Friday, March 28

Solitary Indulgence

Tonight my Good Lady is on a course. She will be out all evening, and I will be dining alone.

At times like this the temptation is to say "Sod It!" and either stop off in the ready meal section of your nearest supermarket, or reach for a tin of soup or beans from the cupboard.

However, I often indulge myself on nights like these, taking advantage of the chance to have liver or kidneys, pinky brown and eaten with too much mustard and bread to mop up the savoury juices.

Tonight I will make something I have been fancying quietly but would never make dining a deux, mussels with chilli, garlic and ginger.

The dish is simplicity itself:

Take Half a kilo or so of spanking fresh mussels, washed and picked over:

For the veg, chop a bunch of spring onions, an inch of ginger, two chillis and some garlic:

Quickly stir fry the veg in a wok in a tablespoonful of oil, cook for a minute or so, then add the mussels. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes over a high heat. Add some water, white wine, fish stock, or cider, about two good glasses full. Cook, stirring every so often to move the open mussels to the top. Add a handful of beansprouts, and a sprinkling of sesame oil just to round out the oriental flavours:

Serve simply in a generous, heated bowl, with the deeply savoury juices mingling with the luscious mussels. If you have any booze left, enjoy a glass with your meal. As Saint Delia said, "One is Fun"!

Monday, March 10

Slowly But Surely

Since I bought the new scales and instantly gained half a stone, I have been actively trying to eat a little bit healthier and get some exercise.

Chinese style eating seems to suit me best, small amounts of meat, stir-fried with plenty of vegetables. Stir-fries always seem to pack plenty of flavour, and the mixture of textures from the softness of mushrooms to the crunch of water chestnuts satisfies the taste-buds.

I've actually lost ten pounds in the last few weeks, without really feeling that I am on a diet.

Our weekly veg box hasn't varied as much as my diet however, and potatoes and parsnips have started to mount up.

The potatoes I have tended to curry, making Aloo Ghobi with the excellent cauliflowers that have been arriving. The parsnips have had me puzzling though.

A few have been turned into soup, especially with globe artichokes or winter squashes. But I have been struggling to incorporate them into the light, oriental style dishes which have been our staple.

Yesterday, I finally worked out how to fit the parsnips in.

Honey-Glazed Parsnips with Lemon.

Peel the parsnips, core them, and cut into batons of finger width and length.
Steam for five or six minutes, until soft.
Heat a tiny amount of oil in a frying pan or wok, add the batons and allow to colour.
Toss them occasionally to colour lightly on all sides.
Add a couple of teaspoons of honey, toss to coat.
Grate over the zest of a fresh lemon, mix and serve.

Lemon-Glazed Parsnips, with Char Siu Pork Stir-Fry and Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Lovely.

Nine Out of Ten Cats Agree!