My Dream Menu (inspired by the Off Menu podcast)

food

I love food and I especially love food from independent businesses who are passionate about the food they make. I co-own a walking food tour business which takes people on a tour of the city whilst stopping to sample lots of delicious eats. Having an eating disorder for many years meant that I didn’t allow myself to eat the things that I wanted to and food came with a side-ordering of fear. Every food choice was decided and calculated and made me miserable. I am so pleased to finally be in the place where food brings me complete joy. I don’t second guess my food related decisions, unless I’m jealous of what you’ve ordered, and I now make the most of all the things that are out there for me to eat. Interestingly, when I began to allow all foods, in time, I naturally wanted to eat a variety of things. Recovery took a lot of time and patience and is a journey which I will continue on for the rest of my life. Perhaps I’ll blog about it more some time but today I want to talk about the really tasty stuff that I want to eat.

As mentioned in my previous post, I am a big fan of the Off Menu podcast. Hosted by James Acaster and Ed Gamble, guests are invited to the dream restaurant where they can have their perfect starter, main (with side) and dessert. Each week there is a secret ingredient and if the guest mentions it they get immediately kicked out of the restaurant. Luckily it is usually something obsure or universally categorised as gross so this rarely happens. When it does, it’s very funny. This podcast has got me thinking about what my dream menu would be, if fullness was out of the question and money was of no object. Hopefully my menu of choice would be approved of by Acaster, Gamble and the many fans of Off menu.

Starter
My starter would have to be loaded nachos. Specifically the ones from Lorenzo’s restaurant in Plymouth. A lot of my favourite foods are linked to special food memories. Growing up near to Plymouth, independent options were far and in between but Lorenzos was the jewel in Plymouth’s food scene crown. It is still there and well loved but I am talking about it in the past tense as I don’t think the menu has ever been quite as good as when I first went with my pals, so I specifically want the nachos from 12 years ago but made fresh. Obviously. Me and my best friends ate there a lot and even now when I go home we’ll regularly go there for old times sake. As tweens, this was a step up from Pizza Hut and we felt extremely grown up eating there. I still do. Lorenzo’s serves Spanish tapas in English portions and their nachos are genuinely one of my favourite things to eat, ever. Loaded high with melted cheese, flavoursome shredded chicken, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and no jalapenos please and thank you. Unless I’m eating this with my friend Tony and in which case, he can have them. I’ve never seen someone eat a jalapeno with as much glee as Tony.

Main
For my main course, I would like a prawn Pad Thai from Everyday Thai in Fishponds, Bristol. I have only been there once and have only had the Pad Thai from there twice (the second time during lockdown) but it is absolutely exquisite and I am already excited for when I get to eat it again. The flavours, textures and size of prawns are spot on and I could easily eat it every day, quite happily. Thai food has a happy place in my heart – memories of visiting my brother out in Thailand and eating amazing fresh dishes made by the locals. I am a baby when it comes to spice so a Pad Thai for me, is the perfect choice. There has to be lots of lime for squeezing and crumbled salted peanuts on top. To go with my Pad Thai, I would like a bowl of prawn crackers but a mix of Thai ones and the white fluffy ones you get from a Chinese restaurant and I want to eat my Pad Thai by taking forkfuls and using the prawn cracker as an edible spoon.

Side
EDIT: My girlfriend has read this post and said that prawn crackers have to be the side & I don’t get an extra dish according to the ‘rules’ of the podcast. She also said she hates my menu and none of it goes together. Anyway. I would like a portion of fish and chips, from with some homemade tartare sauce, just baked warm white bread with salted butter and a wedge of lemon for squeezing over the cod. You have read this correctly and I am having Fish and Chips as the side to my Pad Thai and you’re going to have to deal with it because this is the dream restaurant and reason goes out the window. Growing up in Cornwall means that I believe (read: know) that Fish and Chips is the perfect meal and it always tastes better eaten on the beach, after a swim in the sea. I want to eat this with my hands and it is also absolutely essential and non negotiable that I can smell the sea whilst I’m eating.

