Some memorable lunches from these wintry parts. Kale caesar salad, with anchovies and oukaas from the Boeremark, that we brought back from our trip. A delicious white bean soup about which I was quite skeptical even whilst making it, thinking it was going to be very bland. So I added some homemade chicken stock, so gelatinous I had to scoop it from the mason jar, left over from chicken pie Johannes made. And I tripled the amount of fennel seeds the recipe calls for, and added a teaspoon of adobo sauce that was standing around, and it turned out pretty fantastic. It also came together quite effortlessly. I used canned beans instead of the specified dried ones, and had it simmering along after dinner while we were watching yet another documentary about fundamentalist Mormon plural families, of which I will never tire. We ate the soup with some toast topped with Italian speck, and after I tried to take a decent photograph of the soup for a few minutes I gave up, and just took a photo of the bread. Turns out taking a photo of soup without some type of fancy-ass garnish is an absolute bitch, and some days I just don’t have time for that Bon Appétit food styling shit.
Another day’s lunch consisted of some leftover roast chicken and an unorthodox tabbouleh from Michael Solomonov’s Zahav, with quinoa instead of bulgur, and peas and mint instead of the other usual suspects. Worked fabulously with frozen petit pois, and really, it’s so bloody life-affirming to eat this type of dish in the dead of winter.
I ended up cooking quite a few dishes from Zahav, including a herbed labneh which hits exactly the right balance between effort and pay-off. You make the labneh the night before (and if you’ve never made labneh, it’s really super easy – line a colander with cheese cloth, or a dish cloth if you don’t have that, add yoghurt and some salt, and leave overnight to drain – in the morning you’ll have labneh), and add a lot of chopped herbs and garlic once the yoghurt has turned to cheese. Puree the labneh with the herbs, a mixture of mint, chives, dill, parsley, and scoop that onto some oven baked cauliflower. Solomonov deep fries his cauliflower but I have to clean my own apartment and the residual film of grease that settles on everything in this kitchen if one ventures into the realm of deep frying means I never deep fry anything, and frankly, cauliflower roasted at a high temperature is something no one can complain about. Just make sure you leave it in long enough to start caramelising, and once it’s out of the oven, dollop the labneh all over. We’re pretty much sold.