This week seems to have centred round food and eating. I love cooking, and I love eating even more, so these are things that go together well.
Valentine’s Day was all about rack of lamb which is now a kind of ritual feast all of its own. The Boyfriend loves lamb. He loves cooking too and is also very good at it – much better than me actually, but don’t tell him I said so! He excels at making sauces, and the mustard sauce accompanying the lamb on this occasion was exquisite, a complete mastery of balance of all the various ingredients. But what he does best of all is the presentation. And the way food is presented makes all the difference to the kind of food he cooks, which is one of the many, many things I have learned by watching him at work in the kitchen. Conversely the fish and chips I had the other day were very neatly presented in their own wee wire basket looking for all the world as though they had just popped out of the deep fat fryer. But the eating was sadly a little less pleasing than the appearance.
I am not sure that M has learned just as much from my culinary efforts, which are much more about throwing a variety of ingredients into a pot or a casserole dish, and rather hoping that the eventual result is one of good taste. In the case of something like goulash or soup of course, appearance is not just so all-important.
I had another great day during the week making soups of all kinds. Soup-making is one of my favourite things, from ensuring that all the ingredients are assembled to eventually turning them into something tasty. It is an even lovelier experience when you set aside a few hours and make multiple pots of all kinds of concoctions, in a kind of conveyor-belt state of mind. What a lovely treat to spend some time this way, but probably not just the same if you were a chef in a Michelin starred restaurant, doing this day after day.
The Valentine’s meal was rounded off rather nicely by one of my practised puddings, the Pavlova. And of course since noone else was coming to dinner, it was the Perfect Pav. On other occasions when 10 guests are expected, the ability to make this simple dessert simply deserts me. But this time the Pav rose to the occasion and topped with whipped cream, white chocolate and creme fraiche was that once-in-a-while treat that it should have been. What no fruit I hear you cry? NO! Not even an attempt at being good. It was an occasion for waywardness.
On another evening I was invited to the opening of a restaurant. Being told you are on the VIP list makes anyone’s head turn, especially mine I am sad to say! Here the appearance of the food was removed from the enjoyment equation as we were blindfolded and then served tiny morsels, one spoonful at a time. There are restaurants which serve whole meals in this fashion, believing that it enhances the experience by isolating one of your senses. I have yet to be persuaded about this.Although this was an interesting experience, it did not serve to satisfy the hunger so we repaired to a neighbouring establishment for burgers and chips. Yum.
But in an effort to be at least a little good I have been to the gym, running at least 2.5K to use up the calories in the Special K and also cycling around the city streets as often as I can. Although Edinburgh is a city built on seven hills, they are not too off-putting for cycling, unless you tackle the really steep ones. We also benefit here from a network of cycle paths which carve through the city and allow cyclists, runners and walkers to enjoy the fresh air safely away from traffic.
This physical effort is all in anticipation of a skiing trip soon which will be fab. Ski slopes really are heaven on earth with the clouds under your feet. A bit like a really good Pavlova…..