Friday, 12 April 2013

Food, glorious food

Food at home is always a rather wondrous thing, so I do dread the return to fending for myself, particularly for my stomach’s sake. For this very reason, each time I’m back on my own I endeavour to eat well – and it usually lasts for all of a week (but so far, it’s going extremely well – depending on your definition of ‘well’!) I might now be back to the ‘hard graft’ that is the week following extended birthday celebrations, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have had some very lovely guests to stay over my Easter holiday!

I absolutely LOVE playing the hostess, particularly to guests who will happily pander to my ‘rustic’ style of cooking. I’m also a huge fan of guests who will chip in rather than sitting back and watching as the kitchen burns down around me – experimental cooking is not always highly successful, and beyond the safety aspect it’s more fun with two anyway? I’m not someone who can actually create many dishes, but I’m quite skilled at the throw-everything-in-a-pan-and-see-what-it-tastes-like approach, as I have now tested out three times this week. Things that can always be found in my fridge/freezer/cupboards:

Garlic (of the smoked variety right now – smells AMAZING)
Tinned tomatoes
Orzo pasta
Pearl barley
Tuna (although had a horrendous realisation yesterday that currently, there is none!)
Quorn mince
Insanely large amount of tea
Porridge oats

For me, and so for anyone fortunate (or perhaps unfortunate) enough to be staying in my house, breakfast in the week days is always the same; bowl of porridge with a LOT of honey. It’s nothing special but it keeps me going, and is probably one of the only things I can really stomach in the morning. Of course weekends are a little more special and there might be pastries or crumpets involved... but let's not get too carried away! Lunch consists of whatever ‘lunchable’ items are in the house, and finally tea comes around. I’m not someone who likes to make a huge effort with cooking, particularly after a day of being on my feet (and even more particularly after a day at work in a café!), and I also like to avoid washing up – hence the throw-everything-in-a-pan method. So the method was deployed on Tuesday of last week, to the praise of my friend – even if he didn’t eat it all because he has a small appetite (what is one of those and where do I get me one??).

Filled with confidence, I went a little more adventurous with my next house guest; pearl barley risotto with courgette and asparagus, YUM. For some bizarre reason, I then let her attempt to roast a whole aubergine on the flames of my gas hob – definitely something that needs another attempt because it was very tasty, if not completely cooked (had to keep rolling it around the work surface as the charred bits set alight, we know how to add drama to cooking)! The aubergine was accompanied with smoked garlic mushrooms and salted pasta, making for a rather forlorn looking plate but so, so tasty.

Of course with all that Norwich has to offer, I have no choice but to take people out to eat too. I’m not a food critic, I just love food. For this reason (and just because I don’t like my posts to be too long and rambly and this one has already gone beyond an ‘easy-reading’ length), I will just say that everyone should make a visit to:

The Workshop; Gin & peach juice and Chair stacking
The Workshop on Earlham Road; incredible food, great drinks, amazing ambience, very tolerant staff, and a host of games to play. This time we had halloumi, fig and honey, artichoke, aubergine and mozzarella and the infamous Workshop pizza to accompany games of Rummikub, Jenga, Chair-Stacking and Scrabble with way too many tiles!

Grosvenor Fish Bar; have become a rather huge fan of their ‘Big Mack’ burgers served with a slice of lemon and lots of healthy salad, very fancy! Best fish and chips, great prices, lovely, friendly staff, and of course the added bonus of close relations with The Birdcage making for the perfect place to have an accompanying drink.

Waitrose; not for general shopping you understand, I am a poor student. But when the sun comes out there is nothing nicer than a walk around the lake at the UEA, a wander along the river, and a picnic by the mill or on a jetty consisting entirely of fancy, unhealthy bits and pieces from Waitrose. Pork pie with apple and fig chutney, watercress and salmon quiche, potato and leek tartlet, butterscotch and pecan yum yums and two extremely large and unhealthy slices of cake were the components of our picnic last weekend.

Food is my favourite.

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