Posts Tagged ‘truffles’

If I were the Queen

A few days ago was my 600th blog post. I feel quite strongly that this makes me some kind of member of the royal family. Obviously. So soon I will be the queen? I would hate to get the call and be unprepared for my duties as head of the country/world. Therefore I have made a plan for how things will be when I am queen.

1. I will build loads of castles. I feel that we are sadly lacking in new castles.

2. I will say to people, “Bring me truffles from the deepest darkest woods in the Italian countryside – now. Right now. Immediately.”

3. I will order Michel Roux Jr to cook them for me but I will tell him to stay away from that crazy boiled veal’s head dish he made on TV the other week.

4. I will have a holiday home on Capri. This one, in fact.
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5. I would not have those silly dogs that the queen has. Or at least, I would not have anything to do with them. I would just let them run around next to me if I had a photo shoot so that the public thought I was all soft and lovely and animal-loving.

6. I would sleep a lot. My goodness, I would sleep a lot. And alarms would be forbidden.

7. Danda would like to request a golf course and a Chelsea season ticket. I have told I will look into it for him. I can’t go around acting as I please and spending the country’s money on just anything. I have a duty to the public, don’t you know?

8. I would close Richmond Park to the public and have it as my back garden. I would make my gardeners plant all the things I wanted to eat, like fig trees and lemon trees and bay leaf trees.

9. Every so often, for publicity purposes, I would let a poor person come and talk to me and I would be nice to them and everyone would think, “Gosh, that queen sure is nice. I saw she was talking to a poor person the other day and being nice to them.”

10. I would make everyone give me any new books they had written so I could read them first and if I liked the book, I would send them some chocolate. If I didn’t like it, I would throw it on the floor and stamp my feet. That’s how they would know. By the foot stamping.

So I’m waiting for them to call me. Maybe I should send them this list so that they can rest assured I’ll do a good job. Maybe they’re waiting to see my plan before they get in touch?

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

My Nanny Rhino journey

My Nanny Rhino journey began on November 1st, obviously. I sat down, wrote ‘The Food And I’ on the page (like that film, The King And I) and I started writing. The first thing I wrote about was microwave chips. Who knows why? It just came into my head so I wrote it. Then I wrote about squid. Then I had reached 1667 words and gone a little further than that. So I stopped. The next day I wrote about truffles. I hit my 1667 word count again. It was easy. I read posts on blogs about how by the end of this month of NaNoWriMo, friendships and marriages would have been tested to their max, mental states become frayed and mealtimes passed by in a haze. I didn’t know what they were talking about. The words flowed freely and I wondered if I’d stop at 50,000 or just keep going. I loved it. And so it went, happily, uninterrupted, until November 10th.

Then the invites to dinner came, the extra workload, the work I was meant to be doing from home, which I had cast aside for NaNoWriMo but which now really needed doing. I started carrying a pad with me to try and snatch bits of time to scribble something I could type up later. For a whole week, NaNoWriMo didn’t get very much attention. I managed a few thousand but, by the time I got a few hours to sit at the computer, I was five days behind. There was nothing else for it. I sat down and wrote ten thousand words in a day and caught up.

The next day I was back to writing 1667 words and feeling good. Then the next few days, I was busy and when I next got to the computer, I started writing and the biggest load of nonsense found it’s way on to the page. Who wrote that drivel about nutmeg and limes? Shockingly enough, I did. I pretended all was fine and moved on hurriedly, excelling myself with my section about cheese.

I fell behind a few days from the end and squeezed four and a half thousand on to November 30th, the last day of NaNoWriMo. I finished on 50393 words. There is some nonsense, some slightly better stuff and some recipes.

All in all, I’m extremely pleased I undertook the challenge. I feel great having done it, although I haven’t yet got out of the habit of drifting to the computer as soon as I get in the house…

Search terms 4

It’s been a while and yesterday I saw ‘evil flab man’ come up so I knew it was time for one of these. I also really love that famous poet Cloreidge, he was good, hey?

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the flask cloreidge
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goji berries muffins
ode to my tooth

Upstairs or Downstairs: A Downton Dilemma

So last night, as I was watching Downton Abbey, I was thinking about where I’d most like to be in the house. Not forever, just for a short stay to hang out.

Upstairs would be fun cause you could just hang out doing not much but you would have to deal with Soppy Edith. I was slightly impressed with her new direction in last night’s episode but still, she was an idiot in the first series, which put me firmly in Camp Mary in the Mary-Edith face off. So Edith gets no sympathy from me. And if you lived upstairs, you’d have to hang around and smile nicely at her.

You would get to hang out with Cousin Violet though, who should write a book of wisdom. One of her recent quotes always makes me laugh. The others are looking at the massively overdressed table before the guests arrive and going, oo is it too much, have we gone over the top? And Cousin Violet just glances over, looks pleased and says, “My dear, nothing impresses like excess.”

You’d get to hang out with Mary and Matthew, who I was really rooting for the whole first two series. Then they finally got together and it was very exciting but the excitement needs to come from somewhere else now. I think Matthew is fun and he’d be good company. I’m still working out whether I just really love Mary’s dresses or whether I’d like to be friends with her or whether I’m a little bit scared of her.

I like Lord Grantham too. He seems wise. And Sybil’s nice, although I do not like Sybil’s new haircut.

After a while though, you’d want something to do. That’s the problem with Upstairs. You’d be much frowned upon, I think, if you pottered off for a swim or a bike ride. I think you wouldn’t be allowed to, Lord Grantham would look deeply disappointed, as he did when Sybil married Tom.

