Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,Andrea del Sarto – Robert Browning
Or what’s a heaven for?
I’ve been doing a fair bit of cookery lately – cookery? damn British recipes!!! – and am, rightly, convinced that in the kitchen I am more adventuresome than accomplished.
The adventure with the most recent Christmas pudding is a good example of that overreaching grasp. Let’s try something new says I – and rather than using a previous proven recipe I trusted Nigel Slater on that one! Oh foolish man said blessed Bridgid, the Celtic goddess of the hearth! Then two days later I make my mincemeat using an old recipe from Delia Smith – and Bridgid, Cailleach, and Cerridwen* all smiled upon my efforts.
So yesterday I decided to, like Browning’s Andrea del Sarto, reach for the stars and try Nigella (are we seeing a theme here?) Lawson’s Star Mincemeat Tarts. The result was less than stellar. Though they were baked the colouring was a pasty white rather than Nigella’s – no doubt PhotoShop assisted – golden brown; the pastry was just a tad too flaky; and my stars ended up looking like the silhouettes of either polar bears waiting for a lay or anteaters about to pounce depending on who’s interpreting the Rorschach Test.
Fast forward to this morning when another of Nigella’s recipes caught my eye and ignoring yesterday’s failure I choose to venture forth. Keeping up with the star theme I attempted her Cheese Stars. And I’ll be darned but they turned out pretty good! They look like stars, have a nice bite of cheddar and though not evenly golden will be presentable on Christmas Eve. Well okay this batch will be eaten up in the next day or two but fortunately the pastry freezes and I can pop them in the oven on the afternoon of the 24th.
Next up – lobster stock for the bisque, carapaces by the grace of The Water Prince Corner Shop. And just as I was drifting off to sleep last night there was a request for a tortière like the one I made last year. Apparently I agreed, though my memory is slightly hazy on that! I wonder what recipe I used. Something not to adventuresome I hope.
*The Celtic goddesses of the hearth – Irish, Scottish and Welsh respectively.
December 5th is Day of the Ninja – a day that was created to honour Tom Cruise’s movie The Last Samurai? The only honours it appears to have won as it lost out at the Oscars, and Golden Globes.