Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

September is the twilight month when summer slowly evolves into autumn. Temperatures still hover in the early 20s (Celsius) but already the morning air carries a nippy, crisp and metallic feel. Perfect time, then, for another Nigel Slater's recipe:


tomatoes (large, but not beefsteak) 6
thyme a few bushy sprigs
olive oil
garlic 2 cloves
fresh white breadcrumbs 80g
anchovy fillets 6

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Slice the tomatoes in half and lay them cut-side up in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin. Remove the thyme leaves from their stems and put them in a small mixing bowl with 80ml of olive oil. Peel and finely crush the garlic cloves and stir into the olive oil with a generous grinding of sea salt and black pepper.

Stir the breadcrumbs into the oil with the anchovy fillets, roughly chopped. Spoon over the tomatoes and bake for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the crumbs lightly crisp.

Some of the melodies that could well accompany this dish also carry that nostalgic feel that autumn so naturally conveys.

Georgia Anne Muldrow's free-spirited approach to music is most welcome and on this track, "Roses", you can appreaciate her wide vocal range, going from a smoky, jazzy timbre to a more old-school R'n'B beat. Beautiful.

Yellow is the colour of the leaves falling from the trees in autumn (and orange, red and so on). Yellow is also the colour of Joni Mitchell's famous big taxi. The one that took her old man away and left her ruminating about how "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone". Timeless.

Jazz is famous for its intros. Brubeck's "Take Five", Davies' "So What" and Alice Coltrane's "Turiya & Ramakrishna" to name but three. But my top favourite (at least for the time being) has to be Oscar Peterson and Ben Webster's "Poutin". The timing is just perfect and the synergy between the four musicians is incredible. It's like the peeling, crushing and stirring involved in tonight's recipe. No matter what the vehicle is (nose, eyes and mouth for the food, ear for the music) the destination is the same: the soul.

© 2011

Next Post: "Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music", to be published on Sunday 18th September at 10am (GMT)

Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer.


  1. Que rico y con musica todo sabe mejor!

  2. Looks tasty other than the anchovies. I know they’re good for you. Roses is an eclectic blend but I'm not sure if it works all together. I’ve been a Joni Mitchell fan since I was a kid. We used to sing Big Yellow Taxi at camp. I couldn’t resist singing along and woke the puppy, sigh.

  3. That recipe looks divine. And I always enjoy the music -- learn something new from you each and every time, Cuban. Thank you --

  4. Thanks for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Tomatoes and jazz - what a great combo! There must be something about September that makes us think of tomatoes; I bought a bunch of heirloom tomatoes at the fair and have been eating them very slowly, savoring all the subtle differences between the brands. But as it gets colder, I will break out your recipe and try it out. I think it would go good with pork chops but then, just about everything goes well with good pork chops. Or maybe I'll get some red snapper - I remember having red snapper garnished with tomatoes and green peppers when I lived in Trinidad. Maybe they fix something similar in Cuba?



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