issue 41

Laura Dockrill's power fresh green pesto

Portrait: Liz Seabrook

Portrait: Liz Seabrook

“Look at that! You get to pour your own chocolate in here.” Laura Dockrill is marvelling as she spirals her jug of warm, dark drinking chocolate into the awaiting mug of frothy milk. “It’s so good!” For a moment, it feels like we’re in Laura’s new young adult book, Big Bones, whose heroine, Bluebell, just loves her food: whether crumpets leaking with butter, salty caramel slathered millionaires shortbread or chips so vinegary that they make your nose hairs shrivel. 

In our early spring issue, we had the pleasure of speaking to writer Laura Dockrill. Her new book Big Bones – out today - celebrates the pleasure in eating. As Laura says, “There’s no such thing as a perfect body but there can be a perfect meal and you can enjoy that”. Needless to say, it made the entire team very hungry indeed. Laura was kind enough to share her favourite recipe for pesto. 

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Laura Dockrill's fresh green pesto recipe

Big Bones is not just a love letter to food and the body; it is also to show how rewarding it is to cook and eat. It doesn’t have to be hard or fussy or posh or embarrassing to cook. I want to inspire people, kids, to enjoy food. And so the recipe I’ve chosen to share is simple, quick, easy to make, fragrant, vibrant and versatile and can turn any cheap carby comforting canvas into a wholesome meal that looks and tastes impressive. It’s the way I like to cook. Messy and natural. And if you are able to grab, rip, squeeze, pinch and smush you can make this without even touching a flame or a knob of the oven!

I made this for my partner Hugo, after a lot of beer, smothered over pasta. He said, “oh my god, this is the best meal I’ve ever had.” (No, it was not the beer talking) and he is not one tincy bit interested in cooking, but this is something he can now whizz up himself in under a minute and saves the day every time.

It lasts and it’s so much better and tastier and cheaper and vividly GREENER than the jarred stuff.

FRESH GREEN PESTO

You will need:

one massive handful of basil stalks and everything (or I just use one of those whole bags you can buy individually from the supermarket)

big glug of olive oil the better the olive oil the better it will taste

parmesan the best thing about this is because the pesto gets smushed up you don’t have to fiddle around with the small fiddly bit of the grater!

juice of a whole lemon

sea salt and pepper

*optional toasted pine nuts

 

All you have to do is simply bring all of this together. Use a Nutri Bullet or blender if you have one for a 30 second smooth sauce or you could bash it up in the pestle and mortar or hand mix for something chunkier.

The thing I love about this is you can add as you go, more lemon for acidity, no pine nuts for pasta for something smoother, add nibs of toasted walnuts or pecans for a salad, a handful of spinach for extra green and goodness and chilli flakes work well too.

Then stir into hot pasta, smear over hot roast potatoes, drizzle over a green salad, slather over bread for a toasted cheese sandwich. A great invention are those Jus-Rol puff pastry sheets, you can smear this homemade wonder over a sheet of this stuff and accessorize with olives, sun dried tomato, artichoke, mozzarella for an impressive pizza/tart or roll into little swirls for a snack that makes you look SO FANCY! You could add to yoghurt or houmous for dipping (which is also super easy to make), top over roasted vegetables or just stuff it in the corner of a lunch box and visit with bread or whatever’s in there like a little pesto watering hole.

 

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill is published by Hot Key books and is out today. And pick up a copy of our early spring issue to read the full interview with Laura. 

 

 

 

What we're eating: Pancakes with blueberries

Photos: Sophie Davidson

Photos: Sophie Davidson

In our early spring issue, we asked three women who know a lot about food to share their cupboard comfort recipes. And, given that today is Shrove Tuesday, we thought you might especially enjoy Ravneet Gill's recipe for pancakes with blueberries...

"Every time I have a day off, my joy is making pancakes. It’s repetitive, it’s easy, and the process of making them is so calming after working as a chef in a busy kitchen. I always have the ingredients for pancakes stored away in my cupboard, and I always have tons of maple syrup ready to drench my pancakes in. I love eating them with blueberries that I just cook down with a little bit of sugar and lemon until they’re soft."

You will need: 

1 cup plain flour

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp fine salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup of whole milk

1 cup of yoghurt

50g butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

 

Method

1 Place all dry ingredients into a bowl, stir to combine, crack the eggs into the middle and whisk in with splashes of the milk until a batter forms.

2 Whisk in the yoghurt, pour in the melted butter and vanilla.

3 Allow to sit for half an hour before spooning into a buttered pan and cooking on each side until golden. Serve with maple syrup, blueberries and dust with icing sugar.

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Ravneet Gill does magic things with sugar and flour. One of our favourite pastry chefs, she’s worked in some of the capital's finest kitchens. Now she creates incredible desserts at Llewelyn's in south London. 

See more cupboard companions in issue 41, the early spring issue of Oh Comely, available to buy now

Contribute to issue 41 of Oh Comely

Photo: Isa Gelb  @punkroyaltiger

Photo: Isa Gelb @punkroyaltiger

Issue 41 is out in February and we’re looking for your contributions.

For this issue, the theme of our first person stories is loss. This could be huge and life-changing or perhaps something small and seemingly inconsequentially that has impacted your life in a meaningful way. Maybe you've said goodbye to a loved one or an address, or perhaps you've had to come to terms with losing a part of yourself or your body, we want to hear about your experiences. 

To be considered, email a 100-word outline of your idea for a first person story to ohcomely@icebergpress.co.uk, along with two samples of your work by Monday 11 December. Please state 'Issue 41 contributions' in the subject header.

Unfortunately we don't accept fiction or poetry samples. We do try and get back to everyone but we're a really small team so we're sorry if we don't get a chance.

We look forward to hearing your ideas!