Well, it’s been a long while. I’ve been stuck at home with poorly sinuses – a condition that’s been plaguing me for months and months now. I’ve chosen not to blog in that time for a few reasons: firstly, although not sensibly, when I am off sick from work I feel guilty about doing more or less anything fun, with the exception of reading. The applicable phrase is: ‘if you’re not well enough to go to work, you’re not well enough to (insert fun activity here)’. I know, it’s not as if blogging is a high impact activity, similar to base jumping, but the guilt remains nonetheless. Another, much more sensible reason, is that I haven’t been doing very much cooking – I’ve tried to eat well, and have a lot of fruit and veg to bolster my immune system and all that, but I just haven’t been in the mood to spend much time in the kitchen. I did make a few bits and pieces – most notably a re-run of chocolate cake garnished with fleur de sel and bacon cookies, but I have no documentary evidence. Incidentally, those two are separate things – I did not garnish a cake with bacon cookies. I’ll make the cookies again – they sound a bit weird but they are extremely moreish, so I’ll link up to the recipe when I’ve made them and taken a pic or two. I’ll definitely use fleur de sel again, too, especially since I have a whole jar of it now, thanks to my awesome sister who found it and posted it to me as part of a lovely ‘get well’ parcel. Other than that, I made soups, meat and two veg, food I’ve blogged about before – nothing especially note worthy. Finally, I’ve spent most of the last three weeks in bed or on the couch, playing internet Scrabble and feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want to blog because my days of telling the internet all about my woes with no sense of shame are long over, so I waited until I felt better. Now here I am, ready to keep my woes to myself and to tell the internet all about my near-insatiable gluttony (with no sense of shame).
Tonight I made a recipe as part of my monthly testing for Leite’s Culinaria – potato kibeh. I’d never heard of kibeh but the recipe described it as ‘the Arab equivalent of shepherd’s pie’. It sounded like exactly the kind of thing I would enjoy right now – quite easy to put together and comforting – but also something different from your standard mince and tatties (on a sandwich). The recipe is here and I couldn’t get enough of it, I really loved it. The mashed potato with white pepper and nutmeg was particularly good, and would make a good accompaniment to haggis; in fact, I think this whole dish would be nice if you replaced the meat layer with a haggis layer – homemade, naturally – and added some neeps in there somehow. I’m wondering about thin turnip slices, like aubergine is done in moussaka. Could be something different for Burns’ night.
I have taken a series of pictures of the construction of the kibeh, through which you can also see the ebbing of the daylight. It didn’t take long to put together, especially since I had made the mashed potato the night before. I’d meant to make the whole thing the night before but the pine nuts I had in the cupboard tasted wrong, as if they were mouldy, so I threw them out and got some fresh ones on the way home tonight. Glad I tasted them before I put them in the mince, I could have given this recipe a terrible review all because of mouldy pine nuts. Er… that sounds weird. Like an insult. Who’re you callin’ mouldy pine nuts?
I’ll keep this post short, its main purpose is really just to get me into the swing of things again, and it’s already later than my planned bedtime – how easily that happens when the internet is involved.
I have another couple of recipes to test for LC this month, so I’m looking forward to trying those and blogging about them, if either are good. It’s also another birthday this weekend so there could be another Year of the Cake situation on the horizon. I’m keen to get a really excellent dark chocolate cake recipe to apply fleur de sel to, as well, so I’ll start a bit of a hunt for that. I *also* have a list of food ideas that I came up with while languishing with what felt like Martian death flu – the tarragon syrup I mentioned previously is one of them, but I also riffed on the idea of adding poppy seeds to things, and also had a think about flavoured pastry. I don’t have much experience as a pastry chef, so my attempts in that field could be particularly disastrous, so stay tuned…