Tuesday dinner: Mackerel, cucumber, tomato, avocado, quinoa
Mackerel and cucumber salad. Simmer a mackerel fillet very very gently in Hugh F-W’s fish poaching liquid for 2-3 hours until it’s cooked and flavourful but still moist. Leave to cool, remove and discard the bones and skin, and pull the flesh into large flakes. Mix these flakes in a bowl with chopped cucumber, and dress with sushi vinegar.
Tomato and avocado salad. Peel and cube an avocado, and toss with freshly-squeezed lime juice. Add halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, season with celery salt, and toss again.
Quinoa with preserved lemons. Cook quinoa until done in vegetable stock, then drain, spread on a large plate, and leave to cool and dry. Mix in some chopped preserved lemons, some snipped garlic chives, and a few spoonfuls of liquid from the preserved lemon jar. Mix well and transfer to a bowl to serve.
(Spreading the quinoa on a plate before mixing in the other ingredients helps to stop it getting mushy.)
Wednesday dinner: Cucumber, tomatoes, noodles, rice
Sunday lunch: Artichokes, bread, carrots, chickpeas, cucumbers, edamame, peppers, rice
Buffet lunch for various friends.
Cucumber, edamame, and kelp salad. Scoop out and discard the seeds from a cucumber; cut the rest of it into chunks. Cook some edamame, take them out of the pods if they didn’t already come that way (I used frozen depodded ones). Mix with a packet of spicy kelp. Season with a little white vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar.
Chickpea, artichoke, and pepper salad. Mix cooked chickpeas with quartered artichoke hearts and chopped peppers; dress with olive oil vinaigrette.
Sweet and sour peppers. Slice peppers, fry in olive oil until very soft. Add balsamic vinegar, palm sugar, and a slosh of vegetable stock concentrate; cook down until the liquid becomes a thick glaze.
Vermicelli rice. Made with olive oil instead of butter.
Everything I cooked was vegan, though I did serve some non-vegan things (cheese, taramasalata, chicken wings) on the side. I also served various breads; black Lithuanian bread with cumin, Caribbean mongoose bread, Turkish bread (all these were bought within 5 minutes’ walk of my house).
Wednesday dinner: Pork, cucumber, greens, jellyfish, rice
Wednesday dinner: Eggs, tomatoes, courgettes, glass noodles, cucumber, rice
Ants climbing a tree. I used finely-chopped courgettes instead of the pork mince, since I didn’t have any mince on hand. If I’d been cooking for a vegetarian I’d also have used vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.
All served with jasmine rice done in the rice cooker.
Sunday dinner: chickpeas, spinach, mushrooms, radishes, cucumber, rice
Tonight’s menu changed dramatically as the number of guests expected waxed and waned. In the end, it was just me!
Spiced mushrooms. With mustard seed, tomato, and fresh coriander.
Radish and cucumber salad. Seasoned with salt and fresh lemon juice.
Basmati rice. Done in the rice cooker.
Sunday dinner: Jellyfish, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, eggs, noodles, rice
Chinese dinner tonight: a cold dish, two hot dishes, and jasmine rice done in the rice cooker.
Jellyfish salad with chicken and cucumber. I poached an entire chicken earlier in the day, then froze some of the cooked meat, used some for this dish, and left some in the fridge to use later in the week.
Tomato and mung bean noodle casserole. I used canned tomatoes.
Saturday supper: Salmon, cucumber, double cream
I had a late lunch and then an afternoon snack (both provided by the Bermondsey Brazilian Shop), so I didn’t have a proper dinner tonight. Instead I had a late-night supper of salmon tartare, following Anthony Demetre’s mackerel tartare recipe.
The tartare is flavoured with ginger, capers, citrus, and parsley, and it’s served with a honeyed cucumber pickle and some lime-zest-scented whipped cream. I had it on Jacob’s cream crackers with a glass of gewürztraminer. It was pretty good — I must try it with actual mackerel some time.
Saturday dinner: Chicken, beef, tripe, jellyfish, cucumber, morning glory, winter melon, rice
Quite a feast tonight. I served the leftovers of the cold dishes from yesterday, plus stir-fried morning glory with fermented beancurd and winter melon soup.
The soup was made with the broth left over from braising yesterday’s beef, which in turn was made with a stock that started out as the water I poached yesterday’s chicken in, simmered slowly for several hours with some blanched pork bones. So the broth was flavoured with three meats plus spices such as star anise, ginger, etc. It was very tasty. The soup was a simple one; I just simmered the cubed winter melon in the broth until it was cooked (about half an hour).
Friday dinner: Chicken, beef, tripe, jellyfish, cucumber, rice
Three Chinese cold dishes tonight, plus rice done in the rice cooker. Yes, this is quite a lot of meat, but I needed to try out some dishes for the blog…
口水雞 (mouthwatering chicken). Chicken in a savoury soy-and-vinegar sauce with Sichuan pepper and fresh coriander.
夫妻肺片 (married couple’s lung slices). No actual lung, but sliced beef and tripe braised in an aromatic broth then dressed with chilli oil.
涼拌海蜇 (jellyfish salad). Shredded jellyfish, chicken, and cucumber in a soy-and-vinegar sauce with sesame oil and spring onion. The chicken was breasts from the whole chicken I poached for the 口水雞 (I used the leg meat in that).