Sunday, 24 July 2011

Some Disparate Pictures

Since I first decided I wanted to start the blog, I started taking pictures of the food I was eating or making when I remembered. Most of them are not very good pictures and do not make the food look very appetising. Also since the genesis took such a long time, I’ve since forgotten the details of the meals and won’t be able to describe anything adequately. And the photos certainly won’t.  But I wanted to mention a few of these things so the photos don’t go to waste.

Mexican Night
My friends had already created a culture of eating together because it’s cheaper and easier to cook for big groups and also just more fun. But then one of them decided to step it up a notch which led to Noche Mexicana. We had decorations and a piƱata and lots of tequila.

The meal was a bog standard chilli con carne (with pinto bean chilli for the vegetarians) with guacamole (just the right kick of lemon, mm) and the night captured exactly how I think a good dinner party should be: simple food, well executed with good chatter and terrible alcohol free flowing.

Italian Night
What was notable about Italian night was that I was not ‘head chef’ and was actually doing another’s bitch work for them. Usually, I take the role of queen which lets me take all the credit, delegate things I don’t want to do and shirk the washing up. But on Italian night all of that changed – I was the house elf.

The menu was tomato and basil bruschetta followed by meatballs (or vegetable ragout for the vegetarians) and tiramisu. The bruschetta was the standout course. I initially thought I wanted to opt out of the starter since I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it very much. I was so wrong. The tomatoes had a lovely acidity to them but they were balanced with enough sweet basil to make it pleasant and cooling rather than eye-watering. To make enough for 8 people I think we used four cloves of garlic, twelve tomatoes (maybe?), half a Tesco bag of basil, some quantity of olive oil (quite I lot I think) and two loafs of ciabatta sliced and rubbed with garlic and fried. I think. Also we played Mafia after dinner. Lotsa fun.

Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Lamb
One of the first recipes I ever tried from a food blog. I’ve cooked it three times (because the molasses bottle I bought yielded enough for three attempts.) The first time, I didn’t add enough water and the onions weren’t so much caramelised and burnt to a crisp. I did some rice cooked with turmeric and cauliflower to go with it. Underseasoned. Classic Ari.

The second time I cooked it I thought it would be a good idea to add a can of chopped tomatoes and a little less of the molasses. This was a mistake. The sauce was the tartest thing. It almost gave me a headache. The accompanying lentils and rice were OK but all I can remember from the meal was the feeling of my eyes rolling back in my head with sour. Although this was definitely the worst attempt, it was the only attempt I photographed.

Third time lucky: enough water, enough salt and abandoning the turmeric-rice concoctions of the previous times (although they weren’t so bad, just sort of bland). I served it with cous cous embellished with peppers, onion, garlic and chilli.

Another Lamb, this time in Cornwall
Roast lamb, dauphinoise potatoes, skin on squash with chilli flakes and the best carrots I’ve ever eaten (jealous that I can’t take credit for them)

The lesson to be learnt from this meal is DON’T put the burnt onions that you discarded from the lamb pan in the gravy, however much you hate waste.

1 comment:

  1. Aw! Everyone's dressed up!!! That is so cool!!!
    I was day would you like to do a Russian night together?... I tried a recipe for a really puffy warm-morsels-of-delight blini, smothered in salty smoked salmon and dollops of lumpfish, and loved it so much... :-) :-)