Saturday, May 05, 2007

Black sausages, pickled pears and wodka

We finally made it to Wodka tonight - the Polish restaurant in Kensington. Just like the Baltic - its sister restaurant - the food was comfort food of the highest order. Unlike the Baltic, the atmosphere was hushed, candlelit and intimate. I love both restaurants for different reasons. For starters, I had black sausage with pickled red cabbage and pear puree. M had herring blinis.

I'm one of the few people I know who adores black pudding and when people ask me what would I order as a last ever meal I more often than not reply, habas con morcilla (broad beans with black pudding) from the Moro Cookbook.

Okay, I digress, but in an ideal world my final meal would be huevos rancheros to start, then habas con morcilla, followed by Yauatcha's violetta or voilet and blackcurrent mousse cake. Okay, so they may not sit well together but individually I love these three dishes the best.

For mains, I had beef, pork and pine nut meatballs with mash potatoes and a spicy plum chutney. M had braised lamb shank with pomegranates.

We were so stuffed, we could only share the lightest of desserts: summer mixed berries steeped in vodka and served with creme fraiche. It was so sublime and fresh, we want to make it this weekend.

And, of course, the drinks: shots of Zubrówka and the Jagermeister-like Orzechowa or walnut vodka. A long cocktail of Jarzebiak, fresh mint, lime and soda. And a vodka martini with lemon and mint.

And now it's the three-day weekend!

Friday notes:
  • What's happened to the weather? It was so cold last night that I seriously considered switching the heating back on. This morning I wrapped up in a scarf but by the afternoon it was sunny and hot.

  • A perennially single friend of mine remarked on how odd she found it seeing couples who rarely talk during a meal out. She found it a sad reflection on their relationships. I accused her (nicely of course) of having made not just a judgmental but a sweeping statement. Granted, some of those couples may need to shake themselves up a little, but not necessarily all of them.

    I'm a natural introvert and perhaps as a consequence of being an only child and spending alot of time alone (and single) I really enjoy being quiet and reflective even in the company of people. I'm much more chatty and ebullient in business situations but only because I have to be. I've been with M for just over two years. He has a quick and curious mind and always has something to chat about. I have a lot of things whizzing or slow burning through my mind, but I don't always share those thoughts.

    When we were dating and getting to know one another I made an enormous effort to engage verbally with him. It was exciting but the introvert in me also found it a little stressful. Then gradually as I became more secure in his feelings for me and my feelings for him, that effort didn't feel like such an effort any longer. We can spend a dinner chatting away with each other, or we can spend a dinner being quiet in our own thoughts. Sometimes we happily read during dinner at home. We talk when we want to talk. It's simply down to personality.

  • A blogger I read has started a creative non-fiction writing class at London's very popular City Lit. The great thing about a writing class for me is the discipline it forces on you. You are accountable to all the people in the class so you can't make any excuses. I've written two novels and had enough discipline to write them on my own, getting up early in the morning or writing late at night. But that was several years ago and I'm finding discipline (due to exhaustion) a little harder to find. Perhaps a class - not one geared up to writing fiction - but simply a writing class to get me dreaming and composing again - to get that pen pushing across paper.

  • I used to live and teach at a boys' boarding school in the Himalayas and one of my most treasured memories is of watching little boys chasing glowing blue fireflies in the dark and trying to capture them in jars. The delight on their faces will stay with me forever.

  • M's got a 19% pay rise effective immediately. Yippee!

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