A party at my sister-in-law’s house on Saturday was the perfect excuse for an overdue reconciliation with my kitchen this weekend. In my frenzied mission to decorate the flat, my time spent in the kitchen had recently been reduced to the strict minimum required for survival. But once I got started this weekend, there was no stopping me.
First off, the Jamie Oliver brownie filled my flat with the mellow scent of chocolate goo that was hard to resist.
Nigel Slater came to the rescue with a glorious mussels and leek chowder. I have to explain here I collect Nigel Slater’s tomes avidly and I admire the man so much I sometimes drop him a line to thank him for making my relationship with my kitchen so special. One may describe this as stalking behaviour. I call it “awe”.
(so quickly after the washing-up and before running out of the door to fulfill our social duties, I did find the time to transmit my reverence to the almighty Nigel. One always has to be grateful for a hearty lunch. – I blame technology.)
So celebration brownie cut and tinned, and pre-function lunch out of the way, I left my kitchen behind as there was a gazebo to build at the party venue. The gazebo serves the unpredictability of British summer so well, it would have been a shame not to. So as Bob Dylan was sound-checking in the park down the road (probably to Buckets Of Rain), I was trying to control my hair with one hand and a turbulent gazebo cover with the other on a blustery roof-terrace. I was actually delighted when the first shower of the day hit Harringay as soon as we tied the last piece of string to the balustrade. Our efforts had been duly rewarded as the guests were arriving and the playlist commenced.
The party was perfect with a constant and joyful flow of people, food, drink and laughter. The homemade burgers, jerk chicken, marinated lamb kebabs and brownie all went down a storm – and so did the red wine on my part…
I was nevertheless ready at 9am on Sunday for my next date with the kitchen. Before tackling some cinnamon French toast with blueberries, I spotted a response email from the great Nigel Slater in my inbox! It goes without saying I was beside myself, and what should have been a lazy Sunday morning was suddenly filled with a lot of jumping around and squealing in a most excited and childlike manner.
The thrill sent me straight back into the kitchen to manage my next culinary project: chocolate macaroons, courtesy of Nigella Lawson.
The remainder of the weekend was spent giving my taste buds a bit more TLC with these miraculous little chocolate wonders, and a good helping of catch-up TV and soothing fresh mint tea.
So I’m pleased my kitchen and I are on talking terms again, as I’m sure you’ll agree there is nothing better than some good homemade food to share with your loved ones.
I know Nigel would agree.