2021-11-03When I cycled to work this morning the air felt like the mountains. Maybe once it gets cold and dry enough the smog drops out of the air or something (unlikely). Either way, the sky was blue, the sun was low and golden and blinding. The roads were full of cyclists breathing steam and I didn’t trust any patches of glittering moisture I saw not to be ice. I got to work early; I just didn’t want to squander those hours of sunlight when the night comes on so early.
2021-10-18I ran out of steam with cooking a little bit this weekend. A lot of that probably has to do with some gargantuan hangovers I inflicted on myself a few days in a row. It also has to do with the fact that I’ve been a victim of my own success in using what’s already in the cupboards. I used up those spices that have been sitting around. I used up those frozen sausages in the freezer.
2021-10-11The good bread Running’s been difficult lately, but swimming in the ponds is getting better each week. It’s cold enough now that it burns your skin all over when you get in. It’s cold enough that when you feel the cold on your legs as you step down the ladder you think, “not everybody would do this”. Very self-satisfied of me. When the burning fades off, this sudden feeling of wellbeing washes over.
2021-10-08It’s getting darker and colder, but so far I don’t mind. Like I said before, I’m cooking a lot of satisfying food. It’s still warm enough to get into the Hampstead Heath ponds every Saturday morning. The crowd there is thinning out and there’s now a pleasing corps of batty and rich ladies of a certain age who we’re starting to see on a regular basis. Leftover homemade pesto with udon noodles I’m doing more in those dark evenings.
2021-08-30Image generated by Midjourney I like to cook a lot. Sometimes I cook all afternoon, one meal after another. I end up with a fridge full of boxed up meals that I can pile through in the week or give to loved ones. Dinner guests are relatively rare these days, in the wake of the pandemic year. Some people have been scattered away from the pestilent city centre.
2020-11-28I love cooking but the terminology seems very fluid to me until I hear chefs talking to each other about how they prepare an ingredient in a way that sounds so specific. It turns out these words do have distinct meanings that I struggle to hold in my head. Sautéing A very awkward Frenglish word. Means frying ingredients in not very much oil but over a relatively high heat. Searing A larger ingredient like a meat is cooked over a very high heat just to brown the surface.
2020-08-18A search for “cheesecake,” for example, will result in 189 references, including Robert Abbot’s 1790 recipe for almond cheesecake, Hannah Glasse’s 1805 recipe for lemon cheesecakes, and E. Smith’s 1742 recipe for potato or lemon cheesecake. If this research on the evolution of cheesecake makes you want to learn more about Robert Abbot himself, you’ll find that his 1790 Housekeeper’s Valuable Present or Lady’s Closet Companion also included instructions for how “to make very good wigs.