First off I have to thank Gourmet magazine, to which we subscribe, for our latest dinner fabulousa. I don't often cook by following recipes but this one grabbed me by name alone - Figgy piggy Cornish hen! I've been bursting to find an excuse to cook Cornish hen for a while - they're not really Cornish, just young chickens. I won't repeat the recipe in detail here since it isn't mine (although I'm hoping it'll appear on their website soon) but the best thing about it is that it is incredibly quick, simple and delicious! Basically I took a bird, halved it and seasoned it (salt/pepper). Meanwhile I crisped up some bacon (or what passes for bacon in the US), then some garlic slivers in the bacon fat, then the bird halves skin side down in the bacon fat until the skin browned. Then I simply roasted the bird (450F) with some halved black figs (delicious and in season here right now) and some thyme sprigs. Served it with mash and a sauce made from the bird/fig juices and the frypan residue, along with some white wine and lemon juice - brilliant!
Secondly, this is a shout out to everyone who lives in San Antonio to get out of your HEB monopoly on the supermarket routine and get yourself down to Tim's Oriental and Seafood Market on Bandera Road just past the Huebner intersection. This place is a gem, I just love it. Not only is it a really extensive Asian grocer (and I really do mean extensive) it also sells fresh seafood (including live crabs) as well as whole Peking duck for only $15.99 each and the most delicious sticky BBQ pork and crispy roast pork belly. The other amazing thing is this place is recession heaven - no matter what I purchase my bill always seems to be about $25 (well, except when I buy a duck and a slab of roast pork on top of everything else and then the beloved opens the shopping bags before I've had a chance to warn her of said purchases...but that's another story.)
Here are a couple of examples of recent expeditions:Clockwise from the top - bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms, lap chong sausages, huge and delicious dried shiitake, flat rice noodles made in Houston and so good for chow fun, fresh shiitake, spring onion, bitter greens whose name I forget... All up ~$16
Again, clockwise from the top - frozen udon noodles of the highest caliber (meaning chewy and bouncy and perfect, not those crap ones that break when you even point a chopstick in their direction), baby bok choy, magically mysterious but delicious little bags of preserved vegetable that I love snacking on at work, more dried shiitake, tiny hot peppers, more rice noodles, gyoza, tofu balls (silken in the middle, fried on the outside), more lap chong and more enoki. Total bill - $23
There are so many reasons I love Tim's. The fresh vegies are wonderful and you never know what will be there. We've bought delicious fresh water chestnuts, sweet coconuts, all manner of greens, and the shiitake and enoki are just wonderful! And so cheap. I love bamboo and Tim's keeps me supplied with about 15 different kinds, from fresh frozen to brined to dried to hot-pickled. The ingredients cover Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Filipino and so much more. Not only that but you can also find tins of milo and Cafe Du Monde coffee with chicory from New Orleans amongst many other gems.
And finally (because no post can be completely Marty-free) I have to say well done to Mum for guessing the profession!
As much as his Poggie might like to dream, I doubt I could ever really handle it as a profession, but who knows, he might! I'd be happy if he became a carpenter but he's going to have to do some pretty fast talking to convince me he wants to do a PhD!