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Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for tomato soup three ways | Food



The thing about the end of summer is that although the earlier sunsets and cooler air signal a clear shift in the seasons, some of our favourite fruits are certainly not yet ready to move on. Sticky-sweet figs, juicy plums and blistering tomatoes are begging to be eaten right now, as if they’ve been slow-cooked to perfection in the residual heat of summer. These end-of-season fruits are now in their prime, with tomatoes leading the way. So make good use of them – you won’t see them again for another year, after all. And there’s no better way of doing that than by making soup.

Cream of tomato soup with buttered onions and orecchiette

This tastes like a homemade version of the Heinz classic. The habanero adds a hot, fruity and smoky complexity that I love, but remove it entirely if you want to make the dish child-friendly, and use only half if you don’t like too much heat.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4

60g unsalted butter
90ml olive oil
3 onions
, peeled and finely chopped (540g net weight)
Salt and black pepper
2 large garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
400g sweet red cherry tomatoes (ie, datterini or similar)
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp (10g) basil leaves
, roughly torn
1 dried habanero chilli (optional – see introduction)
500ml vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
200g orecchiette
2 tbsp double cream
(or more, to taste)

Put the butter, three tablespoons of oil, the onions and a teaspoon of salt in a large saute pan on a medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 18-20 minutes, until soft and deeply golden brown (you don’t want the onions to burn or become crisp, so lower the heat as necessary).

Transfer two-thirds of the fried onions to a bowl with the remaining three tablespoons of oil, stir to combine and set aside until you’re ready to serve.

Return the pan of remaining onions to a medium heat, add the garlic and fry, stirring, for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, habanero (if using) and two teaspoons of salt, and fry, stirring often, for seven minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the stock, 300ml water and a good grind of pepper, and bring up to a simmer. Turn down the heat to medium, cook for 12 minutes, then lift out the habanero (if using) and squeeze to remove any liquid. Finely chop the habanero, then stir into the bowl of reserved fried onions.

Leave the soup to cool for five to 10 minutes, so it’s not super-hot, then transfer to a blender and blitz until completely smooth.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a big pot of salted boiling water until al dente, then drain and divide between four bowls. Divide the soup across the four bowls, spoon the cream on top, then scatter over the reserved fried onion mix and serve.

Gingery tomato gazpacho

Yotam Ottolenghi’s gingery tomato gazpacho.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s gingery tomato gazpacho.

This gazpacho is made super-creamy thanks to the toasted pine nuts and ginger-infused oil. Use the best-quality, in-season tomatoes you can find and afford.

Prep 25 min
Cook 30 min
Chill 1 hr+
Serves 4 as a starter

40g fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
150ml olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Salt and black pepper
1½ tbsp (5g) fresh coriander
, finely chopped
1kg vine tomatoes
50g pine nuts
, very well toasted
½ red pepper, stem and seeds removed, flesh roughly chopped (90g net weight)
½ red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (60g net weight)
1 mild red chilli, roughly chopped, seeds and all
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely crushed in a mortar
220g cucumber (about ⅔ of regular one), peeled, halved and seeds removed

Put the ginger, garlic and oil in a small saute pan on a medium-low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, or just until the oil begins to bubble and the ginger and garlic have softened without taking on much colour (turn down the heat if necessary). Transfer half of the solids and oil to a bowl and set aside (you’ll use this in the gazpacho base later), then return the rest to a medium-high heat and add the paprika and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Once the mix is bubbling, cook for just 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. Once cool, stir through the coriander.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and score a cross into the base of each one using a small, sharp knife. Blanch the tomatoes for about 90 seconds, until the skins just start to loosen and pull away from the flesh. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes and to a bowl and, when cool enough to handle, but while they’re still a little warm, peel the tomatoes and discard the skins.

Quarter the tomatoes, then put them into a blender with the toasted pine nuts, red pepper, onion, chilli, the reserved ginger-and-garlic oil, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roughly chop half the cucumber and add to the blender, then blitz until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl or container, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or longer if time allows, until very cold.

Divide the chilled soup between four bowls. Finely dice the remaining cucumber into 1cm cubes and scatter on top. Finally, spoon over the reserved ginger-garlic-and-coriander oil and serve cold.

