The summer Olympics are long over (though our fascination with Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt may endure). But let’s not turn away from Britain just yet.
Some UK chefs, notably the glamorous Nigella Lawson, school food activist Jamie Oliver and the approachable, affable Simon Hopkinson, have excellent ideas for making the most out of fall and Thanksgiving inspired cooking.
1. London-born Nigella Lawson, the TV show host, chef and celebrated author, has one of the most approachable, entertaining voices of any cookbook writer I’ve ever encountered. Her Ultimate Greek and watermelon/feta salads are almost literally addictive — I made one or the other nearly every day for an entire season. “How to Be a Domestic Goddess” (Hyperion, 2001) gave me an amazing apple walnut cake and transformed the way I make brownies.
For those new to entertaining, “Feast: Food to Celebrate Life” (Hyperion, 2004) is a reliable place to start, with ideas for everything from Thanksgiving and Christmas to a first “meet the parents” dinner. Try her recipe for “Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey,” made with cinnamon, caraway, allspice and cloves, whether it’s a holiday or not.
2. London and BBC Food chef Simon Hopkinson is so enamored of roast chicken, he named a book after it. A mash-up of anecdotes and recipes, “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” (Hyperion, 2007) combines influences from world cuisines, including Turkish, French and Spanish food, with British classics, like his mom’s potato cakes.
Each chapter has an ingredient for a title, like anchovies, garlic, scallops, endive, chocolate and, of course, chicken. I can’t wait to try his recipe for pancakes with Parma ham and asparagus, perfect for early fall when the long, green spears are briefly back in season.
Find his deceptively simple, butter-rich recipe for roast chicken at Serious Eats.
3. From Britain’s favorite Naked Chef to the food revolutionary of rural America, Jamie Oliver has kept at the core of his career the basic, home-cooked meal. With ingredients like lamb shank, mussels, pork and potatoes, he makes British cooking seem both easy and delicious.
Even beginners can enjoy his straightforward recipe for Roasted Marmalade Ham (from “Jamie’s Dinners,” Hyperion, 2004). Or put Thanksgiving leftovers to use in his turkey and sweet leek pie.
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