This blog has been quiet over the holiday season.
This is why. Because in between all the preparation, running around, baking, making tiny snacks, and two bazillion other things, this is, perhaps, the only photo of what we’ve eaten that got taken. And, right alongside it is the fact that not only did I not have a chance to photograph the food, I didn’t want to be bothered with remembering. After all, this blog is something I do for fun, and while I frankly enjoy the heck out of writing this, when I am entertaining or being entertained, it may not be the first thing on my mind – nor should it be.
So here, you get treated to a photo of the Cat That’s Got At The Salmon Snacks – and yes, both of them (he has an equally beautiful other half, who is even more pampered) are well-behaved gentlefelines, who do not stick their noses into the food – and they did get treated to both, salmon and snippets of silkily-pink entrecote (ribeye) roast that was served, and much happiness and prosecco (because I like it better than champagne) was had by all! Belatedly, I also realised that since I was the one taking the photos, I do not have a single one of myself in my floor-length black dress, but fear not – both the dress and I survive, and the one for whom I put it on (other than the mirror!) got to see it, and that’s what matters.
The salmon snacks in question were my real-quick solution to “we need canapes and we need them an hour ago and I am not at home” – tiny crostini topped with bits of folded smoked salmon, dill leaves, a bit of fish roe (not beluga caviar, I’d not treat it so!), and sprinkled with lime juice. Instant classy canapes! No recipe needed, and feel free to add what you like – a dab of cream cheese under the salmon, sub lemon for lime or parsley for dill – the crostini is your canvas!
As to the several gorgeous roasted joints of meat we’ve eaten over the holidays – the rack of lamb over saffron rice, the tenderloin with horseradish, and the entrecote roast for New Year’s Eve … no photos. I will just have to get another one (or several!) and photograph it before it gets eaten!
Oh and speaking about roasts – and gifts – I may not be very commercial-oriented but everyone loves gifts, especially thoughtful ones – I give people fudge. They think it’s lovely and thoughtful. Everyone loves fudge! But, as it happens, I received two amazing foodie gifts from T’s parents – a butane kitchen torch (the pyro in me is hopping up and down like a crazed squirrel!!! BUTANE TORCH!!! And, it’s RED!), and Hugh Fearley-Whittingstall’s (aka The River Cottage dude’s) monumental Meat book. A short browse told me I am as in love with this book as I thought I’d be, and there will be recipes cooked and posted from it, I promise you! And, I totally need to figure out what to do with the torch. I am not a fan of creme brulee, but we’ll figure something out!
And now, the other thing! While I was off partying, cooking and eating and petting the cats, the illustrious deft-fingered Ping of Ping’s Pickings has tagged me in one of those Bloggers Unplugged answer-questions-about-blog things! And, knowing myself, I do not want to get sidetracked with the eleventeen projects I have planned for after New Year’s (i.e. now), so here we go!
1. What, or who, inspired you to start a blog?
The who is easy – the veritable army of my friends who love eating my food and wanted recipes and all told me I should start “one of those food blogs with pictures and all” and that it’d be great. They were right. It is!
The what was slightly different – and it was wanting a place to say what I think about food, eating, food industry, food scams, and other things which outrage me professionally and personally and make me want to stomp my feet and throw things. That, in combination with loving the idea of typing up my recipes with pictures and all (as suggested) is what resulted in this blog. Thanks to all those who encouraged it!
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
There are many. Since I am entirely self-and-book taught, I do not have a foodie inspiration in my family (no offense, folks, I cook better than any of you!). So, in no particular order – and at a risk of sounding cliche – of the well-known ones, I have Nigel Slater, Ina Garten, Nigella Lawson, Hugh Fearley-Whittingstall, Andreas Viestad and Marcus Samuelsson. But, and I would say even more so, I would have to thank a host of other great but lesser-known (perhaps they are less photogenic, or just don’t have what it takes for TV fame, I do not know) cookbook writers such as Debra Mayhew, author of the Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup, Michele Scicolone for Italian food, Joanna Farrow and Jacqueline Clark, and Louis P DeGouy, whose ancient (originally published in 1911!) “The Soup Book” taught me what I needed to know years ago when I realised that I love soup and can’t, for the life of me, cook it. In fact, I think I will have to write several blog posts about my favorite cookbooks and why the are such to do them all justice – watch this space!
