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Entries in anchovies (6)


nigel’s top ten – roast tomatoes with crumbs and thyme

david often jokes about the simplicity of nigel slater’s approach to food – “...nothing quite matches picking a tomato and eating an apple. i do this twice today. the first time at about 9:30; the second just before lunch when i bring a large and knobbly costoluto fiorentino inside and slice it thinly. no pepper, no oil, a very little salt. no bread either, just a great, fat, gloriously ripe tomato. if only lunch could always be as simple as this”* and so i was amused to read the descriptor that accompanied this recipe, where nigel explains it is a simple dish which he eats weekly in the summer.

so, how did i get on?

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aubergine puttanesca

a fridge full of past their best vegetables prompted a chopping and roasting session the other day. instead of mixing everything up i decided to keep everything separate – aubergine cubes, courgette batons, tomato quarters and  strips of pepper – so that i could use things up in different dishes rather than rely on the ubiquitous, and quickly-boring-if-you-have-as-much-stuff-as-i-did roasted vegetables.

i had a real craving for something spicy and tangy last night so decided to make a puttanesca style dish but used roasted aubergine in place of tomatoes.

it was wonderfully quick to pull together – i fried some sliced garlic, chopped chilli and anchovies (optional if you are veggie) then added chopped capers and kalamata olives plus my aubergines. a glug of white wine and some seasoning were the final touches and, because the aubergines were already cooked, it only took 10 minutes to make.

the result was really good – i love the richness of roasted aubergines and this worked perfectly with the puttanesca flavourings. if it hadn’t been the day before my vegetable box was delivered, and my cupboards were less bare, i’d have added some lemon zest and chopped parsley too.


slow-roasted lamb with sassoun and roasted pumpkin salad


i can’t quite believe april is almost here. however, it does make (very clichéd) sense of the very strong cravings that i’ve been having for lamb.

i have a leg of lamb in the freezer which will make an appearance over easter but in the meantime i’ve returned to an old favourite – slow cooked neck of lamb. neck is a good value cut and if it is cooked long and slow it becomes meltingly tender.

i put the lamb, sliced onions and garlic into a foil parcel with rosemary, preserved lemon and a glug of white wine and then cooked it as noted here. this was served with roasted pumpkin and feta (pumpkin is tossed with olive oil, chilli flakes, salt & pepper before cooking, crumbled feta added for the final 10 mins of cooking) and sassoun.

i read about sassoun in a recent copy of cuisine and was instantly reminded of agresto, a zingy walnut-based paste  which i love. sassoun uses almonds in place of walnuts, and mixes them with anchovies, herbs, fennel and olive oil. it works wonderfully with lamb and i will definitely make this again but with one change from the original recipe – i’ll add some lemon zest, and possibly a bit of lemon juice, to lift the flavours so they are even more spring-like.

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last lick, yum lick


i’m not a big fan of rich creamy food but when i heard a friend raving about his mum’s “last lick sauce”, describing it as the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken and a fabulous gravy replacement in the summer, i had to give it a try.

garlic, rosemary, anchovies and sundried tomatoes. plus cream for richness. definitely worth a go.

the sauce has a fabulous depth of savoury flavour but it is very rich. i tried versions using crème fraiche (full and low fat) and sour cream. none of these was a patch on the original so, here it is, the original last lick sauce.

it is indeed a great accompaniment to roast chicken and is a very delicious way to ring the changes if your sunday roast is looking a little jaded. 

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roasted jerusalem artichokes with goat’s cheese, roasted tomatoes and agresto


i loved skye gyngell’s first recipe book and am now working my way through her second, finding many, many recipes which make my toes curl with pleasure.


my absolute favourite so far has been this roasted jerusalem artichokes with goat’s cheese, roasted tomatoes and agresto. as ever there are many layers of flavour – pungent garlic, the nutty sweetness of roasted artichokes, the tang of the tomatoes and wow, wow, wow, the magic that is agresto.


in skye’s words, “agresto is a soft, rounded pounded paste made with very fresh young creamy walnuts” but it also so much more. the walnuts (it’s too late in the year for wet walnuts but this was fine made with older fresh walnuts) are combined with anchovy, garlic, lemon, chilli, parsley and olive oil and result in a wonderfully fresh zingy paste with the base flavours of anchovy and nuts.


we ate this two days running and it is a serious contender for any festive meal which needs a starter. i am also really excited about trying the agresto in different forms. i love the idea of tossing it with pasta, perhaps replacing the anchovies with crumbled blue cheese.

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