Sunday, January 23, 2011

Buttered Up Omegas

Hello my munchie-loving beauties, I have been a very lazy little blogger this past week. I had two deadlines for Friday, so blogging was a luxury that I couldn't afford, I'm afraid. And even if I had been blogging it would have been thoroughly uninteresting, as my life was conducted mostly through the medium of beans on toast for the week, since I didn't have time to dedicate to even thinking about cooking nice things. BOO. Anyhow - deadlines have been met, breath has been drawn, and I'm very happy to be typing away as I tell you of my culinary comings and goings.

My most exciting culinary 'going' was the wonderful Loaves and Fishes supper club that I was at on Friday night, which was hosted by the lovely Lily Higgins, with a little help from her sisters. I decided against taking pics and blogging about it on its own, as I thought that Lily would probably be doing that herself and it would feel a little like stealing to do so! It was such a lovely night, all the elements for the perfect dining out experience were there in force. The reasons I stopped wanting to go out for dinner in restaurants a good while ago were many, but mostly: the generally obnoxious service in Dublin restaurants, the not actually always particularly tasty food, the lame décor, and after all of that having to fork out for such an unsatisfactory experience. Well, the venue was fab, Lily's sisters were most charming, friendly waitresses, and the food was truly delicious. All well worth €40 and much nicer than 90% of the dining experiences I have had in restaurants in the past. If you ever get the chance to go to one you really must go for it.

Back to my own adventures in eatingness. This whole bargain bookshop epidemic that is sweeping the city is doing my cookbook addiction no favours. None at all. If I allow myself to get sucked into one then I'm gone, gone I tells ya, there's about a 99% chance that I will remerge with a cookbook in my greedy paws, manic grin on my face, jabbering about all the amazing recipes that I couldn't live without. My latest fix is one called Cook In Boots, and it boasts the type of marketing that I usually rant and rave about with extreme narkiness, the sort of product that is packaged and pitched patronisingly with the female shopper in mind. It's full of lame chapter titles - "Hard-Up food: for when you've spent all your lolly on Louboutins"; "Skinny food: For when you feel the pinch of the Chloe jeans"; "Fork me, spoon me: the food of love and rude food". I mean, SPARE me - the average mid twenties to mid-forties woman is not a cosmopolitan-swilling, Sex and The City-watching nincompoop who will buy anything once it comes in a pretty package that offers, on some level, the promise of a more glamorous life. So why did I buy it? The reason one should always buy a cookbook, of course: the recipes are inviting and  accessible, and it's well written. So, even though Ravinder Bhogal rather irritatingly likes to make much of the fact that she cooks in high heels, I will form my opinion of her on the basis of her prowess as a writer of recipes, and I am happy to say that I find her to be a most gifted lady in that respect.

I have picked out tons that I want to cook from the book, so rather than approach experimenting in my usual faffy manner, I thought that I would choose some recipes to try out this week, mainly lunch food. In fact, such was my dullness on the food front last week that I really relished a lovely sit-down with this book and my Donna Hay mag as I wrote my grocery list yesterday afternoon. Don't get me wrong - I am very definitely not one of those nutty types who makes a Plan (note use of capital letter, indicates reverence with which it is followed) for every single meal for the week and conducts a schedule with military precision. That would be in direct opposition to my true nature, so much so that were I to attempt such a Plan I would probably rebel against myself and decide to screw with the Plan and cook something new right in the middle of being diligent and obeying the Plan (it's hard being a Gemini and having a million personalities, it really is). I am far more realistic, and have chosen a few things that I know will suit me nicely at any stage this week, and one of these is smoked mackerel toasties, a pleasing juxtaposition of virtuous omegas and pure bould buttery white toast. How well I know myself that I was able to tell yesterday that this is what I would love for lunch today! Pat on the back for me!

Erm, so, at first glance you wouldn't know that this smoked mackerel is actually an incredibly delicious piece of protein. I think you'll have to take my word for it on this occasion. It's not the most photogenic of fish, is it?!

It is a considerably more appealing sight when it is flaked and dressed up a little with creme fraiche, horseradish and lemon juice, seasoned to taste. Now Ravinder says to add watercress, but I opted for torn-up spinach. You know the way that Ray D'Arcy is fond of saying that there's nothing that doesn't taste better with an egg on top? I'd be that way with spinach, I find it so delicious and bright and cheering and virtuous.

Better get this book covered in food pronto, before it gets picked on by the other cookbooks for being a way-too-clean goody twoshoes book.

Oh the boldness, buttery white toast lying in wait to pounce and defile the virtuous fish n veggie combo.

Sizzle, my pretties, sizzle!

I honestly was not prepared for how very delicious this was going to be. Go get yourself omega-ed up, I urge you.

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