“I’ll Cover You” or, “Today It’s Your Birthday, We’re Gonna Have A Good Time!”

Firstly: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dad and my younger brother. They were born on the same day, many years apart (but of course!) If I could, I would be singing “Birthday” by the Sugarcubes (ie, early Bjork) in Icelandic: Once heard, never forgotten.

Today was one of those rare days in Wellington, city of much wind, where you could wear a skirt without fear that your knickers will become fair game for passers-by to gawk at. Unfortunately I gauged it wrongly this morning (gauging has never been one of my skills) and ended up sweltering in jeans at the office all day. It is still warm enough here to have the bedroom windows open at 8.30pm. Oh how I love summer, even though it means I have to be super vigilant about not getting my pale, pale skin burnt.
You may have noticed, O faithful reader, that we seem to have been eating a lot of roast cauliflour lately. Tonight was no exception.
Above: Although roasted cauliflour is seriously dear to my heart, roasted beetroot is a close second. You don’t even need to add any oil, (for those of you who worry about such things, as I do occasionally when my jeans feel tight.) Avocado is the perfect foil for my roasted vegetables – it provides cool, silky contrast in texture, and the colour seems to do something lift-y to the whole operation too. One of the best things about summer is how cheap and consistently edible the avocados are. No matter how often I eat them they still taste exciting.
Above: Tonight’s dinner, as well as the roast vege avocado thing, was also Chicken with Soy and Sherry which was basically an idea I got from the New Zealand Cookbook, and some leftover gratin from last night – she says, realising I haven’t even written about the gratin yet – and…
Above: We probably didn’t need this on top of everything else, but I had all the ingredients and it is really rather light. I used the Simple Tomato Tart recipe from The Accidental Vegetarian, and the title does not lie – a few slices is all it takes. I grated parmesan cheese over and cut some dinky stars out of the leftover pastry. It tasted flipping delicious – summery and buttery and tomatoey. Did you know that tomatoes are actually better for you if you cook them? It increases the lycopene in them. Which makes me feel better about eating them on a mound of pastry…
Above: This is the aforementioned gratin, Potato and Mushroom Gratin, specifically, from Nigella Express, which was last night’s dinner. It was quite easy to make, although I don’t recommend you attempt it if you are doing the dishes – the dish is a complete nightmare to clean afterwards, and requires lengthy soaking. The gratin itself tasted great, the mushrooms were a fantastic addition and the fact that it was only cooked in milk meant I didn’t have to rush out and buy any cream.

Above: I served it with the Bacon and Tomato Hash from Feast. This is so simple – just fried bacon and tomatoes – so simple that I passed it by for a long time (also, bacon is kinda expensive.) But it is seriously good, fast, and well, good again. Since there seems to be a theme tonight of revealing what things are after I’ve mentioned them, I might as well tell you that we mopped up the salty tomato juices with the leftover bread that I had baked the night before.
Above: I made this on Sunday afternoon. It is a recipe from the excellent Brenda, from the food forum I am a member of, and this is not the first time I have made it. Let me just come right out and say this: I LOVE making bread. I love kneading it, watching it rise, the smell of it baking…I can see their use, but I don’t think I could ever own a breadmaker – it just takes all the fun out of the process.
With this I made the Chef’s Salad again – that’s how much I like it.
Above: This one was even better than the first one I made, because I had actual chunks of ham in it, not shaved (“ham ends” were very cheap at New World, perhaps because with a name like that no one would buy!)
And that is basically everything we have eaten up until this point.
Much as I hate how whatever they are calling the generation after me tends to overuse the word “Random,” Tim and I had a very random Sunday night. Tim was doing a shift at Starbucks that afternoon, when some American guys came in. They got to talking, after ordering their Venti Mocha Whatevers, and it conspires that these Americans were in fact, in a band that was playing at the San Fransisco Bath House (an ostentatiously named venue in the city) that night. Their name is Me First and The Gimme Gimmes. Their gig was sold out and Tim had never heard of them before, but he must have absolutely charmed them with his, well, charm, because they told him they’d put his name on the door with a plus-one (that’s me!) and he could go to their gig. Tim was pretty stoked with the whole name on the door thing, and came home and told me. You may be asking who this band is. Basically put, they are a punk rock covers band, which may not sound terribly alluring, but I had a massive thing for these guys in third form and so was pretty excited that we could just waltz in for free. And also the idea of one’s name being on the door of an event makes one feel pretty darn grown up.
They were excellent fun, and played some of my old favourites that I used to listen to on Channel Z – like Leaving on a Jet Plane and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Amusingly, they would say “Okay, for this next song we’re going to play a cover” before every tune they played. Purists may well sneer at a punked up cover of Blowin In The Wind, but how can you resist when they precede it by saying “Here’s a song we’ve basically stripped of any meaning whatsoever.” After the gig we talked to their sound guy, (I’m sure there is a more technical name for what he does) who was very friendly and gave us the set list. Rock and Roll!
It might not be quiiiite as cool as the time the guy who plays “Hands” on Boston Legal went to Tim’s work, but it is giving me half a mind to quit my job and work at Starbucks if only for the occasional celeb sighting. Yes, “You can take the girl out of Hicksville” etc etc.

3 thoughts on ““I’ll Cover You” or, “Today It’s Your Birthday, We’re Gonna Have A Good Time!”

  1. Glossy says:

    I long to have my name “on the door” somewhere. How cool was your night out. Not sure I’d take the grief in Starbucks though, I’ve seen people being soooo rude in there. Love that bread – looks delicious. You’ve got to love Granny’s recipies.


  2. annauk says:

    Wow! I’m impressed – you’ve been so busy!Funny, but I’ve been having roasted cauli a lot lately too, so good!I didn’t like the potato and mushroom gratin from ‘Express’, it curdled on me, felt wrong somehow mixing milk with vinegar.xx


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