There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sexuality and the City 2 more than 50 days or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade used a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant pleasure. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the height of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you will learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of heartbreak when his dad succumbed to how upsetting Sara Pascoe sees it when people induce clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Malcolm
Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photograph: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest auto recalls in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the wrong pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker writer often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place altogether. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 periods by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell looked back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic fine for the car manufacturer. The conclusion when you are listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a vehicle that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain autoes were having a brain malfunction that entailed the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst choices for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as tales about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you are able to learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a brew at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential nominee to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to proves a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

My
The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your sales force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional marketings conference has just as much possibilities for naked fun as a business trip-up to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life may be unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal lid; never read erotic fiction written by your dad. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colorful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinema, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of attaining Brno, from how a redneck battle crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic romp to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sexuality machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples parents were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix
Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sex with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sex is not always entirely straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a human paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have children is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is crumbling after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of cattle can kick through a vessel hull after just a few months of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

A
Dont put this cow in your ships hull. Photograph: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other peoples civil liberty keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savor like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent example for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often attained the indicate the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own display on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke operating a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a house with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who seems a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters explored those three little terms from the American constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders word for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications consultant ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers election campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election blizzards, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world runs and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of general elections induced 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and construct their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its actually time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement show. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black women have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see fairly girls up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sexuality, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin reeks just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently suggests, people with whom they have had sex ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, exposed the same reasons she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck disguising You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with one another. LH

Sex
There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of time, effort and fund, especially money, went into making this film, says Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 times for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that attained the Tv series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering story recaps, whodunnit hypothesis and critiques of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention digging deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases encompassed so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys have responded to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turn somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of Cds to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who utilized many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he only wants his Cds back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was essentially a piece of investigative journalism, its format have also shown that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, functional specialists podcasting company, emerged around the same period as that NPR made and proved its aspirations in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers integrate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes fury and has the air of a human on the edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck were more reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you will learn more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the route .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

DTAG 1 TT RTAG 1 TT was big news. After a long track to going public, Eventbrite reported ATAG 6 TTinteresting revenue growth acceleration after a somewhat muted pricing event. But even that DTAG 2 TT RTAG 10 TT, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts . Celebrating health in the President’s sukkah – The Jerusalem Post


The Jerusalem Post

US obesity rates’ highest ever documented’ in report – WHYY


WHYY

Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes

A spanakopita-like filo pie with courgette instead of the usual spinach, and shaved raw courgettes that add bite to a seasonal salad

I associate courgettes with summer vacations in Greece, where the pale-skinned, pear-shaped range are sold by the roadside and served in every taverna. Luckily, there are as many ways and means to cook courgettes as there are courgettes in Greece, and each has a different consequence: maximise courgettes’ freshness by serving them raw, marinated, pickled or grilled; or roast or slow-cook for a creamier outcome. This spanakopita-like filo tart, in which I swap the usual spinach for courgette, is a nod to happy summers in the Mediterranean sun.

Courgette and herb filo pie( pictured above)

I’ve added cheddar to what is otherwise a straightforward Greek pie, because I find it ties everything together nicely, but feel free to employ another cheese, if you prefer.

Prep 12 min
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4

1kg courgettes ( about 6 ), trimmed and grated
Salt and black pepper
20 g dill , roughly chopped
20 g tarragon leaves , roughly chopped
20 g parsley leaves , approximately chopped
4-6 spring onions , thinly sliced( 60 g)
2 eggs , beaten
150 g feta , roughly crumbled
80 g mature cheddar , coarsely grated
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp lemon zest , finely grated
40 ml olive oil
175 g filo pastry ( ie, 7 39 cm x 30 cm sheets)
1/2 tsp nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 170 C/ 335 F/ gas 3. Mix the grated courgettes and two teaspoons of salt in a large bowl, then tip into a sieve and leave to drainage for 30 minutes.

Wrap the courgettes in batches in a clean tea towel and wring tightly, to extract as much liquid as possible – you should end up with about 520 g courgette flesh. Transfer to a large bowl and add the herbs, onions, eggs, both cheese, chilli, lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.

