Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dogs etc.

JESUS, I woke up with a filthy cold, I'd be furious about it if I even had the energy. What the hell. I haven't had more than two non-sick days in about six weeks, I don't know if it's because I gave up my previous regimen of vitamins/snake oil/hippie dust in disgust when I got the flu despite them all, or because all the evil within me is coming out or just dumb luck but this has been my worst winter in living memory, healthwise and if they ever find out that Lemsip Max is really bad for you I am screwed.

Anyway, it is Crufts, of which I probably should disapprove but love and, look, here is the majestic Eric, my hero of last year, winning his group tonight:

Hurrah! All hail the mighty Eric (named for Eric Cantona, show name Ch Yakee Ooh Aah Cantona)

"He's basically a hairy slug," said my son in tones of approving wonder.

We were also amused tonight to hear a dog on Crufts (the schipperke, fact fans) being described thus:

"it emerged from the Belgian canals"

which made it sound like it had evolved from the Belgian canals, dragging itself out of the primordial slime/shopping trolley infested murk of the Bruxelles-Charleroi, shedding its gills as it went, to emerge triumphant if probably quite smelly onto dry land. There is one of these dogs, daft looking thing, that is often in the park in the mornings and now I know it marks a Belgian evolutionary watershed, I will view it with new respect. Possibly.

Less pleasantly the children spent much of the "utility group" (a gross misnomer) judging session evaluating which dogs had bigger jowls/wattle than me. The answer was basically none, not even the shar pei. The runner up of the "utility" group was a doge called Leonardo Dicaprio.

Given you were all so helpful with the whole easy food for book club scenario I am going to try you with another. We are having some people (two, nice, ordinary, not judgey) round for lunch on Sunday and I must make lunch but the problem is the last time they came I totally fucked up with a stupid stupid Jamie Oliver recipe for mac and cheese which ended up basically making dried bricks of claggy pasta. How can I redeem myself? I was wondering about this though probably with something other than orzo because what the hell, why and I would probably just serve the yoghurt in a bowl on the side. Also, I wouldn't heat the oven to 1800°C because I don't have an industrial kiln, just a basic Electrolux. Any major pitfalls I may have missed? Any better ideas? NB: they are French, it must contain ANIMALS.

50% Self-pity
50% Snot



Sonya said...

I am boring and would probably go with beef bourguignon because you cannot screw up the timing. Too long? Just add more wine. Need to thicken, ditto flour. That lamb does look good though. There is also a Jamie Oliver recipe (I know) for Moroccan lamb chops that I've had good success with:

May the cooking gods be with you.

blackbird said...

Fritatta? With ham and cheese and a salad?
Feel better soon!

Jo said...

Nigella's Chicken and chorizo traybake is very good ., sreve with a green salad,yum.

Daphne said...

Quiche (cheese + ham + maybe asparagus) made with store-bought crust (if you can, to lessen the risk of brick-like substance) plus a crispy green salad with vinaigrette + pretty wine = instant great lunch.

Madeleine said...

this is my go-to orzo recipe:

Anonymous said...

Nigella's One-Pan Sage and Onion Chicken and Sausages: Never fails to taste, look and smell fabulous (bake it at 190C, not 220C, and it's perfect). I had the same nightmare cold/flu thing two years running. Turns out I had a severe Vitamin D deficiency - haven't had so much as a sniffle since my doctor put me on Vitamin D supplements. It's worth having a blood test to find out. Good luck, hope you're better soon, Michele.

Anonymous said...

OH NO! The cold you get after having had the flu? Get ready for 18 days if Hell.

Ask me how I know.

PS: cold medicine really does nothing. Nothing at all.

On a happier note, your daily writing is a pleasant antidote to cold-rage.

cruella said...

My staple that is both food and salad: roast potatoes, carrots and beetroot in pan. Meanwhile fry chunks of chicken fillet with och without garlic, herbs and stuff. Or fresh salmon cubes. Serve on fresh spinach and/or other pretty green leaves. Good vinaigrette thickened with yoghurt on the side. Sprinkle with roasted sunflower seeds, hazel nuts or whatever.

Seriously a favourite in this house, easy and quick. Bread and cheese and wine to go with.

Anonymous said...

Get well soon, dear Waffle!! I second the Vitamin D test recommendation, low Vitamin D definitely affects immunity.

I made chickpea falafels yesterday and they were easy and tasted great. Didn't really use a recipe, I just soaked dried chickpeas for about 6 hours in a bowl (500g made about 20/25, which is probably OK for a small group of people) and then drained them, tipped them into the food processor with a chopped onion and a generous amount of spices (I used cumin, curry powder, black pepper and salt but there are several variations, just make sure it's not bland). Then I added a bit of olive oil and a shaking of cornflour and blended the mixture for a bit longer. At that point you can return everything to the bowl and let it stand in the fridge for a while if you have time, because it means they'll be less prone to breaking when cooking. Then it's just a matter of making little balls or burgers, whatever size you prefer, and cooking on the pan or in the oven. They also keep very well for a couple of days and are perfect for kids' lunch-boxes.
Serve with natural yoghurt, hummus, tzatziki or any other fresh dip you prefer and a huge big salad. I used up the last of my veggie drawer, frying up slivers of onion and aubergine to go with mixed leaves and a chopped orange, but literally anything goes for salad, the wilder the concoction the better. Actually some instant couscous would also be a winner. This doesn't really help much because I've just noticed you said lunch had to include meat. Maybe some grilled chicken breasts, can't really go wrong there?

cruella said...

Great falafel recipe and serving idea, Anon, thanks!!

Annie Gray said...

Sausage and chestnut stew (inevitably a Victorian recipe, 1851 I think). You can bung cabbage in to be more classically Belge....just fry loads of sausages (or chair à saucisse) in butter, chuck in a load of pre-cooked chestnuts, plus madeira or sherry or whatever, some white stock/fonds de veau, cayenne, simmer for 45mn, or 1hr if you add a (chopped up, green, savoy or whatever cabbage). Check it doesn't run out of water, add a shit load of parsley and some cream or crème fraiche at the end. Don't need to serve owt with it and it is easy and looks after itself. You can simmer it in the oven instead. It's nice with beer. It's also nice with wine. I can give you the actual recipe, but it's fairly vague.

BadBride said...

If you want the easiest yet most impressive lunch ever make Smitten Kitchen's Chicken Pho. Its so, so stupidly easy you cannot fuck it up, even if you are watching The Good Wife, shouting at family members and trying to do some work, all while making it, and the act of assembling one's own soup from little bowls of herbs etc. is charming and fun. Honestly its become my default entertaining dish.

Waffle said...

BadBride - Wow, this is quite the recommendation for a dish. I need it in my life.

annette said...

I'm probably too late and anyway that lamb ragu with yoghurt looks fab (another blog I'm going to have to follow), but just in case you haven't decided, there's Felicity Cloake's "perfect" chicken tagine: I made it recently and everyone loved it.

Nimble said...

Chicken soup is definitely called for. And pho if you can get some herbs and beansprouts for add-ins is pretty. But slurping will be involved, are you ready for that?

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