Tim and I had our voucher-based date night last night, and a very pleasant evening it was. Monsoon Poon
is seriously fantastic! We arrived at 7-ish (would have got there sooner were it not for the fact that high heels slow me down.) It was incredibly busy and we got directed to the bar, (I refrained from saying “you should have bloody booked like I told you” because I didn’t want the night to start badly.) As it was we needn’t have worried. It was airy and cool in the bar area, and because of the voucher we splurged uncharacteristically on a drink each, Tim opting for a Tiger Beer and myself for a feijoa-vodka-elderflower-apple-sauvignon-blanc hybrid called Maid in China. We were seated before we finished our drinks and the waiter was seriously attentive. I mean, the place was absolutely packed, we were blatantly not high-rolling customers, and yet we were treated like the most important people in the room.
Above: Another uncharacteristic splurge – a starter. We ordered these droolsome tempura-style vegetables in a chickpea batter with yoghurt raita. I’m glad this was shared between the two of us, as it was pretty big. It would make a good vegetarian main, with some rice. It was also seriously great; the crispy coating contrapuntal to the delicious, soft vegetables within and the creamy, minty yoghurt.
Above: Our mains. In front, I had chicken and prawn dumplings, and Tim had the lamb maharaja. There were three dumplings in my bowl, I must admit I looked askance at them and thought “that
is supposed to fill me up?” Well, 2/3rds of the way through I was so full that it was getting uncomfortable to breathe. They were delicious, as was Tim’s lamb – spicy and flavoursome – but let me tell you about the enormous naans. I’m not sure if you can see from the picture, but they were SO vast – like duvets of bread. I could have worn one as an edible cape. They were HUGE! The entire meal – sans drinks – came to $5 over the voucher’s worth; a tidy sum for such a great dinner, all told.
Afterwards we (following the directions of the friendly maitre’d at MP) zoomed to the nearby Rialto movie theatre to cash in one of Tim’s vouchers at the 8.50pm showing of The Darjeeling Ltd. It has an excellent, dynamic cast, intensely elegant Louis Vuitton luggage, unbearably beautiful cinamatography of India, and flashes of unexpected humour and sadness. And it is definitely a better use of Owen Wilson than the unfunny mess that was You, Me and Dupree.
Above: This is me, by the way, getting ready to go out to dinner. I got the dress from a certain favouritest shop in the world of mine, the Waiuku Op Shop. Tim wore the red, bespoke trousers (a la Jack White) that I got him for his 21st, but was not feeling the photo-op. I’m not in the habit of posting pictures of myself willy-nilly, but as I am lamentably unphotogenic and it is so rare that I get a half-decent photo of myself, I thought this might as well be your impression of the face behind the Nigellavangelism. (Did I coin that, by the way? Should I get it patented? I’ve always longed to coin something, this could be my big break…)
It has been – finally! – sunny the last couple of days here in Wellington, I only hope it stays like this for the long weekend (Wellington Anniversary Day on Monday! Hoorah!) Sunny weather means only one thing for me: (apart from copious amounts of sunscreen)
Above: Vod and Ton. “To fruits, to no absolutes, to Absolut…” Ah, Rent. So reliable for a quote. But seriously, Vodka and Tonic is my favourite summer drink, any time of year. I do like it with a slice of lemon, but I didn’t have any to hand yesterday. The vodka must be good quality; and I do prefer Schweppes tonic water. The blue things in the glass, by the way, are those dinky freezable waterfilled shapes that don’t dilute one’s drink. The libation (that’s Nigella’s wording, not mine) is perfect on a sunny with, say, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica playing in the background.
Above: I have diverted briefly from Nigella Express, to another of her volumes: Forever Summer, appropriately enough. I finally found some yellow courgettes, at Moore Wilsons Fresh – an absolute MECCA for foodie types. I don’t know why, but I have only ever gone to their grocery department, which is seriously exciting in its own right…I was so excited because in Forever Summer there is a soup made from said yellow courgettes, Happiness Soup…I couldn’t resist. It is very simple, and I had all the ingredients, the only changes I made were substituting some ham stock for the chicken stock, and instead of basmati rice, I used the gorgeous, tiny “Stelline” pasta that my aunt got me from Italy. Isn’t it beautiful?
Above: Now, this is a thing of beauty. Doesn’t it make you sigh happily just gazing at that bowl of fragrant liquid sunshine? (You weren’t to know it smells good, to be fair, but you could have imagined it.) This soup is delicious and I suspect it will be even better tomorrow. I was a bit worried that the ham stock (frozen from when I made the Ham in Cider from How To Eat sometime last year) would overpower it but it was fairly delicate. Even though it meant faffing about and extra dishes, I served it in the beautiful casserole that I got from Mum and Dad for Christmas, I don’t think I need to explain why.
Above: Because soup alone does not constitute a meal for a Type 1 diabetic, I made some pasta as well, following Nigella’s recipe for Cappelini Con Cacio E Pepi, also from Forever Summer.
This is, in prose, pasta with parmesan and cracked pepper. I don’t have any cappelini, and presumed a mix of old penne and spirals would do; and I used the beautifully coloured and deliciously mild pink peppercorns that Mum and Dad also got me for Christmas. This was a perfect pasta recipe, simple, elegant, quick, great tasting. I roasted some beetroot and red capsicum to go with; a very satisfying meal.
Just googled Nigellavangelism…nothing came up except yours truly. I did it! I made a word!