Luxembourg is known for gathering politicians from the European Community, some tax-friendly banking and its Grand Duke. It’s much lesser known for its flour. Why that is, I cannot tell you. It’s perfectly fine flour. Admittedly, neither wholemeal nor organic, at least the packaging gives no indication of it, just a fancy crown, meaning it’s of somewhat aristocratic origin, maybe the Grand Duke has a mill, who knows, Louis XVI was into crafts too, he loved making keys, metalworking or milling, where’s the difference, anyway, I’m very fond of this flour, however politically incorrect, and as for organic baking ingredients and political correctness, my apples take full responsability, they’re totally organic, all seven of them, and they take the lion’s share of that cake anyway, so it probably won’t pose a health hazard. Alerted as I was, I tasted the rum at large, just to make sure its aroma would complement the other condiments, vanilla pulp and cinnamon, finding myself totally at ease with my partially conventional, inorganic and man-made apple cake. Totally.
The minute temperatures start rising, our dining table falls into some kind of hibernation – is there actually a term for hibernating in summer? It can’t be summernation, that sounds like a Tommy Hilfiger fragrance. Anyway, we declare the sombre mahogany totally useless, and adjust ourselves to teak. From then on, we not only have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the garden, we also prepare the meals outside, at least any part of the dish whose prepping doesn’t require gas or running water and allows us to enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine alongside cutting, peeling, trimming, snapping, or whatever you do with it. Asparagus, green and white, but the white ones especially, is the best example, peeling those bastards is such a pesky business, it makes you want to employ a cook, for my sake even with a staff of her own, but since nobody can no longer afford servants, we have to blame socialism, no doubt about that, we have do to such things ourselves, however tedious. But when sitting in an apple tree’s shade and sipping some red wine, the whole undertaking suddenly makes you feel blessed. And while I’m peeling away another spear’s tough outer layer, I hope autumn will come late this year, a week before Christmas will do.
Instead of posting another yummy dish or even yummier dessert, I give you the place where I cook and eat: my kitchen. Don’t get fooled by the current cleanliness, it’s just because the maid has just left (the maid being me…) and I’m off for some days, normally you find the place filled with pots, bowls, vegetables, cereals, flour, nuts, fruit, spices, herbs (sage, rosemary, and basil), bottles (olive oil, vinegar, wine, Coke Zero, and Evian) and lots and lots of coffee mugs, tea cups, glasses of all kind, candles (not scented, never in the kitchen), plates and tureens, and some Italian opera going on on iTunes (a cliché from the 1980s that just keeps sticking…). Anyway, this is my kitchen and I hope you like it.
Binge watching VEEP (a show, I discovered only yesterday, so far, I’ve made it to season 2/episode 4, laughing out loud every five minutes) has made me not leave my couch for quite some time now, except for short runs to the fridge in order to get some fresh supply of strawberry cheesecake icecream (not from that really famous brand, but from the other really famous brand, you see, their cheesecake layers are a bit saltier, which is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries, but I digress), a dessert, or basic nutrition, which I have grown addicted to as swiftly as to Selina Meyer and her wonderfully obnoxious crew. I wonder what I will do after the end of the last season… not much, I guess; probably, I won’t be able to move at all by then…
I am a devout devourer of jam, marmalade, jellies, confiture, and all other kind of preserves. First, because they all taste so very good, second you can eat them on/with almost everything, orange marmalade especially. Lately, I tried it on French pâté which looks like German leberwurst but is in fact some fine pâté, some ducks died for it, which always makes me sad as I love ducks, but every once in a while somebody brings duck confit or pâté de canard in order to amuse my taste buds and instead makes me mourn and cry out loud for the poor creatures. But since I don’t want them to have died in vain, I spread the pâté on baguette or German bread and always eat it up, every last bit of it—call me a hypocrite. Anyway, whatever concerns you might have, you should forget all about them and try some pâté with some (or even lots of) fine orange marmalade, it’s just too yummy. I understand, they make pâté from less lovely creatures, too…
What was that film called again? The one with Julia Roberts and all these pizzas? Mystic Pizza? It was Mystic, wasn’t it? Not Messy Pizza? Well, the one I ordered today was both in a way, mystic and messy. Messy, because it made me think of some sort of midcentury action painting, as if Willem de Kooning was responsible for the topping, heavy white brushstrokes of buffalo mozzarella, counteracted by frantic splashes of basil. Mystic, because the blend of aromas was quite intriguing, it tasted quite unexpectedly vegetarian despite all the salami, actually, it didn’t taste like pizza at all. I’ve been trying to come up with a description of what it tasted like since noon, but I failed… Messy and mystic, that’s all I could come up with.
What is happiness all about? The calm happiness, I mean, the one without any adrenalin rushes, just the kind that’s keeping your serotonine levels on a pleasant high, is it really just something good on TV, say The Crown, or Feud, that tour de force that made me love formerly hated Susan Sarandon, and grow soft on Joan Crawford, that mess of a woman, although she was right about those wire hangers, granted, that was actually Faye Dunaway’s version of Crawford, but still, wire hangers are not an option, and something to keep you alive during binge-watch, salami, baguette and some champagne, is that really as good as it gets? Yes, believe you me, it doesn’t get any better, this is how our life was meant to be, lions rest in the sun, birds fly high in the sky, we do this. So, as a piece of simple advice, you better quit the gym, your friends and your job, gracefully or cold turkey, that’s up to you, just make sure they stop calling, and stock up on Bollinger. Season 2 of Killing Eve is on and demands all attention.
We’re experiencing the hottest April ever, today we reached a priorly unimaginable 27 degrees Celsius, I can remember colder days in August when I had to take out the winter jacket I had just bought and put it on because I was still sitting outside a café after sunset, but I digress. Anyway, today it was so hot that my crème glacée de chocolat aux prunes à l’Armagnac (aka chocolate icecream with brandy prunes) was melting in the sun! It was a mesmerizing effect, seeing the creamy chocolate blend with the brandy while I took this photo, I waved perfection goodbye, realizing that one should never ever shoot icecream in the roasting midday sun—if you aren’t completely satisfied with it, please take into account that I could not take any more and/or better pictures, as I wanted to try my dessert before its total meltdown, otherwise call toll free 0800-ICECREAM-FAILURE.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Julia Child, that marvelous home cooking enthousiast, taught us how to cook bœuf bourguignon, and all the other great French recipes, Meryl Streep did some sort of re-editing in 2009 with Julie & Julia, and although I had known about bœuf bourguignon before, I must admit that both Julia Child and Meryl Streep are to blame for my constant trying of making the perfect (let’s shorten it) b.b. ever since I first saw the picture. This Easter Sunday, however, when making b.b. at my parents’ place, I was left to my very own devices, meaning I had neither a cook book nor a DVD at hand, and so I had to put all my beef in one basket, and to rely on my not too trustworthy memory. Well, I could have done better, my b.b. was certainly not a price winning dish, but it wasn’t too bad, either—as a matter of fact, there were no leftovers…
Actually, we had planned to have dorados for dinner on this Good Friday, but then all of a sudden our gardener came over, telling us he knew somebody who knew somebody who knew some trouts and as he knew we loved fish, he didn’t tell none of all these somebodies that he doesn’t like fish at all, not even on Good Friday, and brought us his share of the trouts that used to know somebody who knows somebody who knows our gardener. It was all very mysterious, but as one isn’t supposed to look a gift fish in the mouth, we took a rain check on our dorados. A rain check, we did not regret at all: Boy, these trouts were ever so good!