31 May 2008

12 Hour Party People

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Now for the dinner-type stuff, admittedly not as alluring as Budino di Cioccolata, but then healthy can have its charms...







This rather beautiful noodle broth that I made for dinner the other night is starting to feel like a very distant memory. I'm struggling to think of anything I ate in the last 24 hours that had any discernable vitamin content. But oh what a good time we had. Tim and I decided that we owed it to ourselves to bunglingly attempt drunkenness last night, what with the stress of the semester finishing and all. Unfortunately we didn't get any photographic evidence (I spend 97% of my time in jeans or trackpants so when I do manage to get gussied up I like ocular proof) but we spanned the length and breadth of Cuba St and Courtney Place, dipping in and out of bars, (and stumbling into a house party) before settling in the Welsh Dragon. Mercifully it wasn't raining and we didn't run into any crackheads (although there was that wild-eyed lad at 2.30am in Burger King who cried "don't be sucked in! It's what the big corporations want!" before dashing off leaving a trail of saliva...) We'd had fish and chips for dinner and I finished the night with a bag of twisties (the best part, in my curmudgeonly opinion, of going out drinking, apart from coming home and going to bed) and then this morning we, along with Paul, Katie and Anna, shared two pizzas and some hot chips for brunch. It certainly seemed like a good idea at the time...




Above: But just looking at this broth makes me feel a little better about my inevitable, pending obesity. To be fair, Tim and I never go out so it's not like this is some kind of vicious cycle we are entering. But yeah, I seem to veer wildly between virtuous eating and ridiculous culinary hedonism, I can't seem to stick to a proper 'plan' if you know what I mean. I guess as long as I eat enough lentils and keep having my oats in the morning things will be okay...Tim thinks it's psychological. Who knows? All I know is that too often I wake up feeling like some kind of visual aid for Morrissey's song "You're The One For Me, Fatty..." Anyhow, for this broth I used a mixture of soba and udon noodles, which, did you know, are just ridiculously good for people with diabetes. In a 90g serving of noodles, there is something like 64g of carbohydrates, and ZERO grams of sugar. Sorry to be a bore, but as Tim is diabetic, and I cook for him, I have thrown myself rather zealously into the pursuit of foods with a good simple-to-complex-carb ratio.


This was kind of based on the "Noodle Soup for Needy People" from Nigella Express, except that I used almost none of the same ingredients as her. Nevertheless, the recipe itself kicked me into action to make it in the first place, and I certainly have been feeling needy this week, so credit where credit is due. I did something I've never tried before, and added (perhaps unorthodoxly) a Zen teabag (Green Tea with Peppermint) to the water in which the vegetables were simmering. I've heard of green tea being used as broth for noodles before and was intrigued, and thought the minty aspect could only but perk up the flavours. I also added a spoonful of miso paste, a star anise, soy sauce, and finished with the tiniest shake of sesame oil. So delicious, and so much more complex and exciting in flavour than you might first think. It is also genuinely quite soothing to eat if your nerves are feeling jangled. I will definitely be making this again, and soon...it is like lipbalm for your chapped soul.



I seem to be having something of a Nigella Express renaissance at the moment. It's always fun rediscovering things...especially now that I have the time to do it.




Above: This Lamb, Olive, and Caramelised Onion Tagine, also from NE, is just so delicious. I could have eaten the whole thing on my own. To be fair, I say that about a lot of things so I understand if you think I'm exaggerating. Trust me, I never exaggerate. I didn't have the necessary jar of caramelised onions to hand - can you even get them in New Zealand? - so I just browned a couple of sliced onions and added a spoonful of brown sugar, hardly arduous stuff. You barely even need a recipe for this, just adjust proportions according to how many you have to feed. Place diced lamb, (the sort you need to slow cook), black pitted olives, capers, garlic, caramelised onions (or use my method) cumin, ginger, and good stock into a pot and either simmer (like I did) or bake gently for 1 1/2 -2 hours. I added frozen peas, because that's how I roll, and served it on a nubbly bed of organic burghal wheat. Which I managed - just - not to add any butter to.



Above: This post starts and ends with noodles it would seem. In Palmerston North (when I was there for Rent two weeks ago...or was it last week? Time is so blurry these days!) I found this shop by the bus stop which sold heaps of interesting food, including those vacuum packs of egg noodles for 79c! So I bought a couple and used one in a vaguely Chinese stir-fry thing the other day. Mince, a fat red chilli, vegetables, noodles, some soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil - very simple stuff, but very delicious. To be honest I didn't actually use those chopsticks to eat dinner by the way, just put them in the photo to make it look a bit more interesting...



