what kind of girl is she? (are you gonna eat that pickle)

I keep things honest on here. Panic attacks, bad habits, coming out, failed pastry, engagement announcements (not that I’ve had plural engagements, but it didn’t flow so well syntactically in the singular), tattoos, book deals (again, not plural but flows nicer in the plural, as would not explaining the flow of my sentence in the middle of my sentence.) Thus: if it has happened to me and is my story to tell, then there’s a high likelihood I won’t be able to stop myself telling you about it. But these past few of weeks – or even longer than that, really – some things that have been happening are a bit hard to describe, which is frustrating for a dictionary-nuzzling person as myself, because…I’ve just been feeling vaguely weird. Not every day, and not every minute, but enough, too much: bad brains, I call it. So many things in my life are so, so good, really, and yet my brain is not catching up with all of this. Bodies! They’re so confusing. Life! So odd. No-one prepares you for just the sheer difficult weirdness that is existence. For not being able to sleep, for losing your appetite, for being closely focussed on strange things, for suddenly hyperventilating in the middle of the supermarket after a really good day and then having to lie down for two hours once you get home. But what is easier to explain is how I’m trying to fix it, which is with doctors and medication and counseling and talking to Tim and to friends, many of whom know what it’s like anyway, and by trying to be a little kinder to myself. Being even just a little bit kind to yourself is a surprisingly easy thing to forget to do.  

So, um, food blogging, yeah, alright! Actually for those of you who read this a lot, and read between the lines, all this probably will hardly be a surprise. But it’s still a thing that’s happening to me, and that is mine to tell, so here we are. Luckily, here are some other things that have happened:

It was Tim’s birthday on Wednesday. We both took that day and Thursday off work, and it was terrifically fun to just hang out and sleep in and read and watch things and drink coffee and eat brunch and just exist quietly but excitingly so. Except when we went to the Fishhead magazine third birthday party and existed loudly. On Thursday I made Tim his favourite food – lasagne – which, despite trying to bust out of its tin as you can see in the above photo, was amazing. Just straight up amazing.

On the day of Tim’s birthday we caught a bus into Newtown and went record shopping and had lunchtime beers, and bought this excellently cheap cabinet, all the better to see our trinkets with. There are now even more things in it, and yet curiously, no noticeable space has been made by moving things in there.

Aaaand, I got some new eyebrows, a shape and tint, something I’ve never done before. Felt like stronger brows might equal a stronger me, or something, plus the ones my face came with were so pale that they might as well have not existed.

And – I guess you’re wondering why I’ve brought you here – I made some tiny fried pickles! Tiny, tiny deep-fried pickles in puffy, light batter. Like popcorn chicken, but with pickles, and minus the magically delicious herbs and spices (these are really good, but they’re no popcorn chicken. Really, what could be? I’m sorry. I should’ve chosen a better analogy.) They’re really easy to make, and for all that deep-frying stuff is a little intimidating in theory, you only need an inch or so of oil in a wide pan, not whole vats of the stuff. And these pickles cook up really, really quick. Drain them, throw them in some smoked paprika and a little more salt because hurrah for sodium, and that’s it. 

tiny fried pickles
A recipe by myself. Dairy-free! 
1 jar pickles
1 egg
1/2 cup soda water/sparkling water/whatever you call it in your neighbourhood
1 cup flour
pinch salt
pinch sugar
plain oil for frying
Drain the jar of pickles and slice into rounds. Don’t even think about measuring them, but roughly a centimetre wide is a good size to aim for. On the other hand, I’m horrendously fussy and discarded all the ends like some kind of wastrel. Sit the slices on a couple of paper towels. This helps absorb some of the pickle-vinegar, which will help the batter stick and stop it spluttering like whoa in the hot oil.
Then, mix the egg and soda water together, then add the salt, sugar, and – slowly – the flour, and stir to a thick batter. Doing it in this order stops it getting lumpy. 
Heat up about 1.5 inches of plain oil in a wide pan. It has to be properly hot, so try dropping a little batter in it to test once you think it’s ready, and it should bubble up and you know, fry. 
Now, it’s possible there’s a better/more logical way of doing this, but this worked for me: tip all the slices of pickle into the bowl of batter. Take a large spoonful of the pickle-y batter, and with a smaller spoon, push slices off into the hot oil. Some batter may fall into the oil too. This is cool. The lil pickles should take a minute or two to get brown and puffy, if they need it use a pair of tongs to carefully turn them over in the oil, then remove them – still using the tongs – to another plate lined with paper towels and spoon some more slices in. Finally, dust the fried, puffy pickles with smoked paprika and more salt and serve immediately. 

