Yeah that’s right, I ended 2015 and started 2016 with a blog post about a salad. On that note, happy new year to you all, I would’ve got this blog post out sooner in this infant year, but instead I’ve been involved in such rich, vibrant activities as “staring into space silently berating myself for not blogging” and “working a lot” and “staring blankly some more while unhelpfully self-flagellating.”
But when I get it right I damn well get it right, as this salad shall attest. I worked New Year’s Eve and the following day, which was all good – I have very strong feelings about money and getting it, after all – but it did mean I didn’t get to see my two best friends Kim and Kate, who keep more traditional hours. We decided to solve this by having a get-together on my next day off, wherein we drank the literal champagne (Moet! And I know it!) that had charmingly fallen into my lap over Christmas, and toasted to ourselves and the year ahead. We also got to debrief about our 2016 tarot cards (sometime between closing at work on New Years Eve and opening at work on New Years Day I managed to fit in the world’s quickest reading with them both) which was heartening because several cards made me nervous…but my card that represents the entire year is all about not being so insistent on doing everything by myself and not being afraid to ask for help and seeking out mentors and such which certainly has a soothing vibe to it that helps counteract the other cards with their subtext like “You ruin everything!” and “must you continue to ruin?”
Earlier that week on a whim – the only way to fly! – I purchased a block of paneer, a South Asian cheese that delightfully holds its shape after being fried and has a fresh, calm flavour and a distinct lack of saltiness. I decided I’d make us three a salad to accompany the champagne, and this confrontationally simple recipe is the result of that decision. Just fried cheese, firm fragrant mango, toasty nutty cashews, and some leaves, and that’s it. I’m not sure if this is really what you are supposed to do with paneer but it sure as hell lends itself well to these flavours; all that’s really needed is some olive oil and salt and you have yourself an excellent time.
paneer, mango and cashew salad
a recipe by myself
250g, or thereabouts, paneer
one firm mango
half a packet of baby kale leaves, or a few handfuls of your nearest green stuff (I had kale left over from the last salad so…yeah!)
Slice the paneer into pieces and heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a wide frying pan. Tumble the paneer slices in and allow them to fry till golden on both sides, which will take a few minutes. Not gonna sugar-coat it, the oil will sputter a bit but just try to dodge it and stick it out.
Remove the paneer from the pan and tip in the cashews, stirring them for a minute or two till they’re a little toasted and browned.
Slice the mango into roughly even smallish pieces, and mix together with the cashews, the paneer, and the kale leaves. Drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle over a decent amount of salt, stir gently and there you have it: a salad.
This has that salty, oily, slightly sweet, sour, fresh, crunchy thing going on whereby it doesn’t look like much but when you start eating it you just want to shovel it into your mouth for eternity. If your mango is particularly ripe you might want to squeeze in a little lime juice but it really doesn’t require much.
Bringing me nonstop joy over the holiday season was the beautiful baby raptor of a cat that I was looking after for a friend: I mean.
look at him
I’m currently in the painful throes of looking for an apartment in town to move into when my current lease ends but a large part of me is like, what if I run to the hills and live alone with five hundred cats? There is no way that can’t end well? Look at his stupid happy little intelligent lion face though, honestly.
I am not entirely failing at the maelstrom of resolutions
that I set out for myself: I am eating vegetables, I am staying hydrated 2K16, I did drink some actual champagne. And I am going to be late for work if I don’t publish this and since having a literal dollar to my name is another of my resolutions and I have been hitherto too sleepy to write this, I shouldn’t overthink this moment and will leave you with a good selfie to provide you with bracing good cheer (she says, presumptuously…and yet accurately? And yet so
presumptuously. But not without reason!)
I got a long overdue fringe trim and the hairdresser used straighteners so I was briefly the shiniest.
Coco Solid feat Disasteradio, Slow Torture.
This queen! Everything Coco Solid does is gold and so unsurprisingly this song is lush and sexy and poppy and cool as hell.
Idina Menzel, See What I Wanna See
I haven’t listened to this LaChiusa musical in so, so long and it is electrifying. There’s not a lot of it online but if you have spotify you’re in luck. And Idina remains my idol for like, wow, the tenth or so year now.
next time: no salad, for the sake of variety alone.