For dinner tonight I made the Baked Tomato Polenta again, but it didn't look that great so I didn't even try to photograph it. Good grief it tastes nice though. Tonight is quite the contrast to last night- watched the director commentary of Rent (again), which totally re-affirmed my love for that film, as well as making me wish they'd just left Goodbye Love uncut, (anyway!) made dinner, read a bit, perused youtube, sat in on some league game happening on TV in the lounge (slightly more interesting than rugby, but then so is paint drying) and here I am. I much prefer to go out on Friday night anyway - there is nothing nicer than waking up in the morning and thinking it's only Saturday...

15 comments:

  1. Laura this post made me chuckle, sounds like a good night....dont you always find strange people in Burger king, lol.
    Your soup looks really good, and you know being virtuous most of the time allows yourself to treat yourself a lot of the tome :)

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  2. Laure, your posts always make me hungry!! Everything looks so good...

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  3. Inspired by a week of not having to cook or think about food preparation - because of the fabulous food Viv did at camp all week, and, finding out that we were Julianless last night - (he who hid pork in his pocket as a child rather than eat it), I cooked a roast of pork for Mark and me. It was surprisingly delicious and tender and tasty. I did think of your frequently used adjective "silky" as I stirred the gravy. I followed (in the way you followed Nigella's noodle recipe) a recipe for pork from that Mediterranean cookbook which I bought for the pictures.... I sat the roast on a few stalks of celery that Julian was supposed to use for vege soup* in my absence, covered the top of the roast with prunes on bayleaves attached by toothpicks, and tossed fresh parsley over the lot. I had fully intended to use fresh sage from the old plant under the kitchen window - which has given noble and productive service for 15 years - only to find that it had died in the last week while I was away - possibly falling victim to an early frost.....
    *Julian followed an abridged version of the spiced pumpkin soup
    from the Lynn Bedford Hall cookbook last week and, collected two injuries along the way ("mere flesh wounds"), one from a knife and the other from a grater, using every available band aid in the houe in the course of completing the project. The soup was great, says Mark, but Julian is a bit soup-shy now and didn't complete the second version I'd left for him while I was away. I think they ate a lot of mince last week......

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  4. "Ocular proof" - I really enjoyed that turn of phrase. Also your "pending obesity" - a scary and possible future for us food bloggers, isn't it?

    As for dressing for comfort - I thing we are kindred souls. I swear, I want to live in my pajama pants 24 hours a day - J'adore them - that, and a baseball hat, set to go. Not that I can't get all kittened up - but oh the fuss of it all. If I'm having a good ass day though - I'm ALL for it. :)

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  5. "virtuous eating and ridiculous culinary hedonism" you've captured my life in 6 words.

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  6. That soup looks so virtuous it could have come from a convent! I feel I need to make some soon!

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  7. Erica: Thanks :) sometimes it's all too easy to indulge *most* of the time LOL

    Elle: Thankyou!

    Mum: Lol you could email me you know. Roast pork sounds delish, and good on Julian for making the soup even if he did sustain "flesh wounds..."

    Ann: It was Shakespeare, not I, who came up with "ocular proof" lol :) and yes, I am always happiest in trackpants...

    Marc: That's one meme you don't have to deal with then!!

    JillyB: Indeed! It's so easy, you can use almost whatever you have in the fridge, i'm sure :)

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  8. Your food looks so good. Funny post!
    Vicky xxx

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  9. I think I'm going to get NE back out again. I went mad on it when I first bought it but it's back on the shelf at the moment. I'm currently re-living Forever Summer as we are starting to get hints (and I mean tiny hints) of sun here in the UK!

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  10. laura. what a great meal. it looks great. please come round and cook for me sometime too.

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  11. Laura, you appear to be at your verbose best at the moment! Must be the temporary 'release' from Uni. I too have a similarly drunken night planned when I submit my finally essay for the semester!
    Nice to see the bowls getting some use :)

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  12. Vicky: Why thank you, I aim to please :)

    Glossy: I hadn't looked at mine for a while, now I seem to be using it all the time! Funny how that happens with cookbooks.

    Diva: Anytime, and it's definitely mutual :)

    Linda: Hey, thanks...why is it so much easier to write on here than for massive essays??! Good luck for getting your uni stuff sorted...and those bowls are brilliant! :)

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  13. Glad to hear your had a great time :)

    You are getting some good food now :) All looks delicious. I made the lamb stew from NE, it tastes like a lot more than the effort required! and you managed a good picture too! I gave up on the picture eventually!!

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  14. That soup sounds good. I like both soba and udon noodles. The green tea with peppermint in it sounds interesting. The lamb tagine sounds tasty!

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  15. well, that was very entertaining! I'll live my life vicariously through you two any night. And the tea with mint is genius!

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