedygirl

                            I second Chicken with Garlic, Cider and Cream. I've made it many times (a rare thing for me) and it is luscious. If we don't have hard cider on hand I have used white wine (maybe even apple juice) and it works fine. I love the technique for the garlic.

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              I found this on-line recipe. How does it differ from the original? TIA

                              1. re: Gio

                                The recipe uses a whole breast, rather than one which is cut into strips. Skin on and with small bone attached if possible.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Thanks very much GG. "Serves 2 people who are not on a diet." LOL When is anyone not on a diet... ?

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Me! I've more or less reached goal. It's liberating, I can tell you.

                                    I'm sure you know this, but fry the chicken skin side down to start, until it has coloured, then flip over and brown the other side. Switch the heat down very low, add the blanched garlic and bay leaf, and cover. Cook gently until the chicken is cooked through, and the garlic very soft. Remove the chicken, and proceed with the recipe as above.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      That's wonderful, thanks muchly. Sometimes I think I;ve been on a diet my whole life...

                              2. re: greedygirl

                                Sausage and Bean Hotpot – 30-Minute Cook - p. 196

                                Harters posted about this dish on the WFD thread and it wasn’t until it was time to post that I remembered we had an adjunct thread and found gg’s review here!

                                We loved this quick and easy weeknight dish. This is an ideal meal to make w pantry ingredients provided you have some sausage in your fridge or freezer. A tomato-based sauce w a good amt of grainy mustard and a little English mustard stirred through for good measure makes for a delicious and very flavourful casserole with lots of beans and of course sausages dotted about. Despite the wonderful flavours of the sauce, I do believe it’s the flavour of the sausages that make (or could possibly break) the quality of this dish. I was lucky enough to have some plump English bangers from a Toronto butcher that worked perfectly. We absolutely loved this dish. It will most definitely be added to the rotation. The possibilities are endless!

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  This is a favourite in our house too. Must have made it a dozen times over the years.

                              3. Walnut Oil and New Potato Sauté, Pg. 174, Real Fast Food, USA Ed.

                                This is a quick fry-up of crushed garlic and small whole new potatoes in walnut oil, seasoned with S & P and chopped parsley when they're browned on all sides and very tender. I, on the other hand, chose to switch methods but did keep all the ingredients the same. Nigel serves these on a bed of mesclun.

                                Here's what I did: Using a medley of different varieties of new potatoes, some purple, some fingerlings, etc., I cut them into equal sizes after washing. The potatoes were set into a steamer basket over water into which I had placed 6 large new garlic cloves, unpeeled but with the stem end sliced off. When done they were tipped into a wide serving bowl, the cooked garlic squeezed over, seasoned with S & P, then tossed with walnut oil.

                                To serve, on a plate I put a serving of a mixed salad of shredded new savoy cabbage (soft inner leaves), arugula, chopped parsley, and minced celeriac leaves dressed with S & P, walnut oil, and white wine vinegar. The potatoes were placed on top of the salad and Lemony Chicken Wings from Kitchen Diaries were placed along side. Very, very nice.

                                1. Pan-Fried Salmon with Capers and Vinegar, Pg. 77, USA Ed.

                                  We used wild caught Alaskan Sockeye to make this very tasty dish, and I dare say fish makes the fastest meal of all. G brought it home and we cooked it almost immediately. All it takes is to sauté two 5 oz. fillets (for 2 people) in 3 tablespoons butter 3 minutes on first side then flip and cook another 2 - 3 minutes on the other. We don't like salmon cooked through. I used 2 T butter and 1 T olive oil. Remove fish from pan and keep warm.

                                  Make the sauce, which is more like a condiment than a sauce: In the same pan melt 3 T butter (again I reduced the butter and added olive oil), add 2 T rinsed capers, pour in 1 T wine vinegar (white) and let that "bubble away" while scraping up the fond and juices. Pour over the fish and serve.

                                  Our fish had the skin still attached so we sautéed it skin side down first to get a nice crisp crust. That gave us some highly seasoned salmon crackling for the sauce. It was delicious and the tart tangy sauce was a perfect compliment for the fresh briny flavor of the salmon. I served a quick wokked bok choy with left-over onions and potatoes as a side dish.

                                  1. Tuna with Cannellini, Beans Tomato, and Chili, Pg. 112, USA Ed.

                                    This dish may very well be in the realm of comfort food, but not Real Fast Food. Fast is more like it. The result, however, was well worth the extra few minutes it took to bring everything together. I made 3 substitutions: chickpeas for cannellini, dried oregano and basil for fresh oregano and parsley, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for 1 medium hot fresh chili . I used 4 garlic cloves instead of 2, 16 oz. chopped Pomi tomatoes, two 5oz tins drained Italian tuna in olive oil, 1 lb dry linguine.

