I’ve been trying to capitalise on the success of last week and have made a concerted effort to cook every night.
A high point this week was my attempt to recreate Neil Rankin’s
green chilli poussin. He kindly told me the ingredients that I needed and somehow I managed to get it pretty damn close to the original.
If you can’t be bothered to make it, go to The John Salt in Islington
and get Neil to make it for you. While you’re there, make sure you get the red flannel hash as well – beetroot, goat’s cheese, roast potatoes and a crispy breadcrumbed egg. Really good. Oh, and the raw beef, pear and sesame. Etc etc.
I went fish heavy this week. I made sea bream with ginger, chilli, spring onions, soy and a dash of sesame oil. I loved this and it was incredibly quick and easy.
I also made haddock with salsa verde. I made the salsa verde according to Nigel Slater’s recipe in the Guardian
which was good, but I think next time I would blend half of it first to really get the flavours going and then add back in a bit of chunkiness. It just didn’t quite come together enough for me although, having said that, I had the leftovers the following day and it was better.
My friend Jordi
and I went to the ballet at the Royal Opera House on Saturday, but before that we went for brunch at Balthazar
. Balthazar opened a couple of months ago and, in the main, has had pretty terrible reviews. Jordi and I sat at the bar which was lovely; the barmen were friendly and attentive without being irritating. I had a mimosa and brioche french toast with bacon and it was good. It’s not fine dining but I don’t think it’s trying to be. While I probably wouldn’t rush there for dinner, it’s ideal for brunch or lunch. Plus, the (very good) bread is free.
That evening, we had a party at Shed’s house. Vegetarians – look away now. Shed had got her hands on a tiny French piglet which was pretty darn exciting. She cooked it slowly for around 6 hours and then wrapped him up in foil and a bath towel to rest. The result was the softest, tenderest, most amazing pork I think I’ve ever eaten. He’s not very pretty and you don’t get any crackling (his skin is too thin to crackle up) but he was very special.
On Sunday I was feeling a little delicate after very little sleep (I’m getting old and rubbish at drinking) so I just roasted a couple of chicken pieces with some lemon, garlic and basil and served with fried gnocchi. I’m not sure what I thought about the fried gnocchi, truth be told, although they were very quick and easy.
Finally, I made Jamie Oliver’s Indian carrot salad last night. It’s a while since I’ve made this and I’d forgotten just how good it is. I made it with minced beef because that’s what I had in the freezer and, while it suffered a little for not being deliciously fatty lamb, it wasn’t a deal-breaker at all. This needs to go back into my regular repertoire of meals.
Something that I’ve noticed this week is that my appetite is waning a little. I’m not finishing everything that I’ve cooked, for instance I ate only half of the potatoes that went with my haddock, I didn’t finish the gnocchi or its accompanying chicken and my portions of fish were smaller than I normally eat. I find it so hard to leave food on my plate – it just feels so WRONG, but I’m trying to do it more and more when I genuinely stop being hungry before I’ve finished my food. I’m also trying to curb my late night cravings for something sweet – this is easier said than done although I’m getting there…slowly.
And it’s working…2lbs off this week and I don’t feel like I’ve been dieting at all.