Less than a week ago, it was warm enough to swim and wear stripy tee shirts and straw hats on the beach. Such a lovely day we had. He read some trashy book about spying and I tacked some bunting together and then went swimming in the cool, calm water. We had hardly anything to eat - a cup of coffee and a very delicious honeycomb ice cream each. I complained that he had forgotten that I had asked for a latte and not an americano - he had probably never listened anyway. Very hot days can suppress both the appetite and the memory it seems.
Food, though not eating, was very much on my mind. The bunting I joined up was a collection of triangles depicting food stories crafted by my buddies at the WI. It's a project we have been working on most of the year and the finished triangles were strung between two trees last weekend at a local community fete where we sold cream teas in the WI tent. We had made dozens of scones - plain, fruit and cheese. And, even if I say so myself, my six dozen were the finest scones I had ever made. I had done my research, you see. After years of mediocrity, I had watched the Great British Bake Off, listened carefully and discovered that the secret was to "chaff" the dough and not to handle it too much. And it worked, even if I decided not to follow the complicated recipe recommended (here is the one I used). Unfortunately, it was so hot that people found it too much work to make their way to the tea tent and so we had to hawk our baking around the site a la Nell Gwynne. Learning point: cheese scones sell well to men who have been sitting outside the beer tent all afternoon and would not be seen dead in a tea tent.
|Food story bunting|
We are bringing all this together this Sunday with a grand feast, and last night some of us were working with the project chef to prepare food from the Edible Garden. It was like having a magic show in the kitchen. Mike turned up with tiny packs of garlic chive flowers, feverfew and oxalis to taste - I'd always thought of oxalis as a weedy pest but it was a revelation, lemony and tart and green all at once. We boiled water and measured salt, mixed them in the correct proportions,and brined cabbage and chard stems, radish and nasturtium pods. We learned how to use nitrogen cavitation to speed up the process of infusing olive oil with thyme. And to round off the evening we had a quick burn up in the garden of hay and
Part Heston, part Merlin, not a hint of Delia.
More food stories to follow.