SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Lucas Hollweg

July 09, 2021
Red mullet seems an unlikely fish for British waters. It isn’t just the exoticism of its iridescent pink-red skin. The flavour, too, is unusual. It has richer flesh than many white fish and is almost more reminiscent of shellfish – not surprising, perhaps, as these and crustaceans form a large part of its diet. It’s
July 02, 2021
I always think cooking gets easier as summer progresses. I say cooking, though, in fact, warm-weather food is often the result of creative assembly rather than slaving over a hot stove. I find myself seeking out compilations of perkily bright flavours and things that need only a brief moment on the heat. This is, perhaps
June 25, 2021
Few fish speak of summer more eloquently than sardines. They are the flavour of the Mediterranean seaside, their salty aroma wafting enticingly off searing charcoal grills from Morocco and Spain in the west to Greece and Turkey in the east. Their oily flesh can take harder cooking than many other fish, remaining succulent even when
June 18, 2021
Agrodolce is a terribly useful thing. It’s the Italian equivalent of sweet’n’sour, a flavour that is vivid yet also somehow comforting. It gives a lift to pretty much everything it touches. Sicilian food uses it most widely, for vegetables, fish and meat. Caponata, arguably the island’s most famous dish, is essentially vegetables ‘in agrodolce’ –
June 01, 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
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