Quote of the week was from Michelle de Kretser's 'The Lost Dog' - a splendid piece of writing, the absence of which from last year's Booker shortlist is yet another reason to denounce the 2008 judges as a bunch of halfwits. And the quote itself, richly loaded for all the spareness of its phrasing:" ...takeaway (food) was an offence that compounded profligacy with neglect. Love merited the effort of indifferent home cooking." It speaks volumes!
Discovery of the week: was that in making posset (as in Marsala Posset with Prunes) it's necessary to have an astringent of some kind in order to make the cream set properly. As long as the flavouring agent being used is wine-based ( sherry, for example, or marsala) then that will do the trick. But in trying a version that was liqueur-based instead - as I did several days ago, when experimenting with a Blackberry and Amaretto version - then you have to include a generous squirt of something like lemon juice in order to kick-start the process. (I don't entirely understand why this should be, as the process of making clotted cream relies entirely on heating the cream, and includes no additives at all...so, go figure). If you leave out the astringent when making posset, though, then the cream won't set properly and will just remain half-heartedly runny.
New recipe of the week: a staggeringly good ice-cream, made from Crème Anglaise (6 egg yolks, 6 tbs sugar, 500 ml milk, half a tsp vanilla essence), 2 tbs Fowlers Black Treacle, half a McVities Ginger Cake (diced), 1 tbs dark rum, and 50g of finely diced candied orange peel. Lots of strong flavours vying with each other for attention, but none of them completely dominant or even readily identifiable in the end result. Best served with something like apple pie, that will cut the richness of the ice cream.
Buy of the week: a small copper saucepan, specifically for making sauces in exquisitely concentrated quantities. Not sure what it cost, as the Tech Dept found it on ebay, and muttered vaguely that it was 'around a fiver', when quizzed on the subject. A bargain, by any measure. (It's already joined the growing pile of things to be transported to Italy, next week - along with a pair of Holbelias, five picture lights, a bottle of Boyajian Orange Oil, a set of sofa cushions, some Miracle-Gro plant food, and a kilo of peeled almonds...)
Question of the week: what in God's name are we doing in grey and cold and dismal London, when Tempo Italia shows that the weather in Pisa this week is glorious?
Tonight's Dinner (post Cinema):
Warm Smoked Salmon
Roast Beef; Carrots/Mushrooms/Scallions sautéed in Butter, with Cumin.
Meringues, with Crème Chantilly and Raspberries