While it does sound a bit ridiculous to keep puréed, roasted butternut squash stashed in the freezer, it does come in handy at times. Like when your husband stumbles in, as he did last night, exhausted from a really tough day at work and needs some comfort food, stat, but you’d planned some healthy, crunchy, veggie wraps.
For various reasons, this week I’ve been thinking about female friendship, how we nurture and care for each other, and how we express our friendship through the things we make and do.
More on that another time, but it then got me remembering happy days in the mid-90s when two of my besties and I played house while at uni.
(When I say “played house”, I mean “covered a perfectly nice terraced house in a thick layer of charity-shop cardigans, budget lager cans, Kitkat wrappers and Eau d’Essay Crisis.)
But we shared food, cooked together, learned each others’ recipes and laughed a lot.
(Also there was that time when we fed the chaps’ – now husbands’ – Sunday roast dinner to someone else because they buggered off to the pub. Fair play to him, Ted’s been there for supper ever since.)
We had a chart on the wall listing things we liked, and things we didn’t, and top of the likes was chicken liver pâté – or CLP as it was known to us.
So I made this today to celebrate female friendship, and to remind myself of happy times with Pippa and Mary at 95 Marlborough Road.
The poor celeriac.
“I’m just fooling myself, she’ll never see me as anything… but a monster.”
He’s an ugly beast.
This soup turns him into a beauty, though.
I’d heard from Josh that a certain galactic princess had landed in Peckham while I was away. So on Tuesday, I hopped on
the Millennium Falcon a 37 bus to see.
*sniff* I miss Carrie. Her voice was unique.
So on Wednesday, I headed out east to meet a dear little friend.
Unbeknown to us, the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden had been invaded.
Hasn’t the weather been beautiful this week?
Ted and I decided to go out for lunch after our Friday swim. We were planning to head to Pop Brixton for a tasty something, but he’d spotted Barbacoa on Brixton Station Road on Thursday and his head was filled with thoughts of smoked, grilled chicken.
So if you heard there was a kind of street food that’s sweet, light as air, crispy and soft, *and* comes with fruit or chocolate, you’d be interested, right?
Of course you would.
Well, let me introduce you to Hiufu.
Hiufu is one of the sweetest and smartest people I know. She has a wicked sense of humour and great ideas, like, “We’re not at work today and it’s 4 in the afternoon, shall we have cocktails?”
It was super exciting to hear all about her idea for a Hong Kong style egg waffle food startup earlier this year.
And now it’s real!
So yesterday, Ted, Rachel and I headed over to Brick Lane to visit Hiufu and her brand-new egg waffle enterprise, Lub Lub London.
My consumption of tea rockets as soon as the temperature starts to fall. But the choice of black teas is very limited if you avoid caffeine – it’s basically builders or Earl Grey. This year, I’d been craving chai, but couldn’t find a decaf blend so decided to have a go at making it instead.
Cardamom is at the heart of most chais, for good reason: It’s incredibly fragrant, with a spiced, almost citrusy scent. The flavour can be overpowering, but when used with care, it’s gentle, soothing and quite heavenly.
Spiced chai is usually made by boiling it on the hob, which is delicious, but a bit of a faff. Then it struck me that using ground spices might work, too – and because they release their flavour more easily, perhaps a stew in the teapot is all it would take.
This is super easy and makes a fragrant and gentle spiced chai that’ll chase away the chills on even the coldest nights. The recipe below will make a small jar, enough for several pots of tea.
This is a hearty, warm autumn salad. The butternut squash caramelises gently and soothingly – its sweetness sets off the sharpness of the pomegranate dressing. Creaminess from the goats cheese and toasty crunch from the croutons and hazelnuts make for a midweek vegetarian supper that Ted will happily eat.
It’s always a bit pressured when a foodie friend comes to dinner, no?
I like to think we always eat well, and we *do* prioritize the tasty, but it’s these occasions where you really want your cooking to be on point.
Anyway, George was coming, so my mind was whirring. The weather had got colder, so the Vietnamese lemongrass chicken I’d planned would have to wait ’til next time.
We decided to stick with poultry, but add warming Indian spices.