Dessert
Dessert would have to be a warm, salted caramel brownie from Loaf. Loaf’s brownies have the perfect amount of fudgyness inside. Don’t come to be with a cakey, dry brownie – I’m not interested. With my brownie, I would like the option of whipped double cream, vanilla pod ice-cream and a jar of peanut butter (if I have to choose, it’s Manilife original crunchy) I will dip between these as I wish. After I’ve polished off the brownie, cream, ice-cream and peanut butter I’ll move onto my cheese course. My cheese platter will, of course, be prepared by the Bristol cheesemonger and must include Ragstone by Neal’s yard creamery and the one with crunchy salty bits in that I can never remember the name of. Served with artisan crackers (darling), pickles and grapes.

Image result for lorenzos plymouth

And there you have it, my dream menu. I would love to hear what would feature on yours so please let me know in the comments!

Stuff everyone has enjoyed for ages but I have only just got really into

food, stuff

Now that I have taken a social media sabbatical, I know I’m a modern day martyr, I have loads more time to do stuff. Who would have thought? With this new found time and brain space I have started discovering loads of fun things I like doing, reading, listening to. Being offline also means I can’t publicize my blog posts or connect with you so that makes me a really shit blogger. Oops.

EDIT: I have just managed to add a lil contact box on the homepage so feel free to send your fan mail there.

Duo lingo: I’m learning French! Oui it is true. My Mum speaks fluent French and when I was little her and my Dad would switch to speaking in français to stop me understanding. I thought I’d learn the language just in case they start doing it again when I go and visit this weekend. French is a sexy language and apparently 34 hours spent on the app is the equivalent of a term of seminars at University. The app is free and soon I will be well on my way to being able to order a sandwich in Paris.

Refinery 29’s money diaries: I am absolutely obsessed with this feature on Refinery 29 where a modern day woman tracks her spending for the week and posts it for everyone to judge. I am pretty meticulous when it comes to managing my money and have a master spreadsheet of spendings and savings (I am a very fun person). I equally love finding out how other people spend their cash. The diaries are posted once or twice a week and are the perfect lunch break treat.

Spotify: I KNOW, HAVE I BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK? I have had Spotify for a while but haven’t ever utilized it properly. I now have a playlist for all occasions and keep adding to them. Now that I have my own office at work I have been listening to Radio 1 pretty much all day and finally have some modern music on my phone. My previous music collection consisted of 90’s bangers, club classics and musicals. Someone asking me to put some music on caused serious anxiety sweats because what if no-one else was interested in the Hamilton soundtrack? I’ve recently changed my account to a duo account with my gf which means a few extra quid saved a month and a free Google nest. Ours hasn’t arrived yet so I’m still not 100% sure that it isn’t a scam. C’est la vie.

Pick my postcode lottery: Talking of scams, this could also be a scam but if it’s not then you and I might win some money. Apparently there is only 2 people with my postcode registered and it hasn’t yet been picked so I live in hope. I expect a cut if you win big.

Sending emails: I have become e-pen pals with some long distance friends and it has been great being able to have real conversations with them and keeping each other posted on our news in a personal way rather than a Facebook status update. I absolutely love snail mail and this is a lush way of sending letters in a more accessible way. I tend to email them once every week or so and there is always so much to say and it is therapeutic too.

Trashy shows on Netflix: I highly recommend you watching the following shows immediately: Selling sunset, Below deck, Love at first sight and Too hot to handle. I’ve never been that into reality TV or soaps. Admittedly, I used to watch Eastenders but stopped after the dramatic Who shot Phil Mitchell saga. Sure I love a gritty crime thriller on BBC or a classic ITV 3 part drama but I would much rather watch rich people sell even richer people houses and outrageous people agreeing to marry each other without ever meeting until they’re engaged.

Podcasts: My current faves are – Shagged, married, annoyed, Off menu and Desert Island Discs. I listen whilst I cycle, walk, work, wash-up. I go through phases with podcasts but these 3 have stayed on my regular listens for a long time now.

Baking bread: Bread flour is back on the shelves people! I never want to try and make sourdough ever again after only 1 success and approx 186 failures during lock down and then our starter died. RIP. But no-one ever told me that making non-millennial bread can be fun and has a much higher success rate. We used this recipe and made bagels. Look here is a photo of Zoe taking a photo to prove it.