And so the winter of both my discontent and my broken wrist has ended, tomorrow being the lucky-13 week anniversary of that gumby fall on the netball court. Thankfully too, the physio has begun and the very unattractive purple splint I've been sporting has been relegated to sleep time and heavy lifting. Freedom! Nearly. My first broken bone has turned me into a bit of a whiney tart to be honest, and there's been a distinct lack of cooking, to which a functioning right hand is quite useful. There's also been a cold and a flu, and also a lack of scandal, and exercise, and 3am kebabs. I've been babysitting a room in a friend's flat for the last couple of months, and that's been plenty of fun but with too much baking and far too much eating out but also lots of laughs, and rice paper rolls and banter and awkward but hilarious bathroom encounters. Chubbier cheeks, a change of plan, some different ideas; time for a Spring clean, roll on Summer.
The lack of cooking and blogging has phased me a bit, but I figure if I can pull out 4 courses for 6 of us whilst feeling rubbish on a Monday night then that's at least a little bit blog-worthy. Over dinner I declared 2012 a write-off, but such a suggestion was shut down with haste, what with the 3+ months remaining. There's the silly season to look forward to, they cried, so time to get back in the game. Should probably start with a run (and some chocolate cake).
Monday night's easy 4 courses:
To begin we had a fresh baguette from Nosh (and crawling there in post-work traffic I was ready to cry if it was closed. Luckily for me, it shuts at 7pm! Handy hint) and dunked it unceremoniously in the very delicious Moon over Martinborough olive oil. Jared, who started his blog of the same name, told us the story of how the olive oil came about at the Food Blogger's conference in Wellington a couple of weeks back. He gave us each a bottle to take home, and it's so so good.
For an easy to assemble vegetarian entree, I simply laid out fresh rocket, some thinly sliced fennel, and a wedge of lemon and a drizzle of the aforementioned oil on each plate, and then added two slices each of fried haloumi. I love this stuff, I cooked it as I did here, and it was free thanks to the voucher in the aforementioned goody bag from Collective Dairy. Thanks!
For the main, I went with really simple. So often I'm overwhelmed with indecision at the supermarket, and because 1/6th of dinner was vegetarian I needed something that could accomodate. I also wanted to be thrifty, as tempting as the scotch fillet and fresh spring lamb was. I made Sausage, Tomato and Olive Pissaladière (goodness knows how you pronounce it) and doubled the dough and separated some out with mushrooms and feta for the vege. Alongside a balsamic dressed rocket salad, it was well received. Except by the one flatmate who it turns out doesn't eat onions (he politely scraped them off).
And for pudding, because I had, in a moment of madness recently, shelled out $17.99 for some fancy-pants valrhona cocoa powder, and because I had some stout sniffing around, made Nigella's Guinness Cake. But! With a bit of patriotic glory, I subbed the Irish for the Kiwi and used instead of Guinness the rich and dark and glorious Renaissance Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (see note re goody bag, above). I also replaced the sour cream with thick natural yoghurt, and I was pretty shabby with my measuring. I made them as mini cakes, topped them with mascarpone, and garnished them with some goodies I had from Equagold: sprinkled with chilli chocolate nibs and drizzled in a little Tahitian vanilla syrup (which is rather lovely, and also apparently great on crepes).
Pretty simple stuff, but a successful farewell dinner with good banter, and as always, funny stories to be told along with lots of food for thought. I think my days of being a whiney tart are numbered; time to get moving and get positive. After one more slice of cake. It's incredible.