My good friend Anand, who is one of my closest competitors in the stakes of sarcasm and cynicism, takes great pleasure in pointing out whenever I boderline-smugly mention my boyfriend. This all stems from a rather embarrasing article he found from my cupcake making days, where I bang on about how much I love Cath Kidston, and how helpful my boyfriend is. Well, the joke was on me because that one dumped me a few months later. And I've since realised that Cath Kidston is shit.
Anyway, I appreciate that I probably harp on about Ben quite a lot, so I thought I should let him harp on about himself for a bit in the form of a 'guest post'. Whilst I tend to dominate the kitchen B does occassionally get hauled in, mainly when I wail something along the lines of, "OH GOD I'VE GOT AN 8PM MEETING IN GREAT YARMOUTH, I'M GOING TO DIE, PLEASE FEED ME OR I'LL NEVER GIVE YOU A FOOT MASSAGE EVER AGAIN". To which he points out that I never give him foot masages anyway, but he usually obliges. Then I hurl a series of requests such as 'Something not too heavy, but filling, and no meat which isn't free range, or if it's fish use that app by Hugh F-W that tells you which seas we're allowed to get fish from' to which he gives me a look and starts rumaging around the cupboards yelling, 'WHY DO YOU KEEP BUYING PASTA? THERE IS SO MUCH PASTA IN HERE'.
So without further ado, willkommen, Benjamin...
Thank you, and hello.
Let me start by saying that I have no idea about cooking, nor about how the selection process for this blog works. I have often suggested writing a guest post on here, after all I hate Nigella as much as the next man. For some reason though, it has taken me this many months to produce something which is worthy of inclusion. A while ago I did consider starting a food blog of my own, as men do not seem to be as well represented in the blogosphere as women. GREAT FOOD FOR MEN it would be called, or CORDONBLOKE, or something. 'How to impress your girlfriend with food that doesn't come from a packet'. An instructional for cooking real food from scratch, cos it's not just girls that cook, right? Then I realised that essentially it would only need one post, which would be
Take your bacon (or other meat if you have run out of bacon).
Pan fry in butter.
Add wine, and when this has reduced a little, add cream.
Serve. With vegetables if you don't have enough meat to go round.
So I never did in the end. Anyway the point is I'm so rarely allowed to enter the kitchen that I try and put a little bit of effort in whenever I cook, normally this creativity is met with comments such as "No, really, it's... nice, darling" and obviously never permitted anywhere near the internet, but for some reason I managed to unwittingly hit gold the other day with Sea Bass and Friends. Just for my peace of mind though, here are a couple of things that I took photos of in the past expectantly thinking I might be able to include them, but instead had unequivocally snubbed. Feel free to comment on the post explaining why they are quite so inappropriate...
|Thyme and pistachio halibut and honeyed swede with red mustard sauce - I served this with a nice aged Chablis, yum yum. Enjoyment of this meal was slightly overshadowed by the Oyster Debacle.|
Anyway, back to the point in hand, which is this (in my best authoratitive cooking voice):
Pan-fried Sea Bass on a Salad of Coriander and Carrot
I shall not list the ingredients as I feel it adds to the excitment if you have to find them as you're going along.
-Peel and slice carrots (a couple per serving) lengthwise into paper thin strips, place in a bowl with a little vinegar, salt and pepper. This is a job for a mandolin if you have one. We don't so this step took me four hours.
-Fry bass skin side down in a touch of oil, with a couple of sprigs of oregano in the pan. High heat, two minutes maximum.
-Pour a little white wine in and a knob of butter, and cover frying pan with a lid, to steam the fish, turn the heat down a bit here.
-After a couple of minutes remove the fish from the pan and pour the juices into a small receptacle of your choice. Discard the soggy and pathetic looking oregano.
-Chuck the carrots into the pan and fry very briefly, but make sure to keep tossing them. The purpose of this is not really to cook them so much as to burn off some of the vinegar (whose purpose was to cook them a little). They will loose their bite very quickly so be careful.
-Add a healthy spoonful of cream cheese per person to the jug/bowl/whichever-receptacle-you-chose-in-the-end of pan juices, and stir/whisk in with some salt and pepper - the cheese will melt slightly, but it will need some encourgement to smooth out entirely. Add a good squeeze of lemon.
-Assemble the carrots and a decent bunch of coriander tossed together on the plate (be firm here, the carrots will attempt to make you think you are not the boss of them, but you are; you really are), pour over the sauce and top with the fish.
-Photograph finished plates with your Instagram app. Be careful not to do this for more than five minutes as the meal will cool quickly. Don't worry if you don't perfect this stage at first! The more you cook the better and quicker you will become at catching the perfect shot.
-Serve your sea bass to gasps of awe and enjoyment from your dinner guests/girflriend.
I don't think we were allowed wine with this meal, but I'd serve it with a Vermentino from the South of Italy or Corsica or something, or maybe even a Chenin Blanc from South Africa so long as it's not too heavy.
So there you go. Before I leave you I feel I must make one final comment in defence of what I believe to be a hitherto unfair protrayal of me on this blog. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to have been included here and given this opportunity to join in the fun. Most of the comments made about me on this blog at least have their basis in truth, and with those I cannot quibble. I must say though, that I find the choice of pictures of me up to this point has been somewhat regrettable, and I feel to a large extend I have been mis-represented.
I would thus like to try and redress the balance with the following picture of me looking rugged and windswept, and then one of Morgan looking like a dick.
Thank you for having me, it's been a pleasure.