HOW (NOT) TO MAKE FRIENDS
I remember the first time I smelt garlic. It was in Paris. Young and impressionable, I had gone with a friend by car to stay in a grubby but inexpensive hotel near the Sorbonne University. We decided to go to Montmartre that evening by Metro. As we walked down the stairs at the station on Boulevard St Michel, a powerful aroma – or rather a double aroma – hit my nose. I had made my acquaintance with the two “G”s – Garlic and Gauloise cigarettes. At dinner in a small restaurant I loved the garlic chicken and its powerful sauce. On re-entering the Metro afterwards, I could no longer smell the garlic. I have been devoted to it ever since (perhaps this is why I don’t have many friends in England?) and use it most days for lunch or dinner. How things have changed in Britain! In those far off days, you couldn’t find garlic outside of continental groceries in London’s Soho or a few shops in other big cities. Today, garlic is an ingredient of thousands of recipes published every year and it is often UK-grown garlic you find in vegetable shops.
On the Isle of Wight, the Garlic Farm, pictured here, is not only a tourist attraction, but it supplies retailers all over Britain.
GARLIC QUOTES: You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat The New York Times. Morley Safer
“He added that a Frenchman in the train had given him a great sandwich that so stank of garlic that he had been inclined to throw it at the fellow’s head.” Ford Madox Ford. ‘Provence’ (1935)
Skordalia (“Garlic Sauce”)
This is my version of the Cyprus favourite, popular with beetroot, but it is splendid with grilled chicken and fried or grilled fish. In making it a small food processor comes in very handy.
50g [1 coffee cup] of blanched, peeled almonds
8 cl white wine vinegar
Half a piece of Pitta bread or 1 slice white bread, toasted
1 or 2 large cloves of garlic (according to taste)
10 cl of Sunflower oil
Salt and ground black pepper
10 cl of water or a little more
1. Put almonds into food processor and whiz until ground.
2. Crumble bread and add to almonds. Whiz again.
3. Dribble in the vinegar – whiz. Dribble in the oil – whiz. (By now you should have a thick paste.)
4. Add salt and pepper – keep the whizzing going.
5. Slowly add the water until you get a lovely creamy, finger-licking good mixture.
It also makes a delicious “Dip” – slivers of carrot, cucumber, celery, goujons of fish on sticks, even potato flavoured crisps can be plonked in to fish out a spot of the noble garlic sauce.
Fried Halloumi and Garlic
Ingredients to make about 16 pieces
125 g/8 oz halloumi.
3 -4 plump cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed (use a garlic press, if you have one, otherwise peel and crush garlic with a heavy cleaver)
1tbsp fresh mixed herb leaves, (parsley, thyme, rosemary) torn into small pieces
275 ml/ half pint olive oil
- Cut the cheese into 2V2 cm/1 in cubes and put them into a shallow soufflé dish in a single layer.
- Sprinkle over the crushed garlic and herbs, and pour over the oil to cover the cheese cubes.
- Cover the dish with a plate and leave in a cool place for at least
12 hours so that the flavours of the garlic and herbs permeate the cheese.
4. To cook the haloumi, drain off the garlic oil and fry the cheese in
a few tablespoonfuls of it until golden all over — about 6
- Serve immediately with cocktail sticks.
Note: Strained, the leftover oil is excellent for salad dressings, marinades and frying.
Pot roast chicken in garlic, white wine and parsley
Ingredients for Four Servings
1 chicken, weighing about 1.5k (3 lbs 8 oz) – organic for preference
150g of shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 plump segments of garlic (more, or less, as you wish – I have seen this dish made with about 100 cloves!)
150g of streaky bacon or pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 wine glass (125 ml) of Cyprus brandy
375 ml (half bottle) of dry white wine
About 500 ml of chicken stock
Make a bouquet garni by tying together a sprig of thyme, parsley stems and a bay leaf.
140ml of double cream
Small bunch of parsley leaves, chopped.
Salt and pepper.
1. Heat the oven to 150ºC/130º fan
2. Stir-fry the shallots and garlic in a large casserole with 1 tbsp butter until softened.
3. Add the pancetta and cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, stirring regularly.
4. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large deep frying pan and brown the chicken on all sides, then put it into the casserole, on top of the shallots.
5. Pour the brandy into the hot frying pan and allow to bubble up, stirring and scraping. Light the brandy and stand back!
6. After the flames subside, add the wine and bring to the boil, then pour the liquid over the chicken.
7. Add the stock and the bouquet garni.
8. Cover and cook for about one hour, or until cooked through.
9. Remove the chicken from the casserole, cut into eight and keep warm.
10. Simmer the cooking juices reduced by two thirds, then add the cream and parsley.
11. Put the chicken back in the pan and let it heat through.
12. Serve in soup plates or good-sized bowls with mashed potatoes, plain rice or pasta.
Masis – I suggest putting this in a panel, perhaps slightly slanted at one side of the page
“If garlic be the food of love…..”
Perennially popular garlic. A companionable “illumination”
dating from the1300s shows considerable cultivation.