Tamasin Day-Lewis on jewels and radishes
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Tamasin Day-Lewis — English chef, food writer and sister of ‘There Will Be Blood’ star Daniel Day-Lewis — and the design house of Hemmerle have collaborated to conceive ‘Delicious Jewels,’ a book that simultaneously explores the tastes, textures, shapes and bold colors of both jewelry making and cooking, two different but equally eminent art forms. [Updated 11 a.m. July 18: An earlier version of this post described Hemmerle as a publishing house.]
‘Both rely on technique, long experience and tradition, purism and originality without pretentiousness,’ says Day-Lewis. She adds, ‘Elegant simplicity at best, both are beautiful to the eye and a joy to the senses.’
In celebration of summer and its agricultural offerings, we’ve asked Day-Lewis to share her thoughts on the recently released book, her favorite California eats, and what she’s cooking up this season:
What was your favorite jewel and recipe pairing in the book? The radish: so funky and pretty, and the recipe is sleek, sharp, palate-cleansing and based on the best and freshest of ingredients. Mackerel may be poor man’s food compared to salmon, but the flavor is incomparable and it’s all in the dressing up.
When you step onto California soil, where and what do you like to eat? I love California. Nancy Oakes is an amazing chef, we met giving masterclasses in New Zealand. I love Tartine for breakfast in San Francisco and the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: the rotisserie chicken guy Thomas Odermatt from Switzerland’s Roli Roti rotisserie, best simple comfort food, organic chicken juices dripping onto new potatoes and fabulous Niman ribs. The apricot and peach jam from Farmer Al [Courchesne], lashed on to Steve Sullivan’s bread or brioche or croissants and the cheeses from the Cowgirl Creamery at Point Reyes. As for Chez Panisse, it is the ticket I still haven’t bought, though I love everything Alice does and stands for. The day I was pressing my nose to the window and went upstairs to check out the lunchtime tarts, the place was heaving and there wasn’t a corner. One day, one day.
Summer is underway. Which fruits and vegetables do you find yourself cooking with most often throughout the summer months? Everything in season of course, how could there be another answer? I pick every day from my garden. The broad beans have just finished, as has the asparagus, so now I am onto my peas, baby courgettes and their flowers for dipping in batter, and have just made my red currant jelly and black currant puree, raw in the freezer for fools and ice creams and tarts. I have rare tiny white strawberries to put in my summer pudding with cherries and strawberries and raspberries from the garden. Next will be my greengages and mirabelles, it’s the first year either tree has fruited -- so exciting. I also have sorrel at the moment, which is great with wild sea trout. And Aura potatoes from my one plant that I got going in the dark on top of the fridge before digging in, the potatoes that the great Elizabeth David called ‘golden nuggets’... waxy, firm, sweet of flavor and kidney-shaped.
What’s your latest ingredient obsession? I just get obsessed with everything as it comes into its short season all over again, though I have just taken delivery of half a Longhorn steer, the oldest breed, and the whole fillet is disappearing fast as I cut thick steaks off it. The ribs will be roasted, a 14-pound joint, on my son Harry’s birthday at the end of the month. I am always obsessed by making puddings -- gooseberry fool laced with my homemade elderflower cordial and apricot tart with Sicilian apricots and creme patissiere -- and my strawberry tart.
‘Delicious Jewels’ costs $75 and can be purchased online.
— Caitlin Keller