Line the base of a 23 cm spring-form cake tin with greaseproof paper and softly grease the sides with petroleum. Lay a sheet of filo over the base, allowing the excess to hang over the sides of the tin, and brush with petroleum. Top with another piece of filo, rotating it slightly so the excess hangs at a different slant, brush with petroleum, then recur three more times, until you have used up five sheets in all. Set the courgette filling in the centre of the pie and even it out with a spoon. Brush another piece of filo with oil, fold it in half horizontally and lay it over the filling, tucking in any excess around the fill. Brush with petroleum, then recur with the last sheet of filo, angling it to cover any exposed filling. Fold over the overhanging filo, crinkling it up to leave a crumpled top, brush with more petroleum and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Transfer the tin to an oven tray and bake for 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove the outer ring of the tin, and bake for 15 minutes more, until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Herby courgettes and peas with semolina porridge

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghi’s herby courgettes and peas with semolina porridge. Photo: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This is a standalone vegetarian main course that I return to time and again. The semolina porridge is like runny polenta, merely a little creamier. You can replace it with rice or mashed potato, if you like.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4-6

50 g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves , peeled and thinly sliced
1.2 kg big courgettes ( ie, about 6-7 ), trimmed, cut in half lengthways, then thinly sliced widthways
Salt and black pepper
200 g frozen peas , defrosted
25 g basil leaves , roughly shredded
15 g tarragon leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50 g pine nuts , gently toasted
1 tbsp olive oil , to serve

For the semolina porridge
600 g whole milk
180 g semolina
100 g pecorino , finely shaved

Put the butter in a large saute pan for which you have a lid, and put it on a medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and fry for a minute or two, until it starts to brown.

Add the courgettes, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for five minutes, stirring often, until the courgettes start to soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low, covering and leave to cook for five minutes. Stir in the peas and warm through for a minute, until the peas are cooked, then take off the heat, stir in the herbs and lemon zest, and set aside while you make the porridge.

Put the milk and 600 ml water in a medium saucepan, and add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer on a medium-high hot, then add the semolina and whisk continuously for three to four minutes, until smooth and thick, like porridge. Turn off the hot and stir in 80 g of the pecorino.

Divide the porridge between shallow bowl and top with the courgettes and peas. Finish with the pine nuts, a sprinkling of the remaining pecorino and a drizzle of oil.

Courgette, thyme and walnut salad

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette, thyme and walnut salad. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This needs to be dished up the moment its induced, before the courgettes start’ sobbing’ and losing their freshness, so don’t let it sit around for too long. It goes well with meat from the grill or alongside a bunch of meze.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
10 g thyme sprigs
1 lemon – peel finely shaved into 6 strips( avoid the bitternes white pith ), then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
1 garlic clove , smashed with the flat side of a knife
600 g courgettes ( a mixture of green and yellow looks great, if you can find both ), trimmed and shaved into long, thin ribbons with a potato peeler or mandoline
60 g walnut halves , roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
15 g basil , roughly shredded

Put the oil, thyme, lemon peel and garlic in a small saucepan on a low hot and leave to infuse for eight minutes, until the petroleum becomes aromatic and the garlic, lemon and thyme start to colour. Take off the heat, leave to cool, then strain the petroleum into a large bowl. Pick the foliages off the sprigs and add to the oil; discard the sprigs, lemon and garlic.

Put the courgettes, walnuts, lemon juice, a third of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper into the oil, then massage the courgettes for a minute or so- they will break up a little- then stir in the basil and serve at once.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Fresh thinking: Trine Hahnemann’s Danish cuisine recipes

While still based in tradition, Danish cuisine has embraced new flavours, foreign ingredients and a lighter touch, says Trine Hahnemann

We Danes have stopped thinking about the snack as revolving around meat and potatoes. More things are eaten raw than my grandmother would have imagined.

