Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Winning Combination

One casualty of my current living situation is that some nights, it's tricky to find a suitable time to cook--not because I have such a busy schedule, but because my housemates--four boys and a girl, all undergrads--are avid cooks. I am consistently impressed by their efforts, even if some of them tend to rely on spice packets a bit--but in general, I think they get up to more extensive cooking than I do. For example, Richard made his own mayonnaise a few weeks ago! So kitchen traffic tends to be fairly heavy, and only two burners on the stove work. Because I have plenty of days where I just want to avoid people and get on with my work, I have been alternating my own cooking with meals that either don't need cooking, or--and here's where I hear the gasps of horror--eating Sainsbury's ready meals.

Those of you who know me know that I don't make a habit of eating ready meals at home in Brooklyn. For one thing, J & I consciously decided not to have a microwave in the house, which takes away the quick convenience of meals-in-a-box; when we need that sort of convenience, I often stop at the Whole Foods hot food bar on my way home.

The Sainsbury's meals are very uneven in palatability, and range from inedibly bland to quite decent, and to their credit, I almost always recognize all the ingredients. Tonight I had the chicken jalfrezi, which isn't my favorite Indian dish under the best of circumstances, but I definitely wanted Indian, and knew that the kitchen was going to be overrun. So I got it, and was pleasantly surprised--I'd compare it with a slightly better than average restaurant...certainly a great deal better than bad Indian!

But what really made the meal worth blogging about was the slightly weird way I augmented the jalfrezi. Thinking, "I really should eat something green with this," but not in the mood for a salad, I fecked a big handful of watercress into the jalfrezi while it was still steaming from the microwave. It wilted into submission, and the flavor complemented the chicken nicely. Who knew?


Magic Cochin said...

Welcome to Cambridge! Have you tried Fitzbillies' Chelsea Buns yet? And do explore Mill Road - more authentic cullinary delights than Sainsbury's chiller cabinet!

Have fun!
I understand our dear Arch-bish was in town today!

T said...

Hi, Celia--thanks for commenting! I haven't tried the Chelsea buns yet--I went by there last week, and just missed their opening hours. It's definitely on the list, as is exploring Mill Road--do you have any Indian restaurants (or others) to recommend?

I'm enjoying myself mightily here so far, despite (and also because of) the amount of research I'm attempting to do.

Rob said...

Hey, I used to be in a band called the Chelsea Buns.

Magic Cochin said...

Hi, I'm not up to speed on recommendations for Indian restaurants in Cambridge. As I'm out in the sticks on the Suffolk border we rarely venture into the city centre to eat! The Curry Queen in Mill Road would have been my choice but have heard it changed hands, so best to ask around.

I can definitely recommend The Longbow in Stapleford for Thai food.
- delicious freshly cooked food.


Melissa said...

try this one:
roasted asparagus spears drizzled w/ brown butter and a spot of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. made fast friends with the smoked pork chops, and yuuu-uumy!!