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.
This week has been a week for hibernating. The moment the clocks going back feels almost Cinderella-esque to me: at the stroke of midnight, darkness descends like a blanket, and I want to run away and hide. My mornings are so early that I don’t feel the benefit of the brighter starts, but feel keenly the gloom of my journeys home, my dark grocery shops, and my tentative steps out of the house any time after about 4pm.
I made my first wedding cake this week. It was, without doubt, the most nerve-wracking bake I have ever done, and could probably even compete with some of my scarier criminal cases in the nail-biting stakes.
This week has seen our household knocked down by colds. Nothing actually serious, but instead that dreary, endless low-level poorliness that struggles to justify time off or desertion of duties. We have armed ourselves with lemsip and positive mental attitudes, as if we can think ourselves well. My desk is a graveyard of balsam tissues and vitamin blister packs. But there is only one thing that has made me really feel a bit better: porridge.
This soup was, to be frank, a catalogue of disasters. I am not sure that I’ve ever got into such a mess making such a simple dish. It is therefore testament to how fantastically satisfying and delicious it is that, rather than write off this weekend’s culinary escapades and do my very best to repress all memories of them, I’ve instead chosen to immortalise it in this blog post.