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I like cherry bakewells, but they have evolved (or degraded) a long way from the authentic bakewell tart or (more correctly) pudding- as invented and retailed in the very pretty town of Bakewell in the Derbyshire Peak district.

The true Bakewell doesn't have anything to do with fondant icing or glace cherries; the defining ingredients are eggs, almonds and raspberry jam.

When I lived in Sheffield I used to catch the bus out to Bakewell so I could buy myself a bag of authentic Bakewell puddings and eat them on the spot.

Autres temps, autre moeurs.

I have just discovered (to my delight) that Marks and Spencer do a very fair stab at an authentic bakewell.

Apricots

Jan. 5th, 2006 09:19 am
poliphilo: (Default)
I have discovered apricots. Fresh apricots, I mean. I've always liked then tinned- in syrup (with ice cream)- but I don't think I'd ever eaten a fresh one before this Christmas. They taste like plums, a little firmer, a little less tart and the joy of them is that they're small. Large pieces of fruit intimidate me; I think- when faced with an apple or a large melon wedge- do I really have to eat all that? But an apricot goes down in a couple of bites.

And then I want another....

Pancakes

Feb. 9th, 2005 09:50 am
poliphilo: (Default)
I remember this TV play.

Charles Gray was a gourmet who had eaten everything including human leg. The only thing he had never eaten was a ghost.

So he set a ghost trap, caught his ghost and flambed it in brandy.

The damp little gobs of fried ectoplasm we saw him wolfing down looked a lot like the pancakes I made yesterday.

I blame the soy milk. The pancakes just wouldn't set. I soused them in lemon juice and sugar and ate them out of a sense of duty, but I wasn't happy.

Pancakes are a Shrove Tuesday tradition. Shrove Tuesday? That's Mardi Gras to you guys.

The rest of the world has carnival and public nudity and drag queens in mile high feathers and we Brits think, hmm, lets really push the boat out and eat some pancakes.

And Gray, what happened to him? I don't remember exactly. How do you end a story like that- except lamely? Perhaps he was haunted by the ghost of the ghost, or turned into a ghost or was eaten by a ghost. Who cares?

But I'll bet he had the most terrible indigestion.
poliphilo: (Default)
Today I start a new diet. I have never followed any kind of diet before. I have always believed that every type of food is of equal value and the main thing is to get enough.

Or- even better- more than enough.

Apparently not.

The basic idea of this diet is that one should eat a certain amount of protein with every meal. And so this morning I had cheese for breakfast- just like a Dutchman. [livejournal.com profile] craftyailz has been following this rule for several weeks and she's been losing weight and gaining energy.

I don't need to lose weight, but I could certainly do with more energy.

Has the cheese worked its wonders? Do I feel better than I normally would around this time?

Could be.

What will I miss?

The potatoes.

Rolled around in olive oil and salt- then roasted.

Actually I can still eat a few potatoes- provided I eat an equal amount of cheese.

Extra-matured New Zealand Cheddar. Stilton. Yorkshire Blue.

The cheese will set me free.
poliphilo: (Default)
I don't rate myself as a cook, but today I made a really good apple sauce.
It was largely improvised.

Ingredients:

10-12 apples off my father-in-law's trees, cut into chunks with the peel still on
A half glass of white wine
A teaspoon of cinnamon
A whole orange, cut into quarters.

Method: Simmer until soft, then blend.
poliphilo: (Default)
I woke up choking. I don't think I was close to dying but for a moment it felt like I was. Acid reflux. And the moral of the story is don't eat curry.

Ailz and I had lunch yesterday at the Cafe Lahore, which is probably the best curry house this side of Manchester. Very nice. But the lesson needs to be learned- curries do me harm and if I want to live to be 80 I must LEAVE THEM ALONE.

I'm not going to pretend this is any great hardship. Curry is possibly my favourite food, but the truth of the matter is I don't like any food all that much. In spite of tuition by experts I find the whole business of eating a bore- and the restaurant experience is particularly boring because it takes a huge chunk out of the day which could be spent doing- oh, almost anything else. Restaurants make me edgy and anxious. I hate the waiting, I hate the fact that someone is suffering the indignity of serving me. I want to read a newspaper, I want to listen to the radio, I want to watch TV, I want to shovel the stuff in as quickly as possible and get on with my life.
poliphilo: (Default)
I'll read anything.

I read the label on my bottle of Heinz salad cream and learned that the Heinz company invented this particular delicacy as long ago as 1914.

Which means that Charlie Chaplin could have spread it on his boots....that Lord Kitchener could have got it stuck in his moustache....

Heinz salad cream is the taste of a 1950s summer. It's what you dolloped all over that wet green stuff to make it edible. Later I rediscovered it as an ingredient in the perfect bacon sandwich.

More recently I went up-market and abandoned it in favour of mayonnaise. But that flirtation hasn't lasted. Mayonnaise is too eggy, indigestible and artery-furring for me now. I'm back with my old love. And listen, it's not as artificial as you- and I- thought it was. I've taken another look at the label. No E-numbers. Nothing but the pure natural goodness of spirit vinegar, vegetable oil and modified cornflour. The stabilisers are xanthan gum and guar gum. The colouring is riboflavin.

If it was good enough for Kitchener and Chaplin, it's good enough for me.
poliphilo: (Default)
Ailz is getting into raw foods. It's the next best thing to a religion. She's reading books that talk about the human race's "addiction" to cooking. Right now she's downstairs, organizing her seed trays, tending to her indoor farm.

Food doesn't bother me. Actually if I'm honest it bores me. I like things that taste nice, but I can't be doing with celebrity chefs and Michelin restaurants and the like. I became a vegetarian a few years back because I think the meat industry stinks, but I'm not a particularly strict one- I eat fish and cheese. Recently I've been drawn into Ailz's healthy eating drive and have cut down radically on my intake of fats. And the less of them I eat, the less of them I want. A month or so back I gave up on butter because I just can't take the greasiness.

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