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eat. cook. write.

June 24, 2011

The straight and the narrow- A welcome to England

The British are annoyingly organised. You can’t pick your nose without being caught on camera. You wouldn’t dare drive an old jalopy on the highway; and neither would you dare leave your car anywhere without first scrutinising the parking notices. I learnt this the hard way after I received a £25 fine on my first day in Newbury for parking in an area that I didn’t know was “pay and display”.
This country seems to me a land of more straight than narrow. A place of rigid white lines and tall, trimmed hedges; square little houses and bigger square mansions, all with their uniform chimney pots and their uniform people.
Of course, I judge the English too harshly. I do so because I am used to country where one will find litter in the streets. Where a burst of sobbing can save you from a traffic fine and the majority of square houses you find are in the townships where the poor live piled atop one another in a sea of reflective sink roofs and dusty roads. We are not as organised as the British. We have bendable rules and bribable officers.
And so, the British have wild things too- and these are the things that I like.  I saw a timid deer today when I went for a run. I saw two stark black sheep in a cloud of bleating white.  I got stabbed in the shin by an unruly bramble bush. But the cherry on top of my ice cream Sundae happened in Waitrose. The supermarket where its so damn cold and sterile you feel as if you’d welcome a broken refrigerator or a speck on the floor.
In my fresh baguette I found an embedded piece of white cloth, baked into the crust. I was so amused to find this evidence of human error that could not be avoided by law and rule that I didn’t even consider reporting it, or suing dear Waitrose.
So that was my first day in England. Also, we had a dinner party of five guests and Berkshire cook M and I tackled it together.
We had Ottolenghi’s delicious rice flour pancakes with veg for starters, you can find the recipe here .Its one everyone should have in their repertoire and it's great for all those gluten- allergies out there. This was followed by Elizabeth David’s pork cooked in milk, which was very tasty… and the list of the last three days’ cooking goes on. It’s been lovely to get at summer ingredients, and ones hard to find back home:

Rhubarb. Palm sugar. Broad beans. Fresh globe artichokes. Shallots. Plump raspberries, and salmon for tickets.  

And I wish, I wish, I could write you up the recipes I’ve been doing, with pictures alongside. But smarty pants didn’t pack her camera cable (a general note to all: It is advisable to get more than 30 minutes sleep the night before you fly) and thus I can’t upload photos and post them. It sort of kills my blogging mojo, not having the photo part. But I know George I will help me tomorrow, so I’ll see you soon- with more of the straight and narrow.  

1 comment:

Lea Smit said...

Carina, It sounds like an eventful landing in the UK, wow! We are off on the overlanding experience so I wont leave many more comments though I will be checking on the decadent masterpieces you will be serving up to Mrs X and the guests. So far the dishes look absolutely lovely! (I have read your posts back to front that is why Im commenting on the first one about the others). Have an adventure!