It is hard to imagine that the man in this picture, well known forhis even temperament, could be so tormented by an intransigent still life, otherwise known as dinner, and the vagaries of a camera self timer: and yet, it had all started so well. The kitchen had been calm: a culinary temple wherein was being performed that ancient ritual whereby man, with the aid of fire, transforms sacrificial beasts into lunch or dinner. Beasts, in this kitchen, are not necessarily four legged nor even, for the most part, legged at all. The red and bloody beast beneath my knife was completely free of any ambulatory appendages but was no less a beast for the lack of them: the two thick meaty slices cut from this tomato, a native of my neighbour’s potagère, were to be the turf upon which would be placed the surf; a tsunami of coral edged scallops flecked with the green of flat parsley and the ivory of slivered, buttery garlic. Tomatoes in a hot oven for 30 minutes topped with scallops pan fried in butter with parsley and garlic:the plan was so simple and so we steamed quietly on towards the iceberg. It is said that we humans perform a great many of our normal functions unconsciously; driving a car is such a moment when each combination of movements between hand, foot and eye are not individually considered yet occur at the right moment…..for the most part. As I took the very hot tomato dish out of the very hot oven my automatic pilot was pouring a glass of red. Without his aid I performed a masterly fuck up of prestidigitation which resulted in a proportion of the hitherto perfect roast tomato slices being scattered over the open oven door whilst the dish containing the remains had taken on the look of a gaping wound of the sort that, in a hospital drama, would prompt our surgically masked hero to quietly intone “I’m going to have to call it…”. I, on the other hand dug deep into the mine of arcane profanity from where I conjured monstrous conjunctions of scallops fornicating with the inept cunts who had constructed the oven on whose door I was currently burning my arm.
I have long held the view that cosmetics have no place in cooking and this dish of scallops slavishly upheld this principle making me wonder whether minimal makeup might occasionally override the bare faced approach in future forays. However, as I have told myself over and over again, looks are not everything and this dish is very good indeed. As a footnote, it might interest you to know that I found the recipe in a favourite cookery book of mine – “Classic Conran”- and I have only just noticed that the recipe is illustrated with a few ambivalent black and white pictures, unlike the other dishes in the book which are glamourously portrayed in mono saturated colour, and which show little or nothing of scallops and tomatoes…could the well designed Conran fan have been hit by the very same shit that hit mine?
Posted in 2015, Baking, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Drinks, Fish, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, Photographic Prints, Photography, scallops, seafood, Terence and Vicki Conran, tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, wine, Writing
Tagged baking, Classic Conran, clear thinking, cookery books, cooking, delicious confection, digital photography, food, Food photographer, France, Humour, noix de St.Jaques, Photography, Profanity, red wine, scallops, surf n'turf, tsunami, writing
As a cook, it is not unusual for me to find myself uncomfortably perched on the pointy bits of the dilemma which involves guessing an egg’s age. Not unlike ourselves, eggs of different ages behave very differently and I find that I can misjudge the age and behaviour of an egg quite as easily as I can misjudge the age and behaviour of my fellow human beings Living in the country has been a great help to me in respect of both of these failings as the date of an egg’s emergence is noted in pencil on the shell and there are not many people. However, individual egg dating is only evident when I buy, beg or borrow eggs from one of our neighbouring farms which is not every day…if indeed that was the case, I would have an egg mountain or be egg bound, which sounds like Westward’ho but isn’t and what few people there are here would hide from me which has set me wondering if there are in fact, or more precisely in hiding, more people here than I imagine. The two ages of egg that interest me are the age of easy separation, which in the human only depends on having someone from whom to separate, and the age of hard boiledness which is the eggage when the shell will peel off with ease after boiling..only Caligula or H.Lector would be an authority on the human equivalent. My relationship with egg white, as I have mentioned at other times, is strained and unreasonable: it is not unlike Henry VIII’s fickle attitude to wives’ heads and their continued attachment. There are boiled eggs, the mere sight of whose “white” will induce gagging, whereas I can stand at a bar on a market morning sipping a glass of muscadet and happily chomp on a lightly salted, hard boiled egg, a small basket of which it is not unusual to find perched on the “zinc”. The eggs that you see in the opening still life of this post, dated 15/7, would, by yesterday, have been ideal to be hard boiled but, following an unerring sense that allows me to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I chose to ignore their clearly marked age and treat them as adolescent ova whose albumen and yolks would be only too willing to separate from each other and in so doing allow me to transform one half of their eggy gestalt into soft sweet pillows of meringue. It is hard to imagine that any ambitious young egg would be able to resist such a career move but, as you know, these were not thrusting youngsters but old dodderers whose albumen and yolks were bound together for eternity, to whom separation was anathema. Never was the adage of the impossibility of making an omelette without breaking eggs so clearly illustrated, and that is what they inevitably became:a perfect liaison of their elements bound together with fresh herbs from the garden together with tomatoes, whose scented ripeness declared them unmistakably as fruit and hot, sweet butter. An omelette is the perfect solution for a person who plays roulette with eggs..
Posted in 2015, Boiled eggs, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Drinks, Eggs, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Hard boiled eggs, Humour, omelette, Photography, Uncategorized, wine, Writing, yolks
Tagged Caligula, clear thinking, cooking, digital photography, food, Food photographer, France, Hannibal Lector, hard boiled eggs, Henry VIII, Humour, Photography, Westward'ho, writing