Roast tomato and aubergine soup with anchovy aïoli

Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast tomato and aubergine soup with anchovy aioli.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s roast tomato and aubergine soup with anchovy aioli.

This soup is a meal in itself. I’ve used fried garlic and anchovy oil twice – first to flavour the broth, then to make a punchy sauce that brings everything together wonderfully.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr
Serves 4

2 aubergines (550g), trimmed
350g datterini (or cherry) tomatoes
2 large red chillies
, roughly chopped into quarters (seeds and pith removed if you prefer less heat)
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2½ tbsp tomato paste
1 litre chicken stock
1 tbsp lemon juice
100g good-quality bread croutons
, homemade or shop-bought, to serve
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped, to serve
1 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, to serve

For the aïoli
5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
90ml olive oil
50ml sunflower oil
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 230C (210C fan)/450F/gas 8.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel away strips of the aubergine skin from top to bottom, leaving them with alternating stripes of black skin and white flesh, a bit like a zebra, then cut the aubergines into 3cm chunks.

Put the tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and oil on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and season with a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Toss very well to coat, then roast for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the aubergines are a dark golden brown, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, get on with everything else. For the aïoli, put the first three ingredients and half a teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan on a low heat. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, until the garlic and anchovies are soft and can be mashed with the back of a spoon; take care that the oil does not get too hot, or the garlic will catch and burn– if it starts to bubble too much, just take the pan off the heat to cool down a little, then return to the heat.

Transfer 60g of the garlic and anchovy oil mixture to a measuring jug, add the sunflower oil and leave to cool.

Return the pan with the remaining garlic and anchovy oil mixture to a medium-high heat, then add the tomato paste and fry for three minutes, until fragrant. Add the stock, lemon juice and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt, and leave to simmer gently on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

Now finish the aïoli. Put the egg yolk, lemon juice and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt in the small bowl of a food processor, then, with the motor running, very slowly start pouring in the cooled garlic and anchovy oil mixture, until the mix emulsifies and thickens to a mayonnaise-like consistency. Transfer to a small bowl.

Divide the roast aubergine mix between four bowls, then top with the hot broth, the croutons and a spoonful of aïoli. Finish with the herbs and a good grind of pepper, and serve straight away.

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Thomasina Miers’ recipe for stuffed mushrooms with ‘nduja | Food




’Nduja, the spicy, spreadable southern Italian meat condiment, has been embraced wholeheartedly in Britain – so much so that native pork producers are now making their own versions. It adds incredible flavour to other ingredients – in this case, mushrooms. The portobello mushrooms at my local market have been huge this year, and I love how retro it feels to stuff them – and how joyfully simple. Do try this at home.

Stuffed mushrooms with ’nduja

Crisp crumbs, meaty interior, rich, garlicky, umami juices: this is one supper you will be pleased to have tried.

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4-6

7 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
2 tbsp olive oil
65g butter
1 medium onion
, peeled and finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small handful thyme, picked
50g ’nduja
2 large, ripe tomatoes
, roughly diced

For the breadcrumbs
125g stale bread, crusts removed, or panko breadcrumbs
Grated parmesan, to finish

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Break the stalks off six of the mushrooms and chop them up with the seventh mushroom. Heat the oil and a third of the butter, and saute the mushrooms, onion and fennel over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, seasoning well.

Add three of the garlic cloves, crushed, and the thyme, cook for a few minutes more, so the raw flavour of the garlic softens, then stir in the ’nduja and tomatoes. Simmer very gently, stirring from time to time, for another five to eight minutes, while you fry the breadcrumbs.

If you are using stale bread, whizz it up in a blender. Melt another third of the butter in a hot frying pan and add the crumbs (homemade or panko). Season well, add the last clove of garlic, again crushed, fry until golden and fragrant, then leave to cool a little.

Lay out the mushrooms on a baking sheet and top with the sauteed onion mix. Top with the crumbs, dot over the remaining butter, scatter over a small handful of grated parmesan, to taste, and roast for about 15 minutes, until sizzling and golden. Eat with fresh bread and a salad, if you want.