                                    Before anything put the water on for the macaroni. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add 1 sliced medium onion and cook about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and chili, cook about 5 more minutes till onion is "transparent". Add the tomatoes, drained and rinsed beans, drained.tuna, herbs. The direction says to cook this "till beans are heated through." We let it cook till the linguine was al dente, drained the pasta, added to sauce and heated it all together for a couple of minutes.

                                    It really was a perfect sauce with just the right amount of heat and zest from the herbs and dry chilies. And, the linguine had just the right amount of sauce. I like much less sauce than G but he was surprised at how tasty and full of flavor the finished dish was.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Gio, are all your posts on this thread from Real Fast Food?

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Yes, Mel... that's the only alternative book I'm using. As I read back I see I wasn't consistent in my titles...

                                        The other books I have are Tender and Kitchen Diaries and reports of those recipes are in their respective threads.

                                    2. A Sausage and Mash Supper - p. 376, Appetite (UK ed)

                                      I've made this several times over the past couple years, and it has become my go-to formula for bangers and mash. You melt butter in a roasting din or other ovenproof pan over moderate heat, then gently brown the sausages. Remove the sausages, then brown wedges on onion in the same pan in the butter and sausage fat. You cook the onions slowly until very soft and golden. You then season the onions with some combination of juniper berries, thyme, bay leaves, and/or fennel seeds. I've used several different combinations here - it's all good. Now you turn up the heat, so the onions start browning quickly, and sprinkle some flour on top. Stir this in, and pour Marsala wine on top, along with some stock. Let this come to a boil. As the gravy starts to thicken, season with salt and black pepper, and stir in some Dijon mustard (this last is what, IMHO, makes this gravy perfect for sausage). You put the sausages back into the gravy, and put the whole mess back into the oven until the sausages are cooked, about 40 min.

                                      This is served with some very plain potatoes, boiled in salted water and then mashed with just a small amount of butter. That is just what you want, as the gravy is very rich (it has all the sausage fat still in it), and very flavorful. If you are the type that likes to put cream, a lot of butter, or other enhancements in mashed potatoes, you will need to restrain yourself here. What you want is something starchy and bland to balance the richness of the sausage and gravy, and that is exactly what Slater gives you.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Ohhhh... that sounds right up our alley. I think there's something similar in one of the other Slater books I have. I'll have to see, but your report is quite detailed. Thanks for that...!

                                      2. I Call This: Cabbage and Apples with Yogurt, Pg. 151, Real Fast Food, USA Ed.

                                        This recipe comes under the heading of Recycled Greens which starts on page 150. It's in the first paragraph of 151. Simple recipe. Delightful outcome...

                                        Finely shred 1/2 a green cabbage, chop an unpeeled apple (I used 2). Melt butter in a saucepan, throw in cabbage, apples and S & P (I included 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes), cover, cook over medium heat - Nigel says for about 12 minutes - we cooked it for almost 20 minutes. When cabbage is tender but still a little crisp stir in 1/2 cup "thick plain yogurt", then grind a bit of nutmeg over. Nigel suggests serving this with sausages but I served it with the Chicken with Leeks and Lemon from Tender and corn on the cob.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I guess he would call it that! It sounce very nice, and different from what I usually do because of the yogurt. I'll try it sometime.

                                        2. No "Kitchen Diaries"? (That's the Salmon & Dill Fishcakes, pg 160, out. Oh how I love these!) - oops, sorry, missed that it had it's own thread

                                          In "Real Cooking", White bean fritters with anchovy mayonnaise" is a real staple at our house - however, the mayo is considered optional and we use panko for breadcrumbs. My two year old daughter adores them also.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: MoGa

                                            Hi MoGa... I found an on-line recipe for the White Bean Fritters...Thanks for mentioning it.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              the recipe has definitely been adapted - so tweaked a little
                                              The original calls for 4 large or 8 smaller anchovy fillets, stipulates 2 cloves of sweet, juicy young garlic, peeled and chopped, and the juice of half a lemon in the mayo
                                              For the sausages a further 2 cloves of chopped garlic are called for as are two seeded and chopped red chillies.

                                              I sometimes substitute the cheese for drained canned tuna.

                                              Hope you enjoy them!

                                              1. re: MoGa

                                                Many thanks for your clarification. It's much appreciated.

                                          2. Fragrant Brown Basmati Rice, Pg. 263, Real Fast Food

                                            Loved this...! Even though his method of cooking brown rice deviates from our usual way. His way: Put rice into a pan and cover with water by one inch. Boil hard over high heat for 5 minutes. Drain water from rice and proceed with recipe. Our way: Rinse brown rice in a strainer under hot running water for a couple of minutes. Proceed with recipe... He says his way reduces the cooking time. Our way took the same amount of time: fifteen minutes. We used 1 cup basmati and 2 cups water.

