Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Sunny - Outside and In

When the weather's gloomy as all hell we all need a touch of sunshine. Check out Island Fusion in Crystal Palace for a bask in the warm rays of Caribbean hospitality. And a glorious sunset painted along the back wall for extra good-mood vibes. Four of us has a starter platter with jerk wings, ackee fritters, grilled plantain, callaloo and dipping sauces; then curried lobster, a deeply savoury oxtail with rice and peas, jerk pork and chicken, bammy (cassava crumbed and fried) - a feast and a spicy, savoury kick up summer's backside.

Saturday was pizza night - we'll gloss. I made the dough to prove in the breadmaker - (did it in my old breadmaker before and it worked a treat). Came out curiously half-cooked, so we leapt into action and kneaded together another load of dough to prove for an hour, before rolling it out and leaving it to prove for another 30-45 mins. The tomato sauce was simple - garlic, basil and our own cherry tomatoes cooked down with olive oil and left chunky (laziness rather than purity winning the upper hand there). My favourite topping combination at the moment is aubergines, cubed and roasted in olive oil with oregano, then adding them to the pizza and topping with fresh chilli. Bake it off, then top with cold ricotta and fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

And Sunday saw a Portuguese steak sandwich: marinade the steak in bay leaf, oregano, a couple of tbsp red wine, olive oil, crushed dried chilli flakes, onion and garlic for a couple of hours. Drain the marinade and reduce to a tough, punchy little sauce. Griddle the steaks and slap in split and toasted ciabatta with rocket and the sauce dribbled over... Add potato wedges and it's a feast for a sultry Sunday night in the garden with a South American red...

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