A few words of introduction
I cook. I have done so pretty much every day of my life since I was a teenager. Nothing flashy, or showstopping, just straightforward, everyday stuff.
The kind of food you might like to come home to after a busy day. A few weekend recipes, some cakes and baking for fun, the odd pot of preserves or a feast for a celebration. But generally, just simple, understated food, something to be shared rather than looked at in wonder and awe.
Sharing recipes. It is what I do. A small thing, but something I have done for a while now. As a food writer, I find there is nothing so encouraging as the sight of one of my books, or one of my columns torn from the newspaper, that has quite clearly been used to cook from. A telltale splatter of olive oil, a swoosh of roasting juices, or a starburst of squashed berries on a page suddenly gives a point to what I do. Those splotches, along with kind emails, letters, and tweets, give me a reason to continue doing what I have been doing for the past quarter of a century. Sharing ideas, tips, stories, observations. Or, to put it another way, having a conversation with others who like to eat.
That is why, I suppose, each book feels like a chat with another cook, albeit one-sided (though not as one-sided as you might imagine). It is a simple premise. I make something to eat, and everyone, including myself, has a good time, so I decide to share the recipe. To pass on that idea, and with it, hopefully, a good time, to others. For twenty years I have shared many of those ideas each week in my column in the Observer and in my books. They might also come dressed up a little nowadays, in the form of the television series, but it is still the same basic premise. Tomato and basil bruschetta
olive oil: 6 tablespoons
basil: 1/2 cup (20g)
cherry tomatoes on the vine,
ripe and juicy: 4 sprigs
crusty white bread: 4 small slices
marinated artichoke hearts:
Preheat the broiler. Pour the oil into a blender. Tear up the basil and add it to the oil, then blend to a smooth green puree. Place the sprigs of tomatoes, still on the vine if you wish, on a baking sheet and broil till the skins just start to blacken and burst here and there. Place the slices of bread on the baking sheet and pour over the basil oil. Season with salt and black pepper, then place under the broiler for a couple of minutes, till the edges are crisp.
Place a sprig of cooked tomatoes on each and tuck in the artichokes, halved or sliced.
Serve immediately, while the toast is still hot and crisp.
Makes 4 small toasts
Excerpted from Notes from the Larder by Nigel Slater. Copyright © 2013 by Nigel Slater. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.