I was that child that had chocolate permanently stained on her face. That child that wasn’t allowed to wear white, and whose tantrum could always be tamed by a bar of chocolate. It was only ever going to be chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake and nutella on toast for me. Vanilla and fruit could move along, they had no room in my sweet childhood. Maybe hazelnut and caramel could sometimes act as supporting roles, but chocolate always took to be the main star.
Rosemary belongs in sweet settings just as it does with roasted veg and bold meats. I tell you where rosemary doesn’t belong — it’s water. I once went to this “plant-based”, “healthy” (and overpriced) cafe that tried to be clever and instead of serving water out of jugs with lemons, mint or even cucumber — it’s sitting there with rosemary. Rosemary-infused water is not nice, there’s a reason why it’s not a thing. I don’t like these cafes. I don’t like that they try to be clever with their waters. I don’t like that they use their vegan “milks” to justify £4 cappuccinos. I don’t like that they serve me “bowl food” filled with grains and vegetables that’s essentially my go-to 15-minute cheap lazy weeknight meal and they serve it to me like some revolutionary diet-friendly food with a hefty price tag.
And I don’t like their stodgy gluten-free and vegan cakes. No. I like my butter-and-egg-rich fluffy and moist wheat flour cakes like this one.
It’s my middle class guilt. It’s why I need to bake cookies routinely once every two weeks. Every two weeks, a middle-aged lady would wake up early, travel to my house on the dot to scrub, mop and clean. No matter how late the night before or how early the day of, I would attempt to bake my guilt away so I could give her some homemade treats on top of her salary.
Everyone’s got a thing, or at least needs a thing. You may be a gym-bunny or a runner, in which case exercise can be your thing. Humor, sarcasm, or having a brain like a calculator may be your thing. You may be a movie buff, you may be as specific as an 80’s pop geek.
A passion, a love, something of profound interest that it defines who you are. In your elevator pitch what do you say? My name is x, I’m from x and?
Continue reading “Lamb with Sumac, Green Tahini Sauce and Aubergine”
Despite having grown up in Beijing with a Chinese mother, there are aspects of the Chinese culture I’ll never understand. My mother grew up during The Cultural Revolution – one of the most horrific movements in the 20th century that led to chaos, violence, deaths, f*cking mayhem – yet she has never opened up to me about the pain and atrocities she witnessed and experienced in that time. It’s not appropriate in Chinese culture to share your misfortunes, I suppose, especially not with your children. She shares the fond memories from her childhood, like the monthly joy of receiving that rationed jar of sesame paste and smearing it on bread (plain Chinese bao bun) that’s sprinkled liberally with brown sugar. It’s like a sad PB&J. She still absolutely loves that snack.
Continue reading “Pea Tahini Dip”