[PDF | 15,12 Mb] Vegetariani in Cucina N.78 – Giugno-Luglio 2018 – Download Magazine

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    Tom Parker Bowles is an award-winning food writer as well as a dedicated home cook. He writes a weekly column for the Mail on Sunday and is Food Editor of Esquire. He is also author of Full English (2009), which won The Guild of Food Writers’ Award for Work on British Food, as well as The Year of Eating Dangerously (2007) and E is for Eating – An Alphabet of Greed (2004). He lives in London with his wife and two children.

    Tireless in the pursuit of a good dinner, award-winning food writer and broadcaster Tom Parker Bowles has concentrated a life spent in thrall to his appetite into one cookbook, Let’s Eat. The recipes range from the resolutely traditional and British (My mother’s roast chicken or the classic Sticky toffee pudding) through the speediest of quick fixes (Steak or Spiced grilled mackerel) to the truly global (Ceviche, Thai beef salad and Mexican beef stew). But all can be easily cooked in the most everyday of kitchens. This is a book about flavour, succour and good cheer. Real food, for people who live to cook and eat.

    ‘Few food writers enjoy eating with gusto quite as much as does Tom. Now, with this deeply scrumptious book, he reveals how talented he is at the first bit: the cooking.’

    Simon Hopkinson

    For Freddy

    First published in the United Kingdom in 2012 by


    10 Southcombe Street


    W14 0RA

    An imprint of Anova Books Company Ltd

    Text © Tom Parker Bowles 2012

    Design and layout © Anova Books 2012

    Photography © Cristian Barnett 2012

    The moral right of the author has been asserted.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

    Commissioning editor: Becca Spry

    Design concept & cover: Georgina Hewitt

    Photographer: Cristian Barnett

    Home economist: Justine Pattison

    Layout: Allan Sommerville

    Copy editor: Maggie Ramsay

    Stylist: Pene Parker

    Production: Laura Brodie

    Proofreader: Jamie Ambrose

    Indexer: John Noble

    Ebook ISBN: 978-1-90910-807-3

    A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    First Ebook publication 2012

    Also available in hardback ISBN: 978-1-86205-930-6

    { Contents }


    Comfort food

    Quick fixes

    Slow & low

    From far-flung shores

    Cooking for children



    I have a battered old leather recipe book, dark blue and stained with fat, ketchup and chilli sauce. And this book provides most of the recipes for Let’s Eat. Entry into this shabby journal is every bit as exacting as a stage with Thomas Keller or Marco Pierre White. Each recipe has to earn its place. The process goes as follows: I travel to Mexico City, Bangkok, Palermo, Bolton or Vientiane. And eat. Everywhere and everything, my belly swelling as the days go past.

    I take copious, scrawled notes and jot down recipes on scraps of paper, everything from ticket stubs to napkins (and as anyone who has ever spent any time eating Asian street food knows, their napkins make loo roll seem like canvas). Once back at my desk in London I attempt to decipher the name of a dish hiding beneath an errant scrap of noodle. Or a local ingredient blurred by a dousing of beer.

    Yet this is not simply a traveller’s tome, but a collection of very British recipes, too. The food I grew up eating, and still adore. The shepherd’s pies and grilled sole, fresh asparagus and roasted grouse that never cease to thrill and delight.

    At home, I cook each recipe at least three times, endlessly amending until it works (and gets the seal of approval from my wife; seriously, when she nods, the whole world agrees). Then, and only then, is it transcribed into the book. As the years pass, comments and additions find their way onto the pages. I love this leather volume, as much as I love my much-abused wok. Both have the patina of time and constant use, dirty and ragged to the outsider, but utterly beautiful to me. This book, like the wok, tells the story of my love of food. The scribbled additions, the infantile representations of the perfect-sized meatball and the scrawled notes, illegible to anyone but myself.

    Let’s Eat doesn’t set out to sharpen your knife skills, nor redefine the way you view food. Taste takes precedence over pretty presentation and I’ve little time for pious finger-wagging. Buy the best you can afford. Good free-range meat does cost more. The animals take longer to grow, are killed later, and are hung (in the case of beef) often for longer than a month. This means extra cash, sure. As well as extra flavour. And an immeasurably happier life for those beasts, too. But having promised I wouldn’t, I’m starting to lecture from the lofty heights of my food writer’s ivory tower.

