Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lemon Chill

Today is a perfect winter's day in London. The sky is a vivid shade of blue with not even the threat of a rain cloud and the biting wind manages to find a way through one's layers of clothing to poke its cruel, cloud fingers into one's flesh. Just the conditions to make one yearn for soul food - food that will make one feel cossetted and thankful to escape the wicked wind outside. To me this doesn't mean a creamy risotto, a roasted joint or a school dinner type pud (as it does to some of my friends), but rather simple vegetables, laced with zingy flavours redolent of summer months to awaken my dullened tastebuds.

Having been rather buffeted by the weather I raided the fridge to emerge with a bunch of purple sprouting broccoli and a red chilli. First I prepared the dressing. I fried a clove of garlic and the chopped chilli in a glug of olive oil and then added the juice of half a lemon, its zest and also some curls of the peel and let it bubble away to create a warm dressing. Meanwhile I shaved the thick stems of the broccoli and steamed it over a pan of water to which I'd added some fennel seeds, for about five minutes. I then threw the broccoli into the pan with the dressing and tossed it to ensure it was thoroughly coated.

Devoured with a simple salad this was exactly the medicine I needed to counter my February blues.

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