While my cook is quite different from my grandmothers it is still deeply rooted in tradition, but I use stronger flavours, more spices, more fresh herbs, different techniques. I grew up with cauliflower boiled to death or in a gratin with white sauce. Now I serve it in endless styles: raw, fried in butter, as a pure with chilli.

Inspiration from around the world has entered modern Danish cooking, and texture and combinings have changed. It is lighter, a bit more complex in flavor, but without giving in on seasonality and still recognising the benefits of maintaining things simple.

Spelt tart with spinach, Jerusalem artichokes and feta

This tart is ideal for everyday cooking and not that hard to induce. Its also perfect for guests, as it can be made the day before, then heated up to serve. Serves 4-6.

For the pastry:
plain flour 100 g, plus extra for dusting
wholegrain spelt flour 100 g
ocean salt 1 tsp
butter, chopped 75 g
skyr( quark) or fromage frais 75 g

For the filling:
Jerusalem artichokes 200 g
olive oil 2 tbsp
garlic cloves, chopped 2
spinach 500 g
eggs, beaten 5
full-fat crme frache 100 ml
feta cheese 200 g, crumbled
freshly grated nutmeg 1 tsp
sea salt 1 tsp
freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp

Begin with the pastry. Mix both flours with the salt in a large bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Mix in the skyr( quark) or fromage frais. Knead the dough softly with your hands just until the ingredients are combined.( Alternatively, pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor, adding a little water if the dough does not come together .)

Roll the dough out on a floured surface and butter a tart tin or dish, about 28 cm in diameter. Use the pastry to line the tart tin, then refrigerate for one hour. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and pour in baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then remove the cooking beans and parchment and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the fill. Peel the artichokes and cut them into 1.5 cm chunks. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the artichokes and saut for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and let it cook for about five minutes; take off the hot. If employing fresh spinach, rinse in cold water, then place in a separate saucepan over a medium hot and allow it to wilt. When it is just wilted, drain really well in a sieve.

Put the beat eggs, crme frache, feta, nutmeg and salt and pepper into a large bowl and mixture well with a wooden spoon. Fold in the drained spinach and Jerusalem artichokes. Pour the mixture into the pastry suit, return it to the oven and cook for 3035 minutes, or until the fill has defined but retains a slight wobble. Serve right away with a nice salad.

Cauliflower, prawns and dill

Cauliflower,
Raw deal: cauliflower, prawns and dill. Photo: Columbus Leth

When I was growing up we ate cauliflower raw with a dip. It has inspired this great-tasting salad. Serves 4-6

small cauliflower 1
radishes 10
cooked peeled prawns 200 g

For the dressing:
chopped dill 6 tbsp
chopped chives 6 tbsp
Greek yogurt 150 ml
grated unwaxed lemon zest 1 tbsp
lemon juice 1-2 tbsp
ocean salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cauliflower into thin slices, rinse well in cold water then drain in a colander. Slice the radishes. Mix all the garmenting ingredients together, with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the cauliflower slices, radishes and prawns together in a big mixing bowl, then mix in the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper and perhaps a little more lemon juice for acidity. Leave for 10 minutes then season again and serve.

Warm butternut squash with almonds and herbs

Orange
Watercress topped: warm butternut squash with almonds and herbs. Photograph: Columbus Leth

I had a dish similar to this one in Seoul, Korea, and this is my Scandi autumn version for the time of year when pumpkins start to be harvested. Serves 4.

butternut squash, unpeeled 1
extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
watercress, to decorate

For the herb topping:
spring onions 2
green chilli, chopped 1
chopped parsley 3 tbsp
chopped mint 3 tbsp
garlic clove 1, grated
lemon juice 1-2 tbsp
butter 2 tbsp
almonds 100 g, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scrape out all the seeds, then cut each squash half into slice from the shorter side. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, toss with the olive oil and some salt and pepper and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, stimulate the herb topping. Thinly slice the spring onions. Mix the chilli, chopped herbs, garlic and lemon juice together and set aside. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the almonds and spring onions and cook until browned. Take off the heat and keep warm.

