Yesterday was definitely not a day filled with festive cheer - for me, at any rate. I had a dental appointment that managed to last 2 hours, as the dentist filled a hideously deep crack in my tooth; it involved several injections and a lot of imagination to get past it. After the swelling came down, the pain kicked in and I have been battling with toothache ever since. I had forgotten how debilitating toothache is: it literally wore me down, so I just wanted to curl up in bed and lock out the world. I skipped lunch and by dinner time I was as hungry as I was achey, but couldn't face much, so I made fishcakes with mashed potato, flaked poached haddock, chopped parsley and cayenne, and I also made Jamie's braised peas with spring onion and lettuce. Oh and I felt sorry for myself - I suppose that goes without saying.
These peas are a variant of a classic French dish, which I have eaten quite a lot in the form of the French jarred peas you can buy over here (they are extraordinarily expensive in Tesco). I like them a lot but had never attempted to emulate them, mainly because it wasn't until last year that I realized that peas can be more than a rushed accompaniment (pea puree, made with basil and olive oil, taught me that) but also because I had never seen a recipe. It is so easy that you barely need one, which worked for me because I was achey, exhausted and crabby (the dentist, nice man that he is, has that effect). Anyway to make it, you simply heat butter and olive oil in a pan, add plain flour and stir, then pour in chicken or vegetable stock; turn up the heat, add chopped spring onions and lettuce with seasoning, and simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes until tender. Squeeze in lemon juice and serve drizzled with a splash of oil.
I should admit that my taste buds probably weren't at their peak but I really liked these peas. The stock/lemon juice combo is always a winner, and the lettuce and spring onion work so well. It is simple but delicious, which is what side dishes should be, probably. Even in my over-tired, under-tasting state, I found these peas very tasty indeed and I would certainly do them again.
Tonight, as an aside, I made a gingerbread house.
It was fun, trying not to be too tacky, though there is no place at Christmas for a tasteful gingerbread house. Meanwhile, fingers crossed that my toothache vanishes tomorrow and that I can eat crunchy food again, as soft, nursery food (we had risotto tonight, which was delicious, but still...) will begin to get on my nerves. Fingers crossed that my toothache dissipates anyway because it is tiresome to live with and at the moment I can't drink the usual cold water because it hurts - and tepid water really isn't very nice. Otherwise from tomorrow afternoon I have a pretty long holiday - which is kind of exciting. Watch this space as (tooth ache permitting), I cook up a storm!