I love working near a market. I can slink off after an early shift, get in for the early evening after the rabble have cleared, and proceed to get myself whatever good stuff is still hanging around for dinner.
I like Francis Mallmann’s style of cooking. The Argentine cook – who is featured in the brilliant new Netflix series Chef’s Table – likes fire and smoke. He likes things burned – not black and acrid – just well caramelised. Extreme Maillardification, if you want.
I grew up in Cornwall and – when the weather very occasionally decided to play ball – me and my friends would go camping on a beach and cook over fire. I remember cooking steak on a huge sheet of slate and then using the embers to roast bananas in their skin.
I was bedridden with some sort of wretched stomach bug for most of yesterday but when I finally got a bit of appetite back, I ate some seared salmon with a few crushed new potatoes, some aioli and a couple of small, singed flatbreads I made in the day.
The drab brown block of flats which I live in at an exorbitant price do come with one advantage: a – sigh – artisan bakery within 30 seconds walk. In the evening, you can pick up a big, freshly-made sourdough loaf for a couple of quid. That’s what I did last night.
Today, I had the burning desire to make rarebit: If lunchtime snacks were the horses of Middle-Earth, this would be Shadowfax.
Anyway, I have a pot of eat17’s chorizo jam in the fridge and thought I’d do something a little continental. So, for lack of a real name, here’s Spanish Rarebit.
I am a hungry guy. I eat constantly, I eat late a lot of the time, and yet every day I wake up ravenous. Not just peckish-hungry but full-blown stomach-grumbles-and-pain sort of hungry. If I wake up late for work and wolf down a slice of toast, I’ll find myself lethargic and grumpy until lunch (or second breakfast). The best way of avoiding hangriness (it’s a word, language is fluid, it’s my blog, shut up) is to fill up on a big bowl of oats.
Life without breakfast is miserable. Get up a little earlier, make this, frown less.
Sorry I’ve been away for so long. Had a marathon and an election and a birthday and a holiday to deal with. Hard life.
Anyway, last night my friend decided to throw an impromptu meal for five of us. He made pie. I said I’d make dessert, thinking I had about six or seven good go-to recipes. Then I remembered that one of the five can’t eat gluten. So that was those ideas out of the window. I only had a few hours so decided on a slightly fiddled-with Ramsay recipe I watched on TV ages ago. It went down a treat, it was pretty easy… and JUST LOOK AT IT.