Pasta

Week 89: Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms

So I had a bit of a panic the other night and had to find the quickest thing I could possibly cook after work, and my go-to book on occasions like this is Nigella Express.

To make this for four you will need: 225g chestnut mushrooms, 80ml extra virgin olive oil, 1tbs Maldonado salt, 1 small clove of garlic, juice and zest 1 lemon, 1tsp fresh thyme leaves, 500g linguine, fresh parsley, 2-3 tbs freshly grated Parmesan, and pepper.  As usual I halved the ingredients because I was just cooking for the two of us.

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The method for this is simplicity itself.  Mix the oil, salt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and thyme in a large bowl.  Finely slice the mushrooms and mix them up in the solution and leave to steep for a bit.

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Cook the linguine like it says on the packet, drain it but retain some of the cooking water and put the pasta and water in with the mushrooms.  When I got to this stage I wished I’d used a bigger bowl, so I lobbed mine all back in the pan to toss around.

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Toss everything together, add the parsley, Parmesan and grind in some pepper and serve.

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I really wanted to like this, but I just didn’t.  Firstly I went slightly wrong, I completely forgot the lemon and left everything steeping in salty thyme-ey oil for 10 minutes until I remembered and added it.  The main problem was that it was just far too salty.  Crazily salty.  My lover could only finish half of his and that half went straight through him, I finished it but I didn’t feel to good after.

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I wanted to try it again with even less salt, but my lover has banned me from making it again! Can’t win em all…

Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2007 ISBN 9780701181840)

nigella express

Week 87: Bloody Mary Linguine

Just when you thought I had stirred everything possible into a pan of linguine I bought a new book and found that Gordon Ramsey has mixed dinner with breakfast in a most delightful way.  When I saw it I immediately thought of my friend in the country who drinks in the morning.

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Week 58: Aglio Dorato – Garlic & Tomato Sauce

So here’s a turn up for the books – this week I had my 5000th viewer – which is pretty darn impressive for a year of slightly burned food and bad smells. So thank you for visiting, and coming back for more, it’s great – and to celebrate I will tell you all about the really horrible  meal I cooked at the weekend…

I was pretty intrigued by the concept of a ‘jazzed-up tomato sauce’, I’ve almost made this recipe before, but it takes a bit too long to make after work so it’s waited until now.  I liked the idea of being able to keep the sauce for a few weeks in the fridge, which would be ideal for later work nights.

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To feed two people you will need: 200g spaghetti, 250ml olive oil (yes really) 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (squash them in a colander until you’ve just got pulp – like in the tomatoey pasta), 10 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole), and salt and pepper to season.

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Gently heat the oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic when the oil is warm.  The book says to keep the heat low so that the oil doesn’t spoil. I’m not entirely sure that this isn’t where I went wrong; my hob is a bit of a flamethrower!  After 20 minutes check the garlic cloves are really tender (give them another 10 minutes if they’re not) and then carefully add the squashed up tomatoes. Turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Take the pan off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer the mix to your trusty  food processor and blend into a smooth emulsion.  It’s a little tricky because I found that almost immediately the sauce separated into oil and not-oil which turned out to be a nuisance when it came to the next bit.  Cook the pasta like how it says on the packet, and then drain it really briefly so it’s still a little dampened return it to the cooking pan and add 4-5 table spoons of the sauce and give it a toss.

Serve with Parmesan, and pour the rest of the sauce into a thingie and put it in the fridge.

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I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about this, I thought the garlic seemed very subtle, maybe too subtle for my bawdy palette – and then my lover put his fork down and said “it’s just a load of tasteless oil”

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That was me told. It wasn’t very nice, and even the next day when I poured off a bit of the oil and it was more tomatoey it just tasted a bit ‘crisp-n-dry-ish’. Also, I was slightly worried about Botulism from the garlicky oil, but it’s been a few days and nothing’s developed.

