Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A fresh fresh

It seems like I sounded the death knell for fresh too soon because three months after their last issue (the Christmas one) a March issue has materialised. And they’re back, back, back – or are they? They are seemingly unapologetic about the absence; the only reference to their mysterious disappearance is a 'welcome back' at the start of the editor's letter. Though that kind of implies that we the readers have been somewhere, not them! They nearly blew it for me by doing an advertorial entitled 'tantalising tomatoes' two pages in but despite the fact that fresh have never lived up to their peers olive and delicious (I wonder why they all favour lower case, it is more trendy and is that why the older stalwart Good Food magazine has two capital letters?) I was still quite sad at its lack of appearance. There's always something a little less glossy about fresh and I think they use a lot of stock photos. I base this assumption that sometimes the photograph doesn't really depict the accompanying recipe but I guess they have smaller budgets. I can forgive the lack of polish, but some of the articles lack a certain depth that I can’t really put my finger on. And whilst I'm being critical, some of their recipes seem more like serving suggestions and can hardly warrant a full page like this month’s recipe for Greens with Butter Drizzle which is actually a steamed torn up Savoy cabbage served dotted with butter. And this honestly has a full page spread devoted to it.

Well enough from the things I didn't like about the magazine, what did they have in this month which I fancy whipping up? There’s an interesting take on duck with duck, coriander and orange fritters with crispy carrot salad. I’m not crazy about coriander, so I’d probably leave that out. There’s a tasty looking leek, thyme, garlic and blue cheese tart but I’d swap the blue cheese for maybe some Wensleydale. The photograph of the tart is rather interesting, the thyme and leeks are in sharp focus and the rest of the tart is out of focus. This seems quite unusual for food photography nowadays; a gritty realism seems to be the order of the day. The Mother’s Day menu has a succulent looking slow roasted pork loin with red onion, garlic and thyme and another winning potato dish – slow-baked creamy garlic potatoes which is just really gratin Dauphinois with the addition of some leek and spring onions. And I’m never going to complain about gooey chocolate pudding. The St. Patrick’s Day recipes have a couple of odd drinks and a fine looking roasted rosemary potato pizza but the blue cheese would have to be substituted again, maybe for Tallegio. There’s a pizza place near work whose waiters often ignore my request to leave off the blue cheese from the four cheese pizza – to make it more of a three cheese pizza. And I find the blue cheese takes all the other cheeses hostage and overwhelms everything. And blue cheese just tastes off to me!

There are recipes for Caerphilly and wholegrain mustard soufflé and Caerphilly Glamorgan sausages in honour of St David’s Day but neither have any pictures, though saying that there’s a big picture of a Caerphilly cheese. I like the idea of serving the chive speckled scrambled duck egg in the egg shell. I would like try that!

So fresh maybe back, or maybe it's just a one off. It may not be the favourite of my monthly foodie fixes but if there’s some worthy food for thought still, I'm still happy to peruse it.

No comments: