thai-style noodle salad with crispy garlic pork

thai-style noodle salad with crispy garlic pork
Another lucky dip day, when I turn spring cleaning the freezer into a food adventure. What do we have today? Er . . . well . . . um . . . it looks like meat. I'm not sure what it is. All my well intentioned plans and new year's resolutions to start labelling what I put in the freezer have gone awry again - clearly the freezer-proof pen that I had used to label the container wasn't actually proof against my hot sticky fingers. The neatly printed label is now merely a smear of black ink. Perhaps I could market it as art - take a photograph and suddenly it's all a bit William Eggleston. Or not!

langoustines with creamy wild leek and chilli dipping sauce

langoustines with creamy wild leek and chilli dipping sauce.
Their bodies are fiddly to peel and I see their beady eyes glaring reproachfully at me in my sleep, but their flesh is so sweet and juicy that the langoustine really is worth the effort (and even a few nightmares!)

A lucky dip in my freezer picked out a bag of frozen cooked langoustines (nephrops norvegicus) but what to do with them?

green again! wild leek soup

wild leek soup
I'm feeling a little bit green again, It is partly to do with the fact that I have been doing a bit of less-than-intrepid foraging in my back garden for the past month or so, but also because of the unseasonably damp weather conditions here in England.

I mean to say - a hail storm in May? Monsoon conditions in London again? Just like last year, it has started to rain; this does not bode well for the summer. But at least I can take my mind off things and ease my sustainable conscience (as well as reducing food miles), by making a thrifty soup from a
deliciously dark home-made and very wobbly chicken stock (made from last Sunday's roast chicken carcass) and my foraged wild leeks. 

(overnight) stuffed deli sandwich: it goes to work while you sleep!

stuffed deli sandwich
The French have pan bagnat, those from New Orleans have the muffaletta. Here in Kentish Town, I have a deli sandwich that goes to work while you are sleeping and tastes divine.

Take your favourite deli ingredients (and yes potato salad isn't traditional, but I like it) stuff them into a hollowed-out loaf, wrap in clingfilm and press down. Leave overnight in a cool place. By the time you unwrap the sandwich all the ingredients have got to know each other and the olive oil soaks through the bread, infusing it with yet more flavours. Absolutely delicious.

apple and mincemeat suet dumplings - a little treat for george orwell

apple and mincemeat suet dumplings
How do you submit a recipe for a recipe swap on the subject of LOCAL when your locality seems bereft of any iconic foods? It's time to get creative, or that's what I tried to do recently in a submission for The Guardian's new Cook section and their weekly Readers' Recipe Swap, around the theme of LOCAL.

so excited and just can't hide it . . .

I am so excited, though a bit nervous too, as I was asked by my local library if I would like to take part in their Adult Learners Week programme of events.

I adore libraries. I think they are one of the most fabulous of local resources. It is what makes us civilised! So on being asked to run a
taster session on How to Start a Blog I could hardly say no. so I said yes. And while I am really excited I am also thinking yikes, what happens if no-one turns up?

a sort of shaggy dog story - saint nigel bounds to the rescue again! braised neck of lamb with apricots and cinnamon

Nigel Slater's braised neck of lamb with apricots and cinnamon
If this blog post was a song title it would be stormy weather because yet again the capricious British climate strikes again. (Of course if this blog post was a "type" of literature, the less kind might describe it as a shaggy dog story!)

nature's bounty: wild leek and chilli sauce

wild leek and chilli sauce
In harvesting my back garden of a non-native invader, I am ridding the neighbourhood of something that some of my neighbours regard as an annoying little pest and I have a rather lovely mild garlic taste of spring to enjoy. I am talking about the wild three-cornered leeks (allium triquetrum) that have covered a swathe of my garden yet again (this was despite digging them up last spring, although admittedly my attempts were a little half-hearted).

I have already made a wild leek pesto this year. But I wanted to have something that was simpler, without cheese that I could use to marinade meat and fish. A simple combination of merely wild leek leaves, chillies and chillies was something of a winner.

what's in season: may

a little spring saxifraga
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly
(traditional English rhyme)

Another year and yet again April definitely lived up to its reputation as a cruel month!

Having said that, I awoke this morning on the first of May to bright sunshine. And a hey nonny no. We can only hope that it lasts!