Sunday, February 21, 2010


I was all ready to write a long dirge wondering why I get the Sunday blues so badly when I haven't got a job and my life is pretty much one long moment waiting to take something out of the oven, interspersed with periods of wondering what it was I came upstairs for.

But then as I shuffled onto the blog to have a big moan, I saw that I've got 100 followers!!! This calls for some serious celebration, but I can't think what. Maybe I'll just get incredibly drunk this evening, starting in 8 minutes' time (it is 17.49, 18.00 being officially Booze Time in our house) for a) festivity and b) to forget my Sunday blues.

I was thinking a lot about steak today. Hugh FW wrote in the Guardian magazine yesterday about steak salad and it got me to thinking about why I never, ever cook steak. And I think it's because it feels a bit to me like cheating. Cooking a steak is a piece of piss. You just COOK it and then leave it for ten minutes and then eat it with salad. Fine, you can pour over 15 different kinds of sauces and blah blah but basically steak is nice and I don't need to do something creative with it. All things being equal, I'd just buy fillet steak all the time and serve it with very crunchy, salty, thin chips. I'm also so much of a po-faced, no-fun protestant that steak always seems to me magnificently profligate.

It's the same with pasta. Pasta is just delicious no matter what you do to it, so don't give me an interesting recipe for it, okay? Because when it comes to pasta, I don't need help.

This doesn't include, by the way, that recipe for posh mac and cheese because that's strictly - to my mind - a solution to a dinner party problem, rather than an interesting thing to do with pasta.

The recipes I really like are ones which take a 5 week-old stick of celery and the cheapest part of a chicken (gizzard) and turn it, with the help of a garlic clove, stock and some stale bread, into an interesting thing.

But then I saw Hugh FW's exotic-looking steak salad and thought that maybe I'm being too much of an inverse snob. The recipe was for a mango, coriander, chilli, avocado and steak salad, along with a marinade and a dressing, (which always look complicated but never are), and it got me thinking that that might actually be worth doing. I can't just serve ceviche as a starter forever. I need a new trick and this might be it. And anyway, 3 lumps of rump steak are probably cheaper than a whole lot of top-quality firm white fish, if we're going to be all Oliver Cromwell about it.

I haven't made it yet but when I do, I'll report back. I've got a good feeling about it.

Until then - congratulations to us on our centenary!!! Where's the bottle opener?

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