Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Food is the answer

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

The Man in the Hat brings me a glorious handful of the first chanterelles. He has been foraging in the woods. I am slightly overcome.

I think yes, this is exactly what I should be doing today. I contemplate them seriously, wondering exactly how I should cook them. They are so rare and precious that one cannot muck about.

Today, I make up something new out of my own head. I very finely slice a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and fry in their own fat. Then I add three cloves of garlic, diced as small as possible, turn the heat down, and cook those. I add a dash of good olive oil, slivers of red chilli, a pinch of saffron, and finally the mushrooms. It takes about five minutes for them to cook. I add a pinch of Maldon salt, and half a handful of parsley, finely chopped. (A lot of fine chopping in this recipe. It’s a texture thing, I think.)

It is not bad at all. I feel quietly pleased. I think: next time, I might go mad and add a dash of dry sherry.

Here are the lovelies, all covered in honest mud:

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I had to brush them very, very carefully with a special mushroom brush. Sometimes I can’t quite believe that I actually have a special mushroom brush, but I do.

After cooking, they looked like this:

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Then, since I have been feeling a bit emotionally battered this week, I thought I’d give myself a special treat. I would take the afternoon off and watch the Select Committee speak to Mr James Murdoch and Mr Rupert Murdoch. I admit this is not every person’s idea of an actual treat. My political geekery knows no limits.

It was, in the end, slightly demoralising. The questions were not tremendously revealing, and I’m not sure I learnt anything new. Mr Murdoch senior looked sad and very, very old. At one point, one MP, whose name escapes me, started referring to him as ‘Mr Rupert’, in the manner of a loyal old family retainer.

Mr Murdoch junior was very polite and spoke a great deal of management-speak. At one point he kept repeating the phrase ‘quantum of damages’, which I think had something to do with a legal matter, but sounded like a James Bond joke.

The only real moment of drama came when an idiot man tried to smash Rupert Murdoch in the face with a cream pie. At this point, Mrs Murdoch, who had been sitting, staring into space, looking cross and bored, leapt into action, whacked the interloper over the head, grabbed the pie, and shouted: ‘I’ve got him, I’ve got him’. Twitter went mad. I actually thought my computer was going to melt down; I had to keep stabbing at the page up button. Wendi is NINJA, shouted the tweeters, united in joy. She certainly has excellent reflexes. The dog, hearing the commotion, jumped up and stuck her face against the computer screen, as if trying to see what was going on. That made me laugh quite a lot. That’s what I love about the Pigeon; no matter what is happening, and now much rain falls, she can always make me laugh.

I went out to stare at the green things, to remind myself that there are other things in life apart from telephone hacking and humbled tycoons. The delphiniums were looking particularly serene. The Pidge found a rabbit eating the verbena and ruthlessly chased it from the garden. She came back looking excessively pleased with herself. The farmer was out and about, seeing to his cows. He looked rather impressed. We nodded and smiled.

‘Life in the old dog yet,’ I said.

Oh yes. There is life in the old dog yet. Her and me both.


Pictures of the day are of cheering garden things:

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And, most cheering of all, my darling Pigeon, all wet with rain:

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Lovely, lovely comments yesterday. Thank you for them all.


  1. Thank you - It's that time of year again. I'm off to chanterelle heaven tomorrow. Sadly, this year all of my boys are gainfully employed at the berries, I'll have to forage alone.

  2. Ladybird - love the the thought of your berrying boys. I need some of those. :)

  3. Your commentary made me laugh out loud...my husband asked what I was reading and I found myself saying 'my favourite writer...' as ever your observations spot on. Lou x

  4. Although I am not a fan of mushrooms I love the photos! And I love the beautiful photos of your dog! I too am stranded on dog island!

  5. Your food photography is really good in this post. I made me want mushrooms on toast a lot. And I love the idea of Pigoen jumping up and making you laught. Wonderful!

  6. Lou - what an absolutely LOVELY thing to say. Thank you. :) :)

    Elizabeth - hurrah for Dog Island!

    Siobhan - lovely comment; thank you.


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