It’s cold outside, and the evenings are drawing dark hard on the heels of four o’clock, and inside there are blankets, and fat warm candles, and a big bit of pig, and heart attack mash.
This risotto is sort of Nigel Slater, and sort of me, and sings absolute unfathomable comfort in every grain of soft and oozy rice. I found it in a book at my grandparents’ house, near the Peak District, and I folded myself up on their sofa and thought about making it, back in London. It is wonderful.
This crumble is either distressing because the idea of nectarines in a crumble is inherently wrong; or because it was written in a hospital waiting room. Really, though, like hospitals, nectarines in crumble are brilliant. This crumble has nectarines, and walnuts, and whiskey, and marzipan, and it may be the best thing I’ve ever invented.
She hears there’s tricks i’ the world, and hems, and beats her heart, spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt that carry but half sense. This, then, is a pie of half-sense, and of remembering. Bake it, and remember. I was all out of pansies, and I haven’t seen a columbine in years, and cooking with rue seemed foolish: but the other things are there, and they are very good.
Mussels demand the absolute commitment to food that is the hallmark of all the best dinners: hands-on murder, hands-in devouring, and plenty of wine. You can’t eat mussels half-heartedly. These are the best mussels I have eaten, ever, and a team effort from Tall Man and me. Also featuring chorizo, excellent wine, and some incredible cheeses. Very quick. Very delicious. Very, very easy.
This curry is made and named for a very talented musician I know; it is excellent, and actually quite good for you. Can, as ever, be eaten with your fingers, so long as you have a napkin to hand and a bowl for the bones.
A stock for the almost very worst days, the days when leaving the house is too hard, when everything seems impossible. This is a stock, or a soup, and it is good, and warm. This is a stock for the worst days; it is a good stock.