Notice: no more “Mama I’m coming home” style titles.
Today Tim and I went to the Waiuku Op Shop – possibly the best op shop in NZ (I hate ones like Savemart, that masquerade as a cheap place to buy second hand clothes and then try and sell you things for $15 and up…) I found a lovely blue dress and an exciting cookbook – published in 1964, called Jewish Cooking For Pleasure, by Molly Lyons Bar-David. It is a fascinating read, involving all sorts of offal and about forty thousand different recipes for fried dough. Another interesting read is a wee book that Mum gave me, published in 1953, Ethelind Fearon’s Herbs: How to Grow, Treat, and Use Them. The redoubtable Ethelind says, eloquently and also ahead of her time: “The oil [must be] the best olive, not that sticky and anonymous material which passes as salad oil all too often.” However it was her assertion that “There is no section of a meal, from Hors d’oeuvres to junket or savoury” which cannot benefit from herbs, that really made me love this book, I suppose because I have never had junket in my life and the idea of it being the first thing one thinks of when considering a meal tickles me no end. I will refrain from lifting her complete text, but basically, every word is a gem.
We had lunch at possibly the best eaterie in Waiuku – the Hot Bread Bakery, which is next to The Wild Olive pizza place. Yes, there are more upmarket places to go, but if you want incredible hot chips, or a staggeringly marvelous custard twist bun, at preposterously cheap prices, I implore you to go here. Indeed, also try the other bakeries in Waiuku – anything but Subway (the presence of which is completely unnecessary in a town so small and resented by moi.) After dining like kings we walked to the other side of town to help Nana and her husband sort out their Christmas lights – talk about the bright lights of Waiuku.
It has been great fun cooking at home, I love the gas hob which is so much nicer than the electric coils we have at the flat, and the kitchen feels so clean and spacious. This is what I cooked for dinner on Monday and tonight:
Above: Meatballs based on the ones from the Wedding Mezze menu in Nigella’s Feast. I make these quite a bit for Tim and I and they are a delicious use of mince. Since the groceries hadn’t been done at the time I was making these, I had to stretch 300g mince to five people, something I feel I did rather admirably using what was in the cupboard- a grated carrot, a few spoons of this ground linseed-sunflower seed-almond meal that Mum has, and two bits of crumbled toast. I flavoured them with ground cumin, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon, and served them with an oniony pilaf.
Tonight I made a chicken and tomato pasta sauce for pasta based very loosely on something I’d seen on The Barefoot Contessa show, all sharp and flavoursome with fennel and capers. We had neither in the house but I improvised using what we had and the end result was pretty delish.
Just had a brief break to watch Outrageous Fortune, which is a whole new experience on Mum and Dad’s big flat screen telly – and all I have to say is “Noooo, Judd!! Come back!!”