Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Sunday morning, and a trip to see the Queen's botanical drawings that George III appears to have brought into the Royal Collection as the result of an ill-advised purchase at a garage sale sometime around 1762. Many of them almost psychadelic in appearance - presumably because he thought better of it as soon as he got them home, and they've spent much of the last 250 years still in their box - the display was diverse and impressive....in a way....but I'm afraid I couldn't really get onto the right wavelength to do them justice. Many were the work of a dutch lady artist, who seems to have devoted her life to painting the eighteenth century fruit and insect inhabitants of Surinam in vivid day-glo colours. It takes all sorts, I suppose....I confess to having been sneakingly more interested in watching the tents being erected in the back garden of the Palace, in readiness for this week's garden parties, at which the main botanical specimens in evidence will presumably have been Umbrellicus Giganticus along with Hattae Floribundiae (drowned Rattus) .
And drawings of deformed vegetables were followed by platefuls of the real things, as we tried out a new Dim Sum restaurant in Wilton Road for lunch. No great shakes, I'm afraid - the dim sum were bland and sticky, and everything else that followed tasted of coconut milk and little else. Mind you, I defy anywhere in London to rival CCK in Wardour Street for the general excellence of their Dim Sum - let alone the overall experience of the place - so it was hardly suprising that Wilton Road got a bit of a thumbs down. Amongst many others, an enduring memory of CCK was one occasion when we took a swiss friend there, and in the middle of his chatty explanation that even Indian food was a little exotic for his swiss palate, the lid was removed from the first dim sum basket set before him, and he was confronted by a tangle of large and eminently chewable duck's feet. He was so agitated at the sight that he lost the thread of his story and proceeded to spill a large glass of wine all down his front.....
Which I suppose takes me neatly onto the subject of wastage and the latest nanny-state nonsense to be handed down from Downing Street....since apparently we're now all deemed incapable of successfuly confronting the dual challenges of food shopping, and of managing the contents of our fridges. Mr Brown is instructing us to write shopping lists, and not to buy more than we need so that we don't up end having needlessly to throw half of it away!
How mind-bogglingly patronising can you get?
Who are all these witless cretins who apparently wander the aisles of supermarkets the length and breadth of the kingdom, fecklessly taking things from shelves, only subsequently to let them rot and moulder at home before being chucked into the outgoing rubbish? They certainly aren't to be found in any supermarket round here, where people can be seen pretty much 24/7 resolutely working their way down tightly written shopping lists, with military precision.
Wastage, Gordon, generally happens where large numbers of people are being fed at one time, and not within a domestic kitchen. I know; I've done it. Catering inevitably involves throwing away quite a lot of uneaten food....it's the sort of thing that happens in government canteens, and in preparing school dinners.....oh, and when you're knocking up an eight course banquet for a gathering of World Leaders.
How about putting your own house in order before you start telling the rest of us what to do with our's? (And what is it about pontificating Scots called Gordon, generally past their sell-by date, who have a tendency to lay down the law for everybody else.....there are rather too many of them about for comfort!)
Scallop Mousseline with Watercress Sauce.
Lamb Shanks, double roast, with Roast Celeriac.
Andalusian Tarts, with Creme Chantilly.