Posts Tagged ‘food’

Truffle. By Taylor Swift.

Do you know what I noticed the other day? You know that song by Taylor Swift which, embarrassingly enough, I loved? It’s called Trouble. Well, I noticed yesterday, that the song is immeasurably improved by simply changing the word Trouble to Truffle, throughout. 

 

Have a listen and follow the lyrics. I have changed some other stuff too, for fun. Don’t expect it to make sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y

 

There’s some nonsense adverts at the beginning then some chitchat. Boooooooring. Skip to 2:02.

Once upon a time
A few dinners ago
I was in the kitchen
You got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me

I guess you didn’t know
That I would get obsessed
And when I fell hard
You took a step in
The saucepan, the saucepan, the saucepa-a-a-a-an.

And he’s baking
When the oven’s on
And I realize the truffle’s on me

Cause I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

No apologies
He’ll never see you eat
Pretend he doesn’t know
That he’s the reason why
You’re eating, the truffles, you’re eating

And I heard you moved on
From truffles on the plate
A new lunch in your day
Is all I’ll ever be
And now I see, now I see, now I see
He was hungry
When he met me
And I realize the truffle’s on me

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had,
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

And the saddest fear comes creeping in,
That you ate all of,

The truffles,

From the fridge,

And in the kitchen, yeah

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Till you put me down, oh
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to tastes I had never had
Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle
Oh, oh, truffle, truffle, truffle

I knew you were truffle when you walked in
Truffle, truffle, truffle
I knew you were truffle when you walked in
Truffle, truffle, truffle!

Frost and food

Yesterday was a day of frost and food, both of which make for pretty pictures. Check it out.

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Pics from the walk to work
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Cherry and apple cake
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Chopping chives in the kitchen garden for the day’s food
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Making chutney with the garden produce

The Chestnut Challenge

Yesterday seemed like a fairly regular day. I went to work, did a little bit of this, a little bit of that, played around with some food and eventually decided that it was time to approach…

The Chestnuts….!

The chestnuts have been sitting there all innocently since the gardeners gathered them all up and delivered them to us to make use of. One of the other chefs sat and scored a load of them and roasted them and then I scooped them out, mushed them up a bit and used them in some chestnut, orange and nutmeg biscuits.

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It all sounds fabulous and earthy and organic, doesn’t it?

Yesterday I decided I would complete the Chestnut Challenge because the little chestnuts had been sitting in bowls on the side, waiting to be dealt with and it seemed like the time for it.

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That’s a lot of chestnuts. I was determined to complete the challenge by the end of the day. I picked up a chestnut, I scored it, I put it into a roasting tray.

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Holding the little chestnut down whike chopping it made me finger rub on the chopping board so an hour in, I had my first chestnut injury, a blister. I started holding my fingers up when I chopped then, prompting my second injury, a knife slice on the same finger as it was now in the way of the knife.

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See? I bet you thought I was being a right baby, moaning cause I had to stand around and play with chestnut. Well, shit just got serious here. I HAVE INJURIES.

Selflessly, I soldiered on. I recruited some extra hands to make the whole thing move faster.

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And the pile of chestnuts in one of the bowls got smaller.

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Then one of my Chestnut Helpers came up with a brilkiant idea (mainly because we had roasted some of the chestnuts and it had not gone well, far too hard). She decided that we would be better peeling the chestnuts and chopping them finely to add straight into cakes, etc. She did have a point. We experimented by making one chestnut and raisin cake and it went fabulously well.

This, then, became the new plan of action. Little did I realise how much more labour intensive this method is.

And so we began.

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The four chestnuts up at the top took ne about ten minutes. If you portion tgat out to five million billion chestnuts, you will see that it would take me 18 years to peel all of the chestnuts.

I started to dislike chestnuts. Hated them, quite possibly. The day ahead seemed endless and hopeless. My life felt empty and chestnut coloured. The rate at which the pile in the bowl went down almost stopped. I probably battled with depression.

