I have written before about Roald Dahl, and now his granddaughter, Sophie, has followed in his footsteps and written a cookbook. And a lovely cookbook it is. Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights is a beautiful cookbook, big and bold much like Sophie Dahl, herself.
The recipes are simple and easy to make and totally wonderful. Dahl is a vegetarian, but she has several "meaty" recipes in the book. He brother, Luke, loves lamb. When she told him of the book, he wanted to know which lamb she was including. Of course, she added his favorite, rare, lamb.
The book is divided into the four seasons, with each season offering up recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. There is final chapter for "Puddings" or deserts as real people refer to sweets after meals.
Sophie had a bit of kismet when at eighteen, she got in a fight with her mother over career plans. She ran out of the house and collapsed on some steps, crying. The owner of the flat approached and inquired as to why she was crying. In typical mother/daughter relations, Dahl wept that her mother didn't understand her. Dahl helped the woman carry in her bags. She asked Dahl if she wanted to model and Dahl said yes. "Now put on some lipstick and we'll tell your mother we've found you a career."
The woman whose steps Dahl collapsed upon was none other then Isabella Blow.
At a Japanese restaurant, Dahl and Blow broke the news to Dahl's mother. As Dahl consumed sushi with reckless abandon, Blow remarked, "Gosh, you do like to eat."
I am not sure what her mother thought of the infamous Opium ad, but it still causes controversy. And though Sophie has slimmed down a bit, much to the dismay of her many fans, she still likes to eat. Once again, her brother Luke aides in her cookbook writing. He loves honey and cheeses and he told her of a dream of eating ham from a pig raised on ricotta and honey. Both were quite crushed that there was no such ham. As an homage to the dream...
Grilled Figs with Ricotta and Honey
6 figs, quartered but still whole
Tiny dot of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of thyme honey
2 slices of ricotta
Preheat the grill. Wash the figs and carefully cut them open --score them twice. Dot each one with a mini amount of butter and do the same with the honey -- just a quick drizzle on each one, not a monsoon cloud.
Put on a baking tray/cookie sheet under a searing grill for 2 minutes. Serve with a slice of ricotta, draped with another dignified slip of the honey.
Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights is not yet published in the U.S., but it should be out before Christmas, which makes it a great present. If you are headed off the England in the near future, or you have a friend headed over, do tell them to grab you a copy.
After cooking from this book, people will exclaim, "Gosh, you do like to eat."