Saturday, December 5, 2009

New York weekend

Late Saturday morning, rain on the skylights, better winter cold (it was 18'C/64'F Thursday) blowing through the little window in the bedroom. We can't stand an over-heated house. Earlier the drops turned slow and sluggish overhead, signaling a brief spell of promised sleet.

Breakfast in bed of panettone and good coffee, my book, The Fortune of War, reaching Nantucket in a driving sleet aboard the 'Constitution', as Jack Aubrey lies below, severely wounded in body and spirit. I am happy to have the whole O'Brian saga ahead of me again, another 15 volumes, these next few months. Once I start I cannot stop. I had not thought I would read them again, but it seems I can. Years ago, six, I read Moby Dick, another book of the seas, for the first time, at this end of year, finding in its thick prose a way to block out life, which had become too much, and a way to go on. Books can save you. They take the mind somewhere else and allow the body to keep doing what it must.

On the table lies the bounty from a walk through Chinatown last night: three massive pomelos: jumbo-sized grapefruit with skin half an inch thick. They spell winter in New York for me. Costing $3 a piece this year and yielding comparatively small fruit in their massive bulk, the inner segments are easily peeled, thick-celled and juicy, and perfect for the salad I'd like to make tomorrow night, with avocado and fennel, from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors.

Then, too, three fat pomegranates, bought from the shop on the east side of the Bowery below Grand, whose fruit costs less, for some reason, than in other Chinatown places, the pomegranates costing as much as in Wholefoods. But here they were 3 for $5 instead of $2.50 a piece. I don't know what I'll do with them, yet. Maybe a great tropical salad for winter.

Also a sackful of little yellow-skinned guavas from a sidewalk vendor. You never see them here, while they are a South African staple fruit, like passion fruit (grenadillas)...the ones at Wholefoods right now cost 1.99. EACH: the passion fruit, that is. Crazy.

In Cape Town they are piled in mountains in supermarkets or sold by the bag. They are delicious, and make the best fruit mousse.

Speaking of which.

Pineapple fluff. Next post.

Last night, before the pineapple fluff, I made gnocchi again, this time using 2 bunches of fresh spinach, cooked, squeezed hard to get the last drop of moisture out, and chopped. A more tender and delicious result.

We drank our now-favourite Prosecco and Grand Marnier cocktail, which debuted on Thanksgiving (it needs a name), and spent a companiable evening with the cat.

Now I must peel, slice and blanch the pomelos' skins. I want to crystallize them for after-dinner treats. We are feeding - and meeting for the first time - a blogging friend tomorrow, Melanie, owner of Halloween the black cat, a most entertaining commenter on Estorbo's blog.


  1. Drink Names:

    The Flushed Bird
    The Jive Turkey
    Pies and Sighs (In an after dinner context, of course.)
    Ain't Life Grand

  2. yur too kined. Mine sez sheez vrry much luking forrwrrd to meeting ya. shee ventrred owt inna sno today ta get sompin to hlp tak Es's mind off his sudden wrrdrobe. a little thing, but one a my favrit things. yu'll see.


  3. For me, anything involving Grand Marnier would have to include the word Skylight (and maybe Horror) as part of its name: heavy metal-framed skylight came off hinges, crashed down roof and shattered in road 3 floors down, just missing schoolchildren and policeman. I went down those flights of stairs at speed of light to see if I'd killed anybody. Later my mother ladled a very large spoonful of GM into my shocked face and made me lie down - took me years to face the taste again! In fact, I feel a little faint now.....

    Gnocchi much safer; looks good too.

  4. Mmm...that gnocchi again. I must make some time to make some gnocchi.
    And please say "hi!" to Melanie.

  5. Pritha...hahahaha. I like the jive turkey, but for that name we need to invent a drink with bourbon!

    ^^ Hello Halloween :-)

    Rachel, what a story! Halloween's woman suggested 'Sklylight' as a name, in consequence...

    Dinahmow - gnocchi good, hmmm.

  6. sBourbon, ginger beer, fresh lime, a sprig of rosemary.


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