Asparagus are one of my favorite foods, and I eagerly await their arrival in spring. Except, until very recently I wasn’t sure when that would be and the season would often be just three or four weeks for me. But now I know that Dutch asparagus go on sale from the second Thursday in April (it’s tradition, you see) so I was ready to pounce the first weekend. I draped the white stems in melted gruyere and a little stream of melted butter and hoo boy, were they ever worth the wait.
I love dinner. I love making dinner and I love planning for dinner. That’s a lotta love, and yet. Sometimes I just want to walk into the kitchen when my stomach is empty and come out ASAP with something hot and delicious to fill it. This is where eggs come in, and Nigel Slater. Getting behind the stove with a copy of Real Fast Food and a carton of eggs, I have walked away with a fluffy ommelet with peppery rocket, or a plate of voluptuous scramble with smoked fish. And it was love again, just in a different guise.
Overcooked soba noodles. Got me annoyed. The first time I made this salad, and then even more when I tried again a few days later. I would happily spoon the bright, peanutty dressing from the 101Cookbooks recipe straight into my mouth, but enough is enough. No more soba noodle salad until I get some sound noodle boiling advice.
Lindsey Bareham told me to cook my first duck breast ever, to slice onto a salad with a fish sauce/lime dressing that made me want to lick my bowl. Then Nigel Slater taught me to punch up the dressing with garlic and chillies, and add further crunch to the salad with bean sprouts. This time I actually licked my bowl (when the husband wasn’t looking). I hope someone is around to restrain me when I combine the two and create the ducky, feisty, crunchy salad of my dreams. Who knows what will happen to the crockery otherwise.
After an unpleasant coincidence of black-eyed peas and a sore stomach, the husband views the jar of peas in our kitchen with suspicion. This is unfortunate, because it is large and I want the shelf space back. But I have found the solution: subterfuge cooking. I use the peas in a dish that calls for beans, and then I don’t tell him. For this Greek stew, I braised the black-eyeds with tomatoes, herbs and feta, then served them with a silent smile. He ate two bowls before contentedly rubbing his belly. How’s that for a successful silent treatment?