Monday, 25 July 2016

How things taste

When I was lying in bed feeling like I'd already died a couple of months ago, my publisher friend curated me a 'playlist' of books that I'd enjoy. She'd carefully ordered it to balance heartwarming with cutting satire and the first on the list was Tuesday Nights in 1980. The author captures a dynamic / person pitch perfectly by describing what they taste like (hard to explain - read it). So with Molly Prentiss fresh on my mind, I thought I'd do the reverse: describing the taste of food with the feelings.

B Street Deli's jacket potato followed by afters of cheese and grapes four weeks later: change, bravery, excitement, and finally doing something constructive with all those middle class 'the world is a shit place' feels you feel.

The shepherd's pie at the Skylight Cafe: doing something for yourself, not being flitty, attempting to make your grandmother proud, and trying to make something of your ideas / yourself because you can see a future.

The roasted summer vegetables (aubergines, red onion, peppers) with a summery dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, chickpeas, coriander, sultanas, walnuts) on cous cous that you can finally not-drown (Ottolenghi) tastes of calm, fulfilment, lightness, and finally feeling whole enough that you don't need to explain yourself online anymore. Oh, and being able to cook, obv.

That's all, folks xxx

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Recipe - Lots of Vegetables and Beans in a Stew

Something of a confession to make: the fog hadn't really lifted. I thought it had but I spoke too soon and maybe in my head was thinking I'm definitely still gonna die before the year is out even if it's a time when no one is expecting it. (Yeah that feels very mental to write down now.) Anyway, luckily the meds *actually* kicked in I think sometime in Amsterdam while having a very mind bendy 'what is hair / what is time / what is gender / maybe this is all in my mind' time. Anyway, whichever drug it was, it worked! I remember in January / February at some point describing everything as feeling very colourful. When there are some positive effects that go with being quite clever and very sad, it is easy to pretend to yourself that makes it ok. Yeah, probably the good things aren't as 'vivid and acute' now but they're still pretty fuckin bright. Opposite of depressed happiness is wading through  a desert and filling up on sweet nectar on your hands and knees straight from the oasis. Now, it's having running water in your house. Less exciting to drink from a glass but at least you know there will always be water. Hey, I'm pretty pleased with that metaphor! Anyway, for my diet, the side effect is not either eating gross junk food because IRDGAF but still eating. Look!
Ok so for this, two sliced onions, four cloves of garlic and two red chillies fried in olive oil until translucent. Add two courgettes, three peppers, two aubergines chopped into chunky pieces and around 300g cherry tomatoes halved. Turn up the heat, add two bay leaves, a tsp of dried thyme, a tbsp of dried oregano , a tbsp of tomato purée and 250ml wine. After about 3 mins, add a can of drained cannellini beans and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add a large handful of parsley and coriander, finely chopped at the end.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Review - De Aarige Pars, Kantjil & De Tijgre, Foodware

With the return of my appetite came a real craving for salty, meaty fast food. Not really clear to me whether I’ve been eating like there is no tomorrow because I haven't *really* accepted that there will be a tomorrow and therefore IDGAF about things such as the environmental impact of eating meat, my health or my weight. A more charitable view of eating meals such as two potato waffles with vanilla ice cream is that I'm uncomplicated about food. I guess it's the kind of thing you don't appreciate if you have but would miss if it was gone. The only type of food shame I get is the ‘is this how an adult really feeds themselves?’ kind, and even then not strongly enough to avoid buying things as spaghetti hoops and Viennese whirls every time I'm in the shops. Anyway, my pre-holiday diet included: a fillet o fish, 12 chicken nuggets, a 2l tub of vanilla ice cream, eight potato waffles, 12 Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages (vain attempt at getting my avoid meat in week rule to kick in), an Indian takeaway (inc meat), KFC, a Morley’s inc weird coleslaw of mysterious origin, two unexpected BBQs and four chocolate bars (haven't bought a chocolate bar since 2014 maybe).

Thinking about it, my holiday diet was much healthier. Very cheap and informal Persian food from De Aarige Pers including an aubergine thing which beat that of Silk Road. Incredibly well planned / timed Indonesian rijsttafel from Kantjil & De Tijgre.
Vibrantly coloured and incredibly flavoured dishes served in neatly designed Foodware by a man I briefly thought I might try and seduce / move in with in the hour before heading to the airport. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Review - Asian Takeaway, Le Garrick

While I recognise that it's far more likely that the pills have kicked in than Glastonbury has cured all my ills, the coincidence has helped to romanticise. It is really great to not cancel plans constantly and waste many hours staring listlessly unable to read and do basic chores like laundry. It is really, really relieving to not constantly think about ineffectual ways of dying triggered by eg open windows (would just break some bones) and walking by canals (I'm not that bad at swimming). Probably most relieving is for the first time in maybe two years not constantly obsessing about whatever thing I've assumed has been making me unhappy (not having a job, boyfriend A, obsessive rebound, job, boyfriend B, having no direction) when the biggest contributing factor has most likely been a chemical imbalance. And I can eat again! While it's been some consolation being the most thin I've been as an adult, it is much better having the desire and energy to eat again, particularly since I was taken out for a birthday steak. Look at the onion soup!
Le Garrick
Second best steak I've had, second best creme brulee, second best onion soup. Very atmospheric, really sweet but not over the top service. Much tastier and better value than Hawksmoor (where birthday tradition began), frankly. 

Asian Takeaway
Appetite sustained itself all through the week! I finally managed to find the hole in the wall where Asian Takeway in Peckham lives. Not quite Curry 2000, but willing to give it another go and get a wrap.