Thursday, August 20, 2009

Food, Friendship & Kitchen Loving
Rosie Lovell
Four Estate - $39.00

Five years ago Rosie Lovell opened her deli, Rosie’s Deli Café, in the heart of Brixton Market. It has become “an intimate place where food, music and people from all over the world tumble into one place on Electric Avenue”.

This chunky, hugely appealing book is packed with favourite recipes and stories, (many very personal, frankly and wonderfully told), from her life, meals from her numerous travels, from her deli as well as meals she has made at home.
Goodness knows when I might get to London again but I can tell you for sure that one of the first places I visit when I do eventually get back will be Rosie’s Deli Café.

Spooning with Rosie is a cookbook to read as well as to use as a source of great recipes.
It is about food, friendship and the joy of good food shared with others and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
I reckon Rosie Lovell would make a wonderful dinner companion.

Address details should you be lucky enough to be able to visit:
Rosie’s Deli Café,
14e Market Row
Brixton Market
London Sw9 8LD

http://www.rosiesdelicafe,com/ - and if you can’t visit then enjoy wandering around her attractive website.

And here is the recipe I plan to make this coming Saturday evening which is reproduced here by kind permission of the London publisher. It will also serve to give you an idea of her warm and friendly style:

Tuscan Bean Stew with Riso Pasta: ultimate warming stuff for when even the floor is making you cold
Serves 4
I cooked this dish the first night we arrived in Urbisaglia, and it is inspired by the wholesome soups of Tuscany that I discovered when I lived in Florence, after leaving school. When we got to the farmhouse it was pretty late, and freezing cold, due to the flagstone floors, and howling a gale outside so much that all the shutters were banging madly as if it was a haunted house. So I set to making this big pot of warming vegetables, with pasta plunged in at the last for extra filling value. I’ve also made this for the odd winter dinner party too. One notably with Will and Charlotte. They are a brilliantly erudite and excellently hedonistic pair.

I love the type of pasta in this recipe. It’s tiny, like rice, and cooks quite quickly, absorbing a little of the liquid in the pot. It really brings the whole dish together and makes for a silky and yet wonderfully stodgy plate of steaming vegetables. And the pork really gives some flavour and texture to the whole affair. Grate over Parmesan at the end, as you would with any other pasta dish, and relish some economical comfort.

1 large onion
4 carrots
300g celery (which is about 1 medium celery plant, including the leaves)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves
200g streaky bacon or pancetta, depending on what’s available
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 young bay leaf
1 large glass of red wine (about 200ml)
1 x 400g tin of brown borlotti beans
100–150g riso pasta, or any other tiny type
2 generous handfuls of well-chopped freshest parsley
Maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
150g freshly grated Parmesan

Prepare the vegetables by peeling and finely dicing the onion, along with the carrots and celery. The pieces should be a little smaller than your smallest fingernail. Heat the olive oil in a very large saucepan on a medium heat. When the oil is shaking, add all the diced vegetables. While these sweat a little, very finely chop the garlic and add to the pot. Continue to fry for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time with a wide flat-ended wooden spoon. Now slice the bacon into strips a couple of millimetres wide, making lardons, and add to the pan. Fry for a further 5 minutes, until the bacon has infused the vegetables and the streaks of fat are just beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes and the wine and simmer with the lid on for half an hour.

Meanwhile drain and rinse the borlotti beans. Add these to the pan, along with the pasta, and simmer for a further 5 minutes. It should become thicker and wonderfully glutinous, in a buttery way. At the last moment, fold in the parsley and season. When serving, grate over a healthy amount of Parmesan, then tuck in. Mop up any leftovers with some crusty ciabatta.

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