Nibbles and Sips Around Town: ‘Poldark To The Rescue and Other Anglophile Adventures’ by Jordan Wright

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Last Wednesday the swashbuckling Captain Ross Poldark swept into town and into the salon of prominent Georgetown socialite, Nancy Taylor Bubes. Well actually it was Robin Ellis, star of the BBC series Poldark who held court in the Q Street mansion to a swarm of adoring aficionados of the Masterpiece Theatre classic. It seems the elegant British actor still has the same draw with the ladies. “Downton Abbey can’t hold a candle to Poldark,” quipped one starry-eyed fan.

But we were there for a book signing, weren’t we? A polite query on the coveted invitation asked guests to consider preparing a dish from Ellis’s new Mediterranean style cookbook, Delicious Dishes for Diabetics – Eating Well with Type 2 Diabetes. Recipe cards would be forwarded.  That was all the prompting needed to get an astonishing array of delectable low-carb, no sugar dishes for the gourmet potluck.

Ellis told the assembled foodistas that both he and his darling wife, Meredith, had discovered they had Type 2 diabetes, prompting him to compile and share his collection of favorite go-to recipes, including treasured ones from his notable friends. A cold cucumber soup from Donald Douglas, his former nemesis Captain McNeil from the series and now a neighbor, is included in the bespoke book.

Fellow Brit actor, Catherine Flye, glowing from her recent nomination for a Helen Hayes Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress Resident Play for her performance as Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice at Round House Theatre, was there to cheer on her compatriot. “It was lovely to see him this side of the pond. I loved his book. It’s simple, direct and easy to follow. It’s like cookery from the heart.”

Robin Ellis and Katherine Tallmadge watch as Janis McLean demos a recipe from the book. Photo by Jordan Wright.

The posh get-together, organized by noted local dietician and nutritionist, Katherine Tallmadge, also featured a cooking demo by Janis McLean, Executive Chef of Cleveland Park’s Bistrot Le Zinc.  Many of the recipes have been adapted from (and graciously credited to) notable cookbook authors like Marcella Hazan or Jaime Oliver, two of Ellis’s favorite chefs. Charming illustrations by Hope James of the Ellis’s laidback life in Southwest France, a place where we’d all like to cook, fill the pages of this evocative cookbook.

And now please excuse me while I watch the new Poldark double DVD set while “Charlotte’s Chicken Tagine” simmers happily in the pot.

Charlotte’s Chicken Tagine

Serves 4

1 large chicken – jointed in 8-10 pieces

3 onions – peeled and quartered

2 medium fennel bulbs – outer leaves cut off, cored and quartered

6 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tsp. each turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and ground ginger

1 tsp. saffron threads

Salt and pepper

1 cup vegetable stock

Olive oil

Handful of green olives

1 preserved lemon – rind only, cut in strips

2 tsp. chopped cilantro or parsley

– Put the chicken pieces in a casserole, or tagine, if you have one.

– Pack in the onions and fennel pieces.

– Sprinkle over the garlic and spices.  Season with salt and pepper.

– Pour over the stock and drizzle over some olive oil.

– Bring to a very gentle simmer.  Carefully turn over the contents in the liquid. Cover and cook for one hour, basting occasionally. The chicken pieces should be sumptuously meltingly collapsed when ready.

– Add the olives and lemon rind and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes more.

– Add the cilantro or parsley just before serving with a steaming plate of basmati rice.

From Delicious Dishes for Diabetics by Robin Ellis (Skyhorse Publishing).

Mediterranean dishes from the cookbook. Photo by Jordan Wright.

Featured Picture: Author/Actor Robin Ellis aka Poldark with Jordan Wright Photo by Jordan Wright.

LINKS

Watch a video tribute to Robin Ellis in Poldark.

To view more pictures of this event, go to  Jordan Wright’s site Whisk and Quill.

 

 

 

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Jordan Wright
Jordan Wright is an accomplished writer on food, spirits, travel, and theatre. Her clients include the tony Georgetowner and hip sister publication the Downtowner, the Washington Examiner and San Francisco Examiner, as well as LocalKicks.com, DC Metro Magazine, Washington Life Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, MDTheatreGuide.com, The Alexandria Times, Hartkeisonline.com, and now DCMetroTheaterArts. Her articles feature restaurant openings, food and wine events, food-oriented film reviews, farmer’s markets, food trends, restaurant reviews, food memories, new food products, hotels, spas, resorts and interviews with the country’s leading chefs – from Jose Andres and Top Chef’s Carla Hall, to CakeLove’s Warren Brown and Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn. She has also interviewed famed chef and TV star, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, cookbook author Joan Nathan, and director Robert Kenner for an in-depth article about his film Food, Inc. Photographs by Wright accompany many of her articles and NBCNews.com has picked up and used several of her stories. Jordan Wright hails from three generations of show business. Her grandmother, Betty Morton, was a Ziegfield Follies girl; her step-grandmother Corinne Griffith, a noted author and silent screen star wrote Hail to the Redskins; her father, Georgie Price, an entertainer and founder of The Lamb’s Club in New York, as well as a CBS radio show host, songwriter and vaudevillian; her sister, Penny Larsen Vine, a theatre critic both on radio and in print for Variety, a former longtime member of the Outer Critics Circle, and a lead performer in countless national touring companies; one brother, Peter Price, appeared in leading roles in over 16 major motion pictures for MGM; while her other brother, Marshall Price performed at Carnegie Hall. Niece, Stephanie Vine, was the final Annie in the original production of Annie on Broadway, and niece, Liz Larsen, has received two Tony nominations and a Helen Hayes award for lead actress in Sunday in the Park with George. Wright sang with Columbia Records in New York and Barclay Records in France. In the sports world her grandfather was the original owner and founder of the Washington Redskins football team. Wright has traveled throughout four continents and currently resides in Old Town Alexandria.