Transfer the cooked butternut squash slice to a serving dish, stir the herb mixture into the brown buttered almonds and spring onions, then spoon on top of the butternut squash. Finish by decorating with watercress.

Winter apple layer cake

Nuts
Apple support: wintertime apple layer cake. Photograph: Columbus Leth

This a classic Danish recipe. The cream is partly inspired by my favourite Danish author, Karen Blixen. Serves 8.

For the apple sauce:
Bramley apples 600 g
caster sugar 40 g
lemon juice 1 tsp

For the layers:
soft butter 175 g
caster sugar 175 g
egg 1
plain flour 175 g
ground cinnamon 3 tsp
ground cardamom 2 tsp

For the cream:
hazelnuts 100 g
doubled cream 400 ml
single cream 100 ml
icing sugar 2 tsp

Peel and dice the apples and set them into a pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Let them simmer for 15 -2 0 minutes until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ gas mark 6. Draw a 20 cm circle using a pencil on 7 sheets of cooking parchment. Turn these over and arrange on as many baking sheets as necessary to fit( you may have to bake these in batches ).

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffies, then beat in the egg. Mix the flour and spices together and fold into the creamed concoction. Utilizing a spatula, spread the mixture as evenly as is practicable inside each visible circle on the pieces of baking parchment.

Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until the edges start to take on some colour. Set aside to cool on the sheets of parchment on a wire rack. While the layers are cooling, roast the hazelnuts. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roasted in the oven, then wrap them in a clean tea towel and give them a good scratch, so the scalps come off. Roughly chop them. Whip both creams with the icing sugar and stir in two-thirds of the hazelnuts.

Assemble the cake immediately before serve. Place a crisp layer on a serving plate and add some apple sauce, then add another crisp layer, then some cream. Recur this layer pattern twice, then add the last crisp layer and some apple sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top and serve right away.

Scandinavian Comfort Food: Espousing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann is published by Quadrille at 25. To order a transcript for 20.50, go to bookshop.theguardian.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Nigel Slater’s lemongrass recipes

Its one of the most subtle and delicious aromatics, says Nigel Slater. Use it in soup, and save some for pudding, too

At the bottom of the fridge is a little plastic box of aromatics: a hand of ginger, an smorgasbord of red and orange chillies, a tuber of galangal and a tight bundle of lemongrass stems. This is the box of tricks that comes out when I make pho or any sort of coconut milk curry or soup( the lemongrass neatly cuts the fattiness of the coconut ). Today it comes out for a classic and a curiosity.

I buy lemongrass from Chinatown if I’m passing through, because the stalks are more plump there, the layers of tightly packed leaves softer and greener. They are also cheaper than elsewhere. But what really matters is the freshness of the husks. So many around are dry and lack the highly aromatic quality that attains them worth buying. The bottled ones, by the route, are as good as useless.

Lemon verbena, a herb I use for tea and that grows extravagantly if your plant is protected against the frost, is a better substitute for lemongrass than lemon. It has something of the effervescence of the stalks. Lemongrass, like lime leaves, suffers from freezing, bottling and drying. The basic citrus flavor remains, but the real magic, the addictive essence- its heart and soul if you like- is lost.

The idea of flavouring creme caramel with vanilla or coconut is easy to get to grips with, but I have always had doubts about flavouring the milk itself. But an infusion of lemongrass run wonderfully this week, producing a mildly citrus note that is flattered rather than overwhelmed by the thin layer of caramel that lies on top. The herb added a refreshing note that appealed at the end of dinner, though I should probably admit to scoffing one at breakfast, too, in lieu of my usual yogurt. But then, what kind of a world is it when we can’t have pudding for breakfast?

Prawn and lemongrass soup

Serves 4
prawns 16, large and raw
shallots 400 g, small
groundnut petroleum 4 tbsp
lemongrass stalks 3
ginger 50 g
water 1.5 litres
carrots 150 g
sugar snap peas 150 g
coriander a handful
nam pla( fish sauce) 1 tbsp

Peel the prawns, defining the shells to one side. Return the prawns to the fridge. Peel half the shallots then roughly chop them. Warm half the petroleum in a deep pan then add the shallots and fry them until they are soft and pale gold.

