The work day has wrapped up, the projects, the diplomacy and the discipline have been exhausted and my brain seeks refuge in something pleasant, inspiring and delicious.
The hot tea is poured, the jazz fills the house and I place my feet upon the hassock. The boys mosey about, Norman snuggles up to sleep, Oscar asks to play from time to time. My eyes are tired, deep breaths are taken and the day, no matter how magnificent and productive, slips away. The energy required to deduce a mystery or become entangled in a dramatic plot is absent, yet reading something to massage my mind is desired.
Each night I feel as the above describes, I reach for a book about food and for quite a few evenings this year, I have been slowly savoring English food and cookbook writer Nigel Slater‘s The Kitchen Diaries.
Organized by season and detailed by month, he takes readers through his days, sprinkling recipes here and there, offering to readers a book that reads a bit like a cozy memoir: no stress, no plot, just life, beautiful, simple daily life meant to be savored.
As I made my way through the book, I would dog-ear the bottom pages of recipes I wanted to try. By the time I was finished, the book was an additional one half inch thicker; however, I didn’t want to forget to try these simple, yet seemingly scrumptious-due-to-the-seasonality-of-the-produce paired-with-his-expertise recipes. And so I have gathered together twelve recipes, three from each season, that I look forward to welcoming into my own kitchen and perhaps they will tickle your tastebuds as well. I have shared one full recipe from each season to give you a taste of why these recipes made my mouth water instantly. You can also check out more of Nigel’s seasonal recipes on his website here.
- Lemon and Basil Linguini
- 1/2 lb linguini
- one lemon’s juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan grated
- a large handful of basil leaves
- Cook pasta until al dente. While the pasta cooks: In a warm bowl (run hot water on it and then dry), place the lemon juice, olive oil and grated Parmesan). Whisk until thick and still coarse. Add torn basil leaves and stir in with fresh ground pepper. Drain pasta and toss immediately into the bowl with the Parmesan, lemon and basil mixture. Done.
- Lamb chops with lemon and mint and poptaotes crusshed into the pan juices
- Fava beans and bacon
- Strawberry mascarpone tart
- A refreshing salad for a summer day
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 5 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium cantaloupe melon
- 6 slices of Parma ham (or prosciutto)
- 1 large ball buffalo mozzarella
- flat leaf parsley – 1-2 Tbs
- 1/2-3/4 cup arugula
- Mix lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slice the melon into long thick slices, then into cubes (larger than bite size). Place in the salad bowl. Tear up the mozzarella, add everything (but only 1/2 of the dressing) into the bowl with the melons (parsley too). Toss. Add the arugula and dress with the remaining 1/2 of the dressing. Serve the melon salad on top of the dressed arugula and enjoy tout a suite!
- Mushroom pappardelle
- English apple cake
- Haddock with breadcrumbs and tarragon
- Sweet golden pumpkins and sticky sausages
- 4 small to medium squash
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 (generous) Tbs of olive oil
- fresh thyme leaves
- Cooked sausage of your choice
- Oven – 350 degrees (F). Cut squashes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Slice the butter into thin slices and place equally in each slice along with the olive oil and a generous pinch of thyme, salt and fresh pepper.
- Roast for 60 minutes. Pair with warm, cooked sausages.
- Taleggio and parsely cakes
- 2 cups – left over risotto
- small bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 2 (generous) Tbs of grated Parmesan
- 5 oz – Taleggio cheese
- butter and oil for frying
- Let the risotto become cold so that it is easy to mold. Chop the parsley finely and stir them into the rice with the Parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper.
- Cut the Taleggio cheese into small cubes.
- One tablespoon of rice – place one cube of cheese into the center of the rice. Roll into a ball. Set aside and make the remaining risotto balls (approximately 5-6 healthy size balls).
- Warm the butter and olive oil in a non-stick pan or cast iron pan. Flatten the rice balls a little and place in the medium-high pan. Let them brown lightly on each side. Remove from the pan and enjoy.
- Lemon ice-cream tart with gingersnap crust
- Pork chops, mustard sauce
Now that I have finished reading The Kitchen Diaries, I am diving (albeit intentionally slowly) his next diary-style cookbook Notes from the Larder as knowing I have a soothing piece of delicious reading next to my bed each night certainly helps to aid in a good night’s slumber.
Last year I shared how reading a cookbook for pleasure is true simple luxury, and with each new-to-me cookbook, this truth is reaffirmed. Ideas percolate, new tastes are sometimes brought to the kitchen, but always a wonderful time is had reading and viewing the food the authors share.
I cannot thank enough TSLL readers who recommended Nigel Slater’s writings to me this past year. Thank you for bringing his talent and sincere passion for food to my attention. If you too love food and good writing, I have a feeling you will devour his work as much as I have.
~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Simple LifeHacks to Get Back on Track, episode #206
~other Cookbooks TSLL’s recommends