Sometimes when you’re having people round for dinner, you find yourself planning an elaborate and expensive menu because you really really want to impress them. What that actually means is that you really really want them to like you. You think if you cook something absolutely mind-blowingingly complicated and sophisticated then your guests minds will be so befuddled and amazed that they will forget all your perceived shortcomings and will simply adore you for the rest of eternity. You even dream that they will forever refer to “that” meal as the benchmark against which all their future meals will have to be measured against.
Tag Archives: Tomatoes
When I mentioned last week on twitter that I was planning to make gnocchi from scratch for dinner I was met by a surprising reaction. Unbeknownst to me, gnocchi has gained the reputation of being a big fat ball-ache not worth attempting because it inevitably ends in total disaster. Just check out the response I received from the twitterverse when I happily tweeted that I was off to make gnocchi from scratch.
Well, it’s two days until I go to Italy and the salad diaries must come to an end – as we always knew they would. I’ve really enjoyed navigating this world of tomatoes, capers, herbs, leaves, pulses (and meat!) and I really hope you have too. I also hope that I’ve demonstrated that salad doesn’t have to be boring and it is as versatile as any other genre of cooking. The initial point of this series was to get my body bikini-ready. Well, I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve been overly successful in that stated aim, but the salads along the journey have been their own reward. I finish on the Italian classic, Panzanella, in tribute to my very imminent to departure therewith.
OK. A girl can’t live on salad alone. Sometimes you really just need a little bit of meat. On precisely day 3 of the salad diet, my desire for meat took over. I needed meat and I needed it now. now. NOW. However, the rational side of my brain paused for a second before emptying the contents of my freezer on a frying pan. Perhaps there was a way of combining meat with a salad, thereby meeting myself somewhere in the middle. The result was the chorizo and prosciutto salad. Now, no one is pretending that this salad is super healthy, but it is super tasty (because it’s got meat in it, yay!).
It’s twelve days until I go to Italy. Now being a girl, that translates to: it’s twelve days until I have to squeeze myself into a bikini and reveal my pasty and untoned body to the world. This is not good. No doubt this will result in a lot of huffing and puffing from many readers and I will admit that I am not proud of this reaction to what is unequivocally an exciting and delightful prospect, but it is an honest reaction. And, what’s more, it’s the reaction of a good proportion of the female population. What this boils down to is this fact: I have 12 days to do something practical about this worrying circumstance. Plan of action: gym and salads.
The other day I popped into Tesco (not my usual shop of choice) to pick up something quick for dinner. I had intended to go for something super lazy, perhaps even just opting for a can of baked beans for my jazzed up beans on toast (you’ve got to love baked beans). However, to my delight I noticed that they’ve started selling pick’n’mix tomatoes, which is an absolutely genius idea and one I hope Sainsbury’s will nick. As my husband utterly revels in anything tomatoey, I immediately resolved to abandon the lazy dinner I had planned and make him a special dinner treat of roasted mixed tomato risotto.
When I innocently tweeted recently that my chilli brings all the boys to the yard, I did not expect the Spanish inquisition. Congratulating myself on the pleasure of taking leftover chilli into work for lunch, my fervour was heightened when a girl in the office kitchen actually commented, whilst drooling, that my leftover chilli “smelt amazing”. I knew it did, but I self-deferrentially and demurely thanked her and went back to my desk to write a gloat-tweet. I had not foreseen that I would be called out on my wild claims.