Cor, blimey! Thank you for your lovely comments. I am overwhelmed. Really I should be out running or, at least, power walking, but it ain’t ‘alf cold out there.
Today’s show was… It’s 14.59. I’ve been off air precisely one hour and I can’t pigginwell remember who was on. Hold on, I ‘ll just go and get a copy of my research notes. I read them in bed then throw them on the floor when I’ve finished with them, which I do last thing at night. So I’ve just retrieved them from under my dirty underwear. Sorry, too much information!
The research notes can be anything from 20-40 pages long. They contain information on the guests, what they are cooking, material on all the ingredients, the method of the recipe and anything else that the researchers think I ought to know. So today, for instance, we had on Maria Elia. She made griddled lamb with paprika and garlic. The recipe research told me it was on her menu as a special last Friday and that she used to make it with kangaroo meat.
Well, since our budget has been slashed, we no longer can run, or should I say hop to, roo meat, so she used lamb instead. Then there are ‘points of interest’ such as ‘there are 20 million breeding sheep in the UK and a further 20 million lambs in the world, paprika is associated with Hungary who are the biggest producers in the world and all plants are grown under strict guard in central courtyards – naughty Hungarians found propogating their own plants were decapitated.
My job on the show is to pick and choose what bit of information I can fit in, which nugget of info is useful, and which to leave out. Today we were a tight show so you didn’t get any of that brilliant info that the two kids put in – Most researchers are kids because they get paid really badly and it’s the bottom of the rung.
After the points of interest I get the recipe and method. Imagine – I have all the recipes from the last five years. I used to have them all on paper but my London flat was over run with white bits of paper so now the lovely Sarah Forfar is compiling them for me on a disc or emails, but whatever it is, I will have the best selection of recipes in the UK. Yes, there will probably be a book. Thank you for asking.
Giancarlo Caldesi was also on the show. Very Italian, great fun and very gregarious. His notes included a photo of himself so that I knew what he looked like before I talked to him. He made chicken wrapped in speck – the hind leg of a pig – stuffed with truffle cheese. We ate it with wild garlic in crushed potatoes that had been pre-boiled and sauted in olive oil. Absolutely gorgeous.
The wild garlic is always a measure of how far I have come in my life. I grew up in the East End of London. When Jim and I moved to East Sussex, I was still terrified of open spaces and the dark. That was 23 years ago. Now when I walk Jackson, our floppy old Lab – as the old man says, he is 90% labrador, 10% idiot – we wade through cow pats, mown grass and wonderful bushes of wild garlic that grow next to the stream.
I eat them in white bread sandwiches with thick butter. Yummy. They sure as hell didn’t have wild garlic growing on the streets of Aldgate when I was growing up.
Even though we have lived in our little cottage for 23 years, we still don’t get invited to the cocktail parties in the road. Actually, I call it a publet – 11 houses and a pub. Do I mind being the outsider? No, I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to make conversation with people who have never been further than the end of their extremely turned up noses.
Toby Buckland taught us how to ‘dob’ in our tomatoes and plant up our potatoes. He makes me ever so enthusiastic. Until I get home and then all I want to do is put my feet up and watch the telly.
I must apologise to camera wench Sooze for not mentioning her yesterday. And I will get going on all the others soon. But right now I have to get off to see my daughter sing in her concert at University. So, happy chowing and cu2morrer.