Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Theatre is over, work and cooking are on!

So I made it through to the end of my theatre week, and I'm back onto cooking, and lots and lots of work. I have to submit my thesis proposal next week, so I'm entirely focused on that (it's about Bill Clinton).

Dinner on Sunday night was partly cooked, partly from the freezer. The freezer part was mum's date and sherry chicken, which I think I've mentioned before. I love it. The sauce has lots of garlic in, nuts, dates and sherry, and it's really, really good. I decided couscous was the best thing to go with it, but I fancied doing something a bit different, so I defrosted some frozen spinach, which I cooked with lots of garlic and spices, then added the couscous to that. I had a corn cob in the fridge, so I cooked that, and took the kernels off, to mix in with the couscous. I did some green beans too - you can never have too many vegetables!

Then on Monday night I did some actual cooking! I had bought some reduced mackerel fillets during the week, so I defrosted a couple of those to grill. I wanted something interesting to go with them, so I found a recipe from Tom Norrington-Davies in Delicious Magazine for aubergine curry to go with mackerel:

Four large fresh mackerel, gutted
Two medium aubergine
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch corriander, with roots
1 red chilli
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
400g can toms or 2 large fresh toms peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2tsp ground cumin
Pinch saffron
2 heaped tsp Greek yog (not low fat)
Lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6
Season mackerel
Dice aubergines & cook in oven with some oil for about 25 mins, until tender
Then turn oven up to 240/fan 220/Gas 9
Separate corriander leaves and reserve
Chop stalks, chilli and garlic into a paste and cook over a low heat for about 10 mins
If using canned toms, drain in a colander and squeeze out excess juice
Add toms, paprika, cumin, saffrom & 200 ml water to pan and summer for about 2o mins, stirring occassionally
Add aubergine & some more water and cook for 10 mins

Meanwhile, make 2 or 3 diagonal slashes on one side of the mackerel and put on a baking tray in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the flesh comes off the bone with the back of a fork, rest for 10 minutes.

Put aubergine on a plate, then fish, then top with corriander and serve with lemon.

That recipe serves four, and obviously I was only making it for me, so I reduced it accordingly. I also found that the spice mix cooked faster than predicted. Plus, I added some ginger, as I had some, and left out the saffron, as I didn't have any. Oh and I didn't use yoghurt. And I had fillets not whole fish.. So I mostly followed the recipe! It was lovely though. Last night we had a really amazing formal dinner. It was our MCR (Middle Common Room, so all the graduate students in college) Summer Dinner, and we all got very dressed up for it. We had a group photo, then pimms in one of the prettiest gardens in college. Our starter was fillets of sea bass on a basil sauce with a cooked cherry tomato on top, served with white wine. The main was venison, in quite a peppery sauce, served on a potato rosti, with little silverskin onions, and mixed veg - including some asparagus, served with good red wine. Dessert was an amazingly rich chocolate pot, in a coffee cup, with a white foamy topping, with a chocolate dipped strawberry, served with college ruby port. Then we had our post-dessert savoury, which was a crouton of some kind, with blue cheese on the top. Pretty good dinner, really!

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