If there was a better way of typing out a sigh, onomatapoeically, rather than saying the word “sigh,” I would use it right now. We learned of actor Heath Ledger’s death today, I’m sure if you are reading it here it won’t be the first time you have heard about it, indeed, this isn’t the sort of blog one would go to for that sort of news. But I can’t let the event pass without giving some kind of recognition to it. For all that people seem to be more shocked at “celebrity” death depending on how good looking the person was and the circumstances surrounding it (I speak as someone who has been trawling gossip blogs in order to find out news and gauge peoples’ responses), and even though say, Fox News will give far more coverage to this than the death of Sir Edmund Hillary…he is no less dead. He was only 28, an exceptionally good actor, of the Johnny Depp school of excellence in my opinion, and he had a two year old daughter. A terribly sad thing to hear. Sigh.
Above: I didn’t really need to make the Moonblush Tomatoes from Nigella Express in this silicone dish, but I loved the red-on-red vibrancy it produced. Tomatoes were cheap at the market, and this recipe sounded so easy that I thought I’d give it a bash. Basically, you sprinkle tomatoes (supposed to be cherry ones, but big ones were much cheaper) with a tiny bit of salt and sugar, and some dried thyme, put them in a 220 C oven, and then turn it off and leave them overnight. By which stage they should look like this:
Above: As well as being so fragrant that they drive me to mess with grammatical institutions, the tomatoes go rather excellently in a pasta sauce. I made one up on the spot for dinner the other night; Onions, chopped up pork sausages, a couple of the moonblush tomatoes, a splash of sherry, some capers, a little cream…it tasted deeply flavoursome and delicious. The salad that you can see there was made from radiccio (which I found cheap at Moore Wilsons) roast beetroot and diced avocado. The sweetness of the beetroot and the creamy texture of the avocado seemed to nicely balance the somewhat bitter, yet beautifully purple, radiccio.
Above: Making one’s own chicken nuggets does, on paper, sound absolutely deranged. And I admit, they don’t look that great in the photo (it’s the overexposure?) but these are just so good and not taxing in the slightest. I do, however, recommend you get a buddy to help you with the turning of these in the hot oil or they will burn – the one thing I am likely to do in the kitchen, as you can see from the apple tart above. The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s Feast and is all kinds of basic – chicken breasts, cut into goujons, marinated in buttermilk, dipped in cracker crumbs and shallow fried till magically delicious. You’ll never go to McDonalds again…
Above: I’ve heard mixed reviews for Nigella’s Chef’s Salad, but take it from me and my discerning taste buds – this is SO good. I could have snarfed the whole bowl were it not for the fact that it had to go round other people too. It is a mixture of iceberg lettuce, corn kernals, emmental cheese, ham, and avocado, and although it may not sound spectacular it is nigh on addictive.
Above: Despite all my hand-wringing and exclaiming about EVERYTHING above this point, I really think that I have saved the best for last. This is the Caramel Croissant Pudding from Nigella Express, and though I can’t say the recipe looked too exciting at first glance…it is wondrous. I should point out that I have a rather bad habit of going out and buying an expensive main ingredient because I have all the peripheral ingredients, and this is one such instance. I basically made this because Tim was given some bourbon and there are two or so tablespoons in this recipe. Luckily croissants are relatively cheap at the corner shop, and the rest – milk, sugar, etc – are usually close to hand. This was ridiculously fantastic, every bit as good as Nigella says and then some. That’s right. Then some.