                                            In a saucepan heat peanut oil then fry the spices: ground turmeric, whole cloves, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 8 green cardamon pods, bay leaves. Cook these till fragrant. Add the drained basmati and water, cover, simmer for about 15 minutes till all water is absorbed. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, add lemon juice and a couple of knobs of butter.

                                            All those spices gave the rice a wonderful flavorful quality. It complimented the sweet and sticky spare ribs from Kitchen Diaries beautiful and the baby bok choy we stir-fried was a great accompaniment too.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Gio, thank you for keeping this thread going. I will definitely be referring to it in the future, perhaps even contributing to it.


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                You're welcome TDQ. I find that the recipes in this book are definitely quick and easy for busy week-day meals. If one pays attention to nutritional values and takes care about excess fats a really satisfying and delicious meal can be on the table in very short time. I like the variety of food stuffs he uses, and the encouragement he gives to use whatever is at hand. He manages to include just about everything one would find in any market. I hope you'll find the time to cook from this book before long.

                                            2. Salad Accompaniments and Dressings, Pg. 178, Real Fast Food
                                              This is Dressing #1

                                              Like many home cooks I make many salads, either as a whole meal or as an addition to the meal. NS has 3 salad dressings on pages 178 - 179 and we've made each one with very satisfactory results. Any combination of vegetables and/or grains or meats can be used with these dressings, although he does suggest the best uses for each dressing.

                                              The first one is quite simple: a crushed 1/2 clove of garlic ground to a paste, placed into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, then whisk in some lemon juice (I used tarragon vinegar), and fruity olive oil. That's it. This is best with a salad of all leaves.

                                              1. Salad Accompaniments and Dressings, Pg. 179, Real Fast Food

                                                This is Dressing #2

                                                If a salad is meant to accompany an entre of fish fillets or vegetable fritters this is the dressing NS suggests...

                                                Mix white wine or tarragon vinegar, minced shallot and salt in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil and your choice of either creme fraiche, sour cream or fromage blanc. (I used Greek yogurt). Now mix in chopped fresh herbs: parsley and tarragon or chervil. (I used the first two). This dressing was used on salad that was a side dish for roasted halibut.

                                                1. Salad Accompaniments and Dressings, Pg. 179, Real Fast Food

                                                  This is Dressing #3

                                                  Now, this dressing is better for the bolder leaves used in a salad such as radicchio, arugula, various chicories, etc. My notes say that I used escarole, arugula, tomatoes, new season onion, parsley.

                                                  Mix together red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in either hazelnut or walnut oils (walnut for me) and peanut oil.

                                                  Simple isn't it? Each of these dressings were just perfect for all the salads I've made so far this month.

                                                  ETA: I'm trying to catch up on some of the RFF meals I made but haven't reported on yet. I must say, This is one book I'm going to use whan I really don't feel like cooking...which seems to be happening more and more lately.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    I reported on this recipe from RFF at least once before. Now I'm too lazy to get up and look for the book for the page number. It's Chili chicken pita - a find lunch or light dinner meal. I've made it countless times when I don't feel like really cooking much.

                                                  2. Lentils with Tomatoes, Pg. 207, Real Fast Food, USA Ed.

                                                    This was the perfect answer to not wanting to cook a prolonged and semi-involved recipe that had virtually the very same ingredients, give or take a dozen. Very tasty and potentially healthy too, if I hadn't rendered diced pancetta for an extra flavor boost before sautéing the onion. I doubled the recipe.

                                                    After rinsing brown lentils cook them in boiling salted water with a bay leaf and a bit of olive oil for 15 minutes then drain. In the meantime, chop an onion and fry it in olive oil for about 7 minutes then add a chopped red chili (I used a large jalapeño) and cook that a few minutes more. When the lentils have been drained add them to the pot with 16 oz. chopped plum tomatoes w their juice. Season with S & P. I added dried oregano & basil, a pinch of peperoncino and crumbled sage as well. Recipe says to simmer this for 10 minutes and served hot. Since I had doubled the recipe I cooked the sauce a little less than 30 minutes.

                                                    This was Delicious. Very good for a chilly night. A hunk of artisnal crusty bread would have been a terrific accompaniment however, I served a Tuscan eggplant dish from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian and reheated brown rice. I Love This Book and won't be happy till I've cooked every recipe...