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There could have been loads of things I did wrong, like not using good enough oil or not garlicky enough garlic, or it might have been too hot, but it wasn’t very tasty so I don’t think I’ll make it again.  Oh well!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 54: Orecchiette with Brocolli and Anchovies

So that’s that then, I’ve cooked all three of the recipes in the “three pasta dishes with anchovies” section of the Cupboard Love book. I’m not sure if I cooked it for completeness (such a freaky collector – gotta have the set) or to see how it compared with the really similar (practical identical) Jamie Oliver recipe I made a few weeks back (Broccoli Pasta Chopped Garden Salad  https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/week-48/ )

Probably both. Doubly whammies are hard to resist.

Once again I didn’t have any Orecchiette, so I used the last of the little pasta I used on week 48, but I’m determined to track some down – apparently it’s ideal for brocoli sauces.

To make this for two you will need: 200g orecchiette, unsalted butter, olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, dried crushed chilli, 1/4 nutmeg (I assume he means an actual nutmeg grated up, rather than the ground stuff I had in a jar), 4 sprigs of thyme (just the little leaves, not the stick bit), 1 kg of broccoli (I know. I’m assuming this is the uncut weight – I managed to get 600g off two heads and that was enough), 4 anchovy fillets, juice of half a lemon, and 50g Parmesan.

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First up, cut the broccoli into small florets. I’m not sure how small they need to be, I reckon smaller than I did them. Chop the garlic, grate the nutmeg, and pluck the leaves off your thyme.  Gently heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide pan with a lid.  Start some salted water boiling for the pasta.

When the butter/oil is fizzing stir in the garlic, half a teaspoon of chilli flakes, the nutmeg (I substituted a quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg, I chose this amount because I had no idea how big a nutmeg was), and thyme.

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After minute add the anchovies and broccoli, then add 3 tablespoons of water and a little sea salt. Put the lid on the pan and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.

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Cook the pasta while the broccoli steams, drain it thoroughly and return it to the pan.  Stir in the broccoli mix, then add the lemon juice and freshly grated Parmesan (I forgot to say, while everything’s cooking grate the Parmesan) give it a stir and serve straight away.

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It was really tasty, I think the anchovies and chillies gave it the edge and the nutmeg a real depth of flavour. I managed to slightly catch the broccoli on the pan, mostly because I was using the flamethrower-ring and it just didn’t go low enough to steam the broccoli – so next time I’ll know! Also, I think I need to cut up the broccoli into smaller bits next time, it might become more like a sauce.

Like a lot of other ‘soft’ recipes I’ve made this really needed something crunchy to go with it, but it wasn’t ‘one-texture-ish’ enough to make it bland… If that makes sense?  With the winter starting to make itself known, this is a simple but delicious comfort dish that only requires a truckload of broccoli and some kitchen cupboard staples! Yum!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 49: Picci Pacci

Gosh well there’s a flash name for ‘Chilli, Basil and Almond Sauce’ but if you can’t wave a bit of italian around the kitchen every now and again what can you do?  This recipe is from my beloved Cupboard Love book, and Tom Norrington-Davies thinks Picci Pacci might mean something like ‘this and that’.

The recipe does indeed involve putting a bit of everything in, I saw that it had almonds in and was sold.  I was hoping that it would be a quick after work pasta fest like the fishy pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/week-9-linguine-with-sardines-anchovies-and-parsley/) or the tomato-ey pasta (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/week-35-spaghetti-and-tinned-plum-tomatoes/) but it wasn’t as such.  The actual cooking is instant, but it needs time to steep for a couple of hours.

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For two people you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, 50g blanched almonds, 400g tin peeled tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped basil (or parsley, I used parsley), 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic) half teaspoon salt, pinch of sugar, half a teaspoon dried crushed chilli flakes.

To start drain the tinned tomatoes into a sieve or strainer and squeeze out all the juice, just like on the tomato-ey pasta. Put the pulp into a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, the finely chopped garlic, the basil/parsley, vinegar, salt, sugar, and chilli flakes; stir it all together and leave to steep for an hour or two.

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Heat the oven to a medium heat and toast the almonds for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then chop them up (50 grams looks a lot for two people, but I found I ate loads of them before they got anywhere near the table.