“Are they good?” I asked Tim, and the people he was playing the Game of Thrones board game with, on the afternoon I made these. “Are you kidding? They’re like crack!” he replied. “Crack? That’s great!” said I.

More specifically, if ‘crack’ doesn’t make any particular flavours spring to mind, and also if deep frying something that you’re used to ignoring on a cheese plate at best is your current view on pickles…let me elaborate. Salty, sharp slices encased in batter that’s crisply browned on the outside while fluffy and light on the inside, the sweet smokiness of the paprika and the doughy batter tempering the vinegar bite of the pickles. They’re really, really good.

Back on the cookbook front, since that still exists and is still the most improbably wonderful thing: I found out today that my book is currently at 6th place on the Independent Booksellers List! Cool, hey? I’m currently trying to plan an Auckland launch party for it (despite having no money, no time, and no brain space) because that seems like…fun! Oh and I have literally had people come up to me and say that they are fans, which is one of the top ten excellent feelings in the world. Yeah excellent feelings! They don’t make the weird ones disappear, but they do help balance them out some.
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title via: What Kind of Girl is She from the important musical [title of show]. This particular song isn’t on youtube, but uh, Die, Vampire, Die from the same musical is, and it’s pretty perfect.
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Music lately:

The National, the Thanksgiving Song. They did a cover of a song that Lynn Belcher from the wondrous Bob’s Burgers sings. It’s odd and sinister and not even as good as the cartoon original, but I admire their commitment.

Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball. Yeah. This song is so, so good.

Frank Ocean, Super Rich Kids. Dreaminess.
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Next time: I did this cool thing with blueberries and chili and lime and stuff and I have no idea what it is, but it’s addictively good. If I work out what it is…salsa? I might blog about it. 

10 thoughts on “what kind of girl is she? (are you gonna eat that pickle)

  1. Amy says:

    yeah I think your blog is actually really unique in how honest it is — I think pretty much every other blog puts up at least a little bit of a front of how they present themselves to the world. good for you for um, “keepin' it real.” (don't know how to NOT make that cheesy so I'm just going with it). Life is super weird sometimes, I know exactly, exactly how you're feeling, I think.

    And I've only just realized the greatness that is pickles about 6 months ago. I think this is the next step in my relationship with them… sounds seriously good, and addicting.

    PS I agree with the other like 20 people on instagram: you look gooood in that photo!

    Like

  2. Hannah says:

    Babe, seriously, you and me. Even to the extent that I, too, have recently discovered that making my eyebrows a little darker than the invisible I was born with can have an effect on my being and outlook, though I still sometimes fear I look like a clown.

    Anyhoo.

    What I meant to say is I am so so so proud of you for tackling the bad brains beast head on. I talked to someone for years and years and it helped immeasurably. A professional someone, that is. Because I've always talked to, you know, people, about things. Things of all sorts.

    Also I love pickles. And your face. Keep strong, stay smiling. xo

    Like

  3. Joanne says:

    I have moments like that as well and I'm so glad to hear you're getting help for it! It kind of sucks not really feeling in control of yourself.

    Kind of love that these fried pickles are minis! So perfect for popping in your mouth. By the handful.

    Like

  4. Mick McNeil says:

    I've never thought of fried pickles, but I'm in a deep fried frame of mind at the moment, and I'm going to try these (my wife will think I'm mad). I like your writing style (you had me at “Lunchtime Beers”). Cheers

    Like

  5. Mick McNeil says:

    I've never thought of fried pickles, but I'm in a deep fried frame of mind at the moment, and I'm going to try these (my wife will think I'm mad). I like your writing style (you had me at “Lunchtime Beers”). Cheers

    Like

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