Way back in May I asked readers of my blog (plus foodie friends elsewhere) to pose questions for me to answer as part of an introductory post for my newbie blog’s 2 month anniversary. I didn’t meet my deadline and managed to post the first set of responses back in June, focusing on those relating to my childhood food memories and experiences.
I’ve been meaning to post another slew of answers for ages and ages and ages but kept forgetting to pull the draft off my USB stick – how crap an excuse is that?
So, without further ado, here’s more about me as told through food:
In The Now
Anne: Do you prefer to cook or be cooked for?
This one’s an easy one for me to answer as I’m a ridiculously lazy individual! My interest in cooking is driven entirely by my love of tasty food! My husband, superstar that he is, does more of the cooking at home than I do. I do some, of course, but when it comes to every day eating, he’s the man! We do decide what we’ll have together, though if he’s cooking, the final say is his, as it depends on what he feels like making. I prefer to cook when I have more time and am not knackered (as I often am after work) so I try to think of interesting dishes to cook on days when I’m working from home or not working.
In my fantasy world, we’d have a personal chef – one with a deft hand in a wide range of cuisines and who would prepare what we fancy just how we like it. Of course, in this fantasy, we’d also have won enough on the lottery for a lovely big house with a huge, well-equipped kitchen. Then again, since we’d be rich enough not to have to work, we’d probably have more time and inclination to cook ourselves! But we could still turn to our chef on days we didn’t feel like it!
Heavenly Housewife: What foods make you the happiest when you eat them?
Unfortunately, one of the reasons I’m so rotund (or, lardy-arsed, as I call it) is because so *many* foods delight me! A few of my favourites are alphonso mangoes, foie gras entier, lamb chops cooked on the BBQ or at an okacbasi grill, goose-fat roasted potatoes, my mum’s lamb curry and keema curry, so many dim sum dishes, cheese – oh goodness, cheese (I love cheese so much i could write an entire eulogising post just for cheese), tiramisu, fresh strawberries and cream, spare ribs, king prawn tempura, scallops, chocolate…
Bexxi: What do you think is the biggest fad (“must have”) ingredient that is being pushed at the moment (i.e. the least worthwhile one)?
I tpp get fed up of all the ingredients that suddenly become trendy when their supposed health benefits are over-pimped! Acai berries and goji berries spring to mind! Then again I’m not a big health nut so these claims are of little interest to me. I usually find such ingredients making their way into far too many products, particularly smoothies and snacks!
Recently, I’ve seen a flurry of posts about sumac – a spice made from grinding the fruit of a genus of plants found around the world. The spice is used in Middle Eastern cuisine. But, for once, I’m guilty of following the crowd as I’ve blogged a recipe featuring sumac myself only last month! I liked the lemony flavour it gave but wouldn’t suggest you rush out to get some!
Bexxi: What is your favourite easy-as-hell main course?
I’d probably go with a roast dinner. Either roast chicken or roast rib of beef, some goose-fat roasted spuds, savoy cabbage and some nice gravy incorporating pan and resting juices (plus port for beef gravy). I find roasts pretty easy as, apart from spud-peeling, there’s so little to do. Back when Pete and I were dating and he was working in London whilst I was still studying at Warwick, he’d come up to be with me every weekend and I’d cook a lovely roast dinner for him on Friday evenings.
If the easy-as-hell dish needs to be a little quicker than a roast I’d either use the microwave to defrost some home-made stock from the freezer and make some risotto (with additions such as pancetta or bacon or blue cheese or leeks) or I’d make Pete’s cheesey potato bake which is another incredibly easy recipe!
Applelisa: Which is your favourite Indian spice?
Coriander – especially the fresh leaves, though I guess those count as a herb rather than a spice? I absolutely adore the taste of coriander leaves and since the plant also provides us with it’s flavoursome seeds, it’s a double dose of goodness! I particularly love coriander in my mum’s green chutney, which uses lots of coriander leaves plus some mint and a number of spices. It’s very quick and easy to make and goes wonderfully not only with Indian snacks but also in cheese sandwiches!
