Self isolation, week 7: Persian-fusion, and Devvers is on a ROLL

One of my favourite things from this week is, without a doubt, Devvers’ fabulous inventiveness with all these random groceries that have been delivered to us in “Surprise boxes”. We’ve been eating delicious dishes that I would not have thought of eating with those ingredients, it’s great!

We’ve also been channeling our inner Persian, which is fabulous as well, and makes us think of our Iranian friends and the magnificent feasts they host at their house. We miss them 🤗

Invention 1: stir fried rice with cabbage, spring onions and egg

Stir fried rice with cabbage, spring onions and egg
Stir fried rice with cabbage, spring onions and egg

My contribution to this dish was to add one more cup of rice to the cooker when I was washing rice two days earlier 😅

It would have never occurred to me to slice cabbage AND stir fry it like this… and yet it works very well! The expert seasoning, chao fan style, made it even more scrumptious: Chinese five spice, soy sauce, a judicious dash of Lea & Perrins. I’ll either request this one soon, or add it to my bag of tricks 😏

Invention 2: asparagus with poached eggs on toast

Asparagus with poached eggs on toast
Asparagus with poached eggs on toast

Another fabulous idea from Devvers. Seriously, this was superb.

I will request this each time we get our hands on asparagus (and who knows when that’ll be next!).

Invention 3: Citrusy polenta cake

Citrusy polenta cake with crème fraîche
Citrusy polenta cake with crème fraîche

When life delivers you fruit and vegetable boxes with plenty of lemons and oranges you… make polenta cakes. Or, more exactly, Devvers does (following a recipe from Nigella). And I eat them.

A great birthday cake!

Invention 4: risotto with courgette and chicken

Risotto with courgette and chicken
Risotto with courgette and chicken

This used the stock I made with the chicken I roasted on Sunday, and the various chicken bits I scraped out from the carcass.

It was so comforting, like a stomach hug. If such a thing existed…

Invention 5: Salad with risotto and chicken

Salad with risotto and chicken
Salad with risotto and chicken

There was a bit of risotto leftovers, but not A LOT. So what do you do? You add lettuce to it, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar! And a bit of chicken breast.

Done!

Thai red tofu curry

Thai red tofu curry
Thai red tofu curry

Devvers came up with an idea to cook the aubergine that came in the delivery box and some random tofu in the fridge: a thai green curry!

Unfortunately, all the shops we went to had ran out of thai green paste, so Devvers decided to just buy the red one.

I was a bit afraid that it would be too fiery, but it turned out to be milder than I thought, and actually very soothing (maybe it’s just M&S’s paste being Mellow & Soothing 😜).

Meatballs + salad

Meatballs and salad

We ate the last meatballs from Saturday with a salad: lettuce, parsley, cucumber, tomato, avocado, pine nuts.

To make good on my promise of channeling my inner Persian, this also has pomegranate molasses. I expect the continued usage of pine nuts serves as a good transition between Persian and Spanish.

Orange and radicchio salad… AGAIN

Orange and radicchio salad
Orange and radicchio salad

You’ll be asking yourself how often can I have this style of salad? and the answer is VERY often!

We also added a sort of Greek cheese that I thought was halloumi style, but turned out to be more melty and cheesy.

Which brings me to…

Cheesetopia!

Cheese omelette and FOUR other cheeses
Cheese omelette and FOUR other cheeses… with covidkraut

At the beginning of the year Devvers asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year. I didn’t finish thinking about it, but I had a vague idea that I’d like to have a picnic.

Then… things happened.

But I was determined to treat myself to something nice, so I gifted myself a cheese selection from Neal’s Yard.

And then we were utterly, deliberately, gratuitously excessively had a cheese omelette WITH the four cheeses. And some COVIDKRAUT to cut into the cheesiness. For balance.

I felt like Wallace: cheese… cheese… cheeeese!

Cobb salad

Cobb salad
Cobb salad

Using the final leftovers from the chicken and various bits and pieces from the fridge… and the fabulous stichelton blue cheese from Neal’s Yard!

Tip: quickly re-frying the chicken so it’s not totally cold makes it yummier.

I put this together very quickly while listening to Ladytron’s Witching Hour on my earphones, in order to drone out a really untimely and lengthy “quiz” via Zoom with “some people” who clearly don’t use Zoom very often and are not aware of how beneficial using headphones is for avoiding echos. No, I’m not judging. I definitely I’m not (because I already did at the time) 😂

Thank you, Ladytron, for helping me keep my sanity 🙌🏼

Posh take-away from Roka

Takeaway from Roka
Takeaway from Roka

On Saturday Devvers suggested getting takeaway from Roka, because it would be nice to eat something we had not cooked, and also to help local restaurants not implode.

They just started doing this takeaway really recently and they don’t seem to have quite nailed timings yet—when we went to pick our order everything was a bit delayed and lots of delivery drivers were waiting as well.

It was a bit surreal to see the once fancy restaurant having been turned into a sort of ‘dark kitchen’.

But the food was very nice and I enjoyed it, maybe because it was not anything I’d cook at home, if only to avoid the deep-frying fuss. And it was certainly not the healthiest food we ate in the week! 😂

Which reminds me that we have also had a few takeaways from our favourite local Kazu before; if you’re in Fitzrovia you can call to order and arrange a pick-up time, or alternatively they’re also in Deliveroo. If you are missing good quality Japanese, do give them a ring!

Hoppy focaccia

We were running low on bread in the freezer, so it was time to bake some bread. This time, I went a bit wilder and punk, and decided to bake an entire loaf not only using my beer-started starter, but also using beer instead of water. A Brewdog Punk IPA to be precise.

The result is this mildly hoppy Focaccia. It smells great and tastes phenomenal!

I find it really interesting that the crust sort of tastes sweet despite not adding any sugar. I can only adventure it’s all the sugar in the beer getting caramelised in the surface, maybe.

Either way, I’m really pleased with this and I want to keep researching this idea; my grandmother used to bake cocas with beer and I wonder if that’s the secret ingredient that gave them that flavour.

Thrifty gin & tonic

Grapefruit g & t
Grapefruit G & T

I ate a grapefruit this morning and saved the peel for the G&T I intended to have whilst lunch finished cooking. With this, we finished our bottle of Jensen Old Tom Gin.

I had not been super-deliberately-thrifty this week, so I feel saving my grapefruit peel did the trick.

Persian dried lime, lamb and split pea stew with basmati rice (khoresh-e-gheymeh with chelo)

This was my second birthday lunch (perks of your birthday falling in the middle of the work week: you want to celebrate both on the previous and on the following Sunday), and I so enjoyed it.

Both the stew and the rice were really different from what I am used to: the rice is cooked in a very different manner to how we cook rice in Spain or how I’m used to seeing in other cuisines such as Japanese, but it was delicious, flavourful and perfectly cooked—not raw, and not exploded! And the stew had a really mysterious depth and flavour by virtue of using dried limes, which is an ingredient I had never seen before 👀

I wouldn’t mind having this one again #justsaying 😏

A perfect end of the week!

Musical note 🎶

This post has been written while listening to Ani Glass’s Dal i Droi, which means “Another Day” in Welsh, on a loop. Here for you to earworm yourself:

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