Saturday 2 October 2010

Nature is an angel's favourite hiding place

Whoop! Whoop! It is the feast of Guardian Angels today - a much neglected memoria in the Church Year. One of my Facebook friends has suggested that today would be a good day to have a post about Angel Cake, and preferably a recipe. And that is true, today is an appropriate day for Angel Cake. But, I am all caked out following Michaelmas, and today I have lots and lots of tidying to do so no time for baking. If you feel up to the challenge though, there is a good recipe here.

Trying to suit your cooking to the time of year is very fashionable these days, and rightly so. It is also a source of great fun! I am tempted to make pineapple upside down cake with my nieces today, and arrange the pineapples into an angel shape at the bottom of the tin. Yeah! After all, GK Chesterton did say that 'the reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly!' Sadly, what I have said above still applies. Housework. Boo! Still, I might make time!

Anyhow, because finding something appropriate for dinner according to the Church year is very similar to finding something appropriate for dinner according to earthly seasons, today is the day to compose something beautiful out of these great ingredients - all in season, at their most abundant and cheapest right now.

Heavenly Food of the Day

Oysters -
they can take people to heaven and back (apparently)

Other Seasonally Angelic Suggestions

Vegetables: artichokes, aubergines, beetroots, broccolis, butternut squashes, carrots, celeriacs (the shek of root vegetables - makes great chips), parsnips, celery, chillies, courgettes, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces and salad leaves (especially lambs lettuce), marrows, onions, peppers, main crop potatoes, radishes, rocket, sweetcorn, turnips, spinach and watercress (eat with red wine for a taste bud explosion!)

Fruits: apples, blackberries, elderberries, pears, plums, quince, tomatoes

On the wild side: cobnuts, nettles, mushrooms (especially puffballs - particularly angelic looking) and all the fruits above (obviously)

Meat: rabbits (awwww - you wouldn't!....ok, you would), chicken, pork (it's that hog time of year again!) and things like pheasant

Herbs: sage, thyme, mint, parsley, chives

From the Sea: Mussels, clams, crab, haddock (get it smoked and make chowder - heaven!), mackerel, monkfish, lemon sole, john dory, lobster, plaice, prawns, scallops, squid, sea bream, hake, skate.

Skate Swimming: Looks like a proper angel see? None of your 18th Century cherub nonsense here. Oh no!

Selecting a heavenly feast from that little lot has got to be easy. It's the choice that is tricky. I think I might, if I had the time, go for: Pan fried skate with a black peppercorn and butter sauce (like my brother does it), served with spinach and crushed spuds. The vegetarian option would definitely have to be something adventurous with a puff ball mushroom. And dessert? Blackberries in a pie with vanilla ice cream.



gemma hutton said...

We've got squash, celery and leeks - what to make though?

There is Pecorino and Mozzerella also.

Risotto? Pie? Pasta?

Answers on a postcard.....

Silvana rscj said...

Delighted to see I have inspired this post! Don't forget the offer of a joint RC cookery book still stands!

Cloister said...

@ Gemma - I thought about it, sent you a recipe for an autumn stir fry, but have now decided that a goos old fashioned pie, with a light white sauce is the way to go. Comfort food.

Daniel Hutton said...

good bloggin', especially from someone who said they were feeling glum this weekend.

E said...

There's always angel hair pasta! I am told by a very wise chef that it would be fab with a roasted veg sauce, or with a combination of those seafoods. ;)

Cloister said...

@EMR63 - Inspired ingredient! I have in my mind an idea for a take on the traditional baked version of spaghetti allo scoglio, except I am renaming it Angeli del mare (subject to that not meaning anything untoward). It is a great pasta dish, often baked in paper, so a steam angel escapes to the ceiling when you open it at the table. One for the last alfresco meal of the season? definitely.

Cloister said...

I absolutely cannot believe I forgot about that childhood favourite Angel Delight. I have no idea what it tastes like to me as an adult. But, I remember it being pretty good when I was a kid!

Dominic Mary said...

I suspect that baking the Angel Hair pasta might make it go crisp; it's so delicate.
A light cream sauce, perhaps with a little Champagne, and prawns, scallops, collops of Monkfish and salmon . . . that would be wonderful, though.

Cloister said...

Yummy idea DM! My idea is that the baking parcel prevents crispness, but there is only one way to find out! hurrah!

Silvana said...

Tomorrow is St Francis, so what would be appropriate for him? A San Francisco delicacy, or something involving a little bird? Or, him being the saint who embraced Lady Poverty, something simple made up from leftovers? It would have to be Italian, though: I have heard him called (in Italy) the most Italian of all the saints and the saintliest of all the Italians!