Tonight’s dinner: Mystery Fish on a Bed of Pilau Rice .
As I mentioned, I bought a mixed lot of frozen fish so I’m not actually sure what this is. Whiting I think though. Grilled on a tray rubbed with butter, with a few leaves of fresh basil and mint in top. Why basil and mint? Because those are the ones I have growing in pots in the kitchen. I have them growing in pots in the kitchen because they smell so good. Lay it on a bed of simple pilau rice, serve with a little soy sauce, and that’s really all there is to it.
About the simplest meal possible, yet the result is somehow magically delicious. You don’t often hear of mint being used with fish, but I was very pleased with the flavour combination.
Seriously, someone needs to marry me.
And this is nothing but a chicken what I roast. A lot of course for one person; I was having it in omelettes, stir fries and salads nearly every other day for the next week. I show it here mainly because I am really damn proud of the photograph. Chicken is a natural model.
Yeah, sorry vegetarian readers. That even freaks me out a little. Of all the offal parts, it seems weirdest to eat the one that beats. But it just struck me as I was shopping today that I have never eaten a heart. Knowingly, anyway. It seemed like an odd moral lapse. I believe that if I am going to consume animals, leaving bits is just disrespectful. “I’mma kill you and eat you all up! Except your hideous face.”
And you know what? Its innocent little heart was delicious. It tasted a bit like kidney, just a tiny bit like liver, but better than either. I cut off most of the tough white fatty bits, chopped it up and ate it with some fava beans and a nice… Sorry, with another stir fry.
Other ingredients, in approximate order of being added to the wok, were cucumber, leek, scallions, sugarsnap peas, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, aubergine (egg plant), and broccoli. It was wonderful, a deeply satisfying fry. So nice to get a really excellent aubergine – this one was like a purple balloon full of helium foam – but all the veg was good.
With the exception of the broccoli though, none of what I bought this time was organic. This is because what the supermarket had wasn’t local. I mean, even in the sense that European is local. Seriously, the organic avocados were from Brazil, the apples New Zealand! Clearly as a meat-eater I am by no means the keenest of environmentalists, but I cannot understand people thinking they’re being all natural and Earth-friendly while selecting food that comes with air miles.
Perhaps to counterbalance all the manly meat-eating, I also planted some flowers today. Petunias – surely the campest of all the bedding plants. A lovely rich blue-purple in colour. I’m not sure what possessed me. As far as I recall it’s the first time I’ve ever done gardening without being asked – unless you include houseplants. Maybe it was just for a complete change. I’d spent the previous forty-eight hours working on an article about “Big Data”, a fashionable concept from the world of business and technology. I guess I needed a bit of nature after that.
I’ll go into more detail some other time, but in brief: Companies these days accumulate huge amounts of data – almost because it’s cheaper now to store the stuff than to sort through it and decide what’s worth keeping. “Big Data” is the assumption that this can be mined for surprising and valuable insights into how the organisation could be improved. It’s not an unreasonable one I think, but possibly people get a little carried away with the potential. William Gibson retweeted someone today who put the sceptical view rather nicely:
Big Data, n.: the belief that any sufficiently large pile of shit contains a pony with probability approaching 1
Do the vast amounts of data created and accumulated in the course of business really contain priceless knowledge? Well, I guess you don’t know until you look.
I don’t often cook properly, so when I do I… Well, I get inordinately pleased with myself.
I’m house-sitting at the moment, which means I have some time on my hands and a decent kitchen at my disposal. Normally I can never be bothered to cook for one and, like old photographs, only bring out the culinary skills when I have guests. But if I’m going to be here for a week or more I need to get into good habits. I don’t want to wind up eating out of tins. At least not directly.
A lot of vegetables in the fridge that were not going to look appetising for much longer. (That cucumber in fact needed CPR.) So stir fry! I used to be notorious for these, but nowadays don’t even possess a wok. There’s one here though.
Ingredients: Carrots, cucumber, scallions, broad beans from the local organic farm, and Unnamed Fish. I’m not clear what it is because I bought a special-offer lot of mixed frozen fishes. Probably plaice.
Herbs: None, and certainly no spices. Just soy sauce and olive oil in the cooking.
Directions: Chop up, make hot and slap about.
“Nice.” Jesus. I’m never going to make it as a food critic, am I?