Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Main Difference Between Michel Roux Jr. And Me


Well , we're probably not really culinary twins , anyway . But , as I pottered about this morning , peeling cooking pears to stew very slowly with cloves till they turn a deep rosy red , I pondered on Fine Dining , presentation and portion size .... and our approach to "plating up". Yes , it's Professional Masterchef time again .

Chef Michel's clients don't seem to have any cutlery skills . Minute mouthfuls of concentrated deliciousness are dotted about large plates , all the better to pop between refined lips . And not a pin bone or seed to cause disquiet or alarm . Which , let's face it , is probably essential in such circles , tomato pips being the conversation stoppers they are .

But I've trained my lot to be a bit more pro-active at the table . Years of eating grilled sardines in little beach cafes , gnawing their way round spare ribs and finding bayleaves in the soup have toughened them up .

I feel I can leave Husband to fish the cloves out of the syrup himself as he polishes these off

Anyway , he's just come back from the local Occupy camp looking wistful .... for two pins , he'd be down there tonight eating beans off a tin plate and enjoying a good sing-song .

P.S. No , I haven't seen New Grandson yet . Weekend flights in December are proving difficult to squeeze onto . But Smitonius is going up tomorrow , so I'll hear every detail very soon . Meanwhile , I've heard the yells and he sounds sturdy... very sturdy for a pixie !

Perhaps the fact that the first thing I saw through the mist , as I left to cycle to work after I got the news , was a young man , carrying a violin case and whistling , is a clue to who this child will become .

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Finished Object

Or , as they say in crafting Blogspeak, FO. The very little boy has finally turned up to claim his quilt.

Not, despite family fears, called Ptolemy, Horatio or Agamemnon he looks, according to his fond Papa, like a grumpy pixie. Middle Daughter is having a well-earned rest and Grandson has seen him and survived.

And we're all trying to restrain ourselves and not move in en masse, cooing .

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Their War

Like most of us , I've been remembering people this weekend .
Family stories of wartime . Grandparents , uncles and aunts memories of being evacuated to Perth or to Wales or being stuck in Rawalpindi , hoping that the Japanese could be halted in Burma , at least . Of being hauled over the coals for not laying one's WAAF uniform out neatly enough for kit inspection . Of Aunt Gladys being machine gunned by a low flying German plane in Cornwall and having to fling herself on the road . Of Aunt Grace's cousin's son in a POW camp in Italy .
Of seeing John Gielgud in Macbeth in Glasgow , before going off to fire watch for the night . Of Arctic convoys and Malta convoys and of pears costing a shilling each . Of lunch time concerts and of hearing Churchill telling the nation that Singapore had fallen . Of the introduction of soap rationing and the absence of barrow boys . Of Polish pilots and call up papers . Of Dunkirk and malaria and whale meat .
My father's sketch of himself in his new uniform , ready for anything .... though not , perhaps , being torpedoed

His mother writing that she'd seen a neighbour's son going up the road on his motorbike , with a sailor riding pillion ... and her sudden wild hope that it was him . And this photo of my mother's parents at the outbreak of the Second World War , their faces showing that they knew just what awaited them ... and their teenage sons

Friday, 4 November 2011

One Can Overdo The Self Restraint

Grandson was on the 'phone yesterday ,

"I get school dinners" ( this good fortune never fails to amaze him ) "and today I had potatoes and pizza and baked beans ."

"On the same plate ? ", I ask faintly .

"Of course!" ..... the "Why ever not ? " unspoken but clear .

"And what did you choose for pudding?"

"Strawbery Smoothie" .

My grandson , the Gourmet .

Perhaps it's a boy thing .... if there's food about , it must be eaten . Years ago , when my daughters were little , a neighbouring small boy would drop in and hover in the kitchen . If we were eating , he'd get a plate too . The contents would be hoovered up and he'd clear his throat . His deep little voice would give the verdict . "I like cheese ." .... Considered pause ...."I like more cheese".

Mind you , I don't do self restraint either . This evening Friend called . Long Tall Sally , the Mecca for tall ladies , was having a pop-up shop in Amsterdam this weekend , "would I like to go , too ?" . Having already resolved to economise this month , I should have declined . Instead short little me leapt to my feet and said YES !!