    The same goes for those endlessly repeated mantras of seasonal and local. Of course seasonal food is important, as this quarterly demarcation brings changes to the market and kitchen that never cease to delight. I passionately believe that the first British asparagus, arriving in late spring, is worth hanging on for, the taste made all the better by the nine-month wait, served with good melted butter and a sprinkling of salt. The same goes for grouse in August, native oysters in September (one drop of Tabasco, one of lemon), gull’s eggs in May and strawberries in June. As one ingredient shuffles off for another year, it’s replaced by something equally beguiling. But I can’t bear those boorish types who scream bloody murder if you eat an apple in spring.

    I’m all for local food, too, but don’t start quivering with rage at the thought of air-freighted fruits and fancies. Our diet would be pretty dull without the likes of lemons and pepper, chocolate and coffee, rice and fish sauce. And is it really so evil to prefer a glossy, firm onion grown 100 miles away to some rotten, squidgy specimen from that crap shop down the road? Pragmatism is the key, not po-faced gloom.

    Too often, cookbooks are written by chefs who’ve long forgotten the constraints of the home kitchen. I promise that there’ll be no recipe starting with the instruction, ‘Take 30 litres of veal stock …’ or ‘Dip the whole pine nuts into the pine nut praline and then dip them into the liquid nitrogen …’ Most of us hardly have room for a mini-blender, let alone a Pacojet processor or sous-vide bath.

    Over the years, I’ve cooked every recipe in this book in my own kitchens. Some of them were no bigger than the average store-cupboard. If you can soften onions on the wonky electric ring of a canary yellow Baby Belling with only two settings – searing and Hades – then you can do anything.

    For me, cooking is so much more than the application of heat to ingredients. It makes me happy; from the planning and shopping to the preparation and eating. With the radio trilling away in the background and a glass of wine at my right hand, I feel as if all is well in the world: cooking as catharsis, as ritual, as bliss. Plus there’s the ironically selfish pleasure that cooking for others can bring: friends and family all gathered around the table. ‘Why is it that young couples buy a television or sofa before a table?’ is a question that vexes chef Fergus Henderson. And quite rightly so.

    Food is not just mere ‘lifestyle’. It’s our one shared universal experience. You can be celibate, teetotal and tax-dodging, but you still have to eat. It’s the basis of all economies, the catalyst for wars and the keeper of peace. The move from hunter-gatherer to sedentary farmer saw the birth of civilisation as we know it. And the history of a country, of its invasions and conquests, is far better illustrated through the food we eat than through some dusty, desiccated historical tome.

    Food, too, is the great communicator. My grasp of foreign tongues is shaky, to say the least. Yet the symbol of enjoyment, the rubbing of one’s gut, is universal. One gets to see far more of an alien culture from behind a robata grill, zinc bar or home-made smoker than from any number of insipid guidebooks.

    All the dishes in this book are within easy reach of anyone who can turn on an oven and grasp a knife. I’m a resolutely amateur cook, my culinary education untainted by years spent in restaurant kitchens. I’m messy and bumbling, with presentation generally more suited to Bedlam than Bocuse. These, though, are recipes to make the taste buds grin and the belly cheer.

    Let’s Eat takes the choicest cuts from ten years spent as a professional food writer, and throws it into one volume. I’ve banged on enough. Let’s eat.

    { Comfort food }

    ‘Landlord, bring us beans and bacon, and a bottle of your finest Burgundy.’

    G K Chesterton

    If beans, bacon and Burgundy don’t ooze comfort, then God only knows what does. Comfort food is familiar, without fuss, drama or pomp. Straightforward, reliable and ever welcome, this is the Ronseal of recipe types: ‘Does exactly what it says on the tin.’ It’s all about easy pleasure and solid flavours, an edible balm that tastes exactly as it should.

    It is, though, the most subjective of culinary categories, as the choice of dish is defined entirely by one’s gastronomic past. A childhood spent tugging the apron strings of a great English cook will produce markedly different dishes to a youth passed alongside wok and cleaver. Yet anyone with a heartbeat and opposable thumb will have at least one dish – be it hot buttered toast, red lentil dhal or peppered tripe soup – that coddles, comforts and soothes.