                                                    1. Thai Spiced Chicken Wings - Real Food, p. 95

                                                      Chicken wings are not a favorite chez MM. Mr. MM dislikes most versions, either due to greasiness or stickiness or general messiness. But last week I accidentally wound up with a spare package of chicken wings, so I searched in EYB for something to do with them, and this recipe caught my interest.

                                                      The wings are marinated in a mixture of fish sauce, lemon juice (I used lime), sugar, garlic, and peanut oil. I doubled the marinade, because it didn't seem like enough for the amount of wings I had. You then make a dipping sauce, which involves boiling vinegar and sugar, then adding dark soy sauce, chiles, coriander and lime juice. When the wings have marinated for at least an hour, you grill them, and serve with the dipping sauce.

                                                      These were a hit. Because the marinade was thin and light, and they were cooked outside on the grill, they weren't greasy, sticky or messy. So Mr. MM was happy. The dipping sauce served on the side added plenty of flavor, without being overly sweet. It was a nice tang with just a bit of heat. I liked the grilled chicken flavor with the Thai-flavored sauce much better than the common "Buffalo" style preparations. So who knows, maybe there will be wings in the house for the next Superbowl. I think this marinade and sauce would also work very well for chicken thigh or breast meat on skewers.

                                                      1. REAL FAST FOOD: Smoked Salmon Pate, Pg. 102

                                                        Nigel uses equal amounts of smoked salmon trimmings and pieces with ricotta pulsed in the food processor, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper to create the pate. It is served on hot fingers of brown toast...

                                                        I changed up the method for a Robert Burns Night dinner last night when I served little sandwiches as canapes with drinks. I removed the crusts from an artisan loaf of dark bread; spread a thin layer of organic mayonnaise on one slice, slathered fresh ricotta on that, layered a slice of smoked wild coho salmon, then topped that with another mayoed slice of bread; sliced the sandwich in triangles and served.

                                                        You can't imagine what a delightful, creamy rich, mildly salty sensation there is as you bite into the tiny bits of confection. It's like biting into a cloud. I imagine cream cheese could be a substitute for ricotta but we absolutely Love the original combination...

                                                        The rest of the dinner was a spicy meatloaf pretending it was haggis and smashed roasted tatties and neeps.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Washed down with a fine single malt, I hope.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            I was thinking the same thing. That, or a Belhaven.

                                                        2. REAL FAST FOOD: Porc Au Poivre, Pg, 250

                                                          We absolutely Loved this dish...! Fresh boneless pork chops slightly more than the 1" thickness Mr. Slater calls for, cracked peppercorns: I used a combination of Tellycherry and Sichuan, shallots, cognac (Metaxa), red wine, a bit of stock, and some butter were the ingredients. Per the directions I started out cracking the peppercorns in the mortar with a pestle but after 10-ish minutes decided to whirr them in the dedicated spice grinder for a few seconds being careful not to grind too much or we'd have pepper powder which would burn in the skillet.

                                                          Spread the cracked pepper evenly in a pie plate. Press the chops in the pepper on all side Melt a bit of butter in a skillet till sizzling and add the chops. Cook chops about 9 minutes turning once Remove chops and keep warm. Melt a little butter in the same skillet, add minced shallots, cook about 2 minutes. Add cognac, cook till boiling then add the wine, cook this for another minute or so. Pour in the stock and cook "at an enthusiastic simmer" till liquid has reduced to 6 tablespoons. You could add yet more butter, cold, to the sauce in order to create that silky shiny richness chefs love to do but we omitted that step.

                                                          The finished dish was extremely well flavored with a fulsome bouquet of mingling aromas and flavors. The pepper, although coating the chops very well, didn't seem to overwhelm the senses but complimented the meat without too much pepper sting. I think one could use chicken thighs here as well.

                                                          The side dishes were a Greatly enhanced Orzo and Bean dish from The Olive and the Caper, and a salad of sliced oranges, finely sliced white onion, and brined black olives with a basic Greek vinaigrette.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. Chili-Chicken [Pita], Pg. 217, Real Fast Food

                                                            Having two chicken breasts in the fridge and wanting something quick and not too fussy for dinner I immediately thought this wonderful little book would have just the thing. And it did: tender, juicy, highly seasoned chicken lumps, as Nigel Slater calls them, stuffed into a warm pita. I doubled the recipe. For him this is a snack but for us it was dinner served on steamed basmati rice with asparagus on the side.

                                                            The chicken is cut into small chunks then marinated for a few minutes in a combination of: scallions, garlic, peanut oil, lemon juice, salt, honey, paprika, chili powder, fresh chili. This is then cooked on a red hot grill pan till cooked through and brown. Serve with a sauce made with: yogurt, chopped mint, paprika, scallions. Add a few lettuce leaves if you do serve the chicken in a pita.

