Last week The Cherub caught a viral throat infection and went off her food. This was like watching a gifted musician suddenly turn tone deaf.
I tried everything. Cinnamon oats with caramelized apples, broccoli and cheese frittatas, chicken Bolognese pasta… no cigar.
Eventually, in desperation, I made her two soft-boiled eggs with toast soldiers. What we call “dippy eggs”. Bingo. She smashed half a dozen yolk-soaked toast fingers and then dug the rest out with a spoon. This was pretty amazing since she hadn’t really used a spoon before. And it looks like she might be left-handed.
The next day, when I asked her if she wanted “dippy eggs” for supper – she shot down the passage sing-songing “Dip-peeeYEGGS! Dip-peeYEGGS!”
So there wasn’t a lot of time for grown-up cooking last week. This is the sad paradox of the specialist magazine editor – often the subject you love so much you made a job out of it, becomes something you never have time to do yourself. Which is one of the reasons I committed to this column.
We had leftover roast chicken, Thai takeout, chicken bolognese (defrosted) and Hannah’s pork tacos (again), courtesy of the Salad Dodger. The only thing I made (besides dippy eggs) was the enchilada spice because we’d run out: harissa rub mixed with smoked paprika, chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg salt and sugar.
But halfway through Saturday, an uncharacteristically peaceful day, the SD said: “Do you fancy a bit of a braai for supper?”
“Aha!” I said, “There are lamb cutlets in the freezer.”
When the chops had defrosted, I stuck them in a Ziploc plastic bag with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, smashed garlic and thyme from my smugly prolific herb garden. Then I bashed them about a bit with a pestle – a trick I learned from Nigella – and left them to marinade.
I dug out the sweet potato “chips” I was planning to make for Holly in case she ever decided to eat something other than dippy eggs and roasted these with rosemary and olive oil until they were sticky and singed at the edges.
Now, it should come as no surprise that the Salad Dodger is also a dodger of sweet vegetables. He believes that sweet things should be sweet and savoury things savoury, soup should be hot and parsley banned, ideally. But he does love chilli and he really loves salsa verde. So I drizzled the hot sweet potato fries with some leftover salsa verde from taco night – inspired by this recipe of Hannah’s from 2017.
We ate the pink lamb chops – crisp fat expertly rendered (the SD knows how to braai a lamb chop) – with the spicy-sweet fries and a green bean salad. It was the perfect meal.