Guardian Girl

Wednesday 29 July

Posted in Fashion, Recipes, The Measure by guardiangirl on July 30, 2009

I got another quite nice outfit! And I plaited my hair just like the lady in the picture and felt a bit like Maid Marian, if Maid Marian wore sequinned tops and bad foundation. The plait wasn’t really like the picture actually, because I can’t do a french plait on myself very easily, but especially not one of those herringbone ones where the plait sits along the top of the head like a sausage. Are you with me?

Grey

Grey

 

Greyish

Greyish

I bought the ingredients for the evening’s meal, ricotta hotcakes, and rushed home in time for the arrival of long-suffering conspirators Adam and Thomas, who had yet to discover that in return for a few bits of fried cheese and two-thirds of a bottle of leftover vermouth, they’d be helping me highlight my hair in order to join the blonette ranks.

First I cooked the food so we could work the Trevor Sorbie magic on a full stomach. I don’t know why I still have a deep-seated mistrust of these recipes but I do, and I assumed these hotcakes were going to be a disaster. I guess that’s because they looked like they involved precision. Pancake ingredients usually need measuring, and then you have to get the pan the right heat and so on. But in fact, even with my gung-ho attitude, they turned out great and Tom gave them “ten – no, nine-and-a-half – no, ten” out of ten. I didn’t separate the eggs as the recipe said, I just bunged them in. I also used sunblush tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes cos tom and I both have a hatred of the spawn of Satan, as I usually call them. Nasty, malicious, foul-tasting little bombs of crunchy mucous.

I served them with all the things Yotam suggested, including a jar of aubergine stuff from the posh foods section of Sainsbury’s (which had run out of the ‘exotic vegetable’ fresh aubergine) mixed with a massive tub of creme fraiche (just imagine the accents on those words so I don’t have to put them in), some raw garlic and lemon juice.

It was a fine meal and it looked almost as it was supposed to.

Ricotta hotcakes

Ricotta hotcakes

 

Ricotta charredcakes

Ricotta charredcakes

 

They look like chicken fillets but they were the genuine article.

Next we downed a load of vermouth on the rocks and turned to the task of hair bleaching, for which I changed into the sort of braless old baggy, stained tshirt only your best friends must ever witness.

I wet and combed my hair carefully and by then was already bored, so Adam mixed up the bleach while I sat around making ape noises. Then the lads pointed at sections of hair, on to which I daubed the highlighting paste with the enclosed mascara brush thing. What a rubbish tool that was. It just got tangled in my unkempt hair,  so I discarded it and used my fingers instead. This was a task that deserved my full attention but didn’t receive it, and as a result I now have a stripy, red-slashed head of hair, but no matter, we all agreed it looked OK anyway. I don’t much care what happens to my barnet as long as it minds its own business and lets me get on with mine.

However, blonette it is not. There are a few yellow bits around my lugholes – they’ll have to do. Do I look like Gisele? Nah, but I don’t really want to anyway, she must find it hard to make friends and stuff.

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on July 15, 2009

I hobbled into Sainsbury’s last night. Why was I hobbling? a) I’d walked 11 miles that day b) I had my toes crossed. Why did I have my toes crossed? a) Because just crossing my fingers that there’d be no raw beetroot in Sainsbury’s and I’d have to buy ready cooked wasn’t enough. I was buying the ingredients for Yotam Ottolenghi’s beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish. Luckily my crossing worked and I bought four packets of the shrink-wrapped, boiled stuff.

Arriving home I switched the radio on, famished after the usual long and Forrest Gump-inspired day, and had a proper look at the recipe. I’d thought it was a salad (relish executed with my minimal chopping style) and that it would take minutes to throw together but alas, the recipe called for blackening peppers and reducing tomatoes. I was sorely tempted to be properly lazy, just chop everything up, put it in a bowl, take a quick snap and get to work on the eating bit, but I felt this was excessive cheating – plus I’ve done the pepper-grilling trick before and it makes them so much nicer. I used more fresh herbs than the recipe called for because I didn’t want to freeze the remainder in little bits. This worked out nice. I can never find preserved lemons but I used the juice from the fruit I zested into pastry a few days ago – industrious huh.

As I began toiling over the hot grill, a show came on my favourite station Resonance FM in which two people blew up 99 balloons, intermittently reading balloon-related facts, over a background soundtrack of 99 Luftballons by Nena, slowed down to last an hour. The effect, when combined with a large dish of beetroot, was a bit round and red but the tie-in was pleasing.

Anyway, back to the salad. It tasted very pleasant. By now I’d completely dispensed with the idea of it being a relish, though.

As well as the main dish, YO suggested frying the beet tops with creme fraiche, oilve oil, caraway seeds and garlic. Obviously I didn’t have any beet tops so instead I simply fried the flavourings, including garlic sliced and crisped in the oil like onion bits from the Harvester, stirred in the creme fraiche and ate it like a heart attack soup while I waited for my peppers to char. I feel slightly embarrassed by this and mention it only because it was very tasty and would make a nice dip. Maybe for radishes, to keep with the theme.

I froze the salad I couldn’t eat (whether this will work is a concern for the day it comes out of, not goes into, the freezer), proudly putting it next to the previous day’s remaining raspberry tarts. One day I’ll be receiving guests and will be able to casually defrost beetroot relish (I’ll revert to its proper, more exotic title especially for the occasion) and fruit tart for dessert. They won’t even notice the ring around the bath.

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish

Beetroot, yogurt and preserved lemon relish

 

Beetroot and yoghurt salad

Beetroot and yoghurt salad

 

Mine looks like a dish of kidneys.

Conclusions:

  • It would be really helpful if these recipes included one bunch of something rather than four heaped tablespoons of something, but that’s what freezers are for
  • Even in Yotam’s picture, ‘relish’ is pushing it a bit. It’s a salad isn’t it? You can have whole sweetcorn kernels in a relish but beetroot halves is borderline petulance