A few hours later, sad and with aching fingers, I pushed the mostly full bowls of chestnuts to the side, unable to look at them anymore, and left work.

I failed. I failed myself. And I failed the chestnuts. And I failed my fingers.

I understand if you feel differently about me now, readers.

The time we missed Independence Day

When I lived in namibia, I was 18. We have all been 18. Therefore, I hope you not judge me too harshly after I tell you the story about Independence Day, the biggest day of the year in Namibia.

They had worked hard for their independence and it was in everyone’s recent memory. I was 18. I didn’t appreciate the importance of this day. The night before Independence Day was the Crayfish Derby in Luderitz. This was more for the Afrikaners than anyone else.

We got there mid-afternoon and watched all the men go off in their fishing boats and we then had about four hours until the men would come back with a crayfish and have them weighed to see who had the biggest and who would win. In this four hours, we were given free drinks and food because people recognised us as the poor volunteers in town. We had a town meeting to go to so we stayed for about an hour then walk back into town to go to this meeting.

It was when we were walking back that we realised we were a little drunk. Our dog, Diaz, was with us. She was always with us. And so she came to the town hall with us. We hoped that we didn’t appear too drunk and decided to stay silent and smile a lot. When the meeting started, we had chosen two seats on the end of a row and sat silently scribbling notes for the local town newspaper, which we ran.

They decided to do that thing where everyone introduces himself and they started at the end of the row that we were at. So much for keeping out of the way. Lucy stood up, giggled a little and introduce herself. When I stood up, the giggles had grown and I was almost laughing out loud. It suddenly all seemed so hilarious. I said my name, pointed at lucy and said, “yeh, the Buchter News as well,” and sat down. It had not started well.

After everyone else introduced themselves and we took a few obligatory photographs, the dog made an appearance. We had left her outside but someone must have opened the door and she had snuck in. She came over and sat down near us. We knew what she was like but we hoped she would behave today. She did not behave. She wound her way in and out of everyone else’s chairs and then some empty chairs which caused them to move a little and scrape on the floor. It sounded like a fart.

We giggled. We were not professional.

The meeting lasted 2 hours and we didn’t really listen to anything. We left and headed straight back to the Crayfish Derby. The men would be back in a few hours and until then, there was eating and drinking time. We whipped out the camera a few times to take photos and then people remembered that we were the poor newspaper volunteers and fed us again for free.

When the men had come back, they all weighed their crayfish and we spent the evening celebrating and dancing.

The next morning there was a big celebration in the nearby stadium. It was Independence Day for the whole country. We had not been clever to stay late at the Crayfish Derby but we got up and we made a way to the stadium with good intention. We got there at 9 o’clock, found a seat and sat down to wait. It was supposed to be starting at about 9.30. We waited. 10 o’clock came. We waited. 10.30 came.

I don’t know what we expected. we had been living in Africa for long enough to know that 9.30 does not mean 9.30. We were suffering. We had not had enough sleep. We were totally exposed, sitting in the hot sun and dehydrated from our night out. We realised it would probably be midday before anything significant happened.

We decided to go home for sleep. Just a little one. Just a nap. Just for an hour or so. We’d be back at mid day. As we were leaving the stadium, our close friend, George, arrived and why we were leaving. We told him that we just needed to pop home for something quickly. We didn’t want to tell him we had to sleep because we were dehydrated and knackered from our night out. We said we would be back before anything got going.

We went home, headed for the front room, sat on the sofa and fell asleep. When we woke up, it was quite late in the afternoon. We ran out of the house into the street. We lived on a hill so we could see down into the stadium. There were not many people in the stadium. They were leaving.

The celebrations were over and we had missed the entire day.

The entire Independence Day. The most important day of the year in Namibia and we had slept on the sofa instead.

