Eating from a book bought at The Good Things Cafe

As those who have been there will know one of the very good things about The Good Things Cafe is the selection of good cook books they have on the shelves which you can browse on your way to the loo and buy at the end of your meal. Plan things carefully and you can buy the book that contains the recipe that gave rise to the meal you have just had. Something I was able to do some years ago with ducks legs and noodles which now appears in Carmel Somer’s own book but which roughly derived from a recipe for a ragout of duck legs in a book called The Cooking of South-West France by Paula Wolfert. It is now a Friday night favourite if I am cooking for myself and spot some duck legs in the chiller in Sainsbury’s.

One of the favourite books I have bought from there is called Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons. The sub-title will tell those who know me why I like it Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa. 

Last week on Sunday whilst we were having our Easter lunch I spotted a couple of new Diane Henry books, there was one on preserving food and another called Food from Plenty. Having had a good lunch and a few glasses of wine I leaved through it and spotted a few recipes I thought I would enjoy cooking so I bought it.

We ate from it last night, griddled squid with chickpeas, peppers and chermoula. It was delicious.

Most of the ‘cooking’ for the meal came out of either a tin or a jar. I went to Lunya over lunch and bought a selection; roast red peppers stuffed with prawns, mushrooms and partridge, octopus , smoked mackerel and two jars of plump and bulbous el Navarrico chickpeas.

So for the starters it was mostly a question of opening a tin and depositing the contents neatly on a plate. The only cooking I did was to fry in olive oil some finely diced potato which I mixed in with the octopus. I also sliced a salami from The Gubbeen Smokehouse.

We had picked up a kilo of cleaned squid from Ward’s earlier in the day. This was chopped into large chunks and lightly scored. I then put the chickpeas in a bowl and mixed in olive oil, ground cumin, hot paprika, a chopped red chilli and finely chopped parsley and coriander. The recipe called the roasting of red peppers but I had picked up a jar of el Navarrico whole piquillo peppers preserved in their own juices from Lunya so I just threw that into the mix.

The squid were cooked on a very hot grill for 30 seconds or so until the pieces were charred at the edges and started to curl. As they cooked they were added to the chickpeas in the bowl. Just before serving I stirred in some lime juices. We ate it with smoke billowing round the house from the griddle.

For pudding we had a selection of Irish cheeses (Smoked Gubbeen, Milleen and Durrus) with a bowl of pears that had been baked with honey. Another recipe suggested from the Diane Henry book.

We listened to a lot of John Grant.

All in all a vary good Friday night meal.


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