Sunday, 26 December 2010

Does any of this chime at christmas time?

No apologies for another poignant episode of Misery Bear.  Either you love him or you think I've gone soft in the head.   Warning: he'll make you laugh but he might make you cry when you think about it..

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Happy Christmas from a Domestic Goddess not

I don't know what it is about the festive season that make me go into hibernation.  Very much hoping for an adrenalin rush sometime in the next 48 hours.  

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Secret Desires

Now that London's Royal College of Art's Secret Sale (in aid of student bursaries and support) is over, I can reveal my contribution.  Over 2,800 postcards are illustrated by artists and students and exhibited anonymously.  Each costs £45 and the game is to pick one by an expensive artist like Damien Hirst or Grayson Perry and not get landed with a Rosie West.

Artists generally don't like to pin down the meaning of their work.  I suppose mine are supposed to be seductive as little pictures in themselves and then remind one of the gross price of property; they glibly juxtapose the tradition of painting with nasty material values; or simply stand as a painterly documentation of a common phenomenon like the property ads blah blah blah..

They are possibly rather sketchy but you have to take a run at them since you only get given
three postcards and there's no room to mess up even more.

I have no idea how many of them sold but I know that my son pointed out one of mine to his girlfriend not realising his old ma had done it.  Needless to say he didn't buy it.  

All illustrations © Rosie West

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Triumph of Hope over Experience II : Jamie Oliver's Naked Cheek?

Thank God I didn't attempt Jamie Oliver's three-course 'Thirty Minute Meal' before an audience of guests, laughing-charfing and moving confidently around my domain.  This is what happened in the privacy of my own chaos.

6.30: Read recipe. Strange step-by-step instructions swim before my eyes.

6.32: Throw contents of shopping trolley around work surfaces
6.33 Unwrap new frying pan

6.34  Wash new baking dish.  
6.35 Scrabble in cupboards for slicing attachments for my magimix.
6.37 Realise they went to the charity shop.  Start slicing 2lbs of potatoes and red onion by hand.
6.38  Decide to empty washing machine onto ironing board. Why?

6.39 Cut my finger and search kitchen drawer for blue plaster. Wind it up in kitchen roll.
6.40 Start chucking ingredients for Dauphinoise potatoes in pan. Seems from book that pan's too small so I  wash up new bigger baking dish. Transfer the slop of cream, olive oil, grated parmesan  and stuff into that. Occurs to me bigger pan only necessary to save a vital five minutes' cooking time but what the hell, I'm still in the game.
6.43 'Tear' oily anchovy fillets limb from limb. Would have preferred to use a knife, frankly.
6.44  Scrub and sniff hands.  Notice oil on floor and make a mental note to avoid.  
6.45 Put pan covered in tin foil on a medium gas flame.  Narrow tin foil doesn't fit big pan. Will vital steam escape through the join of two pieces? Oh dear.
6.46  Faff about with slimy chicken breasts and mustard powder. Help, I won't beat the clock if I don't cut 'em up! Realise I should have bought ones with skin on for crispy aesthetic reasons. Try to crush garlic cloves 'without peeling'.  Takes twice as long. Run out of olive oil.

6.48 Do the math on producing three 'baby leeks' out of two jumbo ones. Slice finely and hold knife with one finger sticking out at right angles. 
7.00 Oh quick, shake the potato pan!
7.01 Start frying chicken and leeks together.  It looks all milky.

7.05  Shouts from upstairs "Is there something burning darling?" Shout back "NO, the recipe doesn't say it will burn. It's the anchovy you can smell."  Shake the pan again. 
7.10 Realise the chicken's never going to get crispy like the picture.  Check the stopwatch and axe the idea of whipping up a snappy Black Forest Affogato
7.15 Burn my finger rattling the the sodding potato pan again.  Can't find any indication how long it's supposed to be there other than how long the chicken is taking me.
7.20 Open up tin foil.  So when is an anchovy not an anchovy? When it's your pan burnt to buggery.

7.21  Scrape potato gunge into yet another oven dish, grate on more parmesan, put in oven which I failed to light at the thirty second stage.
7.22  Imbibe wine and notice husband has polished off whole tin of smoked oysters. He announces that he's 'off to watch some mindless telly'.
7.24 Address recipe again.  F*** this for a skylark.
7.25  Go fetch camera and start shooting the mess. Feel vaguely embarrassed about promoting my new strategy for a three-course meal every night to anyone who would listen.
7.40  Chop up purple sprouting broccoli at 90mph
7.41 Scrabble to open tub of double cream and a bottle of wine. 

7.42 Glug it madly into chicken.

7.43  Haven't got time to wash the spinach.  Axe that idea.
7.45  Turn off chicken and weep with exhaustion.  Skid on anchovy oil.
7.46  Remember to cook broccoli and turn off oven.
7.47  Totally lose interest in the whole project.  Sit down in front of the telly with a glass of wine.
8.30 Rechauffé and serve. Apologise for delay in advertised time and discrepancy between picture and finished product.  Laugh bitterly.  Eat in 5 mins flat.  (Okay, it was moderately tasty.)
9 - 9.45  Clean Up 

Hmm rather than Mmm

Next day:  Go back to Jamie Oliver and read this: 'These recipes are carefully choreographed so that no single minute is wasted. If at first you run a little over time and your kitchen is a bit messy don't worry... [it's] all about orgainizing your kitchen and your equipment.'  I should coco!

Only Jamie does it better

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