[VERY BELATED POST] Pseudo-isolation, week 17: everything is weird (and quiet)

Note: this post was written almost a year ago, in July 2020! It had been sitting on my drafts for some reason, and it’s a pity because it has some cool stuff we did last year! So out it goes!

Feel free to imagine it is preceded by a whiff of naphtalene or something 😂

This week we went to two (!) restaurants and a pub and it was all weird and quiet. We also ran out of milk but made porridge anyway. And Devvers made Spanish sweets following a Valencian recipe again!

We still can’t walk without the persistent feeling that everyone is going to give us the virus, and many things are still closed, although at least the supermarkets around us are relatively well stocked nowadays.

We seem to keep doing things that we’ve already been doing, such as baking stuff…

Devvers made rollitos de anís, and rollitos de coco… nut rum, with coconut. The stuff of dreams! And again following a recipe in Valencian!

Coconut and rum rollitos
Coconut and rum rollitos

We were about to make porridge when we realised we had ran out of milk. But these oats are quite creamy so we went ahead and made the porridge anyway! I added a pinch of salt and also whipped tahini into a cream, and of course added dukkah to it. And some London Honey Co honey (and cinnamon—can’t have porridge without cinnamon). It worked!

Dairy free porridge - with dukkah, honey and tahini
Dairy free porridge – with dukkah, honey and tahini

I also made an “Indian style” cabbage, with paneer, coconut, etc. It was quite spicy but we survived!

"Indian style" cabbage, with paneer
“Indian style” cabbage, with paneer

We went to two restaurants this week-end. The madness!

Our first dine-out experience in I-don’t-even-know-how-many-months was at Kazu. We have been getting take-aways from there regularly, but many items weren’t in the menu and I’ve been thinking about their agedashi tofu for the last months. For all of the last months. Every single time we ordered take-away I had this hope that the item would be put in the menu, to no avail.

And finally I had it… in front of me… the agedashi tofu!

Agedashi tofu and hijiki salad at Kazu
Agedashi tofu and hijiki salad at Kazu

The tofu steak wasn’t in the take-away menu either. This was all phenomenal!

Tofu steak at Kazu
Tofu steak at Kazu

It’s hard to keep the fried coating in these items fresh and crispy as you package them to take-away. Just the steam from themselves would possibly soften them and become a mushy sad layer as it is transported to its final destination.

We spontaneously went to the Fitzroy Tavern on Saturday.

The second restaurant we went to was Barrafina, which was famously known for not having a booking system. Except now they do, so you don’t have to do a stupid queue on the door!

I hope this catches on and it becomes the golden age of restaurant visiting, where restaurants become civilised places again and you can book and turn up at the restaurant at the agreed time, like civilised people.

I always feel weird about going to Spanish restaurants because I never know what to speak to staff and they also feel weird to suddenly speak Spanish when they had just been reading out the menu in English and their brain was in English and… But I like to eat food that I would not eat at home because it’s a hassle to prepare and/or source.

First we had Spanish crack, i.e. marcona almonds, with a glass of sherry (the exception to the rule, as we would probably have this at home).

Almonds at Barrafina
Almonds at Barrafina

Then came the croquetas. And Devvers started slicing them and letting the contents pour out and describe it as “croqueta porn” and perhaps this should be a trend as well.

Croqueta de Jamón at Barrafina
Croqueta de Jamón at Barrafina
Croqueta de piquillo at Barrafina
Croqueta de piquillo at Barrafina

The veal shank was spicy (due to the mojo verde I suppose) and rich and deep.

Veal shank at Barrafina
Veal shank at Barrafina

The courgette flower was stuffed with a cream of goat cheese and then fried and decorated with honey. Which makes it another addictive combination, or Spanish crack.

Courgette flower at Barrafina
Courgette flower at Barrafina

We couldn’t agree on which dessert to have so we had two. The torrija was the fried bread style (unlike Sevillian style in which it is drenched, absolutely suffocated in honey), with strawberry ice-cream and the other cream was… dulce de leche I think? It was quite citrusy as well. It was good but also very unlike the utilitarian torrijas we make back home.

Torrija with ice cream at Barrafina
Torrija with ice cream at Barrafina

The other dessert was a very fancy crema catalana in which the cream had vanilla on it! The caramel on top had the right amount of thickness (some places either make it so thin as to dissolve with the cream, or so thick you can’t crack it with the spoon). Well executed!

Crema catalana at Barrafina
Crema catalana at Barrafina

We then walked a bit around Soho—it has sort of mutated into an ‘al fresco dining’ area which I’m pleased with, but it is still quite puzzling to see this metamorphosis happen so quickly when barely a month ago it was a ghost town.

Al fresco dining in Soho
Al fresco dining in Soho

I also noticed this “Runway East” space for the first time, but I initially read it quickly and thought it said “Runaway Yeast” and it was a bakery of sorts. I’m a bit disappointed it isn’t…

A sign that almost reads like "Runaway yeast"
A sign that almost reads like “Runaway yeast”

In other news, my only surviving fenugreek seedling seems to have decided to go for it, and it is growing like the time is running out! I have no idea what it is going to end up doing!

Fenugreek is out of control
Fenugreek is out of control

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