September 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 2:26 pm

Last weekend I got my first paycheck! So naturally it seemed only proper that I should go shopping and spend all of it at once. The problem is that there see to be very few decent shops in my area.

To have a fighting chance at bankrupting myself, I needed to go all the way back to my old haunt of Kensington, where I managed to spend £200 on a vast array of pointless girly things (makeup I don’t really need, overly frilly underwear etc. ) and some less frivolous things like clothes for work.

Since I was in Kensington, it would seem rude to not pop in to visit the Whole Foods market, which is where I found these intriguing creatures.

 

razor clams

I’d only seen razor clams here once before and at that time there was no way I could afford them. But on this occasion I was out to treat myself, so I picked up twelve to share with Goon.

I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything quite so active! As the fishmonger got them ready for me, they squirmed and wriggled around in an almost disturbing way. By the time i got them home, the cold from their iced container had subdued them but, by that point Goon wanted to see the liveliness of the clams for himself, so he picked one and sat warming it in his hands.

 

After half an hour all the clams were at room temperature and wriggling away again. I set Goon the task of tapping them until they stayed closed while I got started on the rest of dinner. The fishmonger had suggested treating them exactly like mussels, so I decided to steam them in a both of coconut milk and fish stock flavoured with lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli and coriander.

By the time the clams were ready for steaming, Goon had grown quite attached to them and it was a struggle convincing him to let me cook them. Fortunately, Goon thinks about his stomach before everything else, so I just waited a while until he got hungry, after which he was qute happy to drop his new friends into the pan.

The clams didn’t take long to cook at all. I seved them with the thickened broth on a bed of steamed jasmine rice with some pak choi in oyster sauce.

razor clams in thai broth

At approximately £1 each, these clams weren’t cheap but I’d definitely get them again as a treat. They have a fantastic texture, like lightly cooked scallops but more meaty, and a very fishy flavour. I think they’d be a superb replacement for mussels in a moules mariniere. I imagine they’d also be great just grilled with some herbs and olive oil. I wouldn’t say I made a mistake by putting them in a Thai broth, but they certainly didn’t need so much attention- I could have got away with treating them simply.

So next payday, I will be running over to Kensington to see if there are any more of this exciting crustacean in stock. Hopefully they’ll still be in season then. 

September 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 10:53 am

Good grief. What a fortnight!

If any of you are considering moving, submitting a thesis and starting a new job within the space of a week, take my advice. Don’t do it. It’s not good for you, especially if the job turns out to have suprisingly long hours.

Two weeks ago I was under the impression that a 8am-4pm school day meant exactly that. I thought I’d be home by 6pm every day. What a fool I was! Don’t misunderstand me, I  love the job. I’ve always liked talking about maths and, while the level is generally much lower than the stuff I’ve been working on for the last few years, there’s enough of an opportunity for me to stretch my mind with the top A-level set. Many of my students are fantastic. It’s true that I have one slightly tricky 13/14 year old set but the rest of my classes are 16-18 year olds, who are mostly very good students.

Combine that with exceptionally nice colleagues and a continuous stream of free coffee and I couldn’t ask for much more. 

The only down side to the job is the twelve hour working days. I suspect this only happens because I haven’t quite figured out how to organise myself properly yet, but it has made the first two weeks utterly exhausting. Luckily, Goon has been very good. He has tried cooking for both of us a few times, so when I get home at 9pm, I don’t necessariy have to get straight into the kitchen. 

Now, after two weeks of work, things have finally started to settle down. I’m learning to plan my lessons in twenty minutes rather than an hour and the Smartboard games that we spent hours creating for the are now easily adaptable and require minimum attention.

Now, since it has been such a long time since I last wrote a post, I’d better make the next one worth the wait.