The Imaginary Bistro


We play a game, my husband and I.  No, not that sort of game.  At least, that’s not what I mean.  We play a game where we find dishes for my imaginary bistro menu.  I’ve often thought I would like to run my own bistro, although not enough to actually go and do it  – I managed a restaurant when I was straight out of uni, and looking back, it’s not something I’d be in a hurry to do again.

Anyway, I have this imaginary bistro where all my most successful creations are on the menu.  I love to cook.  I don’t love the daily grind of producing an evening meal after a long day of teaching when all I want to do is sink into the sofa with a large G&T but I love having time to spend ages creating something which might take minutes to devour.

Among the dishes currently on my menu are homemade meatballs, with a sauce made from scratch.  My own Mum used to make these, although I never got a recipe from her, but watched her making them once or twice and ate them often enough to be able to guess at how to go about making them.  My own are a variation, and got their current incarnation soon after Stonelaughter and I moved in together.

His two younger children would not eat anything containing vitamins and would create holy hell if they were presented with anything that looked vaguely like it didn’t come from a tin.  This was a problem for me.  I refused to feed them crap and they refused to eat good stuff.  So the meatballs came into play.  They could convince themselves that these were burgers (ha!) and the sauce was ketchup (at least they could until they actually tried them, at which point the fact that they were, if I may be so bold, bloody gorgeous took over).  The sause looked harmless enough, since it had been through the blender til it was smooth, but in fact it contained more vitamins than you could shake a stick at (or a pot noodle for that matter).  Very simple, with passata as a base, but with onions, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veg I thought I could get away with blended together and poured over the meatballs and then the whole lot cooked together.  Worked every time.

We’ve not had this issue with Bean.  He’s always loved vegetables.  Maybe because I made all his baby food at home from fresh organic fuit and veg.  Maybe not.

Anyway, I’ve finally invested in a tagine and can’t wait to start experiementing with it.  I used it at the weekend and the resultant sticky tagine with apricots and prunes was delish.  Watch this space.

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