Sunday, May 1

The Situation

Sometimes you’re just sitting there in a pub in Notting Hill and you’re sipping a G n’ T or a Pimms with a really good friend and then an idea pops up. One of you mention something like, “I can imagine…” And then the other one exclaims, “Are you serious! I can definitely imagine that as well!” And then you both look at each other and a smirk wraps around your faces as if you’ve understood something that no one around you could possibly comprehend or even consider. And now you both share a secret that needs to be nurtured for a year or two before it can be implemented.

Well that’s exactly what happened last June. Except we weren’t in Notting Hill and we weren't sipping on G n’ Ts, although that would have made the experience a lot more memorable. We were driving up my street in Auckland towards my house. And she was dropping me off and I had just asked her what she wanted most from the next two years and she had answered, “I want to go to Paris and take Le Cordon Bleu courses.” And I sat there in her passenger seat and thought to myself for just a second and then I said, “I can totally imagine living in Paris next year too.” And we looked at each other, just for a brief second because she was driving and we were coming up to a corner, but that smirk spread across our faces and we knew something from then on. We knew what our lives were going to look like for the next two or so years.

Sometimes things are completely unexpected. Last night we made cumin rubbed rack of lamb that rested on a sweet beetroot puree with a Moroccan vegetable tagine. This afternoon we were sitting in a pub in Notting Hill sipping G n Ts and in three days time we go home to Paris after an amazing holiday in London.

But you see, the unforeseen just keeps on coming. Because they said that Paris was the capital of food. And so I moved to Paris. And then they said London was one place you had to visit while you are in Europe. And so I went to London. But now I know that London is the capital of food. And now I want to move to London. And to be honest, it’s a bit of a situation.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Adapted from Neil Perry's tagine recipe in 'Good Food'
(accompaniment to any fish, poultry or red meat dish as well as a vegetarian meal all in itself)

For the paste:
1 brown onion, cut in chunks
3 garlic cloves, pealed
2cm ginger, pealed
1 lemon juice
handful of parsley
handful of coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Throw it all into a blender untill a thick paste forms and set aside.

For the tagine:
7 shallots, pealed
2 carrots, pealed and cut into large pieces
2 Tbsp honey
few Tbsp lemon juice
vegetable stock/water
5 prunes

Mix the shallots and carrots with the paste.
In a heavy based pan, add oil and allow to heat, then saute the shallots and carrots for around 8 minutes untill lightly golden. Add the honey and lemon juice and mix well.
Add the vegetable stock (or water if you don't have any stock) and only just cover the vegetables. After about 10 minutes add the prunes and allow to simmer lightly until the vegetables are at the desired texture.

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