lily & chew banner

Friday, 22 June 2007

Fresh tomato juice. The hardest thing to find.

It's Friday after work. My fella has been away all day drinking steadily at a work do, which I guess means I've got a lot of catching up to do, so it's just a well I'm desperate for a Bloody Mary.

I have all the ingredients I need to make this happen...except for the tomato juice. I stop in a M+S. Nope. Nothing. I decide to drop into the Sainsburys in Angel. Once inside, I realise that one does not simply 'drop in' to this supermarket that is the size of a small city.
After walking around in circles for 45 minutes picking up stuff I don't need, I remember why I'm there. I search for it in the juice aisle. Nothing. I ask the dude for assistance, partly knowing that he won't have the answer I need (I have already searched the chilled section high and low for this elusive nectar of the nightshades).
Wait! He begins walking with a sense of purpose - this could be it?? - I follow him as he leads me 2 kilometres from the refrigerators to the long life 100% concentrate juice.

The silent scream in my head is so loud I almost lapse into a coma.

I will not let Sainsburys get between me and my Bloody Mary. I purchase 2 packs of cherry tomatoes so I can make my own tomato juice.


What you need

A big packet of cherry tomatoes
A food processor
mushroom ketchup or Worcestershire, if you take it

The do
Empty the whole packet of tomatoes into food processor. Blitz. It will go a pale, milky, reddy colour which is very disconcerting. Ignore this and continue regardless. Grab a cocktail shaker, add lots of ice, a few drops of mushroom sauce a splodge of wasabi, a double shot of vodka (for all the effort you've gone to) and a few shakes of Tabasco. Shake well.

Pour into a tall glass and garnish with celery.

Note: The celery is the only thing that gives this drink any cred. It tastes OK but consistency is wrong, wrong, WRONG. It's like someone was making a banana smoothie and accidentally added a whole lot of tomatoes and vodka instead.

Next time I'll just get the concentrate.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Simple Salad

Back when I had a TV I remember a show where a chef would pounce on someone in the supermarket then follow them home and cook a meal with only the ingredients he found in their shopping basket, fridge and pantry. Even if you ignore the stalking connotations it wasn't a particularly good show, worse when a friend told me the chef visited her work and allegedly sent the crew shopping to stock the fridge before recording the shot of him arriving to 'discover' the ingredients he was going to cook with. Wuss.

Discovery cooking pretty much sums up my entire culinary philosophy. Planning meals, writing a shopping list, checking a cook book in advance; these are all extremely foreign concepts. Which is why this salad I picked up from Summer in Toronto is such a winner with my fridge, especially at its most bare.

All you need to do is wash, dry and shred some iceberg lettuce then toss it with chopped dill, lemon juice, olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt. That's it. Iceberg always tastes better shredded and this dressing makes the little green strings sing. Combined with baked stilton mushrooms, this is a stupidly simple and tasty din dins.

Sunday, 17 June 2007


As Lily said, I've been pretty busy lately - but all work and no play doesn't have to mean crappy food. For those Melburnians out there, this dish is my rip-off of the one they serve at the Nudel Bar, and it has been my staple for the last few weeks.

Green tea soba noodles and avocado

What you need

Green tea soba noodles or plain japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles
Gari (pink pickled ginger)
a perfectly ripe avocado
good quality soy sauce or tamari

The do

Bring a saucepan of cold water to the boil. Drop in a bundle of soba noodles (they usually come divided in neat little bundles, don't forget to remove the tape!) Boil for a few minutes until they are cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and pile onto a plate.
Cube half an avocado onto the noodles.
Serve with a blob of wasabi, gari and a small dish of soy for dunking the noodles in. Sprinkle with some black sesame seeds and sesame oil if you have it.

'Long time no eat' spicy roast tomato soup

No one wants to be on the receiving end of a blustering excuse so I'll keep the 'lack of post' slash 'repetition of tomato' apologies brief. First, Chew’s been working her head off and I’ve been moving house. So that's that. Second, I have more tomatoes because it just happens to be the season for them. Plus, Chew needs a hearty soup to help revive her hard yakka bones.

So… this little red girl is for whenever you are feeling like a jangling shell rather than a fighting machine and are after some boosting. I don't think you need any more veg than the tomato but I added some because my lovely house friend is of the opinion that soup doesn't count as food so I am obliged to make it chunky.

What you need

1/2 onion, chopped
2 lemon grass sticks (discard the hard outer bits and finely slice the rest)
2 green chilis, finely chopped
A little person's thumb of fresh ginger, finely grated (ie. not much but then I'm not a huge ginger lover)
1 large potato, cubed (or six little ones, halved)
1 zuchinni, finely sliced
A bunch of fresh coriander
6 big tomatoes (or more if you want)
2 garlic cloves
Miso paste or veg stock
Olive oil
Water to fill your soup pot

How it goes

Preheat the oven to 200c. Chop 2 of the tomatoes into quarters then toss them with olive oil and your potatoes in an oven tray (with some salt'n'pepa and a splash of red wine vinegar if you want). Squash, shell and roughly chop the garlic into quarters. Stuff them into the tomatoes then put the tray of veggies in the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes.

In a soup sized pot, fry the onion on med-low heat to soften with the lemon grass, chilli and ginger. After a few minutes, add the zuchinni and whatever other fresh veg you desire. When the onion is soft, add the diced tomato, water and miso paste (or veg stock). Add your roast veg and and their juices (swill a little water around the pan if need be). Bring the whole shebang to a boil then let it simmer like a grumpy old drunk for at least 30 minutes.

This is a real cleansing soup. If you've got some crusty bread, great. If you’ve got a crusty nose, you'll be whistling dixie by the morning.