Dinner Is Served
I've joined Facebook.
I've drank cocktails here and danced in some godawful nightclub along King's Road until 3.30am, then stood around hungover and unwell, for once not enjoying a tall glass of free Hendricks and tonic the following day here. I was bucked up by the friendly crowd and silly antics of the tweedy competitors and then had a far more comforting Sunday, food shopping and having coffee with friends and family, then having a hysterical mental breakdown in a cab, in a traffic jam, only a few metres away from the theatre where we should have been picking up tickets and a cool pre-concert drink five minutes ago. The psychological snap, 'with a sound like a breadstick being broken at a drowsy picnic' was lovingly soothed by Philip Glass and the Smith Quartet and the warm hand of my husband holding mine in the dark.
And I've been cooking.
We had a special guest joining us for dinner last Monday and as cherries are in season, and I've not had much experience in cooking duck, I thought it was time to combine the two in a grown-up, proper menu. So... three duck breasts, a bag of wild samphire, a pound of luscious fresh cherries, a pile of sweet potatoes, three bulbs of fennel, a head of romaine lettuce, Turkish rose water, baklava and fresh fat strawberries were all combined over a laborious but loving 48 hours to create this:
Aperitifs: Organic elderflower cordial with sparkling spring water; wild Norfolk samphire and spicy poppadums
Main course: Seared duck breast with fresh cherry sauce, crisped sweet potato domes, braised fennel and romaine lettuce
Dessert: baklava, rose water strawberries, scented creme fraiche with organic Bath honey, Portuguese coffee
Wine list: sparkling spring water, La Bicyclette French shiraz, 2005
Over the last weekend, I've been doing some more cooking, for the relaxation but also for the experimentation and challenge to myself. Late on Saturday night, I was making vegetable bean burgers so I could comfort my various hangovers with a burger and chips without resorting to any horrendous fast food outlet.
And most of Sunday was spent making the following:
28 samosas using wheat tortilla wraps - the idea is to stick them in my freezer then bake them when I want them. No frying and the tortilla wraps make very pleasantly crisp shells around a moist and tasty lamb, potato and onion filling
3 batches of lentil and spinach curry - plenty of iron, all the B vitamins and vitamin C with little salt or fat, lots of fresh flavours
2 batches of beef rendang - with more fresh ginger than normal so I expect it to be sharper and more interesting than how it normally turns out
steamed nori and minced pork rolls with water chestnuts, steamed brown rice, steamed sliced greens with ginger and a fillet of unidentified fish my mother gave me for my freezer a few weeks ago