About Thursdays

I try to cram all my hours into 4 days so as to have the luxury of Friday off ( it doesn’t always work) which also means that I can give a little time to the Petit Cherie our little dog and to Maman (my mum) both of whom get a bit lonely throughout the week. What this means in reality is a) I’m exhausted by Thursday night b) Thursday is the new Friday and in spite of the fatigue, I always want to go out on a Thursday…This can frustrate the Cherished Rocket if he has an early start on Friday and c) I end up filling up Friday with chores and commitments that I don’t manage to get done through the week instead of enjoying myself.  Saturdays are clearly for fun and Sundays are ruined by the prospect of Monday aren’t they? Anyway, I’m feeling perky about this Thursday as I plan to throw out a wild card to Rocket and suggest we go to eat somewhere outside the Kennington curtilage and to an establishment we have not been to hitherto. This will inevitably result in our going round and round in circles, great debate and lack of decision making as we will both be keen not to miss any opportunity or to put forward every place we’ve ever wandered past or heard of.

Standby though, a decision will eventually be reached. If we can’t reach a decision – the fall back will be Pizza Express and an Etna Romana for me – I think they put something addictive in it because I don’t seem able to vary my choice – it’s as if the spicy roquito peppers, sausage and crispy speck ham entrap me with their charms. I am not a creature of habit in choosing restaurant dishes as a rule but that pesky Etna does it to me every time. We are going to stop doing this though because as much as we like a Pizza – the fall back position leads to regret the opportunities missed for the rest of that weekend…..

Speaking of Pizza, a memory of delicious Italian Pizza in Brixton’s covered arcade at Franco Manca  (http://www.francomanca.co.uk) is still with me– we must go there for a change – the covered market is now super trendy, and Brixton has some really great little eateries – here is a link to a great site.

Last week we popped out locally to the KT – a Kennington institution. We are blessed with great places for a curry across south London and KT (Kennington Tandoori) offers a delicious, ‘slightly different from the bog standard’ menu which is more upmarket (not meaning better – just different). The clam broth, delicate yet warm with spices, rich but light, velvety….oh man the clam broth!!!!!!!!!! KT has a cosy dimly lit ambience, and if you get to know me better you’ll understand my obsession with restaurant lighting – well maybe you won’t understand it more that you will realise that I have one.

By the way – following a Saturday kitchen ‘breakfast in bed fest’ last weekend, we loved Nathan Outlaw’s sea bass with sardine ketchup – link to recipe here

Rocket also made Gennaro Contaldo’s ricotta dumplings in tomato sauce – FABULOUS!!! Simple, rustic, quick, cheap and delicious. Recipe unfaithfully adapted below.

Ricotta Dumplings

200g 00 flour, plus extra for dusting

225g ricotta

3 medium free-range egg yolks

30g Parmesan, freshly grated

A pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Grated hard goats cheese

Tomato sauce

6 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 sliced mild red chilli

2 x 400g cans tinned plum tomatoes, sliced lengthways

A small bunch of basil leaves, picked from the stem

Mix the ingredients for the dumplings together to form a soft dough and knead on a floured work top for a few minutes.

Roll out the dough and cut them dumplings into pieces, we did them about 2 inches long.

Cook the dumplings for 3-4 minutes in salted boiling water. You know they are done when the float to the top.

We made the sauce first and set aside until the dumplings were done. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry garlic and red chilli for a minute, remove from the heat and add the sliced plum tomatoes and any liquor form the can.

Return to the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Remove the dumplings from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the tomato sauce.

Serve the dumplings and sauce into a bowl.

Grate the goats cheese over the dish, throw the basil leaves over to finish. We served a simple rocket salad alongside.

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