    The majority of dishes here are European in genesis, as comfort food is particularly well suited to temperate climes; a later chapter deals with food from far-off lands too. There’s a good sprinkling of British food. These are the staple dishes of my youth, adolescence and adult life. A week will rarely pass when I don’t cook at least one of these recipes. Bonhomie for the belly and succour for the soul.

    { Cooking at home }

    ‘Heat is just another form of seasoning,’ I was once told by that Celtic force of nature, chef Richard Corrigan. This is a man whose intelligence is matched only by his generosity and, as ever, he’s spot on. The flavour and texture of a piece of meat is affected by the amount of heat used, from quick sear to slow simmer. Yet too often the amateur cook fears real heat. We soften our onions on a piddling flame, and complain that it takes 30 minutes, not ten. We’re afraid of burning our meat, rather than browning it. And we struggle with gas that seems to have only two settings: nothing and too hot.

    Experience is everything, and the more that I cook and learn, the easier things become. I still panic at the thought of hollandaise sauce, for example, yet soufflés hold no fear. It doesn’t help when chefs tell us how easy everything is, forgetting that they can bone chickens in their sleep, whereas I’d rather braise my own nose than attempt it again.

    Professional chefs do have many advantages: when they dry-fry chillies, they have extractor fans that are so powerful they rip the words straight from their lips. No question of gassing out the house as it does at home. Nor do they have to contend with the smell of burnt dripping hanging around the sitting room for weeks after cooking huge portions of boeuf Bourguignon. Or the stench of chip fat clinging tenaciously to every fibre. They can blacken steaks to their hearts’ content, flambé duck without fear of ruining the ceiling and fling the fat with reckless abandon. That is the point of a professional kitchen.

    At home, things must be a little more subdued, but it’s never quite as calm as the blessed Delia might suggest. She makes it look easy, as she’s been doing what she does, beautifully, for many years. All I’m saying is that cooking is often messy, smelly, noisy and painful. That a pan full of hot fat will always spit like a cobra when introduced to a handful of raw meat. And sharp knives continue to slice open even the most lauded of hands. Don’t fear the heat, and cooking suddenly becomes a whole lot more easy.

    { Fat }

    Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, we worshipped fat. Fat was health, wealth and happiness. ‘The fat of the land’ was something to be coveted rather than disdained. We hankered after great wobbling dollops of marrow, gleaned from the bone with a specially shaped scoop. Fought over the last scrap of chicken skin. And lusted after lard, dripping, suet, schmaltz and butter. Fat carries flavour and aroma, provides the sexiest of textures, allows us to relish in our meat and delight in our food. Without fat, life would be one long lunch with Hare Krishnas.

    Fat is also utterly essential to human life: our brains wouldn’t function without the stuff, our cells would cease to survive, join the bleedin’ choir invisible. Hormones would wither and die, immune systems buckle.

    If the body were allowed to choose its fuel, it would go for fat, no question. Fat provides double the energy of similar amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Yet 50 years back, saturated fat suffered a spectacular fall from grace: from hero to zero in a matter of months. Scientists noted that coronary heart disease had suddenly become the biggest killer of all. At the same time, after the bleak paucity of the rationing years, there was an increased consumption of animal fats. No surprises there. Fourteen years of mock goose and Woolton pie will do that to an appetite. Scientists put two and two together and came up with four and a half. More animal fats, more heart disease, ergo animal fat is a gimlet-eyed, stone-cold killer. Animal fats became Public Enemy Number One. Despite the fact that there has been no conclusive proof linking saturated fat with heart disease, fat’s image was changed for ever.

    That’s not to say that one could survive solely on a diet of butter, bone marrow, lard and milkshakes. Too much of anything, from rice cakes to lardy cakes, is never a good thing. The palate would start to tire and the body bloat. A healthy diet means a balanced diet, lots of green stuff, nuts, pulses, fish and the rest. Fat doesn’t kill; rather, too much of the wrong kind can. Allied with sitting on your vast, wobbling butt all day, munching Quavers by the ton and slurping entire reservoirs of Cherry 7-Up. So in short, embrace animal fats, revel in them, but don’t exist solely upon them. And buy the very best you can afford. Fat you can see, wrapped around kidneys or hugging a leg of lamb, is not the stuff to worry about. It’s those hidden buggers, creeping around all those processed foods, that are the truly dangerous foe.

