Cookies, Crumbles, and Meltdowns

I have been saying recently that I would like this blog to take a new turn, and to perhaps broaden it’s horizons; I’d like it to go on, and become a blog about food, as I learn to cook it, too. I’m not too focused on a subject for this blog, however, food would like to be something I include within it’s parameters.

So, the day before yesterday, I made cookies. I’ve never been much of a cookie baker, or indeed a baker of any kind. I make tray-bakes, but muffins are simply not my friend. I overwork the gluten, and sort of make sweet-bread. But cookies? Well, my black and white ones seem to be getting every time I make them, and I’ve made quite a few batches lately. I quite enjoy making cookies. I think it’s something to do with the fact that it’s kind of a childish pleasure; there’s something wonderfully juvenile about cookies, and their association with milk.

And who doesn’t love the cookie monster?! (1)

Anyway, the baking is going well; the muffins made me cry a bit, because of the gluten situation, and I couldn’t find a way to remedy it. I’ve made a few batches now, to absolutely no avail. I’d like to think that practice makes perfect; Saint Delia would certainly agree.

I made myself an omelette for breakfast, and I know that that sentence seemed rather, well, pointless. The trouble with my omelette was that I couldn’t quite manage to execute the folding; the folding seemed to be a skill that was just beyond my comprehension, and the problem was further compounded when I realised that my book, that was telling me how to make the omelette, was hovering dangerously close to the gas ring. So then I kind of panicked, a little bit, and turned off the hob, thinking that if I were to burn the house down whilst making brunch, my Mum would be more than a tad upset.

Anyway, I managed a kind of open-faced omelette, and I filled the middle with smoked ham and tomato, and added a small sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top, but not too much to make it a cellulite trap. (I’d already been to the gym before brunch, and so I was feeling a little bit virtuous). I also added a touch of basil to the egg mix, with lashings of salt and black pepper, and a dash of Tabasco sauce. I think that I should take out shares in the company; I go through absolutely tonnes of the stuff, because it’s almost as versatile as Worcester Sauce, in terms of flavour, and adding something of an undercurrent.

Anyway, I have to go now. I have to buy my little sister a birthday balloon, and I have to get dressed for work. I hate getting dressed for work, but there it is. I suppose I’d look strange waitressing in shorts and a vest top. Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.

(:

(1) http://fortheloveofcookies.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/orig-14366331.jpg

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Slutty Spaghetti, and Other Stories

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Ack. That’s the only word to use to describe the last few days. Work has been terribly, terribly busy, and even this, my half day off, is turning out to be something of a tricky one. But anyway. I’ve made some serious progress on the domestic goddess front. For instance, I have learnt that there is in fact a right and wrong way to cook pasta, and rice. There ought to be a cup of rice to two cups of water when cooking. And on Wednesday I’m planning on making muffins or cookies, and something nice from the Nigella Lawson Kitchen book. It’s turning into a necessary part of the day. I think my Mum is enjoying all the cooking.

I rather want to make white chocolate and raspberry muffins. The trouble is, I haven’t got a recipe that doesn’t make me want to cry. If anyone has any recipes that are tried and tested, I’d be most appreciative!

Something else I tried last week; Slutty Spaghetti, or Spaghetti Puttanesca. I think the Slutty Spaghetti nickname has more of a ring to it than the latter, but there we go. The sauce was perfect, and the bitterness of the capers seemed to counteract the building heat of the chilli flakes. It wasn’t that difficult to make either, although the smell of fresh garlic is rather pervasive, and lasts for days afterwards. I think that might just be a kind of homely smell; the smell of home cooking, and not using powdered garlic. In culinary terms, it seems that garlic powder is akin to devil worship.

Because I have a house now, I will be able to put little plant pots on the window sill, or on the patio (it’s really odd, knowing you have your own patio, complete with furniture), and grow little fresh herbs. I draw the line at growing vegetables (I don’t like mud, and gardening, and I like having clean fingernails), but I like the idea of growing herbs.

I think I might try cooking some kind of chicken dish this week, or fish. Rick Stein has some excellent fish recipes, and I might see if I can make a decent jambalaya. I think my family would quite enjoy that, and I think my housemates will enjoy it, too. Y’know, as long as I don’t set fire to a griddle pan, or make the microwave explode. Whilst these things sound a little far-fetched to the normal, adult person, it’s all entirely possible if I happen to set food in the kitchen. This is because my clumsiness knows no bounds; just yesterday, I was carrying hot food at work, and my napkin slipped, and as I caught the dish, I touched a pan that had just come from under a red-hot grill. I seared my thumb, and I have a little blister for my trouble.

There’s little news from the literary sphere from me, at the moment, because I’ve been caught up in the wonders of domesticity, and learning things about cooking, and lifestyle. So that’s what might be cropping up more often on here; perhaps there’s a food blogger in me yet!

(:

(1) http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_KznaiPtvdRw/TMW_KSx14gI/AAAAAAAAAMs/ZOHD_OrJeG4/s1600/Kitchen+Nigella+Lawson.jpg

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Sarah Alice Becomes a Domestic Goddess

 

Lately, I’ve decided that due to my new house, and to a certain extent, my Mum goading me into learning how to cook, I will have one of those houses that is always full of people, and food. I’m not an amazing cook; see the episode with the brownies. But with a degree of vigour, I decided to make learning some recipes into nothing short of a revision session; note writing, studying. Like I would study for an exam.

And so, like any British woman in times of great culinary trouble, I called on the services of Delia Smith, Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater. I now own a wonderful volume called ‘How to Cook’, written by Delia Smith. And Delia Smith is my new domestic inspiration. She honestly has me believing that with a turn of the hand, I could summon up a casual three course dinner for eight people with homemade chutneys and apertifs to follow. The power of the woman is simple unbelievable.

Nigella Lawson as well, is just as inspiring. She doesn’t exude the same wholesome air as Delia, but she gives of a kind of naughty aura, as though cooking can be rebellious and exciting. I suppose that she wasn’t christened the queen of food porn for nothing. I always thought that this was more to do with her love of silk dressing gowns, as opposed to anything else, but I’m starting to think the connection here between food and sensuality extends beyond her choice of nightwear.

I’ve also been caught on several occasions lately scouring shops for place-mat sets and coasters (I’m happy to announce that I’ve found the perfect set). I seem to enjoy searching the internet for casserole dishes, something I never realised was a necessity. But according to the biblical writings of Delia, Nigella and Nigel, I think I’ll have to invest in one specially for my ventures into the culinary sphere.

I look like this everyday whilst I’m preparing dinner. (1)

So, last week, all this inspiration was going admirably, I was plodding on with my learning, and planning grown up dinners, and learning recipes for things like aromatic shoulders of pork. And then the unthinkable happened. I was struck down, (and down I did fall), with some kind of horrible stomach complaint. Everything hurt; the sides of my tummy were agonisingly painful, and the space between the bottom of my ribcage and my bellybutton felt horribly full, for want of a better word. I spent much of the morning facing the bottom of the toilet bowl. And after a distressing trip to the doctors, I had a shot of whatever they give you to halt the spontaneous volcanic eruptions, and things improved slightly.

However, all the resultant lying around in bed gave me plenty of time to ponder casserole dishes, and chocolate rum cake. And once I started feeling better a couple of days ago, I continued on my mission until I needed to take another nap, or eat another dry cracker. Which happened every two minutes. But then again, I suppose the path to perfection never ran smoothly.

(:

(1) http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/21/article-1322394-0BAEDB03000005DC-542_468x376.jpg

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