Sunday, 10 October 2010

A VIEW FROM THE FRIDGE

Here is a typical snapshot of the contents of Demon Cook's fridge, today, Sunday 10th October.

Top shelf:
  • Two Pizza Express Sloppy Giuseppe pizzas. I quite often make my own pizzas, if I'm feeling energetic enough, but for those times when I am not, Pizza Express pizzas are the best from the chiller cabinet in the supermarket. They cook quickly and largely retain that "freshly made" flavour.
  • In the white bowl is Ottolenghi's yogurt sauce, made quickly to have with a chickpea and sweet potato dish which I made for lunch today. I think there is also a packet of Chorizo slices lurking up there too. I like to keep a pack of Chorizo or Serrano or Parma Ham as this is a useful standby for quick snacks and paninis
Next shelf down:
  • A wedge of Waitrose aged Manchego cheese. I was going to make canapes from this - slices of Manchego with membrillo (quince paste) to serve to my dinner guests last night, but in the end I never did.
  • The white bowl contains pimento-stuffed olives and chunks of Manchego
  • There is also a packet of Havarti cheese slices: I love this slightly sweet, nutty cheese from Denmark on a Dr Karg pumpkin and Emmental crispbread. 
  • President spreadable unsalted butter: I have a terrible weakness for French butter and I've always liked the unsalted variety. I rarely buy any other brand. This is delicious spread on toasted sourdough with a light slick of Marmite. French butter is churned in a slightly different way to English butter which is what gives it its distinctive, smooth flavour.
Next shelf down:
  • Six-pack of Czech beer. I don't drink beer very often, and this was bought for the dinner party last night. I might have a glass later on. In the summer, there is nothing nicer on a hot day than a cold glass of continental lager. My favourite is Leffe.
  • Belazu Smoked Chilli Jelly: delicious spread thinly over a slice of cheese or on top of toasted goat's cheese.
  • Belazu Harissa: I've always loved Harissa, that piquant chilli condiment from North Africa. This is the best one I've found: the rose petals provide a great balance to the heat of the chilli.  It's obligatory with any Greek or Middle Eastern dish I might make, such as Kelftiko or a meat tagine. Stir a generous teaspoon into a dollop of Greek yoghurt for a delicious dip.
  • Mango chutney: good with cheese, and my sweetcorn fritters.
  • A jar of shop-bought pesto is lurking behind the Belazu relishes.
Bottom shelf:
  • Free-range eggs. I always have eggs in the fridge. One of my favourite breakfasts is a lightly-boiled egg with Marmite soldiers. I am also very fond of scrambled eggs and omelette (for which one egg is not en-oeuf!!)
  • Greek Yogurt: this thick creamy yoghurt is great for breakfast, with a handful of granola or nuts and honey. I also use it a lot in curries to make the sauce, and for making dips and condiments to accompany Middle Eastern dishes.
  • Chocolate pudding: I had some mixture left over from the Chocolate Raspberry Pudding cake I made, so I poured it into two ramekins. My son ate one for breakfast yesterday!
  • Truffle paste: an Italian condiment made with white truffles. A teaspoonful added to fried mushrooms creates the most intense mushroom flavour. I use it sparingly to make pasta sauce.
  • Creme Fraiche: bought to serve with the aforementioned chocolate cake. What's left will be used to make lemon linguine.  
  • Activia Fig Yoghurts: This is my weekday breakfast - rather boringly!
Vegetable drawers:
  • The top drawer always contains garlic cloves (which I buy in packs of 10 on Kingston Market), green and red chillis and packets of fresh herbs, usually coriander, flat-leaf parsley and sage.
  • The bottom drawer is home to onions, red and brown, new potatoes, and various other vegetables such as butternut squash, red peppers, aubergines and courgettes. To the left of the veg drawers, the bottle rack contains a bottle of Australian sparkling something and, behind it, a bottle of Limoncello, brought back from my recent trip to Italy.
  • Fridge door
  • At the very top of the fridge door is the cheese store, which always contains a wedge of fresh Parmesan, and packs of Feta and Halloumi cheese, which are always useful for making quick lunches.
  • I always have jars of olives, capers, caperberries and thin green peppers, 'lazy' foods such as jars of chopped chillis, garlic and ginger, and a lonely jar of apricot conserve.
  • Dove's Farm Quick Yeast: this is my breadmaking staple, a fast-acting dried yeast which ensures perfect results almost every time. You only need a teaspoonful per pound of flour.
  • Fresh ground coffee: I'm not a great coffee drinker, preferring tea (my favourites being Lapsang Souchong and Redbush) but now and then a good cup of coffee is what I need. Coffee keeps better in the fridge, or, better still, the freezer.
  • Caesar Dressing: I do not buy ready-made salad dressings as a rule, as I prefer to make my own, but I love Caesar Salad and a shop-bought dressing is easier than homemade.
  • Three-fruit jam: made by a friend. 
  • Satay paste: not sure how long that has been there. I don't cook eastern or oriental foods that much, but I like to have the ingredients, just in case....
  • Teriyaki sauce: this makes a great marinade for chicken.
  • Chilli Dipping Sauce: perfect with tempura and spring rolls.
  • Barbecue sauce: now that summer is over, it's probably time to ditch this!
  • Passionfruit juice: bought in lieu of peach juice (which seems impossible to buy here) to make Bellinis. Not as good as the real thing!
  • Skimmed milk: I have been drinking skimmed milk since I was about 10, and find semi-skimmed and full-fat milk far too cloying and rich.

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