Applelisa: What’s your guilty food pleasure?
I tend not to feel guilty about enjoying food whether it’s a donner kebab, a Burger King whopper, a pot noodle, a chip butty or eating a block of marzipan straight from the packet. I really could do with feeling more guilty about some (most?) of what I eat, given my girth, but I’m too much of a hedonist to do guilt very well!
Lindacatarina: When you are abroad what food do you miss back home?
Growing up near London and now living here, it’s my good fortune not only to be exposed to a wonderfully wide range of cuisines and ingredients but also to indulge in them often. So, when I’m abroad, even in places renowned for their fine food, what I miss most is variety. For example, last time I was in Italy, I delighted in all manner of fantastic pasta and seafood dishes; I was in heaven and yet… after a week, I started to crave Indian, Chinese, Thai, Turkish… I just needed a change! I find it even harder when visiting India where my family members will often eat lentils and vegetables with rice / flat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner day after day after day. Even if I adored those dishes (and I really don’t) I’d struggle after only a couple of days! So, the honest answer is the luxury of variety from meal to meal and day to day.
Lindacatarina: What’s your favourite meal from your travels?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to one! We’ve had so many wonderful meals whilst travelling! Most recently, fantastic steak and empanadas in Buenos Aires. The most delicious ragu in Bologna, fritti misti in Venice pizza in Naples and Sorrento. So many marvellous meals in France it’d be impossible to narrow it down but those that spring to mind just at this moment include a simple, rough-cut meat terrine in a cave restaurant in the Loire, lightly fried fresh foie gras d’oie entier served with fried, caramelised apple slices in Bordeaux and a fantastic picnic of fresh bread, cheeses, pate, fresh fruit and juices bought from Dijon market and enjoyed under a sunny Burgundy sky. On our several African safaris in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania we’ve stayed in some small, luxury camps with incredible chefs who produce amazing meals worthy of any top class restaurant, often in the tiniest of kitchens or even over an open fire, outdoors! South Africa is another great destination for foodies – I challenge anyone to eat badly in Cape Town and along the Garden Route – I can still remember many of the meals we enjoyed 5 years ago in surprising detail.
Some Random Thoughts
Lindacatarina: If you lost your sense of taste…what one food you would miss the most?
I’m assuming we’re talking about losing both smell and taste, since they are so interconnected? I think probably something like the alphonso mango, which is such an explosion of perfume and flavour. But probably lamb too! You know, I’m never very good at narrowing down my favourite foods so it’s hard to pick one thing that I’d miss the most!
Icklebecka: If your friends (or you) were to sum you up as a dish, which dish would it be and why?
It would have to be a chocolate banana. I remember watching Blue Peter when I was quite young and this recipe was featured. From that point onwards, preparing the chocolate bananas was my job. And it still is! Make a slit in the concave side of the banana, carefully push some chocolate pieces into the flesh (without causing the banana skin to split). Wrap the whole thing up in foil and cook on the dying embers of a BBQ. It helps that yellow is my favourite colour, I adore chocolate and am often told I’m bananas!
Anne: What food would you take to a desert island?
I started off thinking about a huge hog roast but, thinking more long term… maybe I should take a male pig and a female pig and get them makin’ bacon, in the hopes of having assured hog supplies for as long as I was on the island! Likewise, maybe I’d take some fruit and vegetable seeds – mangoes and coconuts would grow on my island, right? And I want sweetcorn, mushrooms, onions, peppers not to mention citrus oh and herbs and spices too… And maybe I could grow some kind of wheat for flour. Mentally I’m a regular Robinson Crusoe but, let’s be honest, I haven’t the skills, stamina or temperament to achieve such self-sufficiency! But, really, I’d be so miserable on my own that it wouldn’t matter what food I had with me. Please can I take my Pete with me?