Thursday, February 26, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
It’s Valentine's day. (Note the excitement).
What is it about Valentine’s Day that makes people go nuts? Is it the expectation? Is it the thought of rejection? Is it the cost? It's certainly the only day of the year I can think of when complete strangers can openly offer tokens of love (or lust) to another without being reported for stalking.
My thoughts usually turn to food when thinking about gift giving on Valentine's or any other day. And not just to chocolate either. Frankly, a well cooked pot-roast can be the most romantic thing in the world when it’s served with a juicy, flavoursome gravy and crisp baked potatoes, on fine china, a damask table cloth, and with no mention of me having to help clean up afterwards. I was proposed to after just such a meal. High on the euphoria of a delicious dinner that I didn’t cook (and vast quantities of pink Chandon) the only possible reaction was to burst into laughter and accept. Tim has timing, if nothing else.
However, if a slow-cooked hunk of beef isn’t quite your idea of romance, there are some really good specialist shops around that sell all manner of gourmet delights to tickle the fancy of the most difficult to please.
What you do have to do is have a good think about what you’re trying to achieve. Will chocolates cut it? If so, forget the supermarket or the chocolate heart in red tin foil. Instead, try a specialist sweet shop that offers interesting and exquisite treats. Perhaps rose-scented Turkish delight, or chilli chocolate for a change. For cakes and pastries, there are some brilliant bakeries in Canberra. Tim swears by the Italian bakery in Mawson for fresh cannoli. He won over my mother with that cannoli. It came right after offering her a cold VB. (What was the woman to say?)
If your sweetheart has a food allergy, think about something that they can really enjoy without having to call the paramedics. Being allergic to wheat, there’s a lot I can’t touch, but the good thing is that there are now some fantastic wheat and gluten-free products around, many of which can be found in the supermarket. A hamper of goodies is thoughtful and shows you’ve paid attention. Major points can be scored.
Personally, I’ve always longed to be presented with a fresh black truffle to call my own. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like expensive fungus, especially if it’s a locally grown truffle. Many people baulk at the price, which is understandable, but it is a unique and memorable gift if you have a true foodie on your hands who’s never had one before.
Which brings me to the big push – if you’re at all culinarily inclined, try making something yourself. It needn’t be fancy or difficult, but should be thoughtful and appetising and require an effort. That’s what most people are really looking for. Prepare a meal and set a beautiful table, bake cookies, or make a cake from scratch. Keep it simple if you’re a beginner, or get creative if you’re a confident cook.
Tim once made me gluten-free cupcakes with what can only be described as homicidal-pink icing and a deluge of heart-shaped decorations on top that had accidentally tumbled out of the container. I overlooked the colour and the fact that packet mix was used because they were made with genuine thoughtfulness, love and affection by a non-cook who wanted to me to know how he felt. Long after the last crumb disappeared, I still remember the look, smell and taste of these little morsels - perfect.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us