                                                            This was absolutely delicious and completely satisfying. I had used a fresh jalapeno that had quite a bit of heat, smoked paprika, and a hot chili powder so those flavors enhanced the chicken considerably. This definitely warrants a remake with thighs.

                                                            1. Gio, Mel, greedygirl and others who have good from Real Fast Food and 30-Minute Chef, when I skim through these books the recipes all scream BUTTER to me. I seldom cook with butter any more, just heart-healthy oils.

                                                              When I skim through your posts in this thread, they don't seem as butter-tastic to me as the books themselves do. Are you just being selective and choosing the recipes that don't call for butter? Or are you reducing the amount of butter? Or is my perception of this book totally skewed?

                                                              I really want to try to lose some weight this summer and am trying to pick a cookbook or two to take with m3 on my upcoming beach vacation (our beachhouse rental has a fully stocked kitchen. I won't have access to a lot of fancy imported ingredients shopping-wise, just the basics.) I love the idea of Real Fast Food in particular because it's so compact, but should I pack a different book if my aim is to kick-off my summer weight loss program?


                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                Hi TDQ, I haven't cooked too much from RFF, though I own it, but I did have to go on a no-dairy diet for about 9 months when I was nursing my son. I just subbed good quality olive oil for butter in most recipes and it worked out fine. (I would also feel free to use less fat than called for if you want to cut calories). If olive oil is really the wrong flavor profile (Asian/Indian cuisines come to mind), peanut oil should work, though for keeping it simple at the beach I would go with olive oil only. FWIW, though, I'm no longer convinced that butter is so unhealthy when used in reasonable amounts, and I've started using it more as I have become suspicious of supposedly healthful, yet highly processed, "neutral" oils like canola, grapeseed, etc., and have therefore stopped buying them. One thing I like about butter is that it is a real, natural product that doesn't come from a laboratory - and it tastes good too if you buy a good one, so a little can go a long way.

                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                  Thanks for this. You're totally catching my "keep it simple for the beach" vibe!

                                                                  I think I might pack Nigella's "Forever Summer" too. Was going to pack Fish Without a Doubt, but I don't think I'm going to have easy access to reliably good fish... I can get fantastic freshwater fish, but not without a drive, which I am not feeling up for...


                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    If it's calories you're concerned about, all fats are about the same, gram for gram. I wouldn't shy away from butter per se, just use it judiciously. Melissa Clark (size 2) advises eating a single piece of bread from the bread basket WITH BUTTER, because it tastes good, and the fat helps you feel sated. That's what the French do, and they're much slimmer than either Americans or Brits, generally speaking.

                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I agree with both Westminstress and Greedygirl regarding the use of butter, TDQ. When I cook these days I use mostly olive oil and if the recipe calls for a small amount if butter I include that... sometimes half butter and half olive oil. I noticed upthread that I used the full 4 Tablespoons of butter for a certain recipe. I did that because I thought the butter flavor was needed.

                                                                  In the fridge right now I have a bottle of grape seed oil but it will be my last. I stopped buying canola and corn oils for the reasons WM gives, and deep-fried foods just aren't in our culinary repertoire. Well, except the occasional fried whole belly clams I crave during the summer. Walnut oil, Sesame oil; Greek, Spanish, and Italian olive oils live in my pantry and add their distinct flavors to whichever cuisine I cook.

                                                                  Bottom line: make sensible, healthy, informed choices.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Thanks gals. I hate to say it, but the problem with butter is that we enjoy it and if we have it around we use it. My husband especially thinks nothing of putting a quarter stick of butter in something "because it tastes good." Of course, he's right, but not while I'm trying to get my diet back under control!

                                                                    What's wrong with Canola oil? I always understand that the organic, expeller-pressed stuff is a healthful neutral choice... Has that research changed? (It is about 6 years old...)


                                                                3. I'm about 18 months too late but Real Fast Food is an excellent culinary book. I have never truly read a cookbook before like a book. I think the lack of pictures made me focus on the the detail of the section preludes and each individual recipe.

                                                                  Calling single-dwellers, non-cooks, great cooks and anything else in between: add this book to your collection.

                                                                  1. Roast Partridge with Mushrooms and Bacon, The 30-Minute Cook, p162

                                                                    I snagged a couple of very cute partridge at the Farmer's Market today and an EYB search led me to this recipe. I'm pleased to report that it's a good one!

                                                                    Stuff a walnut-sized piece of butter in the cavity of your birds, and a bay leaf and a few sprigs of thyme. Add halved or quartered mushrooms to the pan, depending on size, and season your birds with salt and pepper. Dot a little more butter over the partridge and lay a couple of slices of streaky backon over each one (I used pancetta). (He also says to roll up more bacon and put it in the pan - I put mine over the breast of the birds instead so they were well protected).

