Saturday 27 August 2011

A week’s worth of eats and treats

An unexpected adjunct to my burgeoning passion for the culinary world is a blossoming interest in photography. A hallway full of school portraits exposing my past as an acne-ridden, speccy teenager has given me an aversion to appearing in front of the camera, so I generally prefer to rely on my memory for a record of any seminal moments.

But it’s an entirely different story when the photo’s subject is a dazzling dessert or a stunning supper. Admiration for the cooking skills on display at my favourite eateries, and disbelief (plus a hint of pride) at the dishes being served up at my dining table means I feel increasingly obliged to provide photographic evidence of my dietary habits.

One of my favourite food bloggers, Tracy at Shutterbean, is uploading a food-related photo every day. Whilst it’s probably too late to jump on the Project 365 bandwagon, I thought I would share with you this photo diary of the eats and treats I’ve enjoyed during a particularly flavourful week in the big smoke of London-town and the smaller smoke of my kitchen.

Snog natural frozen yoghurt
Saturday: Frozen yoghurt appears to be the latest craze for ladies who love the sweet stuff but are watching their weight. At Snog you can choose between 4 different ice flavours and a huge array of toppings, ranging from fresh fruit to chocolate chunks and super-healthy seeds. I opted for sharp natural yoghurt combined with blueberries and coconut shavings, which I wolfed down before remembering to take a photo! Perhaps this shot of the fun and flirty container will whet your appetite.

The Folly Bar's Skinny Marmalade Storm
Sunday: The perfect end to a girlie weekend catching up with my personal style guru and dear friend J from the Dorset coast - skinny cocktails from the Folly Bar near London Bridge. My Marmalade Storm was a thirst-quenching mix of ginger beer, rum and orange…and less than 100 calories! After a couple of these J was convinced to start her own online black book of food and fashion insights, the aptly named Peanut Butter and J – definitely one to watch.

Bacon, sausage and pea risotto
Monday: A fridge full of leftovers always equals risotto. The amalgamation of sausages, smoky bacon, fresh chicken stock, sage and thyme gave this dish an incredible rustic flavour – I felt like I should have been eating this meal overlooking a vast French vineyard, like Manon des Sources, rather than our little garden in South East London. 

Lamb and aubergine tagine with almond and cinnamon couscous
Tuesday: I love the fusion of sweet and savoury flavours that characterises Moroccan cooking. Scents of cinnamon flowed through this moist lamb, aubergine and chickpea tagine, and the slivers of almond provided a pleasantly surprising crunch within the lemon and coriander couscous.

Spicy sausage stew #8 - served with mixed potato and corainder mash
Wednesday: A sneak peek at the subject of a future blogpost – spicy sausage stew. I’ve been experimenting with this recipe over a number of months and think I may have finally hit the jackpot. This time I served the rich casserole with a mashed medley of white and sweet potato, ideal for soaking up the peppery tomato juices.

Heidi pie with parmesan mash, cumin roast carrots and leek gravy
Thursday: On a recent visit to Borough Market I picked up a couple of Pieminster's pastry cases, to assist with my boyfriend’s (previously documented) quest for the perfect pie. I liked the sound of their “Heidi” pie, containing goat’s cheese, sweet potato and spinach, so decided to go meat-free for a change (my boyfriend’s chicken and ham “Free Ranger” was packed with enough meat for both of us!) Classic English fare is not usually my strongpoint, but I was pretty happy that the roasted thyme carrots and leek gravy worked so successfully alongside the crisp pie crust and a dollop of creamy parmesan mash.

Thai chickpea, tuna and spinach salad
Friday: I’m always torn on the best thing to eat after a gym workout. There’s one part of my brain that argues I should continue in the healthy vein and stick to low-calorie raw produce, but the weight-lifting-induced metabolism boost means the rest of me would willingly eat a three-course meal. The leftover chickpeas from Tuesday’s tagine and some flaked tuna in sunflower oil made this balanced spinach salad surprisingly filling, but the addition of red thai curry paste, lime juice and coriander also left me feeling refreshed.

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