Split the stalks of lemongrass lengthways, discarding the tough, outer leaves, then bash them hard with a heavy weight, such as a rolling pin, to splinter them. Add the shattered stalks to the shallots. Peel the ginger, cut it into coins about as thick as a PS2 piece, and add them to the shallots. Continue cooking over a low heat.

Add the reserved prawn shells to the pot. Pour the water into the pan and bring to the simmer. Lower the heat, then leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Peel the remaining shallots, cut them in half, then open into individual layers. Peel the carrots, cut into thin slicings then into short matchsticks. Warm the remaining groundnut petroleum in a large pan, then cook the shallots until golden.

Cut the sugar snap peas into thin strips. Add the reserved prawns and cook them for three minutes on each side. Strain the broth through a sieve into the shallots and prawns. Add the carrots and sugar snaps and season with the fish sauce, then cook for a minute or two before tearing the coriander leaves and adding them to the soup.

Lemongrass creme caramel

Mellow
Mellow amber: lemongrass creme caramel. Photo: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Shred the lemongrass finely, into paper-thin discs, so it gives up as much flavour as possible to the milk. The custards are cooked when the mixture is gently firm but will still quiver when shaken. Makes 4.

For the caramel:
caster sugar 125 g

For the custard:
creamy milk 500 ml
lemongrass 3 large stalks
egg yolks 4
eggs 2
caster sugar 80 g

Pour the milk into a saucepan. Finely slice the lemongrass then add to the milk and bring to the boil. Be obtained from the heat, covering with a eyelid and set aside for 20 minutes to infuse.

Make the caramel by putting the sugar into a small pan then pouring over enough water to simply cover it. Place the pan over a moderate hot and leave to simmer, watching carefully, until walnut brown.

Set the oven at 150 C/ gas mark 2. Pour the caramel into 4 china ramekins, twisting each one from side to side until the base of the dish is covered with a fine layer.

Put the kettle on to simmer. Induce the custard: beat together the egg yolks, eggs and 80 g of caster sugar. Strain the infused milk through a sieve into a large jug to remove the pieces of lemongrass. Pour the milk over the eggs and sugar and stir together. Pour or ladle the concoction into the caramel-lined dishes. Lower them into a roasting tin then place on the middle shelf of the oven. Pour enough simmering water from the kettle to come halfway up the sides of the dishes.

Bake the custards for 40 minutes until they are just set. They should quiver when gently shaken. Remove and leave to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours. To turn out, run a palette knife around the edge, place a small plate on top and turn the plate and ramekin over. Shake securely and let the custard slide out.

Email Nigel at nigel.slater @observer. co.uk or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes

A spanakopita-like filo pie with courgette instead of the usual spinach, and shaved raw courgettes that add bite to a seasonal salad

I associate courgettes with summer vacations in Greece, where the pale-skinned, pear-shaped range are sold by the roadside and served in every taverna. Luckily, there are as many ways and means to cook courgettes as there are courgettes in Greece, and each has a different effect: maximise courgettes’ freshness by serving them raws, marinaded, pickled or grilled; or roast or slow-cook for a creamier outcome. This spanakopita-like filo tart, in which I swap the usual spinach for courgette, is a nod to happy summers in the Mediterranean sun.

Courgette and herb filo pie( pictured above)

I’ve added cheddar to what is otherwise a straightforward Greek pie, because I find it ties everything together nicely, but feel free to utilize another cheese, if you prefer.

Prep 12 min
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4

1kg courgettes ( about 6 ), trimmed and grated
Salt and black pepper
20 g dill , approximately chopped
20 g tarragon leaves , roughly chopped
20 g parsley leaves , approximately chopped
4-6 spring onions , thinly sliced( 60 g)
2 eggs , beaten
150 g feta , approximately crumbled
80 g mature cheddar , coarsely grated
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp lemon zest , finely grated
40 ml olive oil
175 g filo pastry ( ie, 7 39 cm x 30 cm sheets)
1/2 tsp nigella seeds

Heat the oven to 170 C/ 335 F/ gas 3. Mix the grated courgettes and two teaspoons of salt in a large bowl, then tip-off into a sieve and leave to drainage for 30 minutes.

