Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A very desultory and lacklustre gastro-weekend

I would like to regale you with tales of the fabulous gastronomic feasts I cooked up with verve, vim and enthusiasm at the weekend, but you know what - it was raining. And I lost all desire to do anything brilliant. And I wanted to read trash American detective fiction (J D Robb is candy for the brain - I am officially addicted). Friday we'd eaten at A Torre in Crystal Palace - Portuguese, heartwarming, family restaurant - undemanding (um - I had some delicious clams and then a kind of seafood paella, MCD had something I forget and then their fabulous steak thing, which is layers of bread, cheese, ham and steak in this kind of spicy sauce, which is just wonderful for colds and hangovers. Unfortunately he had neither and the restaurant was boiling, so he sweated a lot) and just what the doctor ordered. Did my shopping on Saturday morning and bought a nice roast chicken - I was thinking roast on Sunday evening. But then my brain kind of gave up.

So Saturday night we had (can I just admit at this point that this extreme laziness was brought on by Saturday afternoon drinking and a margarita when we got home - no apologies, hey, I pulled it together!) lamb burgers, spiced up with a little sumac, stuffed into bread rolls with a chunky-in-the-extreme cucumber and mint raita and tomatoes and some oven chips. Rooster, just to experiment - still not a patch on Harry Ramsden's - where have they gone?

Sunday was indeed roast chicken, brushed with goose fat as per new MO - still brilliant - with smashed garlicky potatoes and a half-ton of salad wilting under the lemony, parsley, winey pan juices.

It's the chicken leftovers that are really making me think though. Last night - to comfort myself through my fill of Gene Hunt for the year (ye Gods, how will I cope), I pulled off the wings, coated them in honey and grain mustard and put them in the oven till sizzling. I made a slightly lumpy blue cheese/creme fraiche dressing, diced up some fennel and tossed them with yet more leftover sodding salad. It was a soul booster.

Tonight, I'm thinking I might devil the legs - mix mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, slash the legs and then bake them again till sizzling. To add even more piquancy, MCD might have pulled up the first of the potatoes (now that is exciting), in which case they'll also be bunged in the oven with some rosemary (alas neither of us are that keen on boiled potatoes). And there's salad. Yeah!

PS - The cavolo nero is starting to look like real cavolo nero. Like an excited puppy, MCD wants to pull it all up now (I think the amount of green stuff is starting to scare him very slightly) but I have shown him photos of what we are looking for, and does he really want more greens to tackle. To be fair, he is eating some of the salad. But you can't hide it. Believe me, you can't.

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