                                                                    Roast in a hot oven - 220C/425F - for 20 minutes, basting at least once. Remove the bacon after 20 mins and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so. Voila! A pretty special dinner in half an hour.

                                                                    We loved this. The meat was full of flavour and very moist. It was fun sucking the meat off all the little bones, as he says. I served with some roast baby potatoes, steamed cabbage, the pan juices deglazed with a little water, and some redcurrant jelly. A really delicious Sunday night dinner. Definitely on my make-again list, especially as partridge are cheaper than chicken at the market!

                                                                    ETA: Mr GG actually said that this could easily be Christmas dinner, if you gussied it up a bit with proper roast potatoes and all the trimmings. At less than a fiver for two birds that would not be a bad idea!!

                                                                    1. Roast chicken pho, Eat, p65

                                                                      Mix 1T of soy sauce with 1T each of mirin, fish sauce and honey, and a chopped red chilli. Add to a roasting dish with 4 chicken thighs, turning the meat over so it gets coated in the sauce. Roast in a 200C oven for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally in the sauce.

                                                                      Heat 800 ml of chicken stock and add some coins of fresh ginger, a TBSP of lime juice and 3 star anise. As it approaches the boil, add some shredded greens and cook lightly for a couple of minutes only.

                                                                      Divide prepared rice noodles between two bowls, slice the chicken from its bones (I used boneless thighs which worked fine) and add to the bowl along with the greens and finally the stock. Slurp.

                                                                      Yummy. Yummy. As he says, this felt nourishing on a cool autumn evening, but it was also full of flavour. Obviously you're not going to get the deep flavour of proper pho with its rich, long-simmered stock, but this is a good, quick, weeknight version which we enjoyed a lot.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        This sounds incredible, and it seems as if you've pretty much given us the instructions, which is very much appreciated.

                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                          We really liked it. Obviously it would be best with homemade stock, but I used one of the Knorr stockpot things, which aren't brilliant, and it was still good.

                                                                      2. Wasabi-miso beef - steak and greens variation, Eat, p354

                                                                        Brown a 300g rump steak in one piece in a little oil. When its browned on both sides, but still pretty rare, remove from the pan and leave to rest. Add halved button mushrooms to the pan and cook for a minute, then add shredded spring greens (I used pointed cabbage). When wilted slightly, add 2TBSP of white (shiro) miso, 2 tsp of wasabi paste and 100ml of water. Fry briefly, then add the steak, cut into slices - fry of a minute or two, keeping the centre of the meat rare.

                                                                        Again, bags of flavour and awfully quick. I added a scant 2tsp of wasabi, and next time I'd add more. I served over rice. Would make again, possibly using the base recipe, which uses enoki mushrooms and mangetout rather than greens.

                                                                        1. Sautéed chicken, porcini and Marsala (Madeira), Eat, p312

                                                                          Sauté seasoned chicken pieces and a handful of halved new potatoes in a little oil until brown and "lightly crisp". Add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and allow to colour slightly, then add a handful of soaked porcini mushrooms and a little chopped rosemary. Pour in a small glass of marsala (madeira in my case) and simmer, half-covered with a lid, until the chicken is cooked. This took about half an hour in my case, because I had quite a big breast quarter on the bone.

                                                                          Another winner from this great little book. A lovely rich sauce, and earthy porcini. Soft chicken and potatoes. Not much washing up. Hurrah!

                                                                          1. Lentil Bolognaise, Eat p183

                                                                            Santa brought Eat for me, so I guess I've been good this year. I've wanted this book for a long time too.

                                                                            The first thing I made is this Lentil Bolognaise. I made this pretty much as written, except adding some frozen peas to the sauce towards the end of cooking. A short cut I used was to use a hand mixer and just whizz the sauce inside the saucepan, instead of emptying half into a blender as instructed. The puy lentils took 25min to cook to the consistency I liked. (Slater said 25-40min). I didn't start cooking the spaghetti until the lentils were done because I didn't know how long it would take. Next time I would be able to parallelise the cooking more.

                                                                            The bolognaise sauce was beyond delicious. Mr lilham said it tasted the right texture and yummy but different because of the lack of tomatoes.

                                                                            Looking forward to cooking more from this.

                                                                            Edit: here is a link to the recipe online http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: lilham

                                                                              Thanks so much for the link. this sounds like something totally different and to me very appealing.

                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                Forgot to say I also only used 500ml of stock instead of the 1L. It just seems a lot of liquid to me at the time.

