Yesterday began in a most unusual way. I function, during my morning bathroom ritual, on “auto pilot”. An order of events has insinuated itself, over the passing years, which means that once ablutions have commenced I’m not particularly conscious of that which is happening as it is pre-ordained. As the razor slices through foam and stubble I am elsewhere. If it is a good day I am in that pleasant place where my thoughts are of what I shall be writing, cooking or photographing later that day. Such a day was yesterday. For an unconscious and complicated process such as this to have a happy ending, it is essential that all the different pieces of “equipment” required must be in their ordained places. The moving hand takes and having taken moves on…but should the moving hand have taken the wrong item, and carried on moving, as was the case yesterday morning, then you may well end up with an armpit full of shaving cream rather than deodorant.
I recovered from this setback and went to see Lennox, whose morning ablutions seemed to be simpler than mine as he just dived into the cold clear water and stayed under it until I had gone. The weather having changed for the better, I now leave the trap door of his oubliette wide open so that, like Oscar, he may appreciate that little tent of blue that prisoners call the sky.*
And so to artichokes…this time the “Poivrade”. As you will notice, this artichoke is prettier and more feminine than the butch Camus de Bretagne. This is because it is rumoured that Jupiter was wildly in love with a beautiful blonde girl. who gave him the bum’s rush. In a fit of pique he turned her into a artichoke, a poivrade artichoke to be precise. I’d love to hear that one being tried at Crown Court.
Forgetting that I had a bunch of bewitched blondes in my hands, I broke the heads off each of the artichokes in this delightful bouquet and trimmed them severely. The cut ends were rubbed with lemon and covered in a layer of an intense tomato sauce which was flavoured with thyme, basil and parsley. All that remained to do was to cook them, covered, in salted water for about an hour, or until they were soft.
At the end of the cooking, they are sprinkled with fresh breadcrumbs and parmesan and flashed under a hot grill. They taste wonderful whilst reminding us that hubris is always unwise….particularly if you’re a blonde walking out with a mythological god.
* For first time visitors, let me assure you that Lennox is a frog that I am trying to rescue, but who eludes my every effort.