As a rule, it is unusual for me to find either TV chefs or lumps of cooked egg white enjoyable. There’s a relentlessness about television presenters, that may well be part of their training, which serves to quickly remove any interest that I may have, or have had, in whatever they may be saying, teaching or selling. The lack of pause, of silence, is enervating and conducive only to my fumbling for the off switch on the remote control, whose batteries will be as flat as my expectations, in a desperate attempt to eclipse the on screen hyperactivity that is threatening to make me never want to cook again.
Oeufs durs with anchovies and a well made mayonnaise can change the rule about lumps of egg white as can Yotam Ottolenghi change the other. In truth, I did not see him, for which I am glad as I didn’t have to suffer any disillusionment, but Jenny shouted up to me that she had just seen a chef make some wonderful vegetable filled pies and that I should look up the recipe on the internet which I did and which is how I came across this excellent recipe for the shortest of pastries encasing some miraculously flavoured run of the mill vegetables. The crust is made from butter, flour and sour cream which is a combination that I had never before tried but which produces a pastry as short as one made with lard whilst feeling more virtuous. One of the pleasures of this recipe is the silky feeling of the pastry in one’s hands. Curry powder, thyme, caraway seeds, ground cardomom, black mustard seeds, green chillis and garlic transform traditional root vegetables into something quite unexpected and, possibly, addictive. I’m keeping Mr.Ottolenghi in the same place as the other cookery writers that I admire….in my book shelves.