SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Lucas Hollweg

June 11, 2021
The elderflowers in the local hedgerows are becoming frothier each day. I confess that I am yet to make cordial with them this year, but I discovered a bottle of the stuff in the freezer, leftover from last summer’s batch. It didn’t seem to have suffered too much from its icy incarceration. A few splashes
May 26, 2021
I dropped in on a local cheesemaking friend the other day. Marcus Fergusson of Feltham’s Farm is a bit of a maverick, producing award-winning organic cheeses that break the British mould. His first creation, named Renegade Monk after both the ale used to wash the cheese and the location of the farm on what was
May 21, 2021
No apologies for a third helping of asparagus in the space of a month. It is the edible emblem for this moment in the year, when nature is fully back in business, something that seems particularly fitting this year – the green shoots of recovery and all that. This is a delicate risotto, but perhaps
May 21, 2021
I make a curry every two or three weeks. I say “a curry” in that rather generic British way, because I make absolutely no claims for its authenticity. I can’t trace it origins specifically to Goa or Gujarat. It isn’t a recipe that has been handed down over generations. All I can say is that
May 14, 2021
I once visited a crab-processing plant in Cornwall. It was a heady experience. The crustaceans were steamed in giant vats, then cracked open and the flesh deftly extracted by hand at remarkable speed. The whole place was infused with the incense of piscine endeavour, a mixture of ozone and crab bisque. I thought of this
May 07, 2021
I made this at the beginning of the week, when an unseasonal storm shook us from our sunny complacency and the wind snapped branches from the trees. It made me feel what, these days, is known as “a bit conflicted”, culinarily at least. The fridge was bristling with spring vegetables, fresh and green and full
April 30, 2021
I confess that, until today, I hadn’t made breaded plaice for years. Breadcrumbing isn’t onerous, but it is an extra step, and generally I think of fish as quick and easy. Still, there was plaice on the fishmonger’s slab this morning and it got me thinking about the pleasing contrast of white fish and crisply
April 23, 2021
I never quite know what to call these salads that straddle the boundary between hot and cold. Salade tiède is the French term, but the English equivalent – “warm salad” – seems rather drab in comparison. In any case, this salad is unlikely to be anything more than enthusiastically room temperature by the time the
April 16, 2021
Three seasonal stars come together in this week’s recipe. The first is purple sprouting broccoli, a welcome sight at this time of year, which used to be known as “the hungry gap” in the British vegetable-growing calendar. The second is brown shrimps, the tiny crustaceans – once commonplace, now a luxury – that are still
April 09, 2021
This being a rare Friday when meat is on the menu — Happy Easter! — I thought I’d do something with a ham hock. It’s a riff on the rustic French idea of salt pork with lentils – jambonneau aux lentilles, petit salé aux lentilles etc – which is one of those simple combinations that just works,
April 02, 2021
This is a rustic kind of soup, vaguely Greek, really more of a broth with bits. The flavour, with its bright lemon notes, is soothing and gentle rather than rich. I’ve said to add some sea bass or bream, but in truth, it would happily work with just the chunkier white fish, or a different
March 26, 2021
There was a large beech tree near where I grew up. One of the lower boughs bent down to the ground, forming a bouncy wooden seat that provided hours of childhood entertainment. Some kids had carved their names high among the branches. We called it the “graffiti tree”. But in springtime, it had a different
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