But we were the local newspaper volunteers. We ran the only town newspaper. If we didn’t report Independence Day, it would look strange. So we got the two or three photographs we had taken of the decorations at the stadium and some of the photos of the town major and a few of the other people we knew had made speeches and we wrote the article for the newspaper as though we had been there.

It went something like this – “The Independence Day celebrations were enjoyed by all. This day marks a special day in Namibia’s history. Since 1980, Namibia has been free of outside control and its’ people are free to pursue their own goals. The town mayor encompassed these feelings exactly in a speech in which she praised Namibians for their resilience and talked of the wonderful things that have been achieved under a free Namibian government.”

I mean that’s probably what she said, isn’t it? We said there had been performances by children from the local schools, which we knew because we also worked as teachers in a few schools and had seen groups of children preparing their performances for the Independence Day celebrations.

And with nothing else to do but go with it, we let the newspaper go out that month with the main story a kind of hashed together patchwork blanket of guesses and photographs we had taken of other things.

No one said anything. No one commented on the lack of detail about the celebrations or about the mayor’s speech. No one noticed that the photographs didn’t look like they were taken in an outdoor stadium.

And it was fine.

I must reiterate, readers, I was 18. This seemed like acceptable behaviour. Please do not judge me.

Food chat

I recently rediscovered this book on my shelf and it’s just too good not to share with you all. It’s called Kitchen Wit and it’s quotes about food from anyone and everyone. 

“Forget love, I’d rather fall in chocolate.” Anonymous

“Nothing seems to please a fly so much as to be taken for a currant, and if it can be baked in a cake and palmed off on the unwary, it dies happy.” Mark Twain

“Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage.  Lettuce pray.” Anonymous

“I’m the President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!” George Bush

“Whosoever says ‘truffle’, utters a grand word, which awakens erotic ans gastronomic ideas…” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.” Josh Billings

“Ask not what you can do for your country.  Ask what’s for lunch. ” Orson Welles

“Do not move back and forth on your chair. Doing so gives the impression of constantly breaking, or trying to break, wind.” Erasmus

“It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun.” Ray Kroc, creator of the McDonald’s franchise

“Oil ans potatoes both grow underground so French fries may have eventually produced themselves.” A. J. Esther

“I love Thanksgiving turkey. It’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t try it on.” Billy Connolly

“How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?” Julia Child

“I mever see any home cooking.  All I get is fancy stuff.” Prince Phillip

“Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom.” Shirley Conran

“Don’t cook steaks in the toaster, even little ones.” P. J. O’Rourke

“Having a good wife and rich cabbage soup, seek not other things. ” Russian proverb

“Presently, we were aware of an odour gradually coming towards us, something musky, fiery, savoury, mysterious, a hot drowsy smell, that lulls the senses, and yet enflames them; the truffles were coming.” William Makepeace Thackeray

One hello and one goodbye

Let’s start with the goodbye first. It’s a goodbye to my faithful little HTC phone. I have had lots of happy times with it. It has served me well for time telling, text messaging, phone calling, photograph taking, WordPress posting, Facebook checking and many other exciting things.

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It was my first phone with a big screen. Previously, I’d been all into the clicky-buttons phones, sniffing haughtily at these ‘fancy new phones’ that were like mini computers. Just get a computer, thought I.

Well! I needed an upgrade as my clicky-buttons phone was caving in from oldness. The extremely young looking boy in the shop convinced me to get a big-screen phone. And it was like a revolution in my mind! What’s this? I can play music? And watch YouTube? And see when there are comments on my blog? And check emails? And play a game where you kind of tip the phone up and a little ball rolls around? Epic!

I was immediately converted. I jumped into the big-screen-phone gang with both feet.

And then, um, I, um, I kept dropping it. Um. Yeh. And it slowly got less and less efficient. And I kept needing photographs of every. little. thing. And it started going really slowly because I had taken a thousand million hundred photos (approx.). And I had had it for over two years which, in phone years, is, like, I dunno, a million years or something?

