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Dancing In The Middle Of The Room

On the Threshold of Eternity

On the Threshold of Eternity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brothers (The Black Keys album)

Brothers (The Black Keys album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the past ten years I have been firmly behind the door when it comes to good music.  In the middle of a bad depressive illness anything that provoked an emotional response was definitely most unwelcome and music was a huge factor.

Recently, however, as life has become enjoyable and I have acquired an iphone, I have been attempting to make up for lost time (and spending a fortune in the process).  My latest ‘find’ is The Black Keys, who are just so sublime I can’t begin to tell you.  I have just downloaded ‘Brothers’ which is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.  I was disappointed to find out online that I missed their UK tour dates because I would have lived on bread and butter for three weeks to go and see them.

Another recent discovery is the Alabama Shakes who are equally fantastic – I was dancing in the kitchen the other night, whilst cooking myself a rather nice supper – steak, rocket and watercress salad, wine – and I realised that life is sometimes rather grand and,  in thinking that,  it is now a definite given that I am recovered, if somewhat broke.  Music, as well as steak, is the food of love.

 

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Decadence On A Shoestring

Bombay Sapphire

I tried, I really tried, to make this period of fiscal excellence last for a little longer, but for the next two days its back to the chopping board – vegetables and pasta.  I have no specific objection to pasta until I am left with no other choice.  Then I sulk, and dream of strolling around Waitrose without a care in the world like my doctor, who was in front of me in the checkout queue last week, and smiled cheerfully at me as she paid a bill for £177.

How?  Has she got twelve children? One trolley of food costing that much?  At least have some decorum and get some champagne and decent gin in there.  Two bags of Kettle Chips, (sea salt and balsamic vinegar), several bottles of Bombay Sapphire, a six pack of tonic water and three good bottles of Champagne.  Thats how you spend £177.

Anyway, I am currently making a shopping list for Thursday, and I will be back to make Decadence On A Shoestring an actual reality, without going anywhere near Waitrose.  Now I’m off to the doctor’s.  For my tea.

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Normal Service Will Be Resumed Shortly…

Among the wonderful presents I’ve received this Christmas is ‘Antonio Carluccio‘s Italia’, one of those cookery books you can read after eating a five course meal and it makes you feel so hungry that you could eat said meal all over again.  It’s truly stunning.

Each chapter outlines the culinary heritage of each region of Italy, with history, recipes and beautiful photography.  I was sitting up last night at half twelve with a large plate of buttered water biscuits, a thick slice of roast ham and two mince pies, making plans as to what I was going to cook first and trying not to drool on the pages.  I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to the New Year and all the cooking that I have planned.  The first thing I have to do is to invest in some decent notebooks so that I can collate all the recipes that are scribbled on various greasy scraps of paper – I go to people’s houses and beg for bits of paper so that I can copy things down and then get home and just leave them on the kitchen table.  Perhaps a travelling notebook is in order…

Anyway, as of next week, I will be happy at home with a full fridge and heaving cupboards, and I will share some of the recipes in this book.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year!

 

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Giorgio Locatelli – `Made In Italy: Food And Stories’

Cover of "Made in Italy: Food and Stories...

Cover of Made in Italy: Food and Stories

This is a beautiful book, and exactly how a cookery book should be written.  It’s not just a collection of recipes and photographs of the results, but a whole story of where the chef grew up and who influenced him.  It documents the food he ate as a child and discovered as he grew up,  anecdotes of his family and adventures he’s been on, and how he became successful.

The photographs also help to tell the stories – it’s genuinely a pleasure to read and the recipes are fabulous,divided into seven sections:  Antipasti;  Zuppa;  Risotto;  Pasta;  Pesce;  Carne;  Dolci.

None of them are impossibly difficult, and the ones I have tried have produced meals that I could eat over and over again.  If I could reproduce one of the photos here I would – my all time favourite is a photograph of  pieces of focaccia classica on a wooden board – simple but beautiful and will, like all the others, encourage you to make it just so that you can taste how beautiful it looks!

If you are in the mood for buying a new cookery book, or asking for one for a present, I highly recommend this – you won’t regret it.

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The Lazy Cook

Cover of "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, ...

Cover via Amazon

I was so full of good intentions this weekend.  Lemon curd, tomato relish, caramelised onion chutney…. it was all going to be made – I even sterilised the jars in preparation.  I don’t really know what happened, but I ended up just lazing around, reading the papers and watching trash TV.  Anyway, tomorrow, I am going over to see my uncle and he, and my cousin, are great cooks.  So, hopefully, I will regain some inspiration and get up off my lazy backside to finish what I started!  I have a copy of Claudia Roden’s great book, ‘Arabesque‘, which I intend to take with me to read on the train.  It’s a bit hefty but worth the effort.  I can’t afford an ipad, and un

Lemon curd and tea

Image by shok via Flickr

til they bring out a Kindle in colour I am destined to lug books around everywhere I go.

So, hopefully, by the end of the coming week I will have a new recipe to post and some of my own photos.  Until then, hope you all have a great week.  Happy Hallowe’en!

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