I’m Feast-ing with The Guardian in 2021
I have gorged on Guardian Weekend food columns and supplements for many years. Devouring the words and recipes like a child allowed sweeties for the first time after a tooth extraction. So, what better way to distract myself, feed my family and hopefully entertain others than to attempt to cook one recipe from each edition of Feast in 2021, and share my experiences and results here.
The emphasis of recipes in the paper has shifted over time shimmying from solid British cookery towards an expansive worldview and broader dietary palette. I’ve embraced new names at the top of columns, salivated over different twists on the same ingredients, and wrestled to source ingredients never heard of – let alone seen – up here in the north east. I mourned the loss of Cook and became accustomed – grew to love – Feast.
I’ve cooked every animal fat under the sun with Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall (I still make his 2009-featured lemon posset and lemon shortbread biscuits); baked with Dan Lepard (the beauty of his sticky 2011 mocha fig muffins is unparalleled). I have massaged kale at the behest of my food hero Yotam Ottolenghi for kale and grilled asparagus salad (his Brussels sprouts with caramelised garlic and lemon peel has become a family Christmas tradition). I’ve created the sublime pink and white cowpat that is Jeremy Lee’s Easter bonnie and been amazed by Rachel Roddy’s wonderful gnocchi alla Romana.
I watched, delighted, as Stephen Smith cooked his way through Delia Smith’s Complete How to Cook. Dated it may be, but that book is my Bible! My eldest daughter replaced my disintegrated copy back in 2006. Her lovingly inscribed gift is now held together with Sellotape and the sticky spray of every recipe I’ve ever cooked from it. I worried when word perfect, acerbic Marina O’Loughlin moved on as resto critic supremo at Weekend. Groundlessly, of course. I have laughed, gasped and wept at Grace Dent’s brilliant restaurant reviews – her recent columns about lockdown, food and nursing her mum through palliative care are superb writing – evocative, funny, poignant.
First up in my kitchen will be Meera Sodha’s apple pudding cake. Do join me to find out how Meera’s vegan cake recipe fared against my family’s fave apple cake (recipe from The Guardian Weekend of course – 2004!).