I thought that I’d go flavoursome today and tell you my top ten favourite meals. Apparently, my dad’s neighbour has a fascination with what people would eat for their last meals. He’s never asked me, but if he did, these might be the things I’d say:
1. Sushi. I ♥ sushi. I could easily live off sushi and never get bored, even though it’s not the most exotic of foods. I even like plain rice. There’s little to beat the fresh sushi in Japan, though I’ve eaten sushi in many places. A little strangely, the best sushi I ever had was in Brazil – but then there’s quite a large Japanese population in Brazil. I like the little rolls with salmon in them and I love eating with chopsticks. Mainly, and it’s very childish, this is because it’s a bit of a show-off thing to do since I only know about ten people who can eat with chopsticks. What else I love about sushi is that it’s not something I can do myself (though I don’t know why!) and so it’s something I only ever eat in restaurants or sushi bars.
2. Sweet and sour vegetables. Something about the sharpness just gets me. I love sweet and sour food. I love hot pineapple, though I know it’s not to everybody’s taste. When the onions and peppers are soft, it’s just delightful. Noodles, fried rice, chips or even plain rice – it’s all perfect accompaniment and I love it all. I miss take-aways. I miss the little plastic tubs and the convenience of being able to go and pick up a takeaway after work. This said, it’s much better that I can’t, so I don’t mind too much. I do miss having thirty great Chinese restaurants to pick from, without even thinking, and I miss the variety. Our nearest specialist supermarket is in Bordeaux, and so it’s a thing I’ve learned to make (and I’m pretty good!) or do without. I make this one a lot as I love the Hairy Bikers.
3. Noodles. Soba noodles, udon noodles, ramen noodles, egg noodles, spaghetti, I love them all. I love them in soups, I love them mixed in with things. I even like supernoodles, though I draw the line at Pot Noodles. I don’t even mind that David in The Lost Boys showed noodles that looked like worms. I’d still like them. I like them most in a rich broth when they’ve gone all fat and soft, mixed in with soft spring onions.
4. Pizza. When I went to Italy, I ate pizza. I ate it for lunch and for tea. I’d eat pizza all day every day if it didn’t make me fat. I love pizza. I’d eat pizza for ever. I eat it plain, with a little origano and basil, or with all kinds of marvellous toppings. I’m not an anchovi fan, but I can stand a few olives. Favourite of all? Four cheeses. Yum. I’m not a fan of the deep dish or those with massive crusts. Thin crust pizza is perfect. In fact, I might even be tempted to make some dough and make a pizza tonight. There’s nothing like home-made pizza with home grown origano and basil, home-grown tomatoes and a few slices of mozzarella.
5. Macaroni cheese. Apparently, my Nana once got cross at my Mum for giving me Mac and Chee (as my brother and I refer to it) as a baby, when I didn’t even have one tooth to eat it with. It’s a habit I’ve never broken. Mac and cheese, cauliflower cheese, any kind of cheese sauce, it’ll all do for me.
6. Risotto. Nothing needed but a good stock, a splash of creme fraiche, some peas, some fresh broad beans and some parmesan. Perfect.
7. Fish and chips, English-style. Battered fish and deep fried chips, with some mushy peas. Nothing better. If you buy it and the batter is still perfectly crisp and almost too hot to eat, it’s even better. How I miss fish and chips, especially those fish that are almost so big you need three of you to eat it, never mind just one.
8. A hot hard-boiled egg and mayo sandwich on white bread. Salt and pepper, no tomato, no salad, no messing. I can tolerate it on a good wholewheat, but I can’t think of a better sandwich. Mind you, I seem to be going through a processed cheese phase at the moment. I have no idea why. It’s not even nice. The French pain de mie (almost crustless bread) is fantastic. I don’t want much by way of crust. And I want that bread soft. None of this fresh malarky – something filled with preservatives and salt is what this butty needs. Maybe some plain crisps as a side dish. I want that sandwich so fat with hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise that it spills out the other side.
9. Veggie lasagne with puy lentils and a bechamel sauce. Hand-made pasta, perfect sauce. Aubergines, lentils all in a thick stew. The crust should be hard and crunchy and the sauce shouldn’t be sloppy. If it can’t hold its shape when it’s cut, it’s too sloppy.
10. Egg fried rice with peas and sweetcorn. Ahhhhh.
I actually had a fairly hard time coming up with ten – not because I like a lot of things but because I find it hard to pick just one. I like most of what I eat, or else I wouldn’t eat it. That’s the beauty of being a grown-up. You get to eat what you like and leave what you don’t. Sometimes, being a grown-up IS better than being a child.