March, 2011

Mar 11

A simple sandwich


There are few foods as glorious as a bacon sandwich, few things as perfect in their simplicity that deliver on flavour in such huge swathes. I write this, of course, having realised I have no bread, no butter and no bacon in the house and my local butcher is, as most are, shut on a Sunday.

That combination of soft, pillow-like white bread, bacon thick enough that it needs a decent chomp to get through with fat crisped so it snaps, a generous layer of butter (for there are no health corners to be cut with this) spread thickly onto each slice of bread and then a good splurt from the ketchup bottle.

Leave the molecular gastronomy to Heston, to Ferran and to Thomas Keller. Give me a bacon sandwich any day of the week.

Mar 11

Vegetables and chocolate


Funny old cooking time of late. I’ve been surrendering to my sweet tooth. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a sucker for a pudding and for anything chocolate-based, from a Cadbury’s fudge to an Akesson’s single plantation Madagscan chocolate bar.

At the same time though, I’ve been rather virtuous, subsisting on a diet at home that is mainly vegetable based, with the odd Friday night feast of something naughty like Buffalo wings. It’s been dhal, salads (on the sunnier days), curries, soup. I’m not quite sure what’s been going on.

Oh yes, and the brownies. Yes the brownies. I keep them hidden in the freezer, ready cut, and eat them straight from there, slightly chewier and with a delicious, cool, snap.

Perhaps it’s the changing seasons – my body is gearing up for the warmer months. Mind you, I’d eat chocolate on the hottest and coldest days of the year, no problem.

I even woke up in the middle of the night the other day and snapped a few pieces of the bar(s!) I keep stashed away for a rainy day. Still, I ate my salad on the balcony in the sun the next day – getting my Vitamin D fix while I chomp through my other vitamins.

Mar 11

Summery ceviche


As you’re all no doubt aware, I get a little excited when the sun starts to come out a bit more regularly.
My cooking changes. Out go the braises, even if the temperature dictates. They will, of course, be back as soon as I go out for a while and remember quite how cold it is.

But for now – light salads paired with good sourdough, a Thai-style mackerel dish, poached fruit with natural yogurt and one of my new favourites – ceviche.

The technique of ‘cooking’ fish is believed to come from South or Central America. It’s one of those lovely ideas lost in the mists of time. Peru is one spot cited most often. It’s lip-smackingly fresh, sharp from limes, fiery from chillies and ultra-healthy.

There are few dishes you’ll eat and feel so virtuous afterwards. There are plenty of variations you can make at home – changing the fish, the herbs, the citrus – but one golden rule – buy the freshest fish you can from a fishmonger!

Click here for my recipe for sea bass ceviche

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