Last week's caramels have been a success to the point of causing cat fights among my friends, both Facebook and real. I feel like Monica in Friends around Christmas time - call me candy lady...
The caramels were also a potential source of foot-in-mouth disease: I had been around the mixture for so long on the day of manufacture (the equivalent of spritzing yourself with 5 different perfumes to the point of total nasal confusion), that the experience of tasting one the next day was novel, surprising and surprisingly pleasant. Briefly forgetting I was in the company of others, I shoved a sticky piece of heaven into my mouth and exclaimed "Goodness - these ARE good!" - much to the amusement of the munching bystanders. What they did not know is that I was complimenting the recipe, much as I would slag the cookbook if something turned out spit-out-loud disgusting. Every girl her own food critic and whatnot. If you think I am complimenting myself in suchlike situations, then that's the way it is. No more caramels for you, though.
Photo (appropriately) from dailymail.co.uk
Prior to this week, I had never seen Nigella Lawson in action. In fact, I had barely browsed her books, since they seem to involve too much meat and fat to apply to my idea of a good meal. Browsing on the BBC iPlayer, however, I recently came across her latest series and decided to tune in, to see what all the fuss is about.
Dear reader, I am traumatised. What is wrong with that woman? Apart from her appearance (please tell me it's an ironic take on herself) and the sloshing around of cream, butter and other questionable ingredients to excess, she bites the heads off prawns, declaring, with a creepy smile, that "there is something primitive about prawns, like they are creatures we used to be millions of years ago. We have evolved, so now we get to eat them". I paraphrase - I could not watch it a second time. Sometime along the line she must also have eaten a thesaurus. Her adjectives (many of them neologisms of the cheesy kind, yet not so bad that they're fun) are all over the place and distract from the cooking. Maybe that's their purpose.
If I ever declared I wanted to be the next Nigella, I take it back a thousand times. Heavens, I'd rather be the next Alfred Biolek, and cook with the stars. Applications will now be received.
Alfredissimo, a German cooking show
Alfred Biolek & comedian Anke Engelke
(photo from amazon.de)
Nom & nommer
This Saturday, a dear Italian friend turned a crisp, sunny morning into perfection by inviting a bunch of hungry girls to shop at Mansfield Park farmers market, followed by brunch at her place, made from the fresh produce snatched up at the market. So many revelations! A smoked mozzarella, fried and served on organic bread; heather honey; Greek delicatessens; the best tomatoes in town; carrots with dirt on them, the way nature intended them to be; duck eggs!
Farmers markets are really like think tanks for cooks, presenting better versions of familiar foods and enticing unfamiliar ones. They are also cures against food ruts. Accompanied by accordion music and friendly Glaswegian banter, this could not have been more pleasant. If you do not have an Italian friend with superior barista skills to cook up a brunch for you, do still go - if you're anything like me, you'll love it.
Tapa can be found on Mansfield Park farmers market,
on Facebook (whence this picture originates)
and in two fabulous locations in Glasgow
Colour me criminal
The final tidbit for today comes to you courtesy of aforementioned multicultural brunch. I learned that Italian mystery novels are known as gialli - named after the yellow covers of early paperback publications, mostly translations of Agatha Christie & Co. And that is my cue to return to noshing and reading. Farewell, dear reader, whatever colour or taste your day may assume today - may it be a good one.