Monday 19 March 2012

Eating by numbers

Living with Martín is a bit like living with your maths teacher. Every story gets turned into sums and numbers. Instead of talking about the wonder of skiing down a mountain, Martín might work out the time ratio of how long it takes to go down on skis compared to the time spent on lifts. While others might marvel at a full-bodied red wine, Martín would do the sums to tell us the profit made on each grape squeezed into it.

His brain simply works a lot differently from mine. Sometimes this is a pain in the arse and sometimes it is endearing. But at least a few times a week, you're going to hear me saying to him: "Can we stop reducing everything to numbers?"

(A quick aside here. I truly understand the value of numbers. Especially those involved in my bank statements and wedding budget.)

Anyway, this weekend we decided that instead of going out for dinner we would roll our sleeves up and bring the restaurant to our place. It would be good bonding time in the kitchen, as we hadn't seen each other to speak to during a demanding week. We chose two new dishes to make which tickled our taste buds: Greek greens followed by a Spanish mixed paella. We headed out into the drizzle of Ealing on Saturday afternoon to search for the ingredients.

After a trip to the fishmongers and Tesco we had bags full of king prawns, mussels, pork belly, parsley, spinach and sourdough bread, plus much, much more.

"This is a great idea of mine, isn't it?" he kept saying, as if it was the first idea he had ever had. I wondered where all this enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and home cooking was coming from and going.

Then I saw the Look of Numbers. "Well, we have all this food and have spent less already than we would going out for dinner," he remarked.

That was true. I couldn't argue with that. And the wine had been a bargain, which is what always kills us when we go out. But it didn't stop there.

Anyway, onto the starter. This was a delightfully fresh tasting spinach, and red onion combination on warm bread flavoured with crushed cherry tomatoes. Simple and divine. Topped off with Greek oil and some Greek music, we imagined ourselves on a balcony in Santorini.

"And all for just £4" he delights in sharing.

Now, I have to point out, Martín is no penny pincher. He's not tight. He's very generous. It's just his obsession with numbers.

Onto the paella. This was real teamwork and it tasted amazing. Which is a good job as it was full of flavours and food. So much food! I thought my wok would explode with all we kept adding to it and as we tenderly nurtured every paella rice grain, turning and turning them. But it worked. Credit to us.

But there was a lot of it. Piles of paella. Mountains to munch on. It was inevitable that those words would come out of his mouth again:

"We've made so much here. How long is this going to feed us for?"

Three days.

"And all the other ingredients we bought, how many meals is that?"

Well, at least another five of these and then some.

He leaned back, full of paella and economic pride. When food at home tastes this good, the numbers really do add up.

1 comment:

  1. I love this Bird. Engineers ay!
    Story of my life xxxx


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