Monday, April 27, 2009

Anna Mae Wong's Tea Cakes

"I'm Anna May Wong. I come from old Hong Kong.
But now I'm a Hollywood star."

It's my first night in the new W1 abode. Night is falling over Centre Point, Big Ben and the London Eye and a batch of tea cakes are in the oven. The Marathon Man from my office requested some as a reward for his months of training. He did it in 4 hours 22 minutes so it's the least I can do.

It's fun cooking in a new kitchen. Not for the first time I've had to use a colander instead of a sieve. Not the first time either that I've been puzzled by arty symbols for grill / fan assisted grill / oven / fan assisted oven etc. I just guessed.

Lucky the supermarket isn't too far away either. I had to make an emergency trip after trying to break one of the eggs in the fridge door only to find it was hard boiled! No fancy frenchified ball point pen writing on the shell to say "boiled" like there was in Dan's fridge...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Marlene Dietrich's Lamb Chops En Casserole

"Careful grooming may take twenty years off a woman's age,
but you can't fool a flight of stairs."

Oh how I wish someone would invite me to a fancy dress party so I could go looking like this...

It's true about the stairs too - they were very tricky to navigate after the vast amount of red wine consumed with the lamb chops. I was entertaining my new agent Mitzi and although the plan was to brainstorm about the book, we ended up talking all kinds of nonsense instead. I don't remember much due to aforementioned wine but there was definitely a bonding moment when Mitzi was presented with a swede and a turnip and incorrectly eye-matched the turnip. It’s not just me that gets them confused.

Turnips, turnips, turnips – they are an endless source of amusement during this project. After scouring every supermarket in Camden for one to no avail, I eventually went the old fashioned route of going to the market. "Do you have any turnips?" I asked the friendly stall holder, "only in my trousers" he replied.

Oh, and I do also remember a conversation about the intricacies of writing recipes. After approximately one bottle of wine it was basically impossible for me to get the following sentence out: "one cup of coriander, chopped is not the same as one cup of chopped coriander". Actually, just typing it is making me feel a bit weird. I think I am still drunk.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Talullah Bankhead's Coconut Jumbles

“They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze.
They should photograph me through linoleum.”

So hard to choose a quote for Talullah - there are so many fabulous ones! What exactly is she doing in this picture I'd like to know? The person who comes up with the best guess will win a batch of her Coconut Jumbles. I'm going to have to have a few more goes as the mixture was far too runny to do as Talu suggested and: "Cut into fancy shapes with a jumble cutter."

I actually BOUGHT some jumble cutters after much internet research and trawling of ebay. In the thirties jumbles were apparently doughnut shaped biscuits and they made special cookie cutters that cut a ring shape. I never owned a biscuit cutter before and now I have six original 1930s ones. 2 jumbles ring cutters, 2 heart shapes and 2 star shapes, courtesy of someone who stole them from her sorority house. What kind of bizarre world am I beginning to inhabit? Spending an evening dyeing little piles of coconut pink, yellow and green doesn't seem in the least bit strange these days...