I've been a faithful subscriber to Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines for close to two decades. I've had subscriptions to Saveur, Cook's Illustrated, Food and Wine, Sunset, Martha Stewart Living and countless other food periodicals on and off as the whim hits. I read each magazine cover to cover and prepare probably 75 percent of the recipes included. I add my own notes on how the recipe tasted, to whom I served it, and if I would modify it, how I would, before shelving the issue in numeric periodical order, dog-eared but available for use again. Cooking is a mild obsession with me.
As exciting as I find each new issue, I was hungry for something new - a fresh approach to cooking. And lo, and behold, it appeared under the Christmas tree - a copy of the BBC's Olive magazine.
Olive is Britain's version of Gourmet or Bon Appetit. Leafing through the pages it is easy to see that Brits are concerned as we are about eating organic, locally produced foods, enjoying fine dining at home and in restaurants, and entertaining fashionably.
The language used in the articles and advertisements was a delight. They don't take out food; they 'take away.' Thirty-minute meals are 'dinners we can chuck together at the end of a day.' Some ingredients had different names, too. Eggplant are aubergines and zucchini are courgettes.
And then I discovered what I had been looking for - the fresh new challenge American magazines left me hungering for: all of the recipes' ingredients had metric measurements!
Making the conversions made the food seem authentically foreign and somehow more exciting. I was making a meal just like English cooks would!
I used the Web site fantes.com/conversion_charts.htm to convert the metric measurements into our standard cups and ounces and our Fahrenheit temperatures to Celsius.
Today's recipes are from the Olive magazine Web site, www.olivemagazine.co.uk . I was ready to subscribe, until I converted the 75 pounds into U.S. dollars. At $148 per year I'll buy my copy of Olive at Borders for $9.95 an issue.
Bon Appetit - Eat something new!
Chorizo Toad-in-The- Hole
Makes 4 servings
Toad-in-the-Hole is an old English standard recipe. The Chorizo updates it nicely!
I've copied the recipe exactly as Olive printed it. Conver-sion amounts are in parentheses. BR
Chorizo sausage 8 small or 4 large
Shallots or baby onions, 6 peeled
Flour 125 g (1 ¼ cups)
Milk 300ml (1 ¼ cups)
Rosemary 4 sprigs
Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 4 (400°F). Roast the sausages and the shallots in a large ovenproof dish or 4 individual dishes for 10 minutes.
Put the flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt in a jug and, using a hand-held blender or mixer, whiz until smooth. Add the rosemary to the sausages then pour in the batter. Increase the oven heat to 220C/fan200C/gas 6 (425°F) and cook for 20 minutes until puffed and golden.
Autumnal Persimon Salad
Notice the English spelling of 'persimmon.'
When you are converting measurements, the density of the food must be taken into account. Hence, 100g of spinach is more in volume than 200g of tomatoes.
Persimon 1, peeled and sliced into thin strips
Hass avocado, 1 peeled and sliced
Baby leaf spinach, 100g (2 cups)
Cherry tomatoes, 200g (1 1/4 cups), halved
Lime 1 juiced
Parsley large bunch, chopped
Coriander large bunch, chopped (cilantro)
Red onion, 1 small finely chopped
Olive oil, 6 tablespoons
Mix together the persimon, avocado, spinach and cherry tomatoes.
In a sealed container, shake together the lime juice, parsley, coriander, red onion and olive oil, then stir into the salad.
Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at brandall@lakeoswego