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Normalise Stuffing Octopus in a Bun This Summer

London restaurants are starting to give the Iberian classic of octopus in bread its rightful due and Instagram approves

An octopus and aioli roll on a blue and white china plate
Normalise octo-dogs
Nick Bramham/Instagram

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is an unusual party favour.

News of the week

Lockdown Instagram represented one of the more extraordinary landscapes in social media history, with grids formerly given over to hypebeast restaurant fare now filled with wholesome images of banana bread and home-made biang biang noodles. The world is slowly coming out of enforced hibernation again now, of course, and the restaurant-adjacent content floodgates have once again opened. Which places TOU’s new katsu sando kits at an interesting crossroads. On the one hand, the viral sando is one of the most recognisable dishes in recent (pre-coronavirus) history, with one of the longest and most dominant runs as London’s Most Instagrammed. On the other, the make-at-home kit is exactly the sort of absorbing, finessed mini-project that restaurant-obsessed Londoners would have been crying out for during the lost months of spring and early summer 2020 — but which may exert less of a siren song now that people are free to socialise in public again. Or perhaps this is the wrong way to look at it: with a history of restaurant-based hype and career foodstagrammers newly hip to the pleasures of cooking at home on its side, could 2020 be the year that Tou’s katsu sando goes not just viral, but ubiquitous?

Contender of the week

Wise advice from Omar Little aside, this thing does look like it’s got all the hallmarks of a future IG classic.

WAP of the week

The P stands for porchetta, obviously.

Heat checks of the week

At time of writing, London continues to bake in a heat that would not look out of place in southern Europe or South East Asia — which might explain why many Londoners fell on dishes from those regions as a source of solace.

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Pulling out all the stops for dinner tonight

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Attack is the best form of defence of the week

Of course, there is also the “fight fire with fire’”school of hot weather management. Neither is incorrect.

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Malaga 2020

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Weekend Treat, Dairy in Carb On Carb. Sometimes, you just need to spice things up a bit. “Paté de pommes de terre” is a specialty from Central France, thinly seasoned and sliced potatoes are cooked á l’étouffée ( literal translation : strangled, here it’s more trapped in its own steam) in a Puff Pastry or Paté Brisée. After cooking, they usually cut a whole from the top and spread copious amount of Creme Fraîche, to finish the dish (I gave myself a bonus treat). Not a light one, but IT WAS SO GOOD, and who doesn’t like a/potatoes b/crème fraîche c/puff pastry ? WHO ? I’ll find you and make you eat this. To eat with salad so you can be guilt free. As a chef I eat everything, although I’m 80% of the time, leaning towards asian flavors. My Cooking education started it out with French food though, and being able to understand the language and watching all the Paul Bocuse grand classiques it’s really a bonus point. I think, what I’m saying is, everybody is allow to cook what they want to eat. I don’t want to get political...but Food is an amalgam of culture and history, even though some history might be painful to look back, food still is a thing to bring people together, it’s a positive and wonderful deed no matter who you are or where you’re from. * * * * * * * * * * #pate #pommesdeterre #puffpastry #weekend #patefeuilletee #caviar #cremefraiche #paleo

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Ubiquitous creature of the deep of the week

Petition for octopus to replace sausages as the default “wang it on the barbecue in hot weather” option in the UK, and for the “octo-dog” to take its rightful place in the elite tier of “protein in bread” hall of fame, alongside the Spanish mollete de calamares and Argentine choripán and exactly nothing else. No, there is not time for any further questions.

First class upgrades of the week

Black truffle cookie, meet salmon roe baked potato.

Dish of the week

“Grill it, stuff it with cheese and deep fry it” – sound advice for at least 90% of ingredients.

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CHILES RELLENOS - one of my favourite dishes of ALL TIME, and also one of the most nostalgic (these were my No1 TOP requested dish at my Grandads house in Mexico). I loved watching them being made almost as much as I loved eating them. This classic Pueblan dish consists of peppers (usually poblanos but I’m using Romanos) that are charred, stuffed (with cheese, meat or seafood, I’m using cheese here), dipped in a fluffy batter, deep fried then served with salsa, typically salsa roja. Find the recipe below, and see my stories for the how-to later today. Trust me, you REALLY want to make these. #ottolenghi #OTK #ottolenghitestkitchen . Chiles rellenos 6 mixed red and yellow romano pepper, with a slit cut along one side 200g mozzarella, roughly torn into small pieces 200g feta, roughly broken into small pieces 800ml sunflower oil, for frying 2 limes, cut into wedges, to serve Salsa roja 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 300g sweet red cherry tomatoes ½ dried habanero chilli 1 tsp cumin seeds 1 tbsp tomato paste 120ml water Batter 4 eggs, separated 80g plain flour ½ tsp salt Fresh salsa 2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped 2 jalapenos, finely chopped 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped 2 tbsp olive oil 1½ tbsp lime juice Turn the oven to the highest grill setting. Place the peppers, slit-side up on a wire rack set over a large tray. Grill for 7 minutes near the top of the oven, then carefully turn the peppers over so they are slit-side down and grill for another 7 minutes until the skin is blackened and bubbling in places. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool on the rack, slit-side down, so any liquid drains away. (I don’t peel the peppers- you really don’t need to and I love the charred skin, but peel them now if you want to) Meanwhile, make the salsa roja. Add all the ingredients (except the tomato paste and water!) to a large saute pan on a high heat with 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir-fry for 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to fry for 10 minutes. Add to a blender with the tomato paste and water and blitz until smooth. Set aside. Method continued in comments

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Shot of the week

A traffic light that only says ‘go’.