Sunday, May 30, 2010

SUMMER SUNDAY LUNCH


This was so simple. I biked to the Peckham Farmers Market, got a cut price £5.00 Grey Mullet, and returned it home like an -albeit urban- hunter gatherer. Sandwiched between slices of lemon, stuffed with a bunch of dill, salted and oiled, it was wrapped in foil and placed on the bbq for about 20 minutes.

And the potato salad was made with a lot of garden spoils. I made a dressing by wizzing up mustard greens (peppery), basil, mizuna and garlic tops with lemon juice and olive oil. As we are off on holiday for 10 days, I harvested all the chive tops too and scattered them on top.

Now for the Eastenders Omnibus. xxx

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES...

I love my kitchen. So much so, it makes me emotional.
I've had a lovely time in it this afternoon. I tested a warm chorizo and cherry tomato recipe that's been playing on my mind.
And then I thought I'd go the whole hog and test my new favourite bread with Linseeds, Sunflower seeds and Nigella Seeds.

Now all i have to do is watch Luther and merrily munch my way through it.

YELLOW TOMATOES IN A SALAD WITH ORZO


There's a glut of beautiful tiny plum tomatoes in Brixton Market at the moment. Crushed, they make an excellent and very sweet Panzanella. And today it got more interesting. Now there's scented yellow ones. Here's what Steph and I made: (it's very simple)

Halved baby yellow tomatoes, a finely sliced red onion, a handful of salty black olives, and a massive wide leafed bunch of parsley, roughly chopped, some orzo pasta cooked in stock, and some toasted pine nuts. Dress with lots of nice olive oil and some italian white wine vinegar.



The salad is sweet with all sorts of tangy bits too, and it's wet because the tomatoes are so ripe. The weather's set to be good on Sunday, so surely this is the new pasta salad of choice? It makes for a sunny bowl. And next time I'm going to add a few anchovy fillets too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SUNDAY AT THE HORNIMAN, getting a tan

Saturday night was a serious affair up in Dalston at Greco-Roman. It was at the Shacklewell Arms, which is a brilliant pub with a pumping back room, and a laid back front bar. We danced, ate jerk chicken and drank far too much. So Sunday was the perfect antidote: friends, sunshine, and a tip top picnic in the Horniman Gardens. This spot is one of my favourites in London. The garden is beautifully designed and dripping with flowers at the moment: unusual black cow parsely and perfect bleeding hearts. And the view of London from here is second to none.

I made a thai chicken salad which had loads of red onions, carrot, crushed peanuts, poached chicken, chilies, lime and thai basil. It's a really easy salad and something I always fall back on.

Sarah made the most delicious slaw with poppy seeds which I'm definitely going to steal! It looked beautiful, spotted with these dark seeds. We've done loads of cooking together, in France and England, and our teaming up always works a treat. Alice arrived with even more spoils, and gossip too (gossip and hangovers are the best).

These are the days that make me feel happiest. When I was little, I imagined my grown up life. I imagined being with friends, laughing loads, eating delicious food and watching the sun go down over London. And I've got it. Thank god. We even managed to play some music out of Raf's phone like offensive teenagers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DELIGHTFUL DEPTFORD

The spoils of the day. China, pork pies, tinned figs, nasturtiums and you can just peek the incredible plastic deck chair that I know is going to be fought over on every sunny day!

I've been meaning to go to Deptford Market for a few weeks now, after my friend Charlie came by with tales of 40's guitars, 80's channel and naughties bleach. It was a hoot from start to finish. Steph and I arrived at 9am and rocked the place. Bar a few miserly stall holders we found some serious spoils and chatted to lots of funny men.

Every desire was satisfied: we ate delicious indian cake and had fresh juice sitting in the blinding morning sunlight; bought cut glass, and cut price old china for affogato at Rosie's; stumbled upon the Deptford Project and had a nice coffee served by a dishy and shambolic looking boy-man; went to a classic old school butcher for a perfect pork pie; and even bought a deck chair from underneath a rather scary looking dog called Alfie. Get yourself down there for anything from cheap lighters to G plan furniture, tinned figs to Russian Tarragon. And laugh all the way. Now I'm ready to have another the crack at my turkish delights. I feel like I've been on holiday.
Carrot, Orange and Pineapple juice, with Steph's new Lamp. The Deptford Project, which not only has lovely staff but a sun trap garden, good looking food, and is in an old and beautifully designed train carriage.

