Food tastings, recipe sketches and general rants
At the moment I have some strange aversion to cooking and shooting recipes for this blog, I want to post about food but after years of cooking, shooting, posting I seem to have arrived at a point where I’m a bit fed up with it. The repetition, the pressure I put on myself (because I very rarely feel pressure from any of you) and feeling that I have to photograph everything I cook can sometimes get a bit too much really. For many years I cooked for my blog and not for us and now I just want to cook for us without having to take notes of ingredients and how much I put here and how much there. So I have decided to give myself a vacation from all that BUT I still want to blog about food that I eat, taste and maybe discover. Instead of detailed recipes, I will give you recipe sketches because that is the way I cook; a bit of this and a bit of that and suddenly there is a dish to eat. I suppose I feel that I want to blog in a different way at the moment so I will just do what feels right.
If you ever come face to face with a Sardinian pecorino, taste it and if you can-buy it! The cheese you see in the photo is a round of exactly that cheese. We are very lucky because every two months a small, white car filled with cheese, salami, bread and lots of other things coming directly from Sardinia stops outside my gate and two young, handsome men calls me to see if we want to buy something. And who am I to say no, who can resist young handsome men? No really, the food they sell comes from the family farm and you can really feel how genuine it is when you taste it. The pecorino is fantastic! Sardinia is famous for sheep and shepherds (and kidnappings and porceddu), they have a long story and their pecorino is different from the pecorino I find here in Tuscany and I know all Tuscans will feel deeply offended by what I am about to say but in my opinion the Sardinians do it better!
This is the period when we eat a lot of fennel, to me fennel is beautiful in all ways: great flavour, interesting texture and lovely colouring. I often make a simple salad with thin slices of raw fennel, black pepper, salt, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice but always extra-virgin olive oil. Sometimes I add grated carrots to it and I always make too much because the day after I can either eat it as it is or I can braise what is left of it in a little olive oil and white wine and suddenly I have a completely different dish for lunch! So if you do it, make too much and braise on the day after for lunch or dinner!
Last week I craved white beans, beans are such a good comfort food when you feel cold and a bit low. I was lucky to find a jar with cooked cannelini beans on a shelf, I had a fennel bulb on the table so I grabbed that and chopped it roughly (can you say so? ) and then I cooked some green beans as well. After having drained and rinsed the beans, I dumped them and the chopped fennel in a bowl and when the green beans were ready, I poured them and the boiling water into the bowl, over the beans and the fennel because I wanted a) to warm up the beans a little and b) quickly blanche the fennel so it got a little softer. After a couple of minutes, I drained the beans and started thinking about how to dress the dish; I took a spoonful of Dijon mustard, a couple of spoons of fresh cream, black pepper, salt and extra-virgin olive oil and mixed it well, poured it over the beans, mixed again and then tasted heaven! I love this simple dish so much, it is nothing special about it, it doesn’t look particularly well but it tastes fantastic! And you make it in 15 minutes if not less.
So what do you think about this format, will you still read Lucullian even if I go on like this instead of posting real recipes with photos? I hope you do because it feels like a good path for me to trot on at the moment!