Too many times I go about creating some long-winded, complex creation with the intention of blogging all about it only to find I either a) cannot remember what the ingredients are, b) didn’t put the card in the camera, c) cannot even remember what it was that I created. So for this post I kept it simple – Salmon and Pesto Parcels. It takes about 10 minutes to put together, 20 minutes to cook and about 5 minutes to eat.
I often find myself banging my head against a brick wall. Not for any specific reason, I just enjoy the searing pain that racks through my brain.
No, not really, but it can be a bit painful trying to come up with the next culinary creation. What’s the food blogger’s equivalent of writer’s block? Constipation? Maybe.
So when I happened upon Aubergine Pasta Pie, I knew it had to be attempted (It’s called ‘Pasta ‘ncasciata’, apparently, but that isn’t important right now).
So near where I work is one of the few remaining fishmongers south of London (at least it’s the only one I can think of). But in the 12 years I have frequented the area I had never stepped inside. The wife, being that rare breed (a pescetarian), this week asked for, no demanded, a fish creation.
So, sick of salmon from Tesco, and prawns from Sainsbury’s, I dragged my sorry arse out of the office and set off, with high hopes, to the nearby fishmongers.
The window was stuffed with gigantic prawns that looked like lobsters, and lobsters that looked like…well whatever the next size up from a lobster is. Large slabs of cod and what looked like a whole side of tuna (although it was shrinked wrapped).
So I gamboled in and…
As regular readers of this increasingly irregular blog might be aware, one of the vague (and I do mean vague) drivers of the content (sorry I am getting my business-speak mixed up with my normal-speak) is that the creations that are blogged should be original, if possible.
That is to say, I try not to post one-hundred ways to cook a steak (which BTW I fail at miserably – how many times have I cooked and photographed a half-cooked fillet steak…more times than grandma. Which was none, she didn’t have a camera).
Thus I am always on the lookout for something new and different. The internet is generally rubbish for new and different recipes – many of the food related sites you can find never really get updated, often regurgitating the same thing over again (BBC Good Food – you know who you are). In fact blogs are about the best source of food innovation and inspiration, but who wants to copy another blogger unless it’s absolutely essential (reference my Angry Bird’s Cake).
So when the wife (always the wife) suggested gnocchi, I jumped, nay limped, at the chance.
I have been following with interest these past few month Diane’s Kitchen Table, where the host of that blog has been undergoing a major kitchen refit. The results are spectacular to say the least. Wondering what was going to be created in this new space, I was informed that lobster risotto has already been completed.
Now in that part of the world lobster risotto might be an everyday dish; over here most people don’t even know what a lobster looks like (I know however that it is not supposed to look like the strange squashed frozen thing shrink-wrapped into a tube we Brits can find in the back of the freezer at the local supermarket).
And this got me thinking about what is common-as-chips or totally acceptable in one part of the world is completely outlandish and bizarre in another.
Take Sannakji for example, a dish I read about on a blog (sorry I cannot remember which one). It’s a Korean delicacy comprising octopus, sesame seeds and oil. Not bad if you like that sort of thing – straightforward, simple food. Except for one important feature. The octopus is still alive.
Yes that’s right. They chop it up, splash some oil on it and serve it with the tentacles still squirming around on the plate as you pop a yummy morsel in your mouth.
But here is the best bit. You have to watch how you eat it. Because the suckers on the tentacles are still working. People are known to have died because the suckers have attached themselves to the inside of the diner’s throat and choked them to death. Mother didn’t tell you to chew your food because she liked the sound of her own voice you know. She had a point.
Seriously ridiculous way to kill yourself. Better off sticking with chicken-based creations like this easy-peasy chilli dish. Mexican Chipotle Chicken Stew benefits from a smoky chipotle paste. Chicken is altogether less likely to wake up and nip you on the tongue than an octopus (although I am aware of the fact that chickens can run around the yard after their heads have been cut off). Seems a bit late to kick off about being beheaded though.