Downstairs though, you’d want to go for a bike ride or a swim but you probably wouldn’t have any time. But a lot of the gossip is from Downstairs. I love how Carson is very proper and slightly gruff, to the extent he’ll tell the members of Upstairs off if he needs to. And he totally fancies Miss Hughes.

There’s the Anna and Mr Bates excitement which kept things going a bit in the other series. But now Mr Bates is incarcerated, the excitement factor has been reduced somewhat.

Thomas The Meanie is an exciting character because I’m constantly waiting for his demise. I can just feel it’s going to come sometime soon.

There’s always something brewing with Daisy as well. She works in the kitchen, preparing the food, so obviously I feel an affinity with her. That’s the thing about being downstairs as well. I’d get to be around the food and cook.

It’s tough. It’s a tough decision. Upstairs…. Downstairs…. I guess in terms of cooking, which is high on my priorities list, I’d have to be downstairs because there’s no kitchen upstairs. Do you think Lord Grantham would allow me to have a little kitchen upstairs? I think he’d say it’s not proper.

Maybe I’d go downstairs. I’m someone who likes to have stuff to do so Downstairs would be busier. Do you think they would have any truffles for me to cook with? But actually, when you’re Upstairs, you can take holidays and stuff. I like holidays. Hmm…. I’m now sure now….

The end of the birthday fun

Saturday saw the last in a line of birthday celebrations which have been very fancy indeed. And this was no less fancy.

We went to the Savoy for fancy lunch and to maintain the illusion that we are type of people who lunch in luxury.

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I had the set lunch menu, which I started with a pheasant and beetroot salad…

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It was small, but anything bigger would have taken up the space I was preserving for dessert.

Next I had a Jerusalem artichoke risotto (a big step for me as I never eat things with stupid names, eg, celeriac, artichoke, etc). It had trompette mushrooms, which threw me. What is a ‘trompette’ mushroom? Trumpet mushroom? Well, anyway, they looked like shitake mushrooms to me and were tasty.

As soon as the plate was set down, I caught a whiff of something? Truffle?! I hadn’t remembered seeing truffle on the menu though. I lifted the plate inelegantly to my nose. There was definitely truffle in my risotto! And it looked like there were some shavings of black truffle in it too. It was delicious.

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The dessert choices were pretty good, with a banana and blackberry Eton mess or a lemon cheesecake with ginger ice cream vying for my attention. Eventually though, sticking to the Italian theme which has dictated my food choices since my return from Rome, I went for a rosemary panna cotta with caramelised plums. (Is panna cotta Italian? It sounds a bit Italian.)

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After finishing dinner and congratulating ourselves that none of the children in our party had spilled/smashed/thrown/broken anything, we went for a wander. We found an amazing little chocolate shop, where a huge vat of melted chocolate was being stirred and delicate individual chocolates were being prepared.

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You can buy slabs of pure chocolate there too, should you wish….

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Or you could wander to one of the designer jewellery shops and purchase a little necklace, if the fancy takes you…

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You could just see it and impulse buy it, you know. Sometimes you just HAVE to get something because it’s pretty. You could probably get it with whatever change you have lying about in your pocket.

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Yes, you read that right. The necklace. The necklace in the previous picture. Is £42,000! Forty two. Thousand. THOUSAND. Pounds.

I did think about whether to get it but then I remembered my food processor broke the other day so I’m saving up for a new one of those.

And now, after days of piggybacking onto birthday celebrations which aren’t even mine, it’s back to reality. I have work in a few hours. I do not have a Michelin star chef making a mid-morning snack for me. Nor will anyone open a napkin and lay it in my lap when I sit down. I guess I’ll make a cup of tea and read a cookbook or something…..

“Inspirational quotes”

Inspirational quotes, hey. That old hat. The good old, why aim for the sky when you can aim for the stars? I mean it’s all so silly. I’ve read so many ‘your life is like a…’ and then a ridiculous comparison that I feel I’m being taken for a fool here.

Let me make something up. You can literally say anything.

Your life is a like a Hoover. Sometimes it cleans up, sometimes it sits around doing nothing. But when you’re hoovering, everyone knows you’re hoovering.

And that’s inspirational because it’s about how, when you decide to do something amazing with your life, people will sit up and listen.

I mean, nonsense. That’s nonsense. I just made that up. Not that I’m down on positivity. I’m definitely not! I’m quite a positive person. But there’s only so many times I can read the words, ‘if you try hard enough, you will achieve your goals’ before I’m like, hold up, there’s a lot more at play here. That’s not the only factor. For every success story, there’s a guy on the side going “Well I tried loads and I’ve still got nothing.”

So here are some of my quotes. Should you wish to quote them or draw strength from them, go ahead. There’s no copyright here.

That’s another life-coachy quote for you. “There’s no copyright here.” I’m sure you can make something of that if you want to.

Ok, here goes. A foray into my potential new career as a life coach.

In life, generally, there are people who are fairly happy and there are people who are fairly unhappy, no matter what their actual life circumstance is.

Sometimes you make loads of effort and end up nowhere.

Sometimes that doesn’t matter. You’ve probably figured out something else to do by then.

Having money helps.

Sometimes you should just bake a cake instead.

Life’s quite nice.

Moaning doesn’t help, but we like it anyway.

Being in sunny weather isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Truffles are tasty.

And that, my friends, is my life advice. Should you need any more, I am more than happy to share my talent again. I expect to see my wisdom embossed on people’s doors and tattooed on arms before long, ok?

O, here’s another little titbit before I go.

When you’re tired, going to bed is nice.