I hope Devvers allows me the license to include one photo. Here’s food, not photos if you want to go for the text only experience!
Monday: Mushrooms, carrots and aubergines in a miso sauce with sesame seeds on rice. Socially distanced conversation with a friend in St. James’s Park. The grass tickled our legs. First sunset outside our home in many months.
Tuesday—the saint’s day for St John: My cousin declares “the good thing about masks is they hide a double chin”. A salad with endive, chickpeas, orange and dukkah. My fennel seedlings reach for the sky. It’s too hot to cook, let alone bake the Spanish sweet I wanted to make for St. John, a Coca de San Juan.
Wednesday: cocktails with Blu Hydrangea for Pride at work, via Zoom. It’s still very hot; we’re persistently sleepy all day. I make gazpacho with limited ingredients; I read out the ingredient list with delight. Devvers keeps asking if I’ve spiked it, like in the Almodóvar movie.
Thursday: we melted. Devvers goes to Bubbledogs to have a look at the new deli; inevitably comes back with grower champagne.
Friday: working from home at 32ºC+ is unbearably suffocating. There are no more windows left to open or fans left to run. We had a walk to cool down when we finished work. We saw an orphaned coffee machine in the street.
Our train of thought was mildly eccentric:
“Can we have the champagne?”
“Only if we have popcorn first”
Saturday: it rained overnight and it was cooler during the day, so I finally had the chance to make the Coca de San Juan and some sort of baked butternut squash kofte. We found two ladies having a picnic in our very urban doorstep, because evidently it’s the best place to set up shop in the whole of Fitzrovia. We tried out the Great Thai for dinner (take away, obvs).
Sunday: it rained again. It’s chilly today. Devvers invented a chicken and cardamom pilaf style rice cooked in the rice cooker. It was extremely satisfying.
In the quest for the most extravagant and spectacularly looking dishes, we often overlook the basics. What a shame!
So here’s one of them: bollit (in Valencian) or hervido (in Spanish). Which literally means… boiled!
This dish is extremely simple, consisting of boiling vegetables in salted water, and then having them with a bit of fat of your choosing. I know—it sounds “unappetising”, and it looks “ugly”, but it can be oh so comforting, especially when the weather is cold or if you’re feeling not so great and all you need is some simple food that doesn’t require extremely sophisticated skills to prepare.