Yes, it's the last weekend before Christmas. But don't panic, here are five ideas for the week ahead if you've not managed to get all your shopping done...
The Flavour Thesaurus
A brilliantly conceived book - you don’t realise you have needed this all your cooking life until you read it. Niki Segnit’s guide to flavour combinations is far from an exhaustive list of ingredients but a deliciously witty exploration of why certain flavours, such as goats cheese and coffee, work, and why some just don’t.
Worth getting if only for the pithy put down of chocolate and beetroot.
“It’s champions can hardly believe the lusciousness and chocolatiness of the combination. I couldn’t either and.. I still don’t.
“In chocolate beetroot cake...the raw cake mixture was so unpleasant that no one wanted to scrape the bowl clean. Case closed, at least in my kitchen.”
The Flavour Thesaurus: Usually £18.99, but now £10.44 from Amazon
Doughnut Box Canvas Bag
Anything from New House Textiles would be a stockingy treat, but their doughnut canvas bag is a particular favourite.
And thanks to the lovely Katy from Pinch of Salt, who brought them to my attention in her Friday Finds.
Doughnut Box Canvas Bag, £12.95
Le Creuset Bean Pot and Soup Bowls in Cerise
Forgive me for being twee, but this bean pot is adorable. I don’t even like beans. (That much).
I would like a kitchen big enough for these, and I’d probably make soups and stews all day and serve them in these lovely soup bowls which have lids, just because.
Heavy duty, French farmhouse and devilishly practical. I love them.
Bean pot: £45.60, John Lewis
Soup bowls: Set of 2: £17.60, John Lewis
St. John Hotel
St. John Hotel The opening of St. John Hotel is one of the most anticipated launches. If the restaurants in Spitalfields and Clerkenwell are anything to go by, after playing in Soho, this will be a a homely respite from the cackling bustle of Chinatown.
Writing about the St. John ‘Breakfast Bun’ at breakfast time is unforgiving, so I just beg that it opens soon. Breakfast or a cheeky stay here would be a wonderful present. Prices start at £200 for the post-supper room. For reservations, details below.
1 Leicester St
0203 301 8069
Red Cabbage and Beetroot confit
And finally, a recipe. I’m sure you’ve had your fill of the brilliant ways to cook your bird already (Margot Ferguson’s collection in the OFM last week is a great place to start) so I’ve got a red cabbage one instead to go with it.
This is meant to be a ducky accompaniment, but actually if your meat is fatty, salty and roasty, I’m sure this sweet, rich confit would still work wonderfully well.
Finely slice a red onion, grate three beetroot and finely shred half a cabbage.
Heat up a knob of butter with some oil in a heavy saucepan, and soften the onions for a good ten minutes. Add 100g sugar, two heaped tablespoons of jam (raspberry or strawberry is good), 100ml red wine vinegar. Bring to a bubble, then throw in the beetroot and the cabbage, stir well, cover and keep it on the lowest heat for 30-40 minutes. Add another knob of butter before serving large spoonfuls.
Adapted from Riverford Farm Cookbook