I’ve been back in London a couple of weeks now, and back at college one week. After ten glorious days of being hosted and cooked for and looked after, I came home ready to cook up a storm, flexing my now rested culinary muscles, which hadn’t really been exercised since last term’s exams.
Finally, I almost have my kitchen back. I feel like during Christmas, we give our kitchens over to a higher power: one who insists that we fill our fridges with enough prosecco to see us through a nuclear winter, that everything is spiked with brandy, and followed with a chaser of cheese. We didn’t even host Christmas this year: we were away for Christmas-proper and bookended it with visiting various friends and relatives. There is, really, no excuse, for such a high proportion of festive leftovers. And yet, for the last week, I’ve found soggy mince pies everywhere, and brandy butter I don’t remember buying.
For as long as I can remember, I have loathed New Year’s Eve parties. Perhaps my notion of them remains stuck in my teenage years: parents’ carpets sticky with spilt Bacardi Breezers, no middleground between painfully, eye-wateringly sober and sloppily, miserably drunk, and – the greatest sin of all – no snacks.
This week’s recipe is an absurdly simple one. As we nose our way into Christmas, and realise that four or so days at home with one’s family is not the idyll we’ve dreamed of for the last three weeks, any excuse to disappear away into the kitchen is a welcome one. This is a recipe for those stolen moments sought out to preserve sanity.
Christmas is in touching distance, finally. After the longest year that there ever was, we are so very close to it ending and, if we’re really lucky, at least one good night in the pub, a chocolate orange you refuse to share, and some family civilities beforehand. But first, the horrors of Christmas shopping loom large.
This week has been my first exam week at Le Cordon Bleu. Each term is examined separately so despite still being hopeless at piping and getting flustered by choux, exams loomed large.
I have eaten an awful lot of crumpets over the last month. It’s been a selfless endeavour, needless to say, not at all motivated by a love of anything leavened that will support a slab of butter.
When I was a teenager, my mother and I were obsessed with Gilmore Girls. She and I saw eye to eye on almost everything apart from television, where we veered wildly, with one important exception: Gilmore Girls. Serendipitously, we began watching it in earnest when I was contemporaneous with Rory: as she applied to college, I filled out my UCAS form; as she left home for her first real job, I packed up the car for London.
I loathe rye bread. Really, truly do not understand it.
It’s either so dense it’s a brick, miserable and damp, or it’s sliced so delicately, it crumbles on contact, disappearing into a mass of crumbs, so quickly and comprehensively that it’s hard to believe it ever formed a loaf. I spent one miserable afternoon cutting countless slices of the thinnest rye bread into tiny triangles to top with smoked salmon for a garden party, more rye crumbling from the sandwiches than staying on them.
How do you write a food blog post when the world is falling apart?
Like most of the world, or at least the world I inhabit, I sat frozen in front of the television in the early hours of Wednesday morning, feeling stupefied and stupid. Unoriginally, I felt like I was watching some kind of dystopian satire; the conclusion, so unexpected, was foregone by 6am.