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Cook the pasta as recommended on the packet (use good quality pasta) then drain it, return it to the pan and stir the sauce in straight away. Plate up and sprinkle the almonds over them.

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While this has a total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes the steeping makes it a bit of an effort for a work night. I’m not sure how the sauce would cope steeping a whole day outside the fridge, and away in the fridge would make it too cold to stir into the pasta with being heated. But it is so delicious I would definitely make it on the weekend, and should you. YUM!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 48: Broccoli Pasta chopped Garden Salad

I do declare that this was the last salad of the summer – I’d planned on cooking something a bit more hearty as the weekend felt a bit back-endish (which is a Nottinghamshire term for autumnal, nothing rude haha) but my lover came in clutching the Jamie Oliver book and insisted.

It’s as if he wanted me to spend hours cleaning the kitchen…

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Apparently he’d had his eye on this recipe for a while, understandably so – it’s got a very pretty picture 🙂 this recipe is for four, but with a chunk of garlic bread or something it’d do 6 I reckon (with dessert).  To make this you will need 320g dried orecchiette (or similar small pasta) a bunch of fresh basil, a 50g tin of anchovy fillets in oil, a lemon, 2 cloves of garlic, a dried red chilli, 30g Parmesan, a large head of broccoli and 50g pine nuts. For the salad you will need  2 carrots, 1 avocado, 3 ripe tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar  and rocket (Jamie asks for 70g, but I used the whole pack – what else was I going to do with it?)

Now, usually I would type out the method to the letter, but this recipe just doesn’t work well if you try and do it as it is in the book.  Firstly, cut the florets off your broccoli and set them aside for later, then with a box grater grate the stalk and the carrots onto a board (my board got stuck behind the radiator so I used a big serving dish) squeeze and kneed the avocado with your fingers, then squish it out of the skin into the salad (throw away the stone and scrape the skin for any remaining flesh and throw that away too) roughly chop the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, season with salt and pepper and then toss it all together with the rocket. This is the salad done so pop it on the table out the way.

Next you need to get the liquidiser out, and then turn the kettle on.  Measure out a tablespoon of the oil from the anchovies and tip it in the liquidiser – then drain the rest of the oil and put the anchovies in the liquidiser with the basil and the juice and zest of the lemon. Squash the garlic (Jamie says use a garlic crusher but I don’t have one) and put it in the liquidiser with a splash of boiling water. Then finely grate the Parmesan and add that, and crumble in a dried chilli. I couldn’t find a dried chilli in the whole of Hammersmith, so I kept sprinkling chilli flakes in until it looked like a chilli-worth – it wasn’t the best plan but it was chilli-ish.

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Turn the liquidiser on and keep on going until it’s smooth. While it’s whizzing away pour boiling water into a pasta pan and salt it; then add the pasta and cook as recommended on the packet.

If you’re serving this up at a glamorous party, tip the pesto (which is what you just made by the magic of the liquidiser) into a serving bowl.  Add the broccoli florets to the pasta when it has about 5 minutes to go. Heat up a little frying pan and toast the pine nuts until they’re golden.

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When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, take a cup full of the water from the pan then drain the rest, then tip the pasta into the pesto (if you’re not using a serving dish return the pasta into the pan and tip the pesto in over the top of it) and coat the pasta. Add a bit of the pan water if the pesto needs loosening at all. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the pasta and grate a bit of extra Parmesan over it too. Then serve.

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Doing it in this order takes slightly longer than 15 minutes, but without the panic and total kitchen destruction.

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It was tasty.  It was like a punchier version of the Pasta alla Genovese I made back on week 30 (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/week-30-pasta-alla-genovese/ ) I’d definitely make it again, but not for just the two of us – it’s an impossible recipe to cut in half, so we ended up having it two nights in a row (I put half the pesto and salad into the fridge and did fresh pasta and pine nuts on the second night). It was a bit too much two nights in a row, but it’s definitely one for sharing with friends in the garden on a summer evening with a beer.

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Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)

jamie 15min

 

Week 35: Spaghetti and Tinned Plum Tomatoes

I know, it sounds like something from the menu at a motorway service station in 1987, but bear with me as it is possibly the tastiest meal I have cooked this year.