We slammed on the breaks when we found Wellbeloved the butchers. I've just hoofed a pork pie from them that hit the spot - perfect jelly, nice meat and a firm pastry.

And there was a lot we held back on. We could have bought a beautiful old Singer sewing machine for just £3, a slimming Brigette Jones pair of knickers, and a lot of tinned sardines. The world is your oyster down here. Just keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the ride.

Monday, May 17, 2010

GARDENING PROGRESS


I've finally been able to thin some of my seeds. Progress is very exciting. And it's also a learning curve. I was recently chided for being a "half job jones" (what ever that means!) so I'm keen to show that things can reach completion in my hands. In honour of this self improvement we bought some roof drains over the weekend so that I could think the leaves that I planted a while back. And very exciting it has been too. The mustard leaves and spicey salad mix have grown the fastest so they have been awarded prime seats in the yard, in the new gutter. They are set to flourish, and if they don't I'll be having serious words.


And look! My dwarf yellow beans are beginning to show signs of obedience too. I love having them on the window sill of my office, so every day I closely watch their growth while I tap away. Sometimes I even think I can see them growing before my eyes. What japes.

YOU CAN'T BEAT A BUTTY

After a triumphant Saturday Curry session with all my mates (onion bhaji, dhal, chicken with black cardamom, lime rice, walnut mint chutney) we cleaned the house and headed off to Kent. I've been meaning to stop off at the Blackheath Tea Hut for yonks. And it didn't disappoint: we had bacon and egg butties and tea (out of polystyrene, which really improves the flavour). I recommend it. The service was perfect and the lady behind the counter was having a good old Sunday morning hum/dance to 'Do The Locomotion'. If you have to drive out of London, through Blackheath, make sure you stop here. They even have a rather too friendly finch that will stay and chat to you while you eat your bap. Back in the car, we turned up the Noonday Underground, and headed off. Pretty good stuff all in all.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WHEN IT SEEMS THERE'S NOTHING IN THE FRIDGE...

This happens to me a lot. It seems like there's nothing in the fridge. A too soft aubergine; some unloved spring greens; you know how it goes. But limitations make for the best creations. I ended up doing a sort of Asian thing, which is often where I end up leaning. If you've got the store cupboard essentials - soy, honey, and some ginger and garlic, you should be just fine! Here's what I ended up having, with all the Sunday night TV to sooth and rest me for the week ahead:



1 mug sticky rice
1 lemon grass stick

1 aubergine
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 whole spring greens
2 handfuls of green beans
3 garlic cloves
1 dried chilli
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce


Place the rice in a medium pan. Using the same mug, measure 1 ½ mugs of water and add to the rice. Roughly chop the lemon grass into a few chunks and add to the mix. Place on a high heat until it reaches the boil, and then turn the heat to low until nearly all the water has been absorbed. Then fit a lid, turn the heat off, and let it sit while you prepare the rest.

Slice the aubergine in half and then slice into finger width pieces. Salt the pieces in a colander and set aside to draw out excess moisture for about 20 minutes. Rinse under a running tap to rid of salt.

Shred the greens and blanch, along with the beans. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok until it is seriously quivering. Add the aubergines, and fry until they are browning. You will probably need to open a window, as this gets smoky. Finely slice the garlic and chilli and also add, quickly adding the greens and beans before anything burns. Turn the heat down if necessary. Mix together the honey, soy and fish sauce. A jar is good for this. Pour over your vegetables, and simmer for a few minutes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A SUPPER FOR GLUTONS

On Friday we went out to Corsica Studios for the launch of Girls Music and didn't get home til 7am. We had a brilliant night out, with all our mates, but Saturday as a result was a right-off.. except for this little triumph:

Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Hollandaise.


I love Hollandaise sauce, and have been known to polish off a whole ramekin in one sitting. Disgusting, when you think of how much butter is in each serving, and yet it is so unctuous and tart and decadent I just can't help myself. My Mum used to make it at Christmas to go with poached salmon and so it also brings back comforting memories of darkly lit rooms and treats.

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

170g melted butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
3 egg yolks
a pinch of salt

Melt your butter so that it is bubbling and set aside. Heat the lemon juice, vinegar and bay leaf in a small pan for a few minutes so that it is also bubbling and then take off of the heat and remove the bay leaf. Beat the egg yolks thoroughly with the salt in a large bowl. Now gradually add the vinegar, beating all the time. Finally add the melted butter, a trickle at a time until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

Enjoy your treat. It's the perfect antidote to a night out.