Self isolation, week 8: the known classics, the new classics

We resorted to two types of ‘classics’ this week:

  1. the known classics: the dishes we like and who never disappoint
  2. the new classics: classic dishes we’ve eaten in restaurants, but not made ourselves before

It was a really good break from the extremely anxiety inducing messaging coming from the pinnacle of ineptitude hanging out in number 10…

🙄 *collective eye roll* 🙄

In other news, the local shops seem to have gone back to pre-lockdown and pre-stockpiling stock levels. They even had eggs! And toilet paper! But it is still very stressful to go to the shops.

My Monday breakfast was luxurious: orange juice from the juicing box I self-gifted myself; hoppy focaccia with scrumptious extra virgin organic olive oil that I got from L’Alqueria, a little natural reserve near Serra de Mariola (via crowdfarming). And v60 coffee 😋

My other self-gift was an order from Lina Stores, the legendary Soho deli. I got a bunch of beautiful things such as biscotti to make tiramisù, cheeses, sausages, dried pasta and… their mythical fresh pastas!

Nduja pasta
… and the pumpkin and spinach pasta 😍

We also had a couple of cabbages that came with the vegetable boxes delivered last week, but I didn’t feel like roasting or boiling them… And when I realised I had black olives, I remembered the vinegary salad I somehow came up with many years ago when I was a student.

You shred the cabbage and leave it to rest with salt and vinegar for a bit (we used red wine vinegar), before adding black chopped olives and some type of onion, then add olive oil, and correct for salt. The cabbage is crispy yet slightly tenderised by the salt+vinegar rest, the olives add the meatiness to the dish, and the onions a bit of piquancy, and all wrapped together with the olive oil… delicious!

Here is it, served with omelette and a selection from my Neil’s yard cheeses 🧀 … and a portion of the “Covid Kraut”! Who says you cannot have cabbage with cabbage? 😂

Devvers hadn’t tried this before but is now a convert! So much so, we had this again a couple of days later!

Another angle, because I couldn’t decide which picture was better
Bonus: a close up longitudinal cut of the cabbage.

A quick mid-week lunch: wok stir-fried vegetables, tofu and thin rice noodles. Courtesy of Devvers!

Another classic courtesy of Devvers: aubergine and pork on rice.

We had some extra passata from last weekend’s stew, so I decided to use it to make some sourdough pizzas. That way I could also refresh the starter—what’s not to like?

Unfortunately I got distracted while mixing the ingredients and I’m not sure I got the right proportions, so the dough was a bit too sticky and not as elastic as I’d prefer in order to roll it, etc. But the flavour was good—it had been developing all day!

Devvers also found a recipe for another classic: pistacchio and almond macaroons, and of course we had to try it! They get brittler when they cool down. We put them in our special biscuit tin, which Devvers has renamed as The Sin Tin.

Moving into the long week-end, we decided to inaugurate the first of the bottle(S) of vermouth that I bought from a really good wine shop in Spain, tendavins. Since we aren’t going to be able to visit Spain in a while, and our drink stock was running low, that was a sign to try out buying online (we normally buy in the physical shop). And then I realised that once you paid the minimum shipping costs, each extra bottle was just a little more on top. And that’s how you end up with a shipment containing 16 bottles 😂

I made a random selection of vermouths and wines from my area in Spain since there are lots of smallish producers creating interesting products, such as this vermouth which I hadn’t tried before, but which we enjoyed lots as our aperitif! It was sweet, but not too much, and nicely herby.

The town where this is produced is very small, having less than 5000 inhabitants. It feels good to support small operations like this, especially in these times.

Another classic: the tuna salad. My specialty!

Devvers’ classic: “Mezzi Paccheri” pasta with broccoli, some of the sausages I got in Lina Stores (but sliced), and some chilli oil for extra heat.

And then two disappointments, although I turned one into something more positive:

I made a big loaf of bread which turned out to be not totally to my standards (not quite risen, not quite developed, not quite cooked inside), and I also accidentally left my kefir grains out for way too long, so my ‘kefir’ actually almost became cheese…

… but I somehow managed to convert this last disaster into cheesy buns! Instead of throwing the ‘cheesy’, almost solid, kefir, I used it in place of whey in an adaptation of a whey loaf recipe from the Dan.

They work really well with savoury fillings such some butter and a slice of cheese!

More classics: ochazuke! We already had this one at the beginning of lockdown. Although now that we’re revisiting our trip to Japan last year, we have realised we need to work harder on our ochazuke skills!

We also had a classic “bangers and mash”, except the sausages were Italian so we should maybe call it “salsicce con purè”? But I had worked hard to shape the mash as some sort of shell, using a spatula, so I insisted on calling it “Oyster mash” even if there weren’t oysters in it… don’t ask 😂

Mash, sausages, and Covid Kraut

Finally, a classic we just learned how to make: Tiramisù, which is one of my favourite desserts of all the time!

It might not look very pretty, but it was full of flavour… and alcohol! (we agreed it was an adult version; I wouldn’t serve it to kids)

I will just say two things:

  1. it’s going to be hard to order this at restaurants now
  2. after I had a serving, I had to have a nap.

A dopo!

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