    Spaghetti with meatballs

    { SERVES 4 }

    500 g/1 lb 2 oz minced pork

    250 g/9 oz minced steak or beef

    1 whole egg and 1 yolk

    85 g/3 oz breadcrumbs, soaked in 125 ml/4 fl oz milk for 10 minutes, then squeezed out

    2–5 dried chillies, crumbled

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    500 g/1 lb 2 oz dried spaghetti

    grated Parmesan, to serve

    For the sauce

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1½ onions, finely chopped

    1–3 fresh Thai or finger chillies, finely chopped

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    2½ × 400 g/14 oz cans chopped tomatoes

    8 basil leaves, torn

    Italian-American food at its best, star of more mob movies than you can shake a cannoli at. Purists may argue that Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s red-sauce-splashed classic, was the meatball’s greatest ever cinematic moment. ‘Veal, beef, pork …’ mumbles Vinnie, cooking up his prison feast. ‘You gotta have the pork. That’s the flavour.’ As well as cutting the garlic with a razor blade. But it’s actually in Point Break, Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant surf, screw, run and rob film, where the meatball reaches its peak. So fine is the sandwich that it actually causes the cops, who are on stakeout, to miss the bank being robbed. When done well, meatballs have that sort of effect.

    To make the meatballs, mix the pork, beef, egg, egg yolk, breadcrumbs and chillies together with a good pinch of salt and lots of pepper, then cover and chill for 30 minutes (the mixture, not you).

    Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onions, chillies and garlic and cook gently until soft. Add the tomatoes, season, and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Add the basil at the end of cooking time.

    Roll the meat mixture into small, squash-ball-sized balls. Heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for 2–3 minutes, leaving the inside a little underdone.

    Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling lightly salted water, following the timing on the pack. Five minutes before the spaghetti is ready, add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, until cooked. Drain the pasta and serve with the meatballs, sprinkled with Parmesan.

    Chilli cottage pie

    { SERVES 6 }

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    ½–2 Scotch bonnet chillies, finely chopped

    4 red onions, finely chopped

    1 kg/2 lb 2 oz minced beef (freshly minced if possible)

    2 tablespoons tomato purée

    4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste


    500 ml/18 fl oz fresh beef stock (you can use cubes at a push)

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the mash

    8 large Maris Piper potatoes, about 1.3 kg/3 lb total weight, scrubbed

    6 tablespoons milk

    50 g/1¾ oz butter, plus 25 g/1 oz to dot on top

    Too often, the cottage pie (and its bleating cousin, the shepherd’s pie) is a mean sort of lunch, made with small, rubbery pellets of cheap mince, a splash of ketchup and lumpy mashed potato. Even worse, people insist on using the leftovers from Sunday’s roast. I’m all for using up chicken bones and the like, but to chop up yesterday’s beef for a pie not only gives an inferior filling – it robs me of roast beef sandwiches too. My great-grandfather, food writer and polemicist P Morton Shand, blamed the decline of British food on our culture of leftovers, where ‘… the joint lingered from Sabbath to Sabbath, suffering diverse strange transformations in its progress from Sunday’s midday dinner to Saturday’s supper: hot, cold; cold, hashed; cold, minced; cold, rissoles; cold, shepherd’s pie; cold, Kromensky; and cold, stewed. It is the very diagnosis of dyspepsia.’ I agree. This recipe uses fresh beef mince. If you can get the decent stuff from your butcher, freshly minced, it does make all the difference. This is a cheap dish, but shouldn’t be a mean one. Avoid ‘lean’ mince at all costs.

    As to chillies, I like a good kick of warmth, not so much that it sends diners fleeing from the table, their tongues sizzling in bowls of yogurt. I use one or two Scotch bonnets, but adapt as needed. They’re pretty fiery, but have a lusciously fruity tang. If you do have to use those generic Dutch big chillies, good luck. They have all the kick of a limbless ass.

    For the mash, I don’t bother peeling the potatoes before cooking. Boil in their skins, leave to cool, then peel by hand. Much quicker and easier.

    Gently heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and soften the chillies in it (do open a window, as these chillies can create a gas that tends to get children crying and wives hacked off), then add the onions and soften for about 10 minutes.

    Add the beef, turn the heat to high and brown it. Add the tomato purée and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, a few jigs of Tabasco and the stock; taste, then season. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

    Meanwhile, make the mash. Put the potatoes in a big pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20–25 minutes, until


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