I live like I cook, and this is not a good thing. When I’m in the kitchen, I like to think of myself as relaxed, organised and competent. Though the reality is I usually start to cook with no definite plan, have only a vague idea of where I’m heading, use what I find to hand and through sheer force of will I struggle through to the end where I finally serve up my shame. Just like life.
Work is different. I’m a planner, detail obsessed, blunt, honest and totally emotionally engaged in what I am doing. I’ve been through two start-up cycles over the last decade where I have grown a business from two employees to sixty five, and lost it all. Though I must stress I wasn’t the visionary, I was the do-er, taking care of all the heavy lifting, making sure all the moving parts worked together. I was worth a million on paper for about six months, and later on after losing that, I was lucky enough to come within a hair breadth of closing a deal that would have made me different million. But that was then…
Throughout it all, when that paper was soaring and falling, my sanctuary was always the kitchen. No matter where I was, up or down, I always valued more than anything the company of friends, a glass of wine and some good food. Though I always enjoyed cooking for others than going out to eat. I’m a feeder, a provider. I am never more content than when I am sharing a smile, a hug, a glass of wine and and food.
This dish is a perfect example of my cooking, inspiration and methods. Basically it was made up as it went along with a vague idea of what I was doing. Though it all worked out well in the end.
Leftover beef from a Sunday roast. Sliced thinly. Served with roasted Brussels Sprouts in a fresh, spicy Asian dressing. The recipe is a loose adaptation of a David Chang recipe from the Momofuku book . Loose adaptation in the sense that I know that he used fish sauce as a dressing to his roasted Brussels Sprouts, though by all accounts his own recipe is constantly being tweaked and evolving. I was scared of using too much fish sauce but I had a great Vietnamese dressing which I loved and I thought would work equally as well.
Panfry the Brussels Sprouts along with some Spring Onions until they take a little colour (5-10 minutes) then put pan into oven (high heat – 220degrees) and roast for a further 15 minutes and toss with the Vietnamese dressing. You can alter the ratios for personal taste, scale back on the fish sauce and add soy sauce, and more chopped chillis if you want freshness or a chilli sauce for a deeper heat. Basic recipe is just Fish Sauce, Sugar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Seasame Oil, Juice of a Lime, Chilli, Coriander, and Garlic – thrown into a jam jar and shook up (2 parts of fish sauce, 2 parts of lime juice, to 1 part of rice wine vinegar and 1 part of seasame oil with a spoonful of palm or brown sugar)– ratios dependent on serving size.
I dressed with some sesame seeds toasted in a dry frying pan and scattered with fresh herbs.