Sunday, 30 November 2008

Food for the Cold

We seem to have gone into something of a cold snap in the last few days in London, which makes me crave warming soups, casseroles and pies and red wine. I keep forgetting to take photographs of my cooking though and also my camera is not very good and so its difficult to get good quality shots, but I'm learning.

As I sit drinking my lovely Rioja that I bought on my recent trip to Lille, I'm thinking back over the last couple of weeks and seeing if anything exciting has happened. Last weekend I went to Bath to see my sister, her husband and my 4 month old niece, who is absolutely adorable. I had lots of lovely food over the weekend and didn't cook at all. On the last night they cooked me a Salmon and Creme Fraiche dish from Nigel Slater's The 30-minute Cook: Best of the World's Quick Cooking. It was really good. We also went to Wagamama's for lunch and I was amazed by how baby friendly they were.

We spent the weekend gossiping and sharing stories, it was really lovely to see her as I don't get to see her very often. We also got to talking about careers and work in general, whilst I like my job, its not what I thought it was going to be, and I'm heading towards wanting a career in the food industry, I'm not sure what as yet. I have such a passion for food and spend all my time looking at foodgawker and recipemuncher and recipes online, which I then go home and try out. I don't think that I could handle the pressure of working in a restaurant kitchen, but would quite like to cook for a family or dinner parties, or cook someones weekly meals that freeze and they could just get out the freezer. Does anyone know how to go about starting something like this? I am not a trained chef, which is all anyone seems to want, although I have completed a basic cookery course. I also miss cooking for other people now I'm single and live on my own without a large enough space for dinner parties.

Right down to the cooking.

A couple of weeks ago I went to my younger sister's for dinner, we now have this tradition of either going out for dinner or one of us cooking for the other on a Sunday night, it makes a really nice end to the week and we try different restaurants for food each time. This is what she cooked for me last time:

Its pasta with ricotta, spinach and red onion, which was originally cooked for her by her friend Georgie and it was delicious. I love trying other people's cooking.

Next up is a meal out the cupboard, I was originally meant to be going out for dinner but it was cancelled at the last minute and I found a packet of lentils in the cupboard and decided on Lentil Curry. The Recipe came from Matzo and Rice and I had it with Naan bread, it was scrummy.

This is my weekend meal, Grilled Lime and Parsley Plaice Fillets with Salt and Vinegar chips, this is again originally a Leiths Recipe, but I didn't have all the ingredients for the Breadcrumbs, so made it up as i went along. The chips also didn't come out all that well, they are home grown potatoes from my Parent's garden and I think they have a really high water content, as the outside was really crunchy but there was nothing in the middle.

I still have more catch up to do from previous cooking and baking efforts.

Grilled Lime and Parsley Plaice Fillets with Salt and Vinegar Chips (from Leiths)
(Serves 4)

675g/1 1/2lb potatoes
7tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp white breadcrumbs
Finely grated zest of 3 limes
small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
8 plaice fillets, skinned
1 egg, beaten or a tbsp yoghurt
coarse sea salt and pepper

Set the oven to 200c.

Cut each potato into 6 wedges, length ways, and put them into a roasting tin. Pour over 3 tbsps of the olive oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Put the roasting tin in at the top of the oven and cook for 50-60 mins turning occasionally or util the potatoes are crisp and brown. Pour over the balsamic vinegar and toss the chips in it.

Preheat the Grill.

Meanwhile prepare the plaice. Mix the dried breadcrumbs; lime zest and parsley together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the fish in the egg or cover in yoghurt, and then press the breadcrumb mixture onto both sides.

Grill the fish for 2-3 mins each side until the crust is golden and fish is cooked.

Put a pile of salt and vinegar chips onto each plate and top with the plaice fillets and drizzle the potato juices around the plate.

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