And for the rest of the week …

Stuff any leftover mushrooms inside a crisp baguette to give steak sandwiches a run for their money. Melt leftover ’nduja into sauteed onions for a simple pasta sauce, add to a sauce for mussels or use in a stuffing for pork.

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‘People are more in control of their working day’: how lockdown changed the way we use our time | Fast master




Female student studying and listening to music at home

People perform better when they have control of their working day.
Photograph: damircudic/Getty Images

Lockdown changed our sense of space as our worlds shrunk to the confines of our homes. But it also messed with our sense of time, with the monotony of our days making them feel longer.

Even our most basic units of time sometimes seemed to change. Where we’d once typically divided our days into one-hour or half-hour blocks, some of us instead found ourselves scheduling in shorter snippets of time. Instead of sitting through drawn-out, boring boardroom meetings or labouring over lengthy tasks in our manager’s line of sight, many of us found ourselves working more flexibly, flipping between tasks at a faster rate thanks to the sudden merging of our work and home lives and the increased autonomy it affords us.

In short, many people have shifted to a new normal that involves filling bite-size units of time with bite-size tasks and activities.

Studies have indicated that during periods of ongoing stress and anxiety, the brain’s prefrontal cortex (responsible for our ability to focus on tasks) is significantly weakened. But a recent report from the American management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group found that 75% of employees reported being able to maintain or even improve productivity levels in certain tasks during the first months of the pandemic.

So could the shifts in our scheduling patterns mean we’re becoming more efficient in our work and in our day-to-day lives? Jane Piper, an organisational psychologist and business coach, thinks there are significant benefits to our new way of doing things. “People are more in control of their working day now, and we perform better when we have autonomy. Our days are more flexible to better integrate work and home lives, which leads to an increase in productivity and reduction in stress,” she says.

Taking responsibility for our own schedules also means there is likely to be a reduction in presenteeism, with employees no longer putting in unnecessary “face time” just to show that they’re working. “Working from home means managers have to trust people to do the work, even when they can’t see them,” says Piper. “It changes the question from: ‘Were they present at their desk?’ to ‘Did they produce what was required by the deadline?’ A real upside of the new working landscape is what we deliver, rather than when we deliver.” Of course, it won’t be the case for everyone, she says. “For some, it has been replaced by a digital version, with managers scheduling constant meetings in a bid to force staff to be ‘present’.”

David Ogilvie, who runs The Resilience Development Company, which trains and coaches organisations to optimise performance and productivity, says: “Humans just aren’t meant to focus for long periods – brains are most productive in ‘focused sprints’ compared with ‘marathons’.”

In the programmes Ogilvie runs, clients are advised to work for no more than 90 minutes and then rest for 20 minutes. “That might mean setting 90-minute chunks in your diary before breaking or switching to an easier task for the next 20,” Ogilvie says. “There are many variations out there, but the principle is always the same: watch for signs of energy flagging and then reset and start again.”

However, working in shorter bursts doesn’t mean multitasking. “Switching between tasks and multitasking is a feature of modern life, amplified by the pandemic,” says Ogilvie. “But this behaviour could be working against you – studies show that we can lose productivity if we multitask because our brain is switching focus.”

This distinction is key – and arguably explains why we can feel more productive when engaging in activity in short bursts, but less productive if we’re flitting between wildly different short-burst activities. It’s worth bearing this in mind whenever you want to make the most of handy, short-burst formats, such as the wealth of instructional videos on social media platforms. Short is good, but if you’re looking to learn a new skill or knowhow, focusing on that one subject or topic is also important. You could call it scrolling with intent.

So how do you retain the benefits of short bursts while avoiding the trap of multitasking?

Gemma Ray, a productivity expert and author of Self Discipline: A How-To Guide to Stop Procrastination and Achieve Your Goals in 10 Steps, suggests batching similar tasks to improve efficiency, and timing regular tasks to avoid falling prey to Parkinson’s law – the idea that work expands to fill the time available.

