When it’s turning into a manic work week, and I have rehearsals in the evenings and very little time to myself I always (without fail) crave chicken goujons. The plain breaded ones preferably. Then I will sit and eat a whole plate of them with ketchup (nothing else) and share the odd one with Coco the cat – who also seems to have a soft spot for them too. They seem to summarise my mood perfectly and require minimal effort to cook. I cannot say that my husband shares the same love but he goes with it and chomps away happily on the few that I grudgingly put on his plate along with salad or veggies to give the appearance of a proper meal. I think I would definitely have to take chicken goujons with me in my Dessert Island emergency rations pack.
Another one is on my return from holiday – usually it starts the day before I come back, and by the time I am on the plane home it’s all I can think about – Spag Bol. I have no idea why, but ever since I was little the one thing I want more than anything when I get home from holiday is spaghetti bolognese with lots of Parmesan. You can imagine how disappointing the airplane food is when it arrives and isn’t my dream dish.
Whenever crabs are in season I will always want a Sri Lankan crab curry – it was on the table virtually every weekend during crab season when I was growing up and I love it. It takes quite a while to make and you have to leave it for at least 1 day after it’s made before consuming to let the flavour develop. In addition the effort it takes to eat it is considerable as the crabs are kept as whole as possible and only have the shells lightly cracked, so you have to wrestle the meat out of the shells and end up covered from head to toe in bits of sauce and fragments of shell. It’s one of those curries that is incredibly spicy too, so as long as you keep eating it’s fine but the minute you stop to try to clean up a little your mouth starts burning and all hell breaks loose! Heaven :). On a crab related note, a few years ago I was in a Chinese restaurant with a group of friends and ordered crabs in chilli or something similar, when the dish arrived I graciously offered it to the friend sat to my right and my then fiance (now husband) to my left, they both said “thank you, maybe in a little bit”. They then didn’t get a word out of me for around 20 minutes. Needless to say when they were ready to try my dish the only thing left was a graveyard of shells!
Being ill could go one of two ways. Either creamy, cheesy mash or dhal (red lentils cooked with coconut milk and dried red chillies, Sri Lankan style). It depends on if I need a bland or spicy pick me up. These also work when I am upset or feeling very sad. I remember when I was a child if I had been recovering from a scolding, throwing a tantrum (hard to believe I know) or something very sad had happened and I was thoroughly exhausted from sobbing Dad would make me one of these. He wouldn’t give it to me as I would of course refuse to eat it and return to sobbing, he would just leave it on the table without a word. The smell would drift around the dinning room and gently soothe the hysterics. I would then recce the table to see where the bowl was, crawl under the table to its location and haul myself up on to the closest chair to reach it. If Dad was lucky, I did on occasion share the odd spoonful with him to show my gratitude, and me sharing food is pretty rare. Then you have the creamy, cheesey hug of freshly made mash. So delicious just on its own or with my all time favorite condiment ketchup. I know some people who cannot eat mash, they have textural issues with it, but for me its the most affable food and makes me feel instantly better. Once at primary school I mistook Smash for proper mash, Smash has it’s place in plastic food history but it by no means has the same soothing quality as the real potato version (actually I think it was the advert I liked more than the product).
Writing this has really made me want chicken goujons tonight but I don’t think I’m going to get them. 😦