Cuisine Fiend https://www.cuisinefiend.com

A bag of produce from the market cheers me up

Sun, 31 January, 2021

I’ve been having such mood swings recently I’m seriously wondering I might be faintly bipolar. The pessimist in me says I’m just old and menopausal; the optimist puts it down to pandemic and that lack of benchmarks in life I wrote about last week. Right: optimist and pessimist, now see what I mean?

There's more see-sawing: going to the weekly market makes it feel almost normal, except for those infuriating people who come up too close without a mask and speak right in your face. But a bag full of produce that I actually touched, smelled and picked up with my hands cheers me up. It’s all right shopping online for clothes and flour but it’s totally rubbish when it comes to fruit and vegetables. And yes, I am fortunate being able to get online delivery, but hey, one fewer person breathing out in the supermarket. Mood swings, eh?

Food helps. Cooking helps and it keeps me sane and stable-ish. I am currently rediscovering my old forgotten recipes and updating them, both for dinners and here on the website. Sea bass with spinach for instance is a genius (if I say so myself) way of cooking the fish fillets, avoiding overcooking and with one of five in the same dish. Pigeon breast, pan fried and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds? Fabulous, for lunch or for dinner when bulked out with a few smashed roasties.

Vegetarian options: aubergine parmigiana, my all-time favourite veggie dish. You can play on the theme with a cauliflower. Or swing towards pasta comfort: tomato and aubergine pasta bake is what I’ll be having for dins tomorrow.

Recipes for when you’re bored: veal negimaki perhaps? Or seaside stuffed mackerel (samphire still available on my fishmonger’s stall). If you’re a big meat-eater, there’s porchetta. If you’re a medium meat-eater, there’s twice cooked pork with mushrooms. With a side of spring cabbage salad or old-fashioned remoulade.

Cake baking is the best sanity saviour and boredom fighter. Try St Louis gooey butter cake if you’re yeast conversant; otherwise I recommend orange ciambella, Italian doughnut cake which they serve for breakfast because why the hell not.

Until next week, stay safe and sane. I hope to as well!