The Friday Five – in praise of toast

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In praise of toast

 

Ok, I’m a day late, National Toast Day was yesterday. But who doesn’t love a delicious slice of toast?

So, whilst I am sure these are not the first cookbooks you’d rush out to buy, given their single inspiration, if you love your toast, then these could take that love to the next level.

Toast: The Cookbook

 

Toast the Cookbook

Well, it’s not the most imaginative title, but it’s a good place to start. Fifty recipes, sweet and savoury, for each season, it also includes some celebrity chef contributions including people like Fergus Henderson. Guessing that might be the bone marrow on toast, but maybe not. Beautiful looking, and actually the recipes look interesting and tasty. Spicy pepperoni butter sounds like a good topping to toast any day.

 

Posh Toast

 

Posh Toast

 

These are apparently recipes for glorious things on toast, not just any old thing. Whipped gorgonzola, rocket and honey drizzle on toast definitely sounds a step up from my usual Cheddar on toast. According to the blurb though, the trend for posh toppings begin in San Francisco…I’m not convinced. I mean, surely good pate on toast counts as posh? Well, it does in this house!

 

Things on Toast

 

Things on Toast

 

Things on toast are my favourite standby meal, but this would help get you a bit beyond the staples of cheese, beans or scrambled eggs. This covers you from breakfast to supper, savoury to sweet, with everything from poached eggs with chilli and chorizo through to griddled steak with anchovy butter. A bit more cooking involved with this, but that’s definitely no bad thing.

 

Toast: Homage to a Super Food

 

Toast: Homage to a superfood

 

That title will have the clean eating brigade choking on their quinoa and kale smoothie! We eat more toast than any other food in the UK apparently, and Nick Parker the author wanted us to stop undervaluing its role in our daily diet. Part love story, part recipe book, this is a great gift for someone who really, really loves their toast.

 

Toast

 

Toast

 

Shortest main title, but longest sub title, which is “Tartines, open sandwiches, bruschetta, canapés, artisanal toasts and more”. Which should pretty much cover it! Beautiful photography and layout, quite minimalistic in approach, but very tasty sounding recipes. Some great ingredients make their way into this one, like burrata and fresh figs. Lots of inspiration.

So whether you go posh toast, or just the comfort of a toasted square of cheap white bread (which is my food vice) then go ahead, get toasting and celebrate the toasted carb in all its glory. What’s your favourite thing to toast?

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Going sweet and savoury with Great British Biscotti

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Learning to make our biscotti

Learning to make biscotti on our trip to Italy last year was one of our highlights, and one of the things we make most often. However, when I saw what the Great British Biscotti Co are up to, then it made me think about changing things up a bit.

 

Savoury biscotti from Great British Biscotti Co

 

Savoury biscotti.

Never come across them before, and have to say I’m quite converted. The team sent me a box of pretty much everything they do, and we’ve had a great time sampling them.

Twice baked, as per tradition, these have some great flavours going on. For the savoury ones, they’re great alongside a chilled glass of wine, but I decided to try the tribe out on these with some different toppings too.

 

Great British Biscotti Serving Suggestion

 

For the Chorizo & Parmesan and Parmesan & Fennel, I made some whipped ricotta with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. I added some parma ham to the chorizo one and then a fennel salami to the other one.

I was a bit stumped on the Indian spice one, and in the end went with a goats cheese with a hint of honey. The sweetness set off the warmth of the spices nicely.

I would say these are great to have in the cupboard as a standby for a plate of snacks like these, or a last minute crouton on some soup, or just for munching. The sweet ones had traditional flavours like the almond one, perfect to go with a coffee. We were also really fond of the honey and lemon as a perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea.

 

Great British Biscotto Co

Check out their stockists list to find them close to you, or look out for the distinctive bright packaging in good food stores in your area.

Though I still think they missed out on a great naming opportunity, I’d have gone with Britscotti myself.

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What food says I love you?

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How not say to I love you on Valentine's Day

 

So, it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day, which means only one thing to me.

It’s the night of the year not to go out to eat.

I apologise to all those in the restaurant trade, I know you’re doing you’re best. But generally the set menus are bland or trite (not you, The Modern Pantry, loving your work).

And the worst offenders are those that rename dishes with “romantic” titles. To me, fancy pant restaurant dishes are really unlikely to say I love you, in spite of every good intention.

What would you choose then, what really says I love you? Here’s my choices:

 

Tea & Toast in Bed. Heaven

  1. Saturday morning toast and tea delivered to bed by MFL.

 

Chicken soup makes everything better

 

2. Chicken soup any time you’re under the weather, even if you have to heat it up yourself.

 

Sprinkle as though you're a 7 year old!

 

3. Anything your kids make for you.

 

Time for tea. Any time.

4. A good cup of tea anyone else makes for you, just when you need it most.

 

Macarons from a loved one

5. Someone bringing you something that they remembered you liked, like when a friend arrived with a box of macarons straight from a Parisian patisserie. Or a chunk of Parmesan straight from a cheese shop in Rome.

What does it for you? What says I love you from you to someone else, or them to you?

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Doing Valentine’s Day with style

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Valentine's Day with taste

 

I’m not a great lover of Valentine’s Day, for its over-commercialised predominance of pink and red crap. And never mind the idea that romance is just for one day a year.

But there are some tasteful, not to mention tasty, options around, if you look now, and avoid the last minute trip to the supermarket!

 

The Modern Pantry Perfect Breakfast Hamper

 

For instance, I wrote last year about the lovely hampers from The Modern Pantry, and this year would be no exception. I love their collections, and sure any food lover would too. Also worth checking in on Ottolenghi as well.

 

 

For chocolate lovers, I would try Drop Dead Chocolates or Amelia Rope, as my favourites. Oh, but then there’s Rococo. Not to mention my last great find of The Chocolatier, who would definitely have lots of tasty choices.

 

Heart shaped box from Pong

The only cheesy gifts I’d think about giving on Valentine’s Day would be good cheese ones. Pong are still one of my favourite suppliers of interesting cheese, whether you choose a single cheese or a hamper.

 

Burleigh Pink Edition Gin

And then there’s fizz. Or not fizz. I love Adnams for something a bit different on the wine front, but it might also be a good time to give a pink gin. Burleighs have a limited edition pink edition if you can still get hold of it, or Edinburgh Gin have a very pretty looking rhubarb one.

So, as always from me, my recommendation is go for taste first and foremost, design second, and pre-made Valentine tat only in very ironic, last minute desperation!

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