It’s the first recipe in the Cupboard Love book, and I’ve always swished straight past it to find something harder and more exotic; but this week I needed to cook something from what was in the cupboard (approximately nothing except for cornflour and a load of spices) after getting home late from work.

I was intrigued to try it after seeing a couple of programs on Food Network singing the praises of tinned tomatoes, so I thought this recipe would be the best one to see what the fuss was about.

To make this for two you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, a 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (posh ones if you like), 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons butter, 1 quarter teaspoon salt, 1 half teaspoon sugar, 2 garlic cloves, and some basil or sage leaves (but I didn’t have any)

First start the water boiling for the pasta, and while you wait get a colander / strainer (but not a sieve) and empty the tin of tomatoes into it.  Squash the tomatoes with your hands and mush them around until the juice has gone down the sink and you’re left with a tomato-ey pulp.

If you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll also be left with a tomato splattered kitchen.  If you squeeze the tomatoes too hard they’ll squirt juice and pips everywhere, and your kitchen will look like the aftermath of the Red Wedding.  I’m still finding pips.

By the time you have wiped the worst of it off the kitchen window, the water should have come to a rolling boil, put the pasta in, and gently heat a heavy bottomed frying pan.  Add the oil and one teaspoon of butter, peel and break the garlic with the side of a knife/rolling pin.  When the butter has melted put the garlic in the frying pan and heat for 2 minutes, but not so the garlic goes brown.

Add the tomatoes, give it a good stir, then add the salt and sugar, and stir again.

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Leave the sauce on the gentle heat, fizzing but not bubbling (it’s hard to describe but pretty accurate) while the pasta finishes cooking.  When it’s done drain the pasta then return it to the pan and stir it round with a teaspoon of butter. Then tip the tomato sauce in, stir round, season and serve.  I had a bit of parmesan in the the fridge, so I grated it over the top and it was bloody lovely.

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If there was one meal I could eat day after day it would be this.  I’ll just paint my kitchen red.  Try it tonight!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 30: Pasta alla Genovese

I know its a bit of a cop out, but my brain dribbled out of my ear as I chewed on the ears of my seventeenth Lindt bunny, so I chose this recipe purely because it was green.

Green just like the spring haha.  I have never cooked with Pesto before, or said the words “Ooo its got pesto in, I’ll have that”, so I thought it would be good to try something new.  And it meant I got to use the machine again…

Vroom!

As I read the ingredients list, I thought about getting garlic bread so I could pack all the carbs into one dish, but decided that the pasta and potatoes would be enough on their own.

To make this for 4 you will need: 500g floury potatoes (like King Edwards, cut up into half inch chunks), 500g linguine, 200g fine beans, 100g basil leaves, 100g grated Parmesan, 1 garlic clove, 100ml olive oil, and 100ml extra virgin olive oil.

You will need a large pan, filled with enough salted water to boil the potatoes and the pasta.  Put the potato chunks in and bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta and boil for the length of time recommended on the packet and four minutes before the end, then throw in the beans.  Note: if you are using fresh pasta, boil the potatoes for 28-30 minutes and then put the beans in, put the pasta in so it will be cooked when everything else is done… use dried pasta.

Nigella says that for this dish you need to make the pesto yourself, in a blender!  Vroom!  While the pan is on with the potato and pasta put the basil leaves, Parmesan, garlic and oil into the mixer and blitz it until it looks like pesto… which is really hard to photograph.

Take half a cup full of the cooking water from the pan and then drain the potatoes, pasta and beans.  Off the heat return them to the pan and stir in the pesto and the cooking water and serve immediately.

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I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong; it just didn’t really taste of anything.  My friend suggested that I’d not salted the water enough (I had) and I thought maybe my Parmesan wasn’t flavour-full enough.  While it smelled amazing and looked devine it was pretty bland so I don’t know if I’ll make it again.

And I still don’t totally see what all the fuss is about with pesto!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 27: Sapori Forti

So I slightly burned this the first time round, so I had another crack at it!

