Welcome to my new regular series for 2013 - a collection of favourite moments and random musings from my week. I've discussed previously the suffocating pressure I place myself under in the quest for the perfect prose, so I'm hoping that this series will encourage me to relax my writing style.
It's also an opportunity for me to continue developing my understanding of food styling and photography, which dramatically improved over the course of #Project366, without adding any more commitments to my (already exhausting) daily routine.
For me, this series is all about flexibility - no promises of weekly updates, no promises that my "7 things" will focus exclusively on food, and no promises that the themes will even remain the same each time. It'll just reappear when I feel like I have a handful of particularly appetising, amusing or thought-provoking things to share....
1. My top meal this week was this incredible Mediterranean mixed seafood "basque" from Sam's on the Beach in Polkerris, where my cousin works. It was as good as any cataplana I've experienced in Portugal, overflowing with collossal mussels and king prawns, bathed in a rich provencale sauce with deep tones of spicy chorizo, white wine and roasted garlic.
I was also seriously impressed by my Dad's giant portion of scallops and black pudding, resplendent with their coral still attached. I might just have to treat myself to that next time!
2. Back in my own kitchen I've been feeling inspired by Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, which was one of the many culinary gifts I received this Christmas. Admittedly I haven't recreated any of the dishes in full yet, and they've certainly all taken at least half an hour to cook (!), but I'm grateful to Mr Oliver for the tweaks to some of my regular recipes:
Exhibit A: Mixing up my noodle stirfry by switching diced beef for sirloin steak, coating the meat in a Chinese five spice rub and searing it whole for just one minute each side to keep it pink and juicy inside
3. Like most people I'm currently on a New Year health-kick, so aside from these lighter Asian-style dishes I've also been bingeing on this zesty, nutty roasted broccoli. My boyfriend still isn't quite convinced, but I'm taking this as a sign that I just need to try harder!
4. Have you seen Pitch Perfect yet? If not, you seriously should! I never jumped on the Glee bandwagon, but I loved this comedy about a showdown between campus a Capella groups, which sneaks in some disturbingly dark humour amongst the harmonies. Their clever riffs on classic and contemporary pop tunes have brightened up my week no end, acting as the perfect soundtrack for fast-paced cardio workouts in the gym and singalongs whilst preparing supper. Just check out this trailer to see what I mean...!
5. All of my friends are fed up of me coveting this ice blue Kitchen Aid mixer, and keep asking when I'm finally going to stop being so indecisive and just buy the damn thing (their words, not mine). The truth is that I keep *trying* to buy it but sadly everywhere has sold out right now...hopefully Selfridges will receive some more stock soon!
6. It goes without saying that there are a whole heap of restaurants, pop-ups and supperclubs that I want to visit in 2013, but the first place I'm making a beeline for is Duck and Waffle. My friend Jamie and I tried to visit back in December, but had to settle for the spectacular views of London's City during our unsuccessful trip in Heron Tower's glass lift up to the 40th floor, plus this luxurious truffle mac and cheese from Bishopsgate Kitchen. Thankfully Duck and Waffle are open 24 hours a day, so we just need to decide whether we fancy trying their signature dish as breakfast, lunch, or as a late night snack!