                                                                              2. A Thought, Eat, Pg. 278

                                                                                That's the title of this typical imbedded non-recipe from Mr. Slater. Elsewhere on CH I've said the recipe should have been called "An Afterthought" since he used 3 lines of text and an extra word to muse about how to make what is basically Roast Chicken Thighs With Orange Butter Sauce. Regardless, the finished dish was quite delicious and I'd make it again, certainly.

                                                                                The only indication of what to do is, "freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with "a little melted butter and a little sherry vinegar". I used 1 orange and decided to season the chicken with S & P, and mixed 3 T juice, 3 T butter, and 3 T sherry vinegar together which was poured over the chicken. The book says to roast "as opposite." The recipe on the opposite page is chicken roasted at 200C so I took the nearest conversion of 400F which is actually 205C. I knew to do this because Slater is basically a rascal and I've cooked quite a lot of his cookbook recipes. The chicken roasted 45 minutes till cooked the way we like it. The result was well seasoned, tender, juicy chicken. Next time, though, I'll include orange zest.

                                                                                1. Buttery Leeks and Chicken [Turkey] Burgers, Eat, Pg. 6

                                                                                  We used ground/minced turkey for these burgers, and I have to say the flavor of the scallion and leeks greatly enhanced the meat. Once again there's a little of this and a little of that either chopped or sliced: scallion, sage, garlic, leeks, and EVOO & butter.

                                                                                  The method of cooking the burgers is a bit different than usual in that first the chopped scallion is cooked then shredded leeks are added and cooked till - well - "buttery". The meat goes into the skillet and is cooked for a few minutes. This mixture is allowed to cool a bit so one can then make the patties; 4 from 1 pound of meat, in our case. The burgers are then cooked till "golden and sticky." Sliced baguette slathered with mayonnaise is used to create the finished burger sandwich.

                                                                                  The burgers were Very messy to make. I wouldn't do it that way again, but there is something wonderful that happens between leeks and ground meat. I'd like to simply cook the burgers (seasoned) as usual, then add leeks cooked the identical way, using them as garnish on the meat before the top slice of bread. Also, mayo as the condiment was delicious and contributed to the buttery aspect. It was not in least greasy. A cole slaw from Barbara Lynch's Stir cookbook accompanied.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    What strikes me as odd is that the meat is cooked a bit before forming into patties. I would be inclined to add the leek mixture to the raw meat, then form patties and cook. How cooked did you get the meat before making the patties? Could you tell that the technique added anything?

                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                      Mel, The direction is to cook the meat "briefly". G was at the stove and he cooked the meat about 1 minute or so, stopped after he had turned it all over in the leaks. This is to get everything incorporated and amalgamated before forming the burger. When we tasted the finished sandwiches the flavor was definitely enhanced.

                                                                                      Don't forget these were made using minced turkey, the recipe calls for chicken. So the leeks did add to the overall taste. In future I'd probably do as you suggested not what we did the other night. Either that or use as a garnish as I said above. In any case, the recipe makes a pretty tasty burger.

                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                        Well, I'm intrigued. I'm going to have to put this on the to-do list.

                                                                                  2. Chicken and Potato Salad, Eat, Pg. 242

                                                                                    Just getting around to reporting on this loosey-goosey salad. I based the ingredients I used on the original recipe: L/O roast chicken, steamed TJ's teeny tiny potatoes, scallions, peas, shredded daikon & carrot, celery, broccoli florets, red onion, capers, minced parsley.

                                                                                    The free wheeling Dressing I used (based on what Nigel wrote): Mayonnaise, buttermilk, creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, dill, lemon juice, S & P.

                                                                                    Toss it all together and have a fine weeknight meal.

                                                                                    1. Pork Tenderloin with Ponzu Dipping Sauce, EAT, Pg. 236

                                                                                      This recipe produced quite a tasty dish. Simple roast for the tenderloin with a spicy, sweet, tart, sauce in which to dip the bites of perfectly timed tenderloin. The sauce consists of: "a little" already made Ponzu sauce (3T homemade), minced Thai bird chili, cayenne, soy sauce (Tamari), sugar, rice vinegar. One is left to one's own devices regarding amounts. Absolutely spot on. It was the star of this dish.

                                                                                      Additionally I served steamed baby bok choy drizzled with a bit of dark sesame oil at the finish, and steamed jasmine rice. Fab & repeatable.

                                                                                      1. Chicken Marmalade, Pg. 271, EAT

                                                                                        Drumsticks are schmeared with a marmalade/grainy mustard/black pepper mixture. I have a jar of James Keiller Dundee Orange Marmalade which is much too sweet for my taste so I was happy to use it in this instance hoping the mustard will cut the marmalade instead of the other way round. (groan) The drums are roasted 30 minutes at 400F on a foil lined baking sheet. That's it. Short & Sweet.

