Saturday, February 11, 2006

Screenwriting Diet

The brief mention of ‘broad bean salad’ in the “A Life in the Day” post has provoked more emails and queries than any controversial or playful discussion on the finer attributes of screenwriting. So, maybe this could be the first in a new series: “I’ll Have What He’s Having: The Screenwriter’s Diet”.

For those screenwriters living on a tight budget (me) and/or trying to remain reasonably slim (hello again), here’s the lowdown on the broad bean salad.

One tin of sweetcorn. Not a piddly thing. A nice big one, preferably with a green giant staring right at you from the label.
One tin of red kidney beans.
One tin of broad beans.
A good handful of your preferred herb (I recommend basil).


Drain the tins of sweetcorn, kidney beans and broad beans. Go on, drain those suckers until they’re an inch from their short sweet lives.

Then dump them all in a big bowl. Chop up the basil and add it to the mix. Season with salt and pepper. Stir it all together into one crazy kaleidoscope of gastronomical goodness. (I sometimes sneak in a handful of pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds to give it that extra bit of bite and nutrition).

Now what you have is a salad that will last the week in a chilled fridge. DO NOT DRESS THE SALAD WITH OIL/DRESSING etc. Only dress the salad when you take the portion you want to eat on any given day. This also gives you the opportunity to play with the flavour of the salad so that it doesn’t become a boring accompaniment to your dish (“not broad bean salad again!”).

Recommended dressings: olive oil or olive oil and lemon. Thai sweet chilli sauce. Great with all types of fish or meat.

Here's the science bit: beans have some special/peculiar way of digesting in your system so it's quite filling, and you won't be hungry until tea-time. OK, so it wasn't very scientific but you get the gist.

And way back when, in the post about Genre Schmenre, I mentioned a really easy pasta recipe.

Some farfalle pasta.
Smoked salmon (any fish really).
A good cup of frozen peas.
A tub of single cream (or to hell with it, make it double).

Make the pasta al dente, then chuck into frying pan with a bit of olive oil. Add torn strips of smoked salmon and the frozen peas. Pour in the tub of single cream. Season with those good buddies salt & pepper. Squeeze juice of about half a lemon and serve. Delicious and simple and quick. You may be tempted to top it with parmesan cheese. Don’t.

Today’s dinner: Rack of lamb with pistachio herb crust with potato & parsnip bake. Can’t wait.


Tim Clague said...

I feel a new direction for this blog coming on.

Tell me Danny. My omlette is always a little bit rubbery. What can I do?

Anonymous said...

Danny, this site now has everything. Quite literally food for thought.

Cheers - or rather, Bon appetite!


PS Can I suggest some financial tips for future posts. "Screenwriting on $10 a day"?

Or how about fashion? "Why you'll never write a Thriller in your dressing gown."

Danny Stack said...

Ah the omelette. The most basic dish for aspiring cooks but whips a fine line between blemished and beautiful.

Here's the deal for a classic French omelette.

1. Whisk 2/3 eggs but don't over beat them (spoils texture of omelette). Season with s & p.

2. Heat a good knob of butter in a non-stick pan until foaming, not brown (for a 2/3 egg omelette, they say the pan should be 7 inch/18cm).

3. Add the eggs, gently stir with a fork or wooden spatula, drawing the mixture from the sides to the centre as it sets and letting the liquid egg in the centre run to the sides. When set, stop stirring, cook for another 30 secs or so (golden brown underneath/creamy on top: don't overcook).

4. Tilt the pan away from you slightly and use a palette knife to fold over a third of the omelette to the centre, then fold over the opposite third. Slide the masterpiece out on to a warmed plate, letting it flip over so that the folded sides are underneath.

Et voila!

the englishman said...

the pasta was delicious! i'm wondering, do you also offer interior decorating advice?

Danny Stack said...

Don't ask me about DIY. Those letters, alas, are not in my alphabet. But I'm quite good at interior painting. Yes, that I can do.