This weekend proved yet another of culinary delights and no photographic evidence thereof.* Nonetheless, delightful it was. Friday night saw us grabbing late night martinis (Hendrick's of course, sweetie) and "bar menu" snacks at Cafe Noir. We enjoyed truffle fries, a gorgeous pizza with caramelized onions and a lovely fried egg in the middle, and chorizo arancini.
Saturday was TOH's departmental holiday party. We spent a LONG time cooking, and so arrived late and missed the homemade samosas, which greatly disappointed me. The reason for our tardiness was my being inspired by this lovely lady's musings on her successes with Guinness gingerbread and my attempt to recreate it. I used this recipe, but be warned: only half-fill your tin as you may otherwise have some serious spillage. Nonetheless, it was worth it: the cake was moist, extremely gingery and rich and wonderful. We also made a billion devils on horseback and trolled off to the party, where we were greeted by some glorious singing from a Greek choir (the choirmaster is married to someone in the department and she sang vigorously all the while with a very very small infant strapped in a papoose around her chest - it was amazing). The eating at the do wasn't quite so exciting, but that was probably because we'd been overdosing on sugar from the ginger cake (it had to be tested, obviously) and the amazing zimsterne that our friend made. Basically, they're almonds and sugar and are wonderfully chewy and delicious. We then tried to shake off our sugar crashes by trying out duckpin bowling. Verdict: hard. My hands are a bit small for the ball and it took a while to get used to it, but definitely will have another go - I think it could end up more satisfying (and far less stressful on the wrist) than ten-pin bowling.
Sunday saw us hiking in the Myles Standish State Forest, a lovely part of Massachusetts.
(no creator credited - if it's yours, please let me know).
It was certainly a lot more barren than this photo suggests, but the walk took us through woodland and then would suddenly throw us out into meadows where lovely late afternoon sunlight made the ears of grass glint beautifully golden. After seven miles in the more-or-less freezing temperatures, we felt fairly justified in scoffing a truly delicious meal. TOH and I had sampled some fantastic steak in Whole Foods on Saturday morning, and then he watched the demo lady recreate it. Essentially, you season flank steak and then sear it both sides. You remove to let it rest. Then in the same pan, you melt a healthy chunk of (decent) butter, and add chopped shallots (fairly fine but not minced) and roughly chopped trumpet mushrooms. Add a healthy dollop (around 1 tbsp) of dijon mustard. Let them sweat together and then add either some rosemary or, as we did, thyme. Then add, if so desired, a splash of white wine. After cutting it in thinnish strips (perhaps about 1/2 an inch) against the grain of the meat, you put the steak back in for a final round of cooking so the juices all mix together. We served it with sauteed potatoes and a large serving of roquette/arugula and watercress, and were knocking back pouilly-fuisse - a chardonnay-based white that I can cope with, generally, as although it has the roundness of chardonnay it's not overwhelmingly oaky or in your face. For dessert, the remains of the ginger cake along with some creme fraiche. Add to that a viewing of The Holy Grail and you have yourself a very pleasant evening.
* Well, there is this, at least:
In case you're wondering - and I expect you are - the thing that's attacking TOH is a bushukan, or "buddha's hand," which is a relative of the lemon. It's particularly useful because you get a ton of zest off it without all that pesky juicy fruit inside. Very strange but beautiful indeed. The display caused a great deal of fascination in Whole Foods on Saturday morning as TOH and I took photos of us attacking each other with them. They smell glorious - lemon with a floral, almost rose-like scent.