3. Your greasiest, batter-splattered food/drink book is?
Mediterranean: A Taste of The Sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow. With several runner-ups.
4. Tell us about the best thing you have eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
“Another country” to someone like me who’s lived in five different ones, is an interesting thought. All right, thing I’ve eaten in a country where I haven’t lived – I’ve had the most amazing rock lobster tail broiled with lemon and garlic butter in Yucatan, Mexico. The special thing about it was that it’d been fished the morning of the day I ate it – and nothing, nothing compares to shellfish when it is this fresh – nor does it need any more frills or trimmings to make it truly shine!
5. Another food blogger’s table you’d like to eat at?
Uuu… so many! There’s Ping of course! Though at her table, I might just stare at all the pretties she makes and be afraid to touch them! There’s Zoe (tag coming your way, Zoe!), whose taste is a near mirror-image of mine (I’m sure I’d eat most anything found on her table at any time!), and there’s Gary whose passion for good meat and wine I share wholeheartedly! There’s Rufus at whose table I would probably get spectacularly and gloriously drunk on beautiful cocktails and fall under said table happy. I could go on but like Ping said, it’ll be one humongous table and that’s that – the only caveat I’d add is that I am not sticking any “huge” names on this list. Why? Because I suspect some of those people’s tables would be like a tasting menu – lots of frills and not much substance. Call me eccentric, but I love having some food in front of me, not just a fancily folded napkin on a plate decorated with chocolate sauce and gold sprinkles!
6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
I am greedy. What I would like, is a larger kitchen, to be very honest, or a house with a yard where I can have a properly huge grill. Barring that, I would love an Electrolux Assistent (Swedish answer to Kitchenaid Mixer), or another large stand mixer like it – I am tiny short (154cm in my socks!), and though really high heeled house slippers help (15cm and platform!), using a hand mixer over a bowl on a counter made for people 15-20cm taller than me is exhausting to the back. That said, my original wish was for a dishwasher for same reason – handwashing dishes over a tall sink is painful! – but my amazing bf bought me one already.
7. Who taught you how to cook?
Self taught, entirely. See #2. As I don’t watch TV (haven’t owned one in years), it’s cookbooks all the way!
8. I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?
A large piece of good beef, roasted medium-rare, with green salad and homemade sourdough bread. Preceded by some sort of soup, and followed by either a cheese board with fruit, or a cake. That said, I now have a new favorite signature dessert and that’s Margarita cookies! Ye gads, and now I want to go make a batch of those again! No! Not till the happy pounds are off! Only meat and fowl and seafood and greens and tons of butter and cheese till then! :D Don’t you just love my weight-loss habits? The boyfriend does!
9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Cola (coke or pepsi) light (sugarfree) and Twix™ Ice Cream Bars. I did say diet because I can’t stand the sugar in the regular – but I still think that the drink is a vile commercial brew that I shouldn’t touch. Yet when I am out and it’s hot and I need caffeine, there I go. And the twix ice cream? No words. Just try the stuff, it’s dangerous!!!
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
Uhm… other than things that really don’t need to get mentioned on a food blog, I am not sure, actually! I babble a lot about everything, and I tend to be really upfront about my origins, education, likes, dislikes, etc. But… there was this one time that I got so distracted chatting over skype with my then freshly-new long-distance boyfriend (still my much-beloved boyfriend I live with now) that I burnt an entire potful of fudge. Completely and irreversibly ruined. The horror! The sacrilege! Yep, I was already that much in love!
I hope you enjoyed reading the ramblings and babblings, and didn’t fall asleep till we got to this point! And now, for the last bit:
Zoe – tag, you’re it!