Wednesday 27 February 2013

Accidentally Meat Free Monday

Last night I finally managed to drag myself through in through my front door at about 9.30pm following a long day at work, an unexpectedly failed MOT, a faraway rehearsal and an extremely cold trainschlep back, only to be greeted by starving cats, cold water, a broken shower and a depressing pile of washing up...
I made this* to cheer/warm myself up - mapo tofu, vegetarian stylee - broadly based on a recipe by Fuschia Dunlop that I vaguely remember reading somewhere on the interwebs...
I ate it with salad, due to it being both easy and available.

*In case you were worried, I obviously fed the starving cats first. I didn't wash up, though...
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday 24 February 2013

Fried Things, Shopping and Duck

Last night we ate Ottolenghi style tahini fried cauliflower, beetroot with za'atar, giant couscous and some frivolously deep fried fish...

And I made an emergency late night coffee cake (these emergencies seem to come up more often during husband's booze free month - mysterious...)

And sat on the sofa with a cat.

Today I bought these (about which I am *extremely* excited). I have a few husband- free evenings next week to test them out in - watch this space...

And, for our tea, we ate roasted duck legs, stirfried garlicky cabbages and, in an unexpected twist of freezer-clearing fate, oven chips.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday 18 February 2013

Weekend Eatings

On Friday we went to the opera (Medea at ENO - you should all go while you can - best production of any kind that I've seen for a very long time) and ate a Byron Burger.
Both were good, which was fortunate, as husband is Off The Booze at the moment and is finding going out to be both difficult and grump-inducing - a less delicious burger or less compelling show would have rendered him inconsolable without wine, I think.

We also discovered root beer, thanks to the booze-ban. Personally, I thought it tasted like Listerine (and not in a good way), but husband seemed inexplicably to quite like it!

On Saturday evening, we braved the wasteland that is South London, to (finally) make a pilgrimage to the awesome supperclub that is Fed By Tang (run by Cherry and her sous chef husband, Mr Fishbiscuits) for a Chinese New Year extravaganza.

We ate a million twelve courses, all of which were utterly delicious. Cherry's supperclubs sell out fast, but you should definitely try to get to one if you can, as they (and she) are utterly splendid!

Pretty place settings


Noodle starter - for a long life

Turnip cake and chilli sauce (this was one of my favourites)

Porky dumplings - for wealth

Razor clams

Steamed sea bass - the word for 'fish' sounds like the word for 'leftovers' or 'surplus', so it symbolises having enough food in the coming year

Prawns with salted egg yolk - delicious

Duck and pork

Chicken with ginger and spring onion sauce

Veggies, tofu skin and Chinese mushrooms

Chinese sticky cake - sounds like 'high' and 'year' - good for prosperity in the coming year

Purple sweet potato cakes - these tasted like a sweet version of potato scones

Sticky rice balls stuffed with black sesame - for reunion - traditionally eaten on 15th Jan, but still delicious a day later :)

The Food of Love...

In a pretty unromantic take on Feb 14th, we ate lamb chops and oven chips last night.
They were delicious, despite an unanticipated home-wide mint sauce deficit...

I rarely get to eat chips and have oven chips even less frequently... They were actually pretty good.

On a slightly Valentinier note, I saw this a little while ago and couldn't stop myself from buying it for husband...

Amazing, no? It's made of chocolate, filled with salted caramel. If you fancy one (or something similarly weird and delightful) you should go and visit the Etsy shop of Miss Cakehead, who has all kinds of great stuff.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Buns and Giving Up...

There is absolutely no way you can have failed to notice that yesterday was Pancake Day.
Everyone in the World (or, at the very least, on the Internet) seems to be telling us how to make, fill and eat pancakes...
Given that you all already know all these things as well as I do, quite likely better, I'm not going to tell you anything else, other than that I ate far too many of them last night, that I regret not eating them more often and that they are delicious.
Instead, I'm going to tell you that I've been honouring pancake day, or, if you don't want to play pancakes, mardi gras by making tasty semla (or semlor - there seems to be some disagreement) which are the cardamommy, almondy cream buns that Swedish people like to eat to use up their illegal eggs, milk and flour before Lent.

Don't they look nice (despite office iPhone photos)?

In a *wee* break with tradition, I'm going to take them to work tomorrow, as I've been at college today, where there are far fewer people to force feed baked goods to.

As usual, post pancakes this year, I shall be trying to give up some (very mundane and usual) things for Lent.

Please all shout encouraging/nagging heckles from the gallery if I seem to be slipping:

1. Chocolate
2. Sweets
3. Cake
4. Biscuits (sweet and savoury)
5. Nuts (ok if *in* things, but not as a main ingredient) - both salty and non salty - this includes peanut butter
6. Diet Coke (this is the big one, obviously)
7. Booze - kind of. Husband has given up booze for a month (almost, but not entirely, coinciding with Lent) and so I mostly have too, due to a mixture of solidarity and the desire to keep things simple.*

And, as always, I shall try to be a Better Person and do a Good Deed every day.

Send me (and, in the case of the decaffeination, those around me) good willpower thoughts :)

* There are a few agreed-in-advance exceptions to these, where I'm already booked in to do something where the given up items may be absolutely unavoidable. Not many, though - maybe even only one...

Sunday 10 February 2013

Disappointment and Small Awesomeness

We keep getting disappointing tomatoes in our veg boxes - not terribly surprising, given that it's the winter.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only way to deal with a disappointing tomato is to roast it and make it into a sauce (with lots of garlic, chilli and red pepper), so today that's what we did.

Husband and friend had theirs with pasta and I had mine with courgettes and grated cheese...

Far more exciting, though, were my extremely awesome advance preparation skills.

I made bento lunches for me and for husband (mine is the silver and his is the double layer black).
Chicken karaage, various fun veggie things and rice for husband.

Good, no?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 9 February 2013

Saturday Katsu

We bought a big chicken.

Husband hacked it (very prettily) into eight lovely pieces and I pankoed up a couple of them and made us katsu curry...

I love katsu curry.

I'm editing this now, after the event, lest anyone wants to know how I made it.
It was very very easy:

First I made the sauce - I sweated a chopped onion, some whole garlic cloves and a diced kohlrabi (I guess pretty much any veg are fair game here - I think it usually has carrots and things) in some groundnut oil in a little saucepan with a lid on it for about ten minutes.

I then stirred in some (probably two or three tablespoons - I just dolloped it in) flour and a good dash of curry powder (generic - just whatever I had in the cupboard) and cooked over medium heat for another minute or two.

I chucked in some chicken stock (a bit at a time, so as not to be lumpy) and brought the whole lot to the boil before adding some soy sauce and honey to taste and simmering for ten mins or so to thicken a bit. Obviuosly more flour/less liquid would have made a thicker sauce and other tasty veg and spices would probably also be nice, but mine was a pretty convincing katsu curry sauce flavour.

I chopped a big chicken breast into chunks, which I dipped in seasoned flour, beaten egg and finally panko breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil in a wok-type pan.
I did it in a centimetre of so of oil, but deep frying might work better if one can be bothered.

Then it was just a matter of assembling and liberally dousing with Bulldog sauce (which is pleasingly similar to a fruity version of the Edinburgh chipshop 'sauce' which anyone who has ever lived there surely yearns for in the same way that I do) and hey presto - chicken katsu curry :)

The broccoli is optional - rice is probably more of a conventional option. Husband had both...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday 8 February 2013

The Straw Mushrooms of Happiness

With a bit of chilli, black fungus and fermented tofu stuff...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone