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rustic modern sofrito

I had this post almost typed up and for some reason WordPress thought it would be funny not to save it. Quite frankly, and being honest with myself, that isn’t such a bad thing – it was a little dry. Lets see if it, like everything else, is better the second time around..

Sofrito is a very slow cooked mixture of finely chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic. This all gets slowly cooked in olive oil until reduced, caramelized and very flavorful. Bell peppers are often added in to the mix as well – but a classic sofrito is just those aromatics mentioned above.

The last time I did a sofrito was about this time a year ago and it took for bloody ever. The whole deal took about 5 hours – course most of that was cooking and drinking time, which is never all that bad – but it took a while. Typically sofrito is used as a rich flavoring component, and not something featured on its own. Last year I used it in a halibut and bean recipe, which was one of my more favorite things I have ever cooked. Honestly, that is most likely because of the sofrito, and after cooking it for so long I was sure as heck gonna enjoy it.

So once again fate happened, and I ended up with a bunch of tomatoes and bell peppers, wondering what to do with them. I thought of sofrito again – the first time in a while. Then I hit myself in the head with a pan, just for thinking of a building block that takes ages to make given my hectic schedule. Now, I never like to let a pan get the better of me, so I started thinking of sofrito again – this time out in the garden, away from anything I could bludgeon myself with.

Click to get this sofrito recipe and see more pictures!

Savoy Cabbage and Caper Salad

Savoy Cabbage Salad recipe

Cabbage is not the sexiest thing to blog about. The whole group of vegetables that fall under the cabbage genus (is it a genus? I am guessing so) just conjure up images that are rather unappealing and the best of times.

My memories of cabbage really aren’t that good to be honest. The British have quite a history assaulting this group of plants, and quite honestly a lot of it could quite easily fall under the “war crimes” category, for it is that bad. I remember going over for Sunday lunch at my Grandparents a few times a year. Generally my grandmother was a great cook, she could knock a roast dinner like nobodies business. Cabbage however was another thing. The cabbage got boiled. Boiled for a very, very long time. “Fall apart tender” would be one polite description that could be used.

Click to see this cabbage salad recipe

Roast Potatoes & sauce Gribiche

Roast Potato Recipe

There is, in my opinion, only one way to roast a potato, and that is this one.

I can make such a statement without sounding like an arrogant berk simply because this particular method of roasting potatoes is far from something I have conjured up in that odd British brain of mine. Instead it is something that almost everyone growing up in England (who has an interest in cooking) has learned to prepare. Variations exist, of course they do, and they are often hotly debated – the same way people get all heated over the most “authentic” bouliabaise or cassoulet.

Arguments erupt over potato choice. Fat choice. Cooking temperature. Cooking method. Roasting pan type and even basting method. I have probably cooked this style of potato close to 200 times, using all the variables above, and settled on one method – and almost regimental method at that.

Click to see this roast potato recipe

Brussel Sprout Gratin

When you ask most cooks what their favorite season is, most will almost certainly say summer. It is easy to see why. The bounty of light, clean tasting vegetables and fruit really is truly inspiring. Joy is also had at crafting light simple dishes to highlight these amazingly fresh ingredients.

For me though, fall coming into winter is my favorite time as a cook. Vegetables are more hearty. Root vegetables get roasted at least 3 times a week. I don’t think I go a day without eating a parsnip. The carrots growing in our yard, that I forgot about for a lot of summer are now being turned and glazed almost faster than I can pull them. Then of course we have braising. Through the summer I hardly cook any meat, but the fall/winter is the time I break into braising and roasting much, much more.

Click to see this brussel sprout gratin recipe

Roasted Squash and Apple Fritters and going Gluten Free

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Being British, deep fried food has a long history with me. Fish and chips was a weekly event for me when I was back in Blightly – actually often more frequent than that. When my jeans started feeling a bit tight, and my t-shirts started fitting far too trendily (er.. tight too), I decided it was time to cut that practice out.

Course, it really wasn’t just the fish and chips. It was the onion bhaji’s too. We should also not forget the fact that most British chippies (fish and chip shops) will also fry just about anything that you bring in to them. Including candy bars.

I should make it public knowledge that I have never, ever eaten a fried candy bar.

Oh, I guess tempura counts as deep fried too.

So, I have eaten my own weight five times over in fried food. Since moving to the states 7 years ago the taste left me. Rather strange since the yanks seem to have just the same love of fried food that us Brit’s do. I lost the taste for it. Lost the taste for it till last weekend that was.

Click to see this squash and apple fritter recipe

Guest chef at La Boucherie, Vashon Island WA – August 27th

This is going to be fun. Really fun. The guys behind the amazing Vashon Island farm Seabreeze have a small restaurant.

I was recently over there for a day’s photoshoot, which was just mind blowing. What was even more mind blowing was an email that was waiting for me when I got home from their restaurant manager:

“hey, you want to do a guest chef night at the restaurant in August?”

The answer – YES. But I have to do this with a fantastic new friend of ours – Daniel Ahern.

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Gin and Tonic Lollypop (Popsicle for the Yanks..)

It’s been hot in Seattle. Really bloody hot. Sweat in parts you never knew existed hot. When it gets like this all I want to do is eat salads, and cold vegetable concoctions. These don’t make for the most interesting blog posts, even if they are rather tasty. Tell a lie, I did actually turn the stove on to glaze some carrots last week, but that was it. So there has been a short hiatus with Wrightfood, blame it on this balmy Seattle summer.

