It seems that us food bloggers have been overcome with meme madness and I'm tagged again, with hardly a blink since my last meme exposed some lesser known morsels for your delectation.
This time Katie of Apple and Spice has tagged me with a blockbuster meme that involves naming endless lists of things in fives. Not making much sense? Check out Katie's very own meme to see what I mean.
Now what I have to do is nominate five other bloggers to continue the meme themselves, let them know as best I can that they are tagged and get on with the business of writing my meme.
But every time I went to start this particular meme, I felt constrained by the enormous amount of information required and wished I could linger over just one of those lists. And so it was that I found myself reluctant to share five things I would do if I were a millionaire, five bad habits and five favourite toys. I wanted to look inside and pull up something that might surprise and delight you, so I'm subverting the meme just for now and choosing a list of my own making:
five tastes that I could not live without.
People I tagged, go back to Katie's meme if you would like to follow the original form, or if you like the line I'm taking, chose a five item list of your own, whatever you like, and tell us about it in gorgeous evocative language that calls us to respond with our hearts. Be creative; make this truly just about you. I can't wait to read what you have to tell me.....
Five Tastes I Could Not Live Without
Mmm butter, the essence of comfort. Oozing sleepily from a warm pitta. Salty, smoky, nut brown butter, shimmering as it bubbles toward perfection, drizzled carefully over squash soup.
The hot pillowy flesh of a baked potato calls out for some cool butter to be soothingly mashed in. Butter melds with a pile of mint strewn bright green peas, gives the rich snap to a piece of shortbread and bastes that minute steak, sizzling savoury for a valentine.
Just think of the Madeira cake, butter cream, lemon curd, omelettes, late night toast and tea-time crumpets that would mourn the absence of butter.
A clean astringent slice plopped into my morning Earl Grey tea. Squeezed over fish, stews and soups to balance the richness. The fragrant scent of zest on my hands after juicing a lemon, not sharp, but rounded, floral, the essence of summer, the smell of yellow. Ice chinking in a jug of lemonade, the yellow twist of zest lying casually in a Manhattan. A perfect partner for almonds in a rich, dense almond sponge, or cutting through the cool thick cream in a lemon syllabub. Lemons make the most refreshing sorbet to end a summer meal.
My favourite pudding when I was small was Magic Lemon Pudding. In a home where we were pleased to gobble up a piece of Guinness cake; dense, dark and bitter - Magic Lemon Pudding was the apotheosis of all things light, lemony, sweet and well, magical. The magic came from a sauce that the pudding made all by itself in the alchemy of the oven. The result was a light lemony sponge and unctuous lemon curd that lay in a bright yellow pool underneath.
Ah, my love, my dark, sweet, mouth filling buttery true love. Where some have wine, I have chocolate, finding a multitude of nuanced flavours in each different bar. I'm talking about the dark kind here. Don't bring no milk near my chocolate and definitely don't let the good stuff drop below 70%. I don't want sugar here, I want bitter, melting, cocoa rich chocolate that I can feel reaching the parts other foods leave untouched. Sometimes I like a little geranium or cardamom in my chocolate, or even some mint, but mostly I just want purity, like a musician listening to a single string and hearing the pluck, the key, the timbre and the fall.
Having said that, I do love to sink my teeth into a moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with creamy ganache. Nothing says christmas to me like a cardamom truffle, rough and home made, rolled in bitter cocoa, yielding to the bite and melting on my soon to be licked fingers.
I often thank the universe for allowing chocolate into my life and sigh for those who cannot eat it, because lets face it - carob ain't no substitute for the good stuff.
Ok, so this is a collection of tastes. I couldn't choose one root over another! How could I favour the sweet juicy crunch of a raw carrot over a parsnip chip, hot from the oven, aniseedy, coconut fluff surrounded by a toothsome caramelised crust? How could I put either of those above the deep burgundy of borscht with a bright swirl of sour cream, or beets roasted dark and intense and drizzled with garlicky yoghurt, turning fuchsia pink where the juices run?
Roots are the very essence of winter, the starchy padding and the wondrous highlight. Roots ground us, filling the house with a warm sweet bready smell. When we need a bit of cosseting I'll make a steaming clutch of thyme scented stoved potatoes. Fin can never believe the dark toffee that oozes from a baked sweet potato, snatching a long sticky piece like it was forbidden. Raw roots are great, but roasted roots make my winter heart sing.
Now this choice may seem perilously near to butter, but let me tell you, I could not live without it and butter it ain't. I could (and have been known to) stand at the fridge door and spoon neat cream into my mouth. I'm like a cat with the cream, I'll lick the bowl if there's cream in it.
The best cream you can buy where we live is unlike the thin, bland, pasteurised cream we get in the supermarket. It has a luminosity, if that's possible for something so opaque. A luminosity that lends the pale pale cream a golden colour. It clings to the spoon densely and tastes of grass and sun and the sea breezes that blow over the cliffs where the cows graze. It hasn't been pasteurised, or homogenised, only eulogised and smeared lovingly over deserts and cakes, and eaten in private moments, silently and thoughtfully, from a spoon, standing by the fridge, purring.
I nominate the following bloggers to take up the baton and run: