This is the start, I very much hope, of something exciting. Like when you’ve found a piece of reduced meat in the butcher’s section. The sticker shining in the sterile supermarket lighting, with angels singing as I approach and say, ‘Can I have that massive rib eye?’ The lovely butcher person bags it up and I leave, with the excitement. The type of excitement that can only be provided by food; walking around your day job with the knowledge that later, some magic will be happening. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.  I am a musician and barista, with an undefeated adoration for all things mouth-bound. I make packed lunches before my early start at the cafe, spend the whole morning looking forward to it, and the rest of the afternoon wishing I had more. But isn’t that the beauty of a packed lunch? There’s no question as to what you will be eating. No more decisions to be made, or preparation to be done. It already exists and from this point, all there is left to do, is eat it. This thing you created. This week I had a porchetta and turnip paste bun, leftover from an Asian fusion feast. Turnip paste or turnip cake is a favourite of mine, ever since having dim sum two Januarys ago on my birthday. It is essentially grated mooli or daikon, combined with Chinese sausage, dried shrimp and spring onions, with rice and corn flour. You then steam it in a tin, chill it, slice it and fry the damn thing in a very shallow pool of hot oil. The result is such a wholesomely moorish creation, that is mostly vegetable. And its pretty darn easy. The porchetta was rubbed and cured slightly with fennel, coriander, ginger and garlic. A warm salad of pulled rib (trimmed from the porchetta), marinated with gochujang, sesame and miso, with daikon, gem lettuce and pickled red onions. Alongside were some steamed buns my sweet lady made, to cosy up the goods. Crisp crackling salty pork with melting layers of meat and fat, sweet sticky rib, and crunchy healthy bits, tucked into a light and squishy bun. Good lord. But my packed lunches aren’t always fancy leftovers. Mostly are egg sandwiches, in whatever bread is around the house. But with the appropriate mustarding to the mayonnaise, and addition of peppery salad or cress, an egg sandwich is the perfect lunch. I suppose most will wonder how I have time to sort myself a lunch every morning before starting at 6.30 am. The answer is, I’m usually late. And thats never going to change because, I love packed lunches. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I find it starkly more arduous writing prettily during the summer time. Because I am a wintery chap through and through. I love long slow bubbling pots that you can leave on the hob whilst you pop over the road for a malty ale, and returning, with a familiar merriness to a house full of enticing aromas. But alas, the summer is relentless right now, and with pasta on my mind for whatever reason, I am going to provide you one of my favourite summery dishes. Confit garlic, courgette and preserved lemon pesto pasta. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. You first confit half a bulb of garlic in olive oil slowly on the hob (lowest setting) for about 20 minutes, then leave to cool in the oil off the heat. You don’t want the garlic to crisp up here. Grate a courgette, smash a preserved lemon, deseeded, and throw in a processor with parmesan, a couple of anchovies, lots of parsley and a couple mint sprigs. If you have some za’taar in the cupboard, throw a teaspoon in, but that’s not imperative. Add the cooled garlic and a couple of tablespoons of the confit oil. Blitz with a teaspoon of salt, and heavy peppering. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Cook some linguine or other long pasta, in salty water, combine with the pesto and a couple tablespoons of the water. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Serve with some rocket and fresh cherry tomatoes. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This is a lighter dinner that would also work with fish. Most probably bream or bass. This is me, sat back in a chair on a terrace in Italy or Greece, cutlery together with that post perfect dinner buzz. Evening sun shining with a cool glass of rosé. I suppose summer isn’t that bad.

August 7, 2021
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