This is the low point at which we are supposed to cheer ourselves up with hearty food of the oh-so-British rib-sticking variety: suet dumplings, rich meat pies and sticky puddings. Yet right now, pale, heavy food couldn’t appeal less. It’s not the smothering hug of comfort food I want but a culinary slap across the face.
From an eating point of view (what other could there be?) this means bright food to kick-start the senses and pierce the general February greyness. Green-leaved oranges heavy with juice; horseradish hot enough to make your eyes sparkle; brilliant white seafood tossed with mint and lime juice; mustard-hot salad greens to wake a lazy tongue. Suddenly I want wasabi and ginger, grapefruit and passionfruit, chillies and watercress.
I started with a pineapple and its clear, pure juice. I have devoured two this week alone, the first ice-cold from the fridge, the second roasted with orange juice and star anise. Both gave the senses a jolt. Then there was a clutch of rhubarb that I baked slowly with grated ginger and slightly less sugar than it needed. It did the trick, though it may have done irreparable damage to my taste buds.
There has also been some life-affirming seafood. Vast pieces of squid scored and grilled till crisp black edges framed the glistening white flesh, then tossed with a green herb dressing and roasted Italian peppers. There was the mother of all mussel curries Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shoes Sale (with tamarind and lemon grass) in a restaurant that Authentic Prada Bag For Sale Ph took days to get the yellow stains off our hands. Then I made a carrot-flecked Vietnamese dip to perk up some cold roast pork, which we rolled up in crisp cocoons of iceberg lettuce. Last night a raunchy little chicken stir-fry with very finely hashed lemon grass, basil leaves and lime juice blew the cobwebs from the corners.
Maybe it’s the grey skies overhead and the sodden ground beneath my feet. All I know is that I suddenly want high-octane food, the sort that makes your lips sting and your heart beat faster.
Grilled squid with lime and mint
I always get the fishmonger to clean the squid for me. Nothing will get me to mess around with all that black stuff at home. If the cooking time sounds too short, trust me: it really only takes seconds to cook squid on a hot grill. The fish sauce (nam pla) isn’t essential, but it makes the dish truly lip-smacking. Serves 2 as Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Dresses Uk a light main course.
2 large red peppers 2 large squid, cleaned For the dressing: the juice of 2 limes 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 2 hot red chillies a small bunch of coriander (about 10 stems) a handful of mint leaves
Wipe the peppers, put them in a roasting tin and bake at 200C/gas mark 6 till the skins are black and lightly blistered – about Biggest Prada Outlet In Italy 35-40 minutes. Alternatively you can grill them, turning them over regularly. Let them cool a little then peel off the blackened skins. Pull out and discard the cores and seeds.
Slice each pepper into long strips about as thick as a finger. Put them in a large bowl.
Make the dressing: put the lime juice into a small bowl with the fish sauce and the soy. Cut the chillies in half and remove the seeds. Chop each chilli very finely and add to the bowl. Remove the leaves from the coriander and chop them roughly, then add them with the mint leaves to the dressing. Mix lightly then pour over the peppers.
Get the grill hot. Cut Are All Prada Products Made In Italy each squid into four pieces then score them in a lattice pattern on one side. Put the pieces of squid on the grill, together with Authentic Prada Bags Online Singapore the bunches of tentacles, and cook for 1 minute until they are brilliant white and encrusted lightly with gold. Turn them over and repeat.
Remove the squid from the grill and toss in the dressing. Serve straightaway.
If you want a little sauce to perk up everything from roast chicken drumsticks to cold roast beef then this is the sauce to do it. It is on pretty much every table in Vietnam – a spicy little sauce in which to dip your spring rolls or whatever takes your fancy. It is no trouble Biggest Prada Outlet In Italy to make and offers a fresh crunch that the bought stuff cannot match. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two. Makes a small dish.
a medium-sized carrot 2 large red chillies 3 tbsp fish sauce 6 tbsp water 3 tbsp rice vinegar 4 tbsp caster sugar juice of a large lime small bunch coriander leaves
Cut the carrot into long, thin strips, as finely as possible. They should be approximately ← as thick as spaghettini. Slice the chillies in half, remove their stalks then chop them finely. Put the fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and sugar in a small pan and bring almost to the boil. A good stir should dissolve the sugar before the water boils.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the shredded carrot and leave to cool. Juice the lime replica prada saffiano, chop the coriander leaves – Black Prada Chain Bag you need a good loose handful – then add both with the chilli and the seeds to the cool sauce. Leave for an hour or so before using.
I have used slices of pineapple so you don’t have to Amazon Uk Prada Bags use your entire fruit, but a rather more beautiful presentation is to peel the fruit whole, Bergdorf Goodman Prada Mens Shoes cut it in half lengthways and roast it with the juices and spices. You bring it to the table as it is, and slice it at the table. Should you do this you will need a slightly longer cooking time. Serves 4.
8 slices of pineapple, about 1cm thick 2 oranges a large lemon 2 tsp honey a vanilla pod 2 star anise
Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Remove the skin from the pineapple. Put the slices in a shallow ovenproof china or stainless-steel dish. You can overlap them if needs be. Squeeze the oranges and the lemon on to a bowl then stir in the honey. Don’t worry if it doesn’t dissolve – it will in the oven. Pour the juice over the pineapple. Tuck in the vanilla pod and the star anise then bake for 50 minutes till the pineapple is tender, spooning the juices over at least twice during cooking. Serve a slice per person with a spoonful of juice over the top.