Saturday, 19 June 2010

Midsommar Murders

The longest day of the year is almost upon us: a special day without any Christian connotation whatsoever. I therefore applaud the countries in which midsummer is marked with traditional celebrations - what better excuse to see family, dance yourself dizzy and enjoy good food and drink at the mid-point between Christmasses?
Sweden has particularly beautiful ways of partying until the sun goes down. Mind you: even up here in Scotland, which is on the same latitude as southern Sweden, the sun does not fully set these days, but bathes the world in a milky-pink stripe surrounded by blue haze until the birds twitter in the new day. But somehow there does not seem to be a Caledonian Summer Extravaganza on par with the Swedish custom, which involves a ginormously jolly pole around which to jig. There are bowls full of new potatoes, served with herring, sour cream and chives. And there's a flock of prettied-up maidens who collect seven types of flowers from seven different meadows, in absolute silence, so that they may dream of the man who is going to dance around the maypole with them until the end of their lives. If they tell anyone who it is, legend has it the dream won't come true - a handy way out if it happens to be the village idiot...

Summer Reading: The DVD
No matter whether you see family this coming week or have the man or woman of your dreams tied to a maypole, this time of the year is certainly one for summery joys: rose wine (I recomment Pinot Grigio blush); light suppers (see below) and... some shivers down the spine with a local twist?

I just acquired Ian Rankin's Rebus series on DVD, an archetypal example of the Tartan Noir genre. I've been enjoying its aural incarnation on the BBC, and am keen to see how the TV version will fare. Thank goodness it's set in Edinburgh, far, far away from my current abode.

Vegetarian dinner (phew!)
Even if you are a meatarian, you may want to go veggie while you are reading or watching some Rankin. Here is a little something I have from a new cookbook which I cannot reveal right now, because it will be a present for at least one of my faithful readers in the near future. Suffice to say it is so good the cat started to drool when looking at the photos. And here's the gist of the absolutely stunning

Caper & Almond Pesto
250g almonds, lightly toasted
250g capers in brine, drained
1 small red chilli
2 cloves garlic
250ml olive oil

Whizz up pesto. Done! Easy to eat while you're hiding behind the sofa, too.

PS: More serious posts on alchemy and its perils soon - but the weather is just too gorgeous at the moment to be sitting inside blogging!

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