It’s a conspiracy. No doubt about it. A conspiracy I tell you.
The fact of the matter is that London-based Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is being thwarted in all of his attempts to meet me.
First, it was the January snow that scuppered travel from the UK and resulted in the cancellation of Atul’s one day course at the Dublin Cookery School, which I was due to attend. Then it was the preponderance of volcanic ash in the airspace hereabouts that meant he was unable to travel for the rescheduled date this weekend.
Much admired for his masterful use of spices, I had really hoped, by now, to be in a position to reveal Atul’s thoughts on the subject of spices for spuds, but there are forces at work that have determined otherwise. Perhaps it is the case that Atul is simply not ready to meet me yet – it’s a naturally big step in any chef’s career – but I rather fancy he can handle it.
And so, while I wait to hear of a new date for my tuition in the ways of Indian spicing, I content myself with using Atul’s rather wonderful book, Indian Essence, as my spicy guide. These potatoes with cashew nuts are a great example of where that can lead. Continue reading
There has been an ad running of late on Irish radio for a new play. The ad includes an excerpt from the play, which runs something like this:
They eat nut roast… Nut roast? …the only nuts I want roasted at Christmas come covered in chocolate and wrapped in shiny paper…
This says a lot about the bad rap that the classic vegetarian Christmas main course of nut roast gets, and sometimes with just cause. Food for the token vegetarian at the Christmas table very often comes in a distant second to main meat event and, to quote Alice Waters, can be the kind of stridently vegetarian food that leaves us “feeling somehow punished by dishes most memorable for their meatlessness”.
I first made my acquaintance with rosemary early in life. As children, we were often sent to fetch rosemary and thyme from the bushes of same that grew along the avenue which lead to our house. It was important to learn to distinguish the two and not return with the wrong one! The rosemary, though, I only ever remember being used with meats and in savoury dumplings for beef stew. Much later, I developed a liking for slices of courgette fried with rosemary and finished with a splash of lemon juice. Then, a few years ago, MGH gave me a little rosemary plant which, despite massive doses of neglect, has thrived in my garden, but was only pressed into use in the kitchen occasionally and, even then, always for savoury purposes.