Mostly Concerning Food
An unpromising fish restaurant in Derby served up this fish platter for one. The side salad is a little lost and wouldn’t impress many a restraunter, but the fried fish was a real treat. Clockwise from bottom left are some perfectly cooked, succulent pieces of cod, the calamari was better than I’ve ever managed to cook (squid needs either to be cooked very quickly or very slowly; anything in the middle will have the texture of rubber tyres), more than a hint of spice and a crispness in the coating that gives way to almost melt in the mouth squid. Some tempura prawns and some scampi. (I’ve never quite been sure what scampi is) and some mildly spiced salmon fish cakes. A big plate of chips, a pot of tea and a happy Simon.
I can’t remember if I included this gammon and parsley sauce last time but it is worth a reprise. The parsley is the first from the newly planted back garden.
A tin of pea and ham soup (Aldi own brand) with bread and butter. And it is butter not margarine.
Aldi is the only supermarket that I enjoy going to these days. Partly because it has a no-nonsense lack of pretention and partly because it often has superior products to the big English supermarkets. It does much better European food than Tesco, Sainsburys or Morrisons. Pasta comes in a range from the avoid at all costs quick cook to some, like this farfalle that is extraordinarily good. A sauce of peppers and creme fraiche is made special with a a generous addition of home cooked gammon. This was a superb meal and featured in my main diary as well as this record of food eaten.
My once a week hearty breakfast. Four rashers of dry cure bacon from Hartington’s of Penistone, a generous portion of chestnut mushrooms and two thirds of a tin of beans. The toast is from a loaf I baked myself for last Saturday’s picnic but never used.
Photo of a man enjoying his morning with a mug of coffee (Waitrose French blend) and the Telegraph crossword, which I do occasionally finish. The picture is a before shot of the neglected corner. It attracts a good deal of wildlife but wouldn’t trouble the judges at the local flower show. The after shot should appear in a few months time. I want to tidy up the corner but continue to attract butterflies and birds.
This soup was so good I had two bowls. It’s a simple seafood chowder and took less than 15 minutes to make. Onions, carrots and celery are softened before adding garlic, chicken stock (cube), seasoning and water (boiling). I have a peeler than cuts carrots into spaghetti. I usually end up with a nick or two when I use it but the result is perfect for this sort of soup. Five minutes from serving I add a cup of de-frosted squid rings, mussels and prawns. Bread and butter is all that is needed to enjoy a decent mid day meal for one. I had a small helping of baked beans left over from breakfast and mindful of recent nutritional advice to eat more pulses, they get thrown in.
Last week’s pork pies required finely chopped pork shoulder and bacon. There was a portion left and this was cooked in hot oil in a wok. Onions and, shortly after, celery, bean sprouts and broccoli and some more carrot spaghetti. Finally noodles and a ready made hoisin sauce. I only like stir-fry if it is straight from the pan. This suited my tastebuds and my desire to enjoy different textures in quickly prepared food. There is a real skill in bringing everything to the plate without overcooking something. (I’ll continue to practice).
Sunshine makes a meal out of a little salad and some thickly sliced ham. One on many advantages of cooking your own gammon is that you can carve it just the way you like it.
The Cooperative is having a bad year but it still sells very good soft summer fruits. It seems a pity that they come in plastic rather than woven soft wood punnets. Is there any shopper in the world who likes these containers? I used to use the local pick-your-own for fruits but it closed down a few years ago and is much missed. Do Pick-Your_Own farms still exist in other parts of the country?
Having decided on a day on the moors with Jolly the Collie I make bread. I start it rather late in the day and find myself putting back bedtime to make sure the rolls and a small loaf are cooked before sleeping.
Strawberries, raspberries and even some slices of peach and apricot bring meringues and ice-cream to life. This was enjoyed while watching the highlights of the Tour de France go over the cobbles of Flanders. Another British rider mysteriously falls off his bicycle. It doesn’t seem to be our year.
Generous slices of ham in a tasty bread roll, eaten on a convenient bench in the middle of the English Peak District. I don’t like giving dogs salty food but this ham was double boiled and Jolly enjoyed a little share of the picnic.
Saturday lunch in a sunny garden. Slices of Topping’s chicken and ham, and pork pies (note Oxford comma) with some baby plum tomatoes and a slather of English mustard. This was followed by a cream cake (why can’t I lose those few pounds?) and a read of the paper.
Friday in the garden, sweet peas almost ready for transplanting, some books to read and Test Match Special on the radio; oh, and a coffee gelato in a waffle cone. Very nice.
A simple mid-week pudding courtesy of Aldi. Blackberries and Greek Yoghurt. Simple and much nicer than I expected.
Another plug for Aldi. Their Fruit and Fibre is less than half the price of Kellogs and is, in my opinion much nicer (once you’ve thrown away the fried banana chips … please stop making these, they are horrible and a terrible thing to do to one of the great natural foods). This is my usual breakfast these days.
Saturday breakfast at Waitrose. They warned me that the paper membership card won’t get me a free cup of coffee in a couple of weeks time. Maybe I should join properly. I really don’t mind Waitrose.
While waiting for T to do her banking and for Charlie to have his haircut I lounge outside the cathedral in Sheffield and sketch the building next door. I make no claims to being able to draw; in fact I would go so far as to admit to a very limited talent. But, I refuse to let a lack of ability stand in the way of me spending my time enjoying architecture by drawing it. The smeary sections are supposed to be trees. I ate an iced lemon doughnut to keep my strength up. A very happy half hour in the city.
Whose idea is it to sell iced cakes in a bag?
A little bit more.
A decent place to enjoy a little eating and drawing.
The building I was trying to capture. It’s not a bad life.