                                                                                        The drumsticks were delicious. The 30 minute roast was perfect but I thought they were a trifle sweet and wished for more spice. DH didn't though. I'll make them again, with thighs perhaps, and some chopped chilies or simply add Sriracha to the marmalade mix. A tossed salad with a bagna cauda dressing, and steamed basmati rice were the side dishes.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          Do you think this would work well with BS thighs?

                                                                                        2. Spiced Sesame Lamb with Cucumber and Yogurt, Pg. 133, EAT

                                                                                          We used just over 1 pound of minced lamb for this recipe to serve the 2 of us. The meat is mixed with black mustard seeds, white sesame seeds, minced scallions, garam masala, S & P then formed into 8 patties. These are cooked in a bit of EVOO till "patchily" golden. (Watch them like a hawk though because they can overcook in a flash.). Combine long shaves of cucumber with chopped mint and yogurt. To serve place one pattie on a plate top with the yogurt mix, top that with another pattie.

                                                                                          I can't imagine how The Man can come up with something like that but I must say the lamb was delicious. I like garam masala anyway and the combination with lamb is the perfect match. G, in his infinite wisdom, served me three such stacks but they were so filling I could only eat one. A side dish was a Romano bean/tomato/garlic/basil short braise. Corn on the cob was another. Fab meal.

                                                                                          1. Hake, Parsley, Cream, Pg. 216, EAT

                                                                                            With just a few simple ingredients Nigel Slater again proves it doesn't take a laundry list of components to create a delectable plate of food. Hake fillets from our CSF, ghee instead of butter in which to fry the fish, 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream for the pan sauce were the core elements we used for this recipe. I seasoned each fillet with a pinch of salt, pepper, and cayenne on each side before frying. The sauce includes a "small glass" of white wine which was 1/3 of a cup, and lots of finely chopped parsley.

                                                                                            The fillets we had were particularly thick so the finished dish was meaty. The juices combined with the sauce to give each bite a wonderful savory taste sensation. I took NS's advice and served streamed green beans and potatoes, smashed and seasoned with EVOO, S & P & cayenne as side dishes. Fab meal.

                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Gio, I've noticed you've been using ghee a lot lately. Do you make your own or buy it ready made?

                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                A little bit of both, WM. Once in a while we do make our own but lately G has been buying organic ghee from Whole Foods Mkt. We like the richness of flavor ghee brings to a dish, and it's magical with fish.

                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  That does it! I am going to buy a little container and try it the next time I pan-fry fish.

                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                    Sold! No idea they sold it at WFs.

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      I was going to ask the same thing -- why ghee so much lately? But I figured it was because you can cook at higher temperatures than butter because the milk solids aren't there to burn. I didn't know about the magic!

                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                        I like to use ghee when I want a buttery flavor or texture, but the cooking temperature is too high for regular butter. Try popping popcorn in it! Just put ghee in a heavy pot, as you would oil, pop the corn, add salt. Or, you can do a mix of half ghee, half corn oil (corn oil has a nice buttery flavor that also goes well with popcorn, which makes perfect sense if you think about it). We also use ghee on our griddle for cooking pancakes.

                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                          It's great for making granola too (as well as all the usual uses in stews, curries, etc.).

                                                                                                          1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                                                            Wow, I never thought of that, but I use olive and coconut oil so why not?

                                                                                                            I'm sure somebody out there has made bacon granola using bacon fat :)

                                                                                                          2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                            As a popcorn lover, you're making me a little crazy right now.

                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                          Gio, thanks for this tip! Today my CSF selection was flounder (from Long Island, not boston for once). I bought some ghee and used it to panfry the fish, using a simple flour-egg-seasoned panko treatment. It was great. I really liked the buttery flavor of the ghee with the fish, my panko crisped very nicely, and it was easier to work with than olive oil because of the higher smoke point.

                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                            So very glad the ghee worked for you WM! I've read that one tablespoon of ghee can replace up to three tablespoons of oil or butter in a recipe. "A little goes a long way."

                                                                                                    2. Salmon, Prawn and Cucumber Pie
                                                                                                      Salmon, Prawn and Cucumber Pie is one of the several Slater variations on fish baked in lightly flavored cream topped with bread crumbs or a crumble. Find it at http://cooks.ndtv.com/article/show/ni... and other locations.
                                                                                                      Really a 1-2-3 preparation. The only suggestion I would have is if your cream is not pretty thick salt rinse and pat dry the cucumber slices. Since this is a naked recipe use the freshest fish you can get and cook to the specified time.
                                                                                                      The result is pure flavors a touch of richness and a breath of perfume. I have had this one over six times in as many months.