I remain at ease with my grown upness. The raging weekend has been marvellous. It was Sheffield’s very own Food Festival so of course I headed out for that with Marianne and Daphne. A couple of hours wandering from stall to stall allayed my fears. There was always a danger that such smaller festivals would go the way of a music festival, and be wall to wall street food vendors and cupcakes. I was relived to see local preserve companies, artisan bakeries, butchers and cheesemakers all lined up to flog their wares. It was quite inspiring, as every company celebrated their Yorkshire heritage.
I bought some fabulous Garlic rapeseed oil. What was amazing about it is that a bottle of home-grown produce, produced by some very enthusiastic people, cost considerably less than factory produced flavoured oil from the supermarket. Awesome news. I also bought some smoked Lincolnshire poacher cheese, which sadly I think I may feed to Daphne who was given about 5 squares from the lady in charge of the stall, who was enamoured by the fact that my dog had the same name as her sister. Together with my Cat Lane Bakery malted grain loaf, my limited haul was fabulous.
Whilst walking home, I noted that fig season was driving a massive competition between the market trader and the greengrocer, and where 3 for £1 was common before, the market trader was jumping the competition with his 4 for £1 offer. I had been watching Unique Sweets on Food Network before that morning and saw a bakery in Santa Monica made a quince Gallette. I thought about the classic flavours that match figs, namely honey, but thought that to be honest figs are sweet enough. So I thought pistachios? Go on then. So I set about a challenge.
I could not be arsed with rough puff pastry. 2 hours worth of chilling, rolling and smearing was a bit of a bore last time I did it and I had no reason to believe it would be more entertaining on a Saturday afternoon. So I checked out the Processor Puff Pastry in How to be a Domestic Goddess. Fats, flour, salt and water in a food Processor bowl, bought together and chilled. Rolled, folded and chilled, easy puff pastry.
Guess what? It worked. Filled with a creamier version of frangipani, figs and pistachio nuts, I tried out a late summer twist on what we will all crave come bleak mid winter. And it was gorgeous. Flaky butter pastry, sweetly indulgent figs, toasted crunch of pistachios- show me a person who disapproves and I’ll add them to my “don’t bother befriending, we have nothing in common” list.
I keep telling myself to run. I am doing a half marathon in 5 weeks, I should be on point to get running. I’m not. Today was a day for 8 miles I thought. I went to Waitrose, spent a ton, come home and prepped a pudding for today. Espresso laced meringue, with chopped dark chocolate and walnut pieces forming a less sweet pavlova base. Almond extract laced whipped cream and a final flurry of chopped walnuts dressed the pavlova. I ate it up. And had a second slice.
And another bit. Bleurgh. Feel heavy and chubby. And I have a weekend a way to slim for.
Yes it’s 4 days of work this week then off I flee to Bath. I am so excited about going away, I hate the idea of a weekend without he dog but to quote Madonna I need to “release the pressure” of life.
So I’m going to pack my new Ted Baker trews, a few sweaters, a shirt or two and a smile and will head off to the home of the roman baths and posh shops. I have my eye on a Joules tank top to buy. Whoop!
Have to pay off the rest of my holidays tomorrow which will make Boston very real. And also marks 12 weeks till departure date. Cannot actually wait! I have so many hypothetical shopping lists. Bring on the international retail. I have so many ideas for tacky American Christmas-style Christmas gifts, which I hope I can bring into reality. And there is always the hope of being able to get something for Pete which will remind him of what I hope will be a fabulous trip.
Right ladies and gentlemen. Hope you are all well. Apologies I may not be as amusing as I one was, I feel less amusing, I don’t do as much as I used to. Seeing as all I do is go to Waitrose and work, where would the excitement lie? I suppose there was the man at the food festival who suggested Dahne may go mad for his wife’s legs as they were “smothered in E45”, which was all the incentive I needed to drag her to the other end of the city centre. And the woman from the Artisan School of Food who, in response to my question about the Christmas Baking course was “if you have any questions, look on the website”, and then responded to every other question put to her the same way to the point I held my tongue from saying “I hope you aren’t being paid for today because you have been fuck all help”. But other than that, it just endless tales of dogs, dinners and handling dung.
The essence of all this kick started the weekend. The Dempseys doorman was taking his dog for a walk before retiring after work in the park as I started Daphne and I’s day. I chatted politely to him, him not recognising me I don’t think. Although I thought I had got that wrong when he said “could I offer you a coconut ring”, which I thought perhaps was a modern euphemism for sex. After all there are lots of words I don’t recognise these days- like Rita Ora. Apparently he was just offering me a biscuit. How was I to know? I said no, fact fans. Any man who would so freely grope me on a night out back in the day surely hasn’t stopped such acts of perversion. So god only knows where those hands have been. And Dempseys has a 6am license these days, I bet they are dirtier than ever. Kim and Aggie level of contagion i’d estimate. Not for me, or my dog. Even though she willingly eats sheep shit at Chatsworth, they have grazed on the grounds of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It feels more civilised than eating a doorman’s ring in a park in Sharrow. Call me old fashioned.
– If ever in doubt, just ask yourself- What Would Ina Do? You can bet your bottom dollar it would involve Hydrangeas and Homosexuals