Minimising distractions is also key. “A study by the University of California states that it takes the average person 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back ‘in the zone’ once disrupted,” she says. “For some, working from home means less distractions in terms of colleagues or unnecessary meetings, which enables us to be much more productive.” Though, of course, others might fall into the unluckier bracket of domestic distractions, with children storming their 10am brainstorm or neighbours renovating their kitchen.

Explore the world of TikTok and discover the joy of learning new things in shorter bursts. What will you #LearnOnTikTok?

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TV style icons of 2020: Michael Jordan’s sartorial slam dunk | Television




The Last Dance, the Netflix show about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, scored 24 million viewers around the world within a month of its April release. An audience held captive by lockdown almost certainly drove those numbers up, but still, that is a lot of eyeballs for a documentary about basketball games that happened 23 years ago.

Which makes sense when you realise that The Last Dance isn’t really a sports documentary at all, but a blockbuster superhero movie, spun out over 10 instalments, just like Marvel do them. The Last Dance turned Jordan from a sports icon into a superhero, and it did it in part by rebooting his pre-athleisure 90s look as a costume.

Superheroes have to look the part. Without the lurid 70s tricolour T-shirt, Superman is just Clark Kent with wings. Batman doesn’t even have any superpowers, but his look and accessories have always been so on point (the mask! the car!) that fans barely noticed that he couldn’t fly or walk through walls without a gadget to assist him.

‘The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman ...’ Jordan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1997.
‘The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman …’ Jordan on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1997. Photograph: NBCUniversal/Getty

Jordan’s sneakers are his Batmobile. When Nike launched the Air Jordan 1s in 1984, it predicted sales of $3m; the shoes banked $126m. Brand Jordan was born, a Nike division in its own right, and with it the mythology of Jordan as not just a basketball court legend but a hero. With serendipitous timing, the Dior designer Kim Jones last year unveiled an ultra high-end luxury homage to the thinking sneakerhead’s favourite trainer, with his handmade-in-Italy limited edition Air Dior. The March 2020 launch date was postponed due to the pandemic; by the time they went on sale in July, The Last Dance had turbocharged the Jordan hype. Even with a £1,800 price tag, these shoes were harder to get hold of than Dorothy’s ruby slippers.

The original Nike Air Jordans were red, white and black, to match the Chicago Bulls uniform. But the resulting Jordan mythology soon soared way above the basketball court and slam-dunked their namesake into popular culture. Jordan became a larger-than-life character and a visual brand, mapping out a master plan that has been followed ever since, by athletes including Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Every great fashion brand is defined by a signature shape, and Jordan is no exception. Dior had the New Look, Chanel had the boxy skirt suit – and Jordan had the supersized silhouette. Basketball worships height – Jordan is 6ft 5in, and in his prime he could jump to bring his head level with the 10ft-high rim of the hoop. The aesthetic of the classic shorts-and-vest is oversized and airy. Jordan brought this height and volume into his spectacular off-duty wardrobe, which, in the 90s, revolved around oversized power tailoring and shiny leisurewear. The suits were there to make the point that Jordan was no sporting journeyman, but a bona fide business mogul. The quilted bomber jackets, the diamond hoop earring, the signature beret. This was the 90s and celebrities came larger than life.

Nike Air Jordan V, originally released in 1990.
Nike Air Jordan V, originally released in 1990. Photograph: Granger/Rex/Shutterstock

Jordan wore his suit jackets extra wide across the shoulder, and extra long. What fits as a jacket on Jordan would be an overcoat on almost everyone else – a neat reminder that he is no mere mortal. His trousers were pleated for extra fullness and worn belted and high-waisted for added length. It is not just the sporting footage that showcases his elongated frame in The Last Dance. When he is filmed sitting down, his knees rise into the foreground of every shot. Set against the popcorny palette of televised sports events, where every available angle flashes advertising in the national colours of Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, Jordan’s suits are notable for their muted colours. He wears taupe and stone-grey, tones that in the 90s helped him stand out against his environment – and which in 2020 make him look eerily contemporary, like a supersized Kanye West.

With his cartoonish swagger and a vintage leisurewear wardrobe that could unite irony-loving millennials and nostalgia-soaked generation X, in a year where big blockbusters were off the cards, Jordan was a stand-in superhero. And why not? After all, this man could fly.

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