It’s been a couple of months since I tried something new from my trusty Cupboard Love book, and as my lover pointed out: a while since I’ve stirred something different into some pasta.  Sapori Forti translates as Strong Flavours, and I’d been glancing at the recipe in a quizzical fashion ever since Week 9 (http://wp.me/p42Dr4-T) and when this week’s New Recipe Night crept up on me I realised I had everything in the cupboard!

To make Sapori Forti for two you will need: 200g pasta (linguine or spiralli), 1 onion (thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves, 4 or 5 anchovy fillets, 50g black olives, 1 tbs capers, 50g raisins, 1 tbs pine nuts, 1 tbs chopped mint/oregano and some extra virgin olive oil.

First up, pop the raisins in a bowl in some warm water; while these are plumping up finely chop the onion, chop the garlic, roughly chop the capers and the olives and measure out the tablespoon of pine nuts (because you’ll only forget them later, like I did)

Heat 2tbs of normal olive oil in a fairly wide pan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 or 10 minutes until really softened (keep stirring, but a bit of browning is OK).   Set your pasta water boiling in a different pan.

When the onion is really soft turn the heat down and add the anchovies, cook until they disintegrate and melt into the onions.  While this is melting, put your pasta into the water and cook as recommended on the packet (if you’re the sort to make your own pasta or buy that posh fresh pasta that cooks really quickly, don’t do this for a few more minutes)

After the anchovies are cooked add the olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts and herbs and remove the pan from the heat.  Give it all a good stir and add the extra virgin olive oil, it sort of loosens up and the oil picks up the combined flavours.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan – fold the sauce around the pasta and serve.

So the first time I tried it I somehow blackened it to a crisp – without actually burning it – but it tasted so good I had a second bash at it, with new less charred pictures.  I’m glad I did it’s one of the tastiest things I’ve made!  Open your copy of Cupboard Love to page 28 and have it tonight!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Puttanescapades!

Sounds like a Friday night out on the town, but actually its just a normal night in my flat.  No keys were put in any bowls.

The other week I made Nadia G’s Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca (Spaghetti like a whore would make https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/week-18-spaghe…lla-puttanesca/ ) which was lovely, a proper after-work dinner (especially if you’re a hooker I should imagine)

Then last week this happened: http://www.buzzfeed.com/catesevilla/nigella-lawsons-perfect-response-to-trinny-woodalls-domestic and I thought how interesting it would be to try another cooks recipe of the same dish.  So tonight I would like to introduce the first irregular New Recipe Night Recipe Fight.  I toyed with calling it the first Putta Fight, but I don’t think there are that many variations on Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, and you’d all get bored reading about spaghetti with olives, capers, tomato and anchovies; even if I dressed up specially.

So here we are with a different cooks take on Spaghetti like a whore would make.  Nigella’s “Slut’s spaghetti” from her Kitchen book (page 188).

The main difference (the only difference actually) is that Nigella uses a tin of tomatoes whereas Nadia uses cherry tomatoes, and Nigella uses pitted black olives where as Nadia G uses Kalamata Olives.  Nigella also gives the option of using picked red jalapenos instead of chilli flakes, but I didn’t have any.

The two recipes went together identically, if I was cooking for four I would prefer using the tinned tomatoes, but as its just me and the lover I had half a tin of tomatoes in the fridge for a couple of days.  Having said that, Nigella does say that the sauce can be made and kept for two days in the fridge/three months in the freezer; which might be my answer to slovenly after work cooking!

Pre-pitted olives from a jar are a boon.  I like the kalamata olives, but in my Sainsbury’s they only come whole from the deli and I have to pit them myself, which is a nuisance, and a non-putta activity…

A winner?  Tough one?  In a street fight I reckon Nadia G would win, because she’s very ghetto (and twenty years younger) but there’s something about the convenience of all of Nigella’s ingredients being in tins and jars that makes her version appeal to me more, as much as I like the whole cherry tomatoes.

Ultimately I’ll probably end up making a hybrid of the two, but one things for certain: next time I make it I shall definitely “serve in slatternly style, preferably with an untipped cigarette clamped between crimson painted lips”  Shkoff!

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)