Not to be deterred by the disastrous first attempt, we stepped back into the ring with CourtBouillion ebulliently.
Having post-humously diagnosed the cause of our defeat on attempt 1 via transatlantic phone calls with some hardened, bonafide CourtBouillon professionals, we began with another fish stock:
Grey Mullet the fish of choice this time. It’s a really underrated fish – fleshy, flavourful with a skin that can be crisped. Great fast fried, but strong enough to hold together in a slow stew. And cheap too – known as it is in CourtBoullion’s home country as mere bait fish.
PLAIN Flour. The missing link in our last attempt. Hey presto, the roux gently sweetened our onions, green pepper and celery, instead of clinging and clagging around them as before:
Then the tomato, spices and seasonings work their magic with the fish.
The result? The favourite Cajun dish I’ve come across. Served upside down, built upwards atop a slice of lemon (what a good idea), it is eccentric.
Fresher and lighter than you’d expect, but still rich and satisfying.
Happy tummies, and soothed egos, all round.
Credit (entire credit), of course, to the Cajun Queen – @snooman
Stale, stale sourdough bread has no better home.
Untypically anti-traditionally, I split this into two parts – so the taste is the same but there is a hot and a cold part of the same soup.
The blitzed beef tomatoes (+garlic and basil oil) are like a cold soup.
The bread is braised with more beef tomato, a little chilli and garlic and served hot on top.
Finished with mint and fresh chilli.
So much more than the sum of its parts.
This is a great snack or breakfast.
Spring onions sweated and coloured quickly.
30 second omelette with a lot of moving around in the pan + a touch of dried chilli.
Diced Cambozola sprinkled in.
Folded over to get the cheese melting.
Bit of watercress on the side.
Having found solidarity in the world of office sin in the shape of Dare’s latest power couple Will and Alex, we all thought it was time to make things official by having dinner.
Alex and Will were the generous hosts.
For me, the best part of the meal was a seriously good sprouting broccoli and sesame salad, of which there is unfortunately no picture.
I couldn’t eat the mussels, which looked amazing, because of the bain-of-my-life-geek-molusc-allergy. The sauce was great though.
There was even a thai red curry alternative, before a gooey chocolate fondant.
Lesson 1: Don’t forget about doing the starter and have to lovingly craft a crab based pate at 6.30 in the morning. It just feels wrong, and you’ll end up holding back a mixture of tears and vomit.
Lesson 2: Alex only has one ball, but her brother is cool with it.
Lesson 3: Penu is a great term for your special little guy, but dastardly as a punning springboard.
Lesson 4: Will Lion is a very accomplished cook, and doesn’t even need to ding-a-ling the bell for the help.
Lesson 5: Graham Moore (@BillyRalphie) doesn’t really get social media.
Well. What can be said about this debacle?
The pictures will tell their own story
After 3 genuinely shocked, shocking and failed rouxs, it dawned upon us that the flour was self raising, and our spirits sank
We should have been forlorn. We had genius Caper Martinis instead.
We took the fish stock we had made by boiling the fish remains with veg:
We whipped up a mayo, adding celery leaves, some more capers and lemon juice and zest…
We boiled rice in the oven with the fish stock we had made – a revelation that gives a sticky rice-like texture, and an incredible flavour.
We roasted up our Trout fillets over wine, lemon, celery, bay and seasonings…
And we served with some Samphire fried in dried chilli…
A lesson learned about how to treat flour and butter.
Another victory snatched from the jaws of defeat.
I’m still waiting for a food disaster that makes us sad.
We were not feeling so hot this morning, courtesy of a Ben and Michael flat warming/tequila festival
Take note though, hangovers can be banished with this combination of bacon and marmalade:
Fry the bacon til crispy and then toast your bread in the bacon juices in the pan with a little butter
Lather with marmalade (a true friend of the pig) and ingest alongside multiple cups of tea
Now I feel well enough to post
Speedily Fried Okra with Chilli and Garlic
Goes luvverly with a few shards of Venison Sausage
A great snack in 5 minutes flat