Hot and sour fish salad

November 17, 2006

Originally uploaded by Fat Duck.

The other night I drugged M. He was talking to much and wouldn’t go to sleep, so I gave him some ‘sleeping pills’. The next day he was flat, sluggish, and slightly depressed. I felt responsible.

So I made him a cheer-up dinner the next night: hot and sour fish salad, and green papaya and chicken salad. The fish salad looks better than it is; conversely, the less photogenic green papaya salad tastes much better than it looks.

Possibly the problem with the salad is the fish — whiting. The texture’s very fine, almost like soggy cotton sheets, and very bony.

Despite these flaws, it helped M forget his woes.

Green papaya salad

November 17, 2006

Originally uploaded by Fat Duck.

M’s parents

November 6, 2006

M’s parents stayed at our house on the weekend. We spent every waking moment together, from the minute I got home from work on Friday to late last night. That’s a lot of bonding time.

M was nervous about how I’d get along with his mum.

M: Now, I know what you’re like. You really must be nice to my mum. You can’t just…disagree with her.

Me: As if I would do that. I can control myself. And, anyway, I’m going to cook yummy dinners. That will be fun.

The theory here is that they will be so impressed by my cooking that they will, finally, after almost three years, acknowledge that I am acceptable match for their son.

M: Well, you do know, don’t you. You can’t use any salt, fat or oil when you’re cooking for them.

I remain calm. M’s mum is a dietitican. Therefore it’s important that food remains flavourless through omission of key ingredients. All in the name of ‘cholesterol’ and other random ailments.

Last night I’d planned a pistachio-crusted roast lamb and fattouche. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to hide the butter, salt, olive oil and lamb fat from M’s mum. The lamb was rolled in fat, 1.5cm thick. There was no way I was cutting that off. When her back was turned, I quickly rubbed mustard and pistachios and allspice and white peppercorns on the little lambs, then shoved them in the oven.

It all turned out very well. But I saw M’s mum discretely slicing the rings of fat off her lamb, pushing them to the side of her plate.

Not two minutes later, she stabbed them with her fork, and ate them. Right in front of my very eyes. She really looked like she was enjoying herself.