Not only does my mind turn to salads in this weather, it also turns to drink. A recent favorite of mine has just been ice cold water with some lemon verbena and rosemary in. Quite, quite lovely and refreshing. Adding a torn up lime leaf too can just make water wonderful.

My family was recently at a party for three of the most amazing people you could ever meet. At this party was a freezer full of OtterPops, which were being consumed in huge numbers by everyone. This got me thinking about frozen treats that quench the thirst.

Gin and tonic has recently become my cocktail of choice, and for this I completely blame my father. When I was growing up, living at home, that was his drink after work. He would come in, set down his briefcase, say hi, and get a G&T. When I got old enough I would make them for him every so often. When I really wasn’t old enough at all I would swig his whilst making it, without him looking (now they know why I would always make his G&T in the pantry… Oddly enough I never got much of a taste for them until recently. Now I get it. It is so bloody crisp and refreshing, simple enough to enjoy, but yet complex enough to drink most days and not get bored of. The only thing I have changed recently has been the simple addition of a sprig of rosemary into the glass. I do like a little herby note to a cocktail, and rosemary just seems to go rather nicely.

You can see where this is going.. A party with frozen popsicle things, and my love of G&T…

drum roll…

I give you, the G&T lollypop, or G&T popsicle for the Americans reading this.

Click to see this alcoholic popsicle recipe

Wrightfood green salad & garden

You know what is funny? My original plan was to do this post because I needed something fast to blog about this week. I know, I know, phoning it in… Times have been rather busy in the Wrightfood household – work is a bit nuts right now, so I wanted something fast.

This post has quite possibly taken longer than almost any other to photograph and write! Almost as long as the food photography post I did a week or two ago.

So yeah… a week and a half with no post, and all I give you is some green stuff on a plate and dressing. No fish. No cured meat. Just rabbit food.

Continue reading to see the Wrightfood garden and salad recipe

Spring Onion Soup, wild sorrel and sherry

spring onion soup

I know what you are thinking… “Matt on Twitter you promised a blog post about food photography, and then you go and show up with some lousy onion soup….”.

Well, time is in short supply in the Wrightfood household, we have work deadlines, a small party to cook for this weekend, so the big long blog post about food photography is going to have to wait till next week. Go on, go cry into your onion soup…

Continue to see this Onion Soup recipe

Beet salad – olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and parsley

beet salad with olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic and parsley

“WHAT! you haven’t done a post in 13 days, and all you give us is lousy sliced beets? shame on you Matt, shame – especially after that April Fools post you did last time.” I can hear you say.

Ohhh, but wait. These are the best beets I have ever eaten. EVER. I love beets too, so this isn’t exactly the first time I have cooked them.

Wrightfood has been on vacation. On vacation to the wonderful, sunny, some say almost tropical destination of…

Seattle.

Continue reading to see this beet salad recipe

Prosciutto, Spinach and Basil Frittata

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This is the Frittata that nearly didn’t make it. At the weekends I have recently been tormenting myself with what to cook for lunch. We normally get Drake (our son) down for a nap, which can last from 30mins to 3 hours depending on… er, depending on god knows to be honest.

Continue reading this frittata recipe

Seaweed Salad with watermelon radishes and garlic scapes, grilled mackerel

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For some reason I had been thinking about seaweed a bit of late. I have absolutely no idea why to be honest. I haven’t eaten any in ages, however one day sitting at work I decided I wanted to make a nice tasty and fast seaweed salad.

And that really got me thinking about flavors with seaweed. I have had some really awesome seaweed dishes at some great local Japanese restaurants, but I couldn’t remember for the life of me what also went in the salad. Which, leads me on to my next point. To me, seaweed doesn’t have a ton of flavor. It tastes of the sea, and I love that, but it is far more a textural thing than a taste – in my books anyhow. So, the really memorable flavors in a seaweed salad have to come from elsewhere.

Continue to see this seaweed salad and grilled mackerel fish recipe

Miners Lettuce Salad, with baby beets, beet greens, rapini, spring garlic

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This dish really came about from a walk around the Ballard farmers market on Sunday. A lot of stands were just bursting with vibrant greens, the most awesome spring garlic that I have ever seen. The star, the complete star is the miners lettuce. I have never used this before, and think it is the darn coolest green I have come across. Visually it is stunning, you get this nice round leaf with this awesome little “flower” (if that is what it is) in the middle. You look at it and think that the leaves might be a little chewy. You pick a leaf off and eat it, and it is nothing but soft, subtle and gentle. Just amazing.

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Carrot and Radish salad

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This was a quite a surprise I have to tell you. Last Saturday we had a “clear out the fridge” dinner. Anything that was left over from the week of shopping got cooked up. Well, pretty much everything.

I had some small carrots left over, and a big old bunch of radishes, that I hadn’t even used. I have a hard time with radishes. I never quite know what to do them. God knows why I bought them actually to be honest. A while back I did a recipe with them in, which had a great little marinade, and some beef. It was good, I liked it. Apart from that, I usually just toss them in salads. Their slightly bitter note with a decent peppery flavor.

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The easiest, tastiest grilled leeks ever

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I should start by saying that I have contracted a rather nasty stomach virus from our little lad Drake. Hardly any food is sounding good at all, and the sight of most food is pretty horrible to me as I write this. Strangely however leeks are not one of them right now (the list seems to change hourly).

So before they start making me swear off vegetables for life, I figured I should get this post out.

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