look out world…..

I have recently become a real life big, bad, mean mother shucker.

baby’s first dredge

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I love fish. However, I admittedly have a limited repertoire when it comes to fish cooking techniques. I went to the fishmongers’ yesterday and was sweet talked into buying some whole whitings. I’d never had whiting before but the monger insisted it was possible to just fry them up and eat the skin and everything. I decided I’d try to bread them a bit to get some fresh herbs in there.

I did the following:

– chopped up a whole bunch of oregano and mixed it with some all purpose flour, salt and pepper

– cleaned and paper-towel-dried the whitings

– rolled them around in flour mixture (this is the dredging part!), then in a couple of whisked eggs and then back in the flour mixture

– panfried at a medium heat until cooked through and crispy skinned

Instead of a mayo or cream based tartar type sauce, I panfried some vine ripened tomatoes, garlic, chilies and capers. It was a perfect, salty, saucy accompaniment to the fish.

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back to life

I just finished working really hard on something. During this time I developed some bad eating habits (a.k.a. take away a.k.a. laziness). I now want only to eat the most hippy-est foods ever.

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So tonight for dinner I made a salad of:

– grilled zuchinni

– chickpeas

– spinach

– chopped mint leaves

– chilies

– lemon juice

– olive oil

– salt and pepper

Chris would only eat a bite because he was too full from this:

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Chef Boyardee! (no judgment)

pickling = canning = pickling

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Way back in August, with the help of my friend Megan, I made some pickles. The process was both easier and harder than I had expected. Harder in that it required lots of equipment (aka multiple enormous pots) and easier in that it really wasn’t very hard. I also learned that the verb canning refers to the process of preserving things in jars. Go figure!

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A very quick run down of the process:

– clean and cut up all things you’d like to put inside jars

– at the same time, sterilize jars and lids by boiling them

– make a brine (specific ratio of salt, vinegar, water and depending on recipe)

– put all the living stuff into the jar (I used cucumbers, dill, garlic, chilies and ‘pickling spice’ which is a mixture of peppercorns and coriander, mustard and fennel seeds) and cover with brine

– lightly put lids on jars and ‘process’ which means let them sit in some boiling water

– call it canning!

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warm days, colder nights

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The weather is turning and the idea of soup is re-entering my mind/cravings. In the words of Nigel Slater who I lifted this recipe from, “this is a bowl of soup that both whips and kisses”.

Dal and pumpkin soup

  • a small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • walnut-sized knob of ginger
  • 225 g split red lentils
  • tablespoon ground tumeric
  • tablespoon ground chili
  • 250g squash
  • bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • some greens (arugula, spinach or chard will all word)

Peel the onion and chop it roughly. Peel and crush the garlic and put it with the onion into a medium heavy-based saucepan. Peel the ginger, cut it into thin shreds and stir that in too. Add the lentils and pour in one and a half litres of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to an enthusiastic simmer. Stir in the ground tumeric and chili, season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer, covered, for 20 mins.

While the lentils are cooking, bring a medium-sized pan of water to a boil. Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibre, then cut the flesh into fat, even chunks. Boil the pieces until they are tender enough to take a skewer without much pressure. Drain and set aside.

Remove the lid from the lentils and turn up the heat, boiling hard for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the drained squash. I use a hand blender to blend the whole thing but if you like things chunky/rustic, or are lacking a hand blender, you can use a masher to mash the squash into the lentils. Stir in cilantro and as much greens as you’d like. Also check seasoning at this point, as more may be necessary once squash, herbs and greens are added.

I top mine with some yogurt and eat it with cucumber water. It would be nice with some toasted bread or naan for dipping. I’ve presented the recipe as it is in my Nigel Slater book. I tend to beef up all flavourings and use more garlic, ginger, tumeric and chili than what I’ve listed above.

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new favourite thing

= CLAMS!!!

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Once upon a time I ate clams and got food poisoning and then thought I didn’t like clams. Recently, I was out for dinner with my brother and he ordered clams and I found them entirely delicious. Ever since all I want to eat is clams. The end.

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I made a broth from butter, white wine, some smoked paprika, garlic, chilies and lots of herbs (clockwise from top: tarragon, parsley, mint). We ate them with a roquette salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and some toasted baguette. The best.

death of a salesman

Chris’ last meal is rare steak and tomatoes. He is far from his deathbead but did just lay his job as a guitar salesman to rest so I thought I’d make his fave dinner to celebrate. The photos are bad/blurry because we are having a bit of a heat wave and I get in-the-literal-way-not-in-the-sexy-way hot and bothered by the heat. I wish I had a good pic of everything together because it did look quite lovely and summer-y but I don’t.

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We had a simple tomato salad with my new favorite sweet treat, kumatos. I (hardly) roasted some beef tenderloin, sliced it up and served it with a sauce I’d read about in my trusted copy of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. I love this book. It chronicles an almost day to day account of things Slater eats/makes and includes recipes and lovely photographs. I always read it while I am eating something I wish were more exciting e.g. cornflakes or a plain salad.

The sauce was delicious and went suprisingly well with the beef. The uses for it are pretty limitless – I think it would make a nice dip, a sauce on top of some tofu in a rice bowl or as a spread in a sandwich. In any case:

  • Blend (I used a hand blender) a small handful of mint leaves (approx 25 leaves), a few cloves of garlic, two egg yolks, the juice from 1/2 a lemon and 1 tbsp of grainy mustard until its one uniform fragrant pulp
  • While blending slowly add olive oil until mixture has consistency of a thick cream

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