I was reading in the paper the other day, that there is probably more long term happiness to be derived from eating your favourite biscuits on the sofa in front on a TV programme you love, than winning a couple of million quid on the lottery. Studies have shown, it was said, that massive changes in financial circumstances or a sudden serious illness didn't really effect the long term happiness of those it happened to. Basically, once a miserable sod, always a miserable sod.
It struck me to consider what is was that made me happiest in the kitchen. What combination of food and drink hit the spot without fail, guaranteed food contentment. About three seconds later I figured it was a dumb question that I couldn't answer, since so many factors are involved in choosing a meal that to gauge from a utliltarian position of what brought me more happiness, the hot cross bun or the poached egg, was frankly just a bit silly. Saturday nights in are something that do make me happy. They are something to be treasured and lingered over. Tonight, after a very long week, I indulged in a little home butchery. I'd bought a a forerib of beef earlier in the day at Borough Market and deboned and halved it to give two enormously thick ribeye steaks. These were pretty much two portion steaks so I figured I would just cook one slowly on the griddle.
In the meantime I set about making mashed potatoes. A chef friend of mine roasts her potatoes first, it gets rid of moisture and you don't have to peel anything she boasts, you just spoon out the soft potato and keep the skins for a starter. A bit involved for my taste, but I can testify that her mash does rule from on high, the roast potatoes giving it a slightly sweeter nuttier flavour. I go with the time honoured boil method, but I keep the skins on and peel them when they are done which is a fiddly annoying and sometime painful task but well worth it for avoiding watery mash. Butter, a little milk and once you have a good looking puree, a fat glug of good olive oil. Salt, pepper, done. I'm not going to get into the methods of mashing, I figure go with what makes you happiest.
So with the mash made, a cheeky onion gravy and the dino sized steak on the stove I cracked open a bottle of Amisfield 2003 NZ Pinot Noir. The Craig Charles Funk show was on BBC Radio 6. I was making some serious happy.
It is times like that I feel happiest in my kitchen. On those no rush, all the time in the world kind of days, where the ingredients sing in the pan and everything works because you give everything its deserved attention. A near Zen like state of familiar routines, where things become effortless. Ok, there's still some washing up to at the end of it, but when your truly at peace in your kitchen then I reckon your probably at the happiest that you get in your own home. Ok, maybe second happiest, because I love my bed. Ok, make that third.