Friday 19 February 2021

Lockdown CBe food, part 6

Series 1, episode 6. There are books too. The official publication date of Roy Watkins’s Simple Annals, a memoir of early childhood in Lancashire, 1940s, is this week: ‘There isn’t an iota of sentiment or nostalgia in his recollection partly because the past isn’t embalmed but seen as an ecstatic and traumatic living root and presence in the writer’s being ... Watkins is entirely original and this book is a masterpiece.’ And printed copies of Dan O’Brien’s A Story that Happens are in: a book that doesn’t so much teach about writing but learns, alongside the reader. Passing on knowledge from experience is not a thing we seem be good at; this book does precisely that. Meanwhile …

18 Kozinaki from Caroline Clark (Sovetica forthcoming from CBe). From Georgia; made by the author in Canada and Moscow in winter. Pan-roast nuts and seeds, traditionally walnuts but any kind; melt some sugar in honey, pour the nuts into the syrup and stir until all are well coated; spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper, use another sheet of baking paper to press down and flatten, cover and leave outside in the garden or on the balcony to let the kind of temperatures we’ve been having this month harden it. Break off pieces, eat.
19 Aloo and Baingan Salan (Aubergine and Potato Curry) from Nuzhat Bukhari (Brilliant Corners coming in May). Aubergine, potatoes, tomatoes; onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, green chilli pepper, garam masala. Serve with yogurt into which you’ve stirred chopped mint, and naan bread. Eat with your fingers. Feel very warm.
20 Squirrel from Lara Pawson (This Is the Place to Be). This was one of the first recipes sent to me in early January, but squirrels don’t just fall out of trees (or if they do, it’s usually onto a branch of the next tree along). Two possible scenarios were worrying me: (a) I wouldn’t like it; (b) I’d like it so much I’d want squirrels every week. Fortunately for everyone, including squirrels, the first prevailed: there’s wine and rosemary and plenty of garlic in here, but despite long slow cooking the meat still clung to the bones. I doubt the hazelnuts I forgot to add – despite having them ready – would have changed things. Lara is encouraging me to try again with a squirrel her dog caught today, not a frozen one.

21 Stuffed Monkey from Lesley Levene (who has copy-edited or proofread more books, including many of the CBe titles, than I’ve had hot dinners). One layer of dough (flour, butter, cinnamon, egg, sugar), then filling (candied peel, ground almonds, butter, sugar, egg yolk), then another layer of dough; bake for half an hour. Lesley: ‘My great-aunt used to say it’s called Stuffed Monkey because it was sold in a cake shop in the East End called Monnickendam.’ Or the monkey is myself, because it is very, very more-ish.