Brand-new, I'm so retro

22/09/2009

Oh goodness, where do I start? I'm a firm believer in those Sunday stalwarts, in traditional cooking, the cooking of my mother and my grandmothers... You could transport me to the 1950s and I'd be perfectly happy puffing away on a cigarette, in some waist-cinching dress in my loungy interior as I swirl my cocktail. It's like Mad Men redux, really, but I digress.

In recent weeks, I've been revisiting some of the dishes of my youth. The unctuous, creamy chicken and mushrooms of a bouchée à la reine (or vol-au-vent, as it is sometimes known) and some French fries made up today's lunch. It is still one of my favourite quick lunches.

Then there was the tomate crevettes, or tomatoes with shrimp.
Now I feel that it is my duty to enlighten you on the shrimp wars that are waged in this household. My SO, who hails from the US, firmly believes that a shrimp should be a large, pink object, which we call a prawn. Here, in Europe, however, we have grey shrimp, which live in the North Sea. (Never mind that after being caught, they are routinely shipped to Morocco for peeling and then shipped back to us in here in the EU. Then again, we don't believe in that, we never did and we never will (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Instead, in this household, the shrimp are bought cooked and we spend an inordinate amount of time peeling them ourselves.)
This dish involves scooping out a tomato, tossing the shrimp in some mayo, spooning it into the tomato and then sprinkling said mixture with some chives. Usually I set said dish on the table, only to watch my SO crinkle her nose and say something along the lines of 'but they're the grey shrimp... they smell so fishy'. Cue my incredulous look. Yes, you will remember that they hail from the North SEA (!).
These days, however, I take a bit of dry sherry, some oil, some white wine vinegar and beat it quickly into a dressing. Mix in the shrimp. Cut up and deseed some of our home-grown cherry tomatoes. Scoop out an avocado and spoon in the mixture and devour it. Yes, let's face it, we all need our vitamins.
And then, my grand finale, the dish which guided me through many a Sunday lunch as a child: poussin à l'estragon. Unfortunately, my first girlfriend's nickname was petit poussin. Imagine her horror when she found out what I ate one Sunday lunch and the ensuing two-day cataclysm of silence. These days, I borrow from a Nigella recipe, and toss them in the oven with a few sweet potatoes, cinnamon and cumin and a liberal sprinkling of olive oil.


So there you have it, just another old-fashioned girl ragging on about her old-fashioned taste in food...

Now tell me, do you like old-fashioned food?

PS - photography is not up to scratch, but I wasn't really paying attention as I was trying to juggle getting dinner to the table and thinking about my blog...

6 messages:

Vic said...

Two posts in two days; I'm impressed.

I do love good old fashioned food, but I seem to be completely incapable of making it myself. I leave it to my mum, or better still, my nan. There's nothing quite like eating food cooked by your nan.

Vikki said...

The avocados look beautiful though I might have issue with the shrimp too. ha ha. What is in the bottom pan?

Lula said...

@Vic - true. I remember her soup and roast beast all too well.
@Vikki: doh, I forgot to say what it was: poussin is a baby chicken. Place on slice of bread, oil up, cover with herbs and shove it in the oven. I knew you were going to have an issue with the shrimp as soon as I wrote it.

Milo said...

50s? Mad Men? Cigarettes? And food? My kind of post.

Fresco said...

I'm so glad your back in your kitchen to make us all jealous with your recipies.
To celebrate this, I'm going to make the petit poussins on Saturday and drink a good old Tom Collins retro cocktail with that instead of the usual G&T. Cheers luv.

urbanvox said...

yummmmm!!! :)

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