A meal for me

Photo: the very brilliant
Cameron McNee

I choose my choice.

So often what I make is about pleasing others. Not in a ‘woe is me’ kind of way. More that one of the best things about cooking is putting something on a plate that will bring light to another person’s face.

But stuff that.

It was my birthday (though I’m dragging the festivities out for at least another week).

If it was for a festival of The Hungry One it would probably involve some sort of roasted pork or beef product, a black forrest cheesecake and a fridge full of Belgian wheat beers. 

If it was for my Mum it might involve a salad with char grilled octopus, a glass of straw-pale pinot grigio and a piece of rhubarb tart.

This year, this is what I chose.

It didn’t involve bangs or whistles but it was exactly what I felt like.Yes, it really was all about me.

To start:

A platter of charcuterie with pane con tomate. There was smoked leg ham, some jamon serrano, air dried venison and a good splodge of nduja ( a spreadable spicy paste, like the good stuff from the inside of a salami).

Tomato bread is a favourite of mine. Crispy toasted bread, rubbed with a garlic clove and slicked with a red gloss of skinned super ripe tomatoes, blitzed with garlic and olive oil. Add some wafting bits of cured meat  and a glass of wine. Cue the satisfaction.

For main:

I’m a mushroom kind of girl. And I’m a noodle kind of girl. I love how they’re both slippery and savoury. I love how mushrooms meld with cheese and garlic, butter and a lick of olive oil. The same goes for noodles. I love that you can get so many different types. What I don’t love is washing and brushing all of the dirt out of  foraged and slightly freaky mushrooms.  But sometimes, working for your food makes it taste a little sweeter.

To start there was a big pile of wild mushrooms, morels, oysters, even one very precious cep. There were some button mushrooms and portobellos to bulk it out. There was a handful of dried porcini which got reconstituted in some boiling water and made a stock.  The mushrooms got a tumble in a big pan with three cloves of diced garlic and a tablespoon of butter and olive oil. There were a few  sprigs of thyme that went in. Then when they’d browned and sucked up the oil I added the slippery porcinis and the stock.

The mess of mushrooms went over some over fat strands of fresh egg tagliatelle with a handful of parsley over the top. Above that was an embarrassment of grated parmesan.

For pudding:

Roasted banana souffles with passionfruit marscapone.

I’ll be honest. I’ve had better souffles. I’ve also made better souffles. I really should have prepped them more before I got stuck into the champagne.  In hindsight we may have been better off just eating the roast banana sweetened creme patisserie with a crowd of teaspoons.

But you can’t put a candle in a teaspoon of custard.

It doesn’t work so well in a souffle either- but that didn’t stop us trying.

So there we go. Simple, honest and good.

There were no fireworks on the plate- but luckily- there were some out the window which the Hungry One sweetly pretended were all for me. 

(Though I do realise there’s a small chance that Guy Fawkes night had something to do with them.)

  1. As long as you had a happy birthday that's all that matters!

  2. Love the SATC reference 🙂

    Looks like a stellar meal as befitting your foodie, and general, delightfulness.

Leave a comment


{ 2 Trackbacks }