Wrap the courgettes in batches in a clean tea towel and wring tightly, to extract as much liquid as is practicable – you are able to end up with about 520 g courgette flesh. Transfer to a large bowl and add the herbs, onions, eggs, both cheeses, chilli, lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.

Line the base of a 23 cm spring-form cake tin with greaseproof paper and gently grease the sides with petroleum. Lay a sheet of filo over the base, allowing the excess to hang over the sides of the tin, and brush with petroleum. Top with another piece of filo, rotating it somewhat so the excess hangs at a different slant, brush with oil, then recur three more days, until you have used up five sheets in all. Put the courgette filling in the centre of the tart and even it out with a spoon. Brush another piece of filo with oil, fold it in half horizontally and lay it over the fill, tucking in any excess all over the fill. Brush with petroleum, then recur with the last sheet of filo, angling it to cover any exposed fill. Fold over the overhanging filo, crinkling it up to leave a crumpled top, brush with more petroleum and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.

Transfer the tin to an oven tray and bake for 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove the outer ring of the tin, and cook for 15 minutes more, until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Herby courgettes and peas with semolina porridge

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghi’s herby courgettes and peas with semolina porridge. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This is a standalone vegetarian main course that I return to time and again. The semolina porridge is like runny polenta, merely a little creamier. You can substitute it with rice or mashed potato, if you like.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4-6

50 g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves , peeled and thinly sliced
1.2 kg large courgettes ( ie, about 6-7 ), trimmed, cut in half lengthways, then thinly sliced widthways
Salt and black pepper
200 g frozen peas , defrosted
25 g basil leaves , roughly shredded
15 g tarragon leaves
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50 g pine nuts , lightly toasted
1 tbsp olive oil , to serve

For the semolina porridge
600 g whole milk
180 g semolina
100 g pecorino , finely shaved

Put the butter in a large saute pan for which you have a eyelid, and put it on a medium-high hot. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and fry for another minute or two, until it starts to brown.

Add the courgettes, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for five minutes, stirring often, until the courgettes start to soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low, covering and leave to cook for five minutes. Stir in the peas and warm through for a minute, until the peas are cooked, then taken away from the hot, stir in the herbs and lemon zest, and set aside while you attain the porridge.

Put the milk and 600 ml water in a medium saucepan, and add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a boil on a medium-high hot, then add the semolina and whisk continuously for three to four minutes, until smooth and thick, like porridge. Turn off the heat and stir in 80 g of the pecorino.

Divide the porridge between shallow bowl and top with the courgettes and peas. Finish with the pine nuts, a sprinkling of the remaining pecorino and a drizzle of oil.

Courgette, thyme and walnut salad

Yotam
Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette, thyme and walnut salad. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

This needs to be dished up the moment its induced, before the courgettes start’ weeping’ and losing their freshness, so don’t let it sit around for too long. It goes well with meat from the grill or alongside a bunch of meze.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
10 g thyme sprigs
1 lemon – peel finely shaved into 6 strips( avoid the bitternes white pith ), then juiced, to get 2 tbsp
1 garlic clove , smashed with the flat side of a knife
600 g courgettes ( a mix of green and yellow looks great, if you can find both ), trimmed and shaved into long, thin ribbons with a potato peeler or mandoline
60 g walnut halves , roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
15 g basil , approximately shredded

Put the petroleum, thyme, lemon peel and garlic in a small saucepan on a low hot and leave to infuse for eight minutes, until the petroleum becomes aromatic and the garlic, lemon and thyme start to colour. Take off the hot, leave to cool, then strain the oil into a large bowl. Pick the foliages off the sprigs and add to the petroleum; discard the sprigs, lemon and garlic.

Put the courgettes, walnuts, lemon juice, a third of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper into the oil, then massage the courgettes for a minute or so- they will break up a little- then stir in the basil and serve at once.

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