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Showing posts from June, 2013

Dreams. A new word. And a mushroom tartling.

I dream about food. Spiced lamb samosas for a dinner party of 12 until my friend says that at least three or four guests are vegetarian. What about the others? I ask her. Do they eat red meat? I don’t think so, she says. And there’s less than an hour before everyone arrives. We could go and get fish and chips, I suggest. But now I don’t want to be the one in charge. I don’t want to face these disappointed and disagreeable people. I say to her, if they’re invited to someone’s house for dinner they’ll just refuse to eat what they’re served? That’s just plain bad manners. I’m losing in all directions: my food, my friends, my generosity of spirit.
A fish-hook dream: one that threatens to tug me along by the lip for the rest of the day if I let it. And I don’t have to let it. I just have to recognise that my emotional response has been produced by the dream’s wake. I can keep my head above the water; I don’t have to go under.
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This morning the lawn is spiked with tiny mushrooms. 

I watch th…

Last night the rain...

...woke me. In the dark a loud volley of drops ricocheted off the Velux window, rushed and hard, like rain wanting to pass and getting it over quickly. This morning the sky still holds its echo and the espalier wire around the cherry trees hangs onto its presence: a flick would send them bouncing. 
Does rain make you nostalgic? I remember picnics on the back seats of cars. Plastic raincoats that unfold from a packet the size of a matchbox. The smell of rust on a metal drainpipe. What's your memory of rain?

But before the rain we ate outside, a trial run of two new recipes - chicken tikka and chicken satay, grilled on the barbecue. I've listed the recipes at the end of the post.




Then later we took the tractor around the orchard.


Some days seem to unwrap themselves organically with no effort from us, each segment evolving perfectly into the next. 

Other days resist our every move. As Tony can confirm. He fell over five times on Sunday. 

Helping to lever the mower onto the tractor he s…

Wibbly Wobbly. Or Not.

I posted a link about champagne on Facebook recently. Scientists reckon that drinking between one and three glasses of champagne a week might counteract the memory loss associated with ageing and even help delay the onset of dementia.
There was half a bottle of Nicholas Feuillatte in the fridge last night, the still bouncy, sparkling leftovers from a lunch party on Sunday so I poured myself a glass and sipped it while watching You’ve Been Framed. (People falling over to Harry Hill’s witty commentary really cheers me up.) When I sidled into the kitchen during the commercial break for a refill, and a few slices of Wensleydale with cranberries on some fine milled oatcakes, I forgot to take the glass back with me. Up I got again, chatted to Tony who was making a cup of tea, then headed back to the lounge. Yep, that’s right. I forgot it a second time.
I blew apart a decade of research in the space of three minutes. And this morning my finger joints ached like bicycle pedals left out in the …

Toast, Asparagus, Birthday Cake

Toast is the title of Nigel Slater's childhood memoirs remembered through food. I first came across the book when I was teaching creative writing at the University of Kent and offered it to students as an example of how memoir can be shaped by theme. Toast might be told through the vehicle of food but, inevitably, it's about so much more. Our lives are woven around eating at home, eating out, the buying and preparation of food, the rejection of it, the pleasure it can bring. Our days are measured by it. The people in our lives are marked by their loves and dislikes of it. 
I like Nigel Slater. I mean I like the voice and insights in his writing and the personality he presents on TV. There's a low key, 'drifting down a river, strolling along a country lane, let's have a nice cup of tea' kind of mood to his books and programmes. It might sound strange but there seems to be kindness in the things he does: kindness towards the food itself (laying them on the top of …