If I sound a little odd, it's because I just did my first day's work of 2007 and, coupled with ongoing tooth infection, it has drained me completely. I had forgotten that life was about more than curling up with a novel and hitting the shops; I had also underestimated the extent to which my antibiotics are tiring me out. Moan over, but do understand if I don't quite make sense here; I am trying.
I made the most of yesterday and made no less than three dishes from Jamie's book; I am far too dopey to blog them all now, so I will start with the first I made, for lunch, partly because I wanted to use the bresaola I bought in Edinburgh the other day. Bresaola, as most people will know, is air-dried and aged salted beef fillet; supermarkets tend to sell ropey versions of it packaged up with salami and prosciutto in their delicatessen sections. I bought this in Edinburgh and had been agitating to try it; I also had some Pink Fir Apple potatoes, bought from our farm shop but originating from Carroll's Heritage potatoes which are based in the north-east, a specialist potato grower which also sells lovely Yukon Gold, Salad Blue, and so on. I like the colour and nobbliness of Pink Fir Apple, which is a waxy potato, ideal for salads; although Jamie's recipe probably implied Jersey Royals, I knew these would substitute beautifully. Fortuitously I also had some creme fraiche to use up, so this recipe was effectively a store-cupboard lunch.
To prepare the salad: scrub and boil new (or waxy) potatoes until cooked; drain and cool for 5 minutes while you get on with the rest of the salad. This means mixing lemon juice withsalt, pepper, celery, parsley and grated horseradish (um, here I cheated - didn't have any fresh horseradish to hand so used jarred horseradish sauce... oops) and mix in creme fraiche. While they are still hot, halve or quarter the potatoes and add to the bowl, toss together, taste, season if necessary.
Arrange slices of bresaola in a circle on each plate, pile the salad in the middle and then draw up the edges of the meat into the middle; sprinkle over tarragon and celery leaves, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Except that I left the meat in its retro circle because I liked how it looked - I know, sad!
This was a fantastically flavoursome lunch and definitely one to make again (Jamie suggests you can also use cold roast beef... yum). It was surprisingly delicate for such a butch-sounding salad and I will definitely make it again; it's one you could serve people staying with you too, because it is relaxed but lovely and the sort of thing most people would dive into happily. Well, we did anyway!
Like the vegetables, the salads in this book have been a revelation - brilliant recipes to keep and come back to. I would make this potato salad even without the beef - I am not very keen on potatoes swimming in mayonnaise but this horseradish cream is delicious indeed, and it does match beautifully with the potatoes and the beef, in a sort of salady remake of roast beef with horseradish sauce and roast potatoes.