On Thursday, it was time to address this issue. This old-battered-phone issue. I went in the shop prepared for a lot of chitchat and signing things. Ten minutes later, I emerged with a beautiful slick Samsung SomethingOrOther which I love. I don’t have the history that I have with my HTC but the early signs of love are brewing in my heart for this new beautiful Samsung.

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Now for the hello. It’s a big hello to the new Whole Foods in town.

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I tried, people! I tried to be like, “Urgh! Whole Foods! They’re so big and take-over-the-world-y.” But then I went in there and I quite liked it. I was mighty confused about what to get for lunch because there was so much being thrown at me. I could have hot/cold/salad/soup/burger/burrito/fruit/biscuits. I just didn’t know where to look. I picked up a yoghurt after a while and wandered around like a lost child trying to find my friend.

I scoffed at their silly signs about how much they’d done in the local community since arriving and complained about the limited seating.

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Then this rush of warm fuzziness rose up as if from nowhere and I realised I was loving the new Whole Foods. I very nearly bought one of their shopping bags made from recycled materials because I was so caught up in the moment. The staff were smiley and cuddly, like baby pandas. And the food looked wonderful. And the people in the fruit section were trying to offer me samples of their freshly whizzed smoothies.

And now, unfortunately, I love the new Whole Foods. Dammit.

What I did yesterday

Yesterday, at Ham House, all the cool kids gathered for fun and drink and food so that we could show off the garden produce. The chef for the evening, Susie, basically did everything but I’m going to ride on her coattails and claim some of the amazingness that comes from being associated with it.

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Unfortunately, I was busy faffing around with vegetables and presenting the dishes so I didn’t get photos of everything. I can talk you through it though.

It started with bubbly and the canapes – mini bruschetta topped with onion marmalade and goat’s cheese and also spinach blinis topped with beetroot chutney and sour cream.

Then the guests were taken on a garden tour in the beautiful fading light.

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When they came back and were seated, we started with the kale and spinach soup.

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The bits and peices on the top were fried onions, roast root veg and pitta bread croutons. It was accompanied by homemade rosemary foccaccia bread.

Next up was the gnocchi…

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(I don’t have a photo of it before it went to the table, sorry!)

…accompanied by pretty garden leaf salad.

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The gnocchi was a big hit with the guests.

Next up, the mains were a venison stew with redcurrants and red wine and some garden veg. I don’t have a photo but you must trust me that it was so so tasty! The gravy was amazing. I tried to stop dipping the foccaccia bread into it and eating it but I couldn’t!

Also up were green beans in tarragon butter, roasted root vegetables and apples, a pumpkin and marrow gratin, a beetroot, courgette and mozzarella salad and – the only one I photographed – a caramelized elephant garlic, pumpkin and goat’s cheese tart.

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Loads of people raved about this and wanted some to take home with them.

Next, we gave them a few minutes to rest their stomachs before starting on dessert which was apple dumplings (these took me hours and hours to make!) baked in a caramel sauce. We served it with a fig and cinnamon swirl semifreddo, which was very well received.

After the overwhelming food onslaught, we were all made to come out of the kitchen and be applauded (like on Masterchef), the cafe manager did a little thank you, then a guest also said thank you from the guests and I stood patiently, wondering which of them was going to make the announcement that I was finally going to get my Michelin star….

I can only conclude that they didn’t want to do it in front of everyone else. Maybe it’s a more private affair, getting given your Michelin star. I’m sure they’ll be in touch.

Anyway, we retired back into the kitchen and sent out the little after-dinner nibbles, fresh raspberries and quince jellies.

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Everything that was made yesterday (apart from the obvious stuff like the meat and cheese), came from the kitchen garden and had been picked that day. There really is nothing like working with garden fresh produce.

I think it’s safe to say that a good evening was had by all and it was a lovely thing to be part of. Keep your eyes peeled for the next Supper Club. And if you’re in/near London, totally come to the next one.