Follow the Yellow

Archive of ‘food’ category

of course one needed tea always

I can’t really talk about lovely things without mentioning tea and nice teacups. I like this quote from Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women, which I read over the weekend:

Perhaps there can be too much making of cups of tea, I thought as I watched Miss Statham filling the heavy tea-pot. We had all had our supper, or were supposed to have had it, and were met together to discuss the arrangements for the Christmas bazaar. Did we really need a cup of tea? I even said as much to Miss Statham and she looked at me with a hurt, almost angry look. “Do we need tea?” she ecohed. “But Miss Lathbury…” She sounded puzzled and distressed, and I began to realise that my question had struck at something deep and fundamental. It was the kind of question that starts a landslide in the mind.

I mumbled something about making a joke and that of course one needed tea always, at every hour of the day and night.

This is my favourite cinnamon tea with cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns. I also like this one which comes in a pretty box. However, my favourite of all is weak earl grey (no milk of course) in a teacup, ideally with a slice of cake on the side. I think Barbara Pym would approve.

I came across Tea Blog, an interesting web-based project by artist Ellie Harrison, via Mark Robinson’s Arts Counselling blog, which is well worth a read – one of his definitions of ‘strategic’ as ‘really, really big and expensive’ nearly made me snort tea everywhere. Anyway, each time Ellie drinks a cup of tea (or any other hot drink) she records a snippet of what she is thinking about on the blog. Since 1 January 2006 when the project started, she has gathered over 1,500 thoughts online in a tribute to tea and thought. Tea Blog is due to end at midnight on 31 December 2008.

les vacances

As promised here are some pictures of my holiday.

I suppose there’s probably something very boring, and perhaps even rather egotistical about posting one’s holiday photos on one’s blog, somewhat “ooh, look at me and my fascinating life”.

My holiday photos are sadly, not very fascinating, but I make no apologies. I was hoping to use my time away to write stories and other wonderful and interesting things which I could have posted here; however somehow I didn’t quite get round to it (possibly because I spent so much of my time eating and sleeping instead) so you’ll just have to put up with photographs.

Actually, I’m quite proud that I managed to take any at all given it rained for most of the holiday. The sky is even blue in some of them.

Excellent wellington boots. Essential for walks in soggy French woods.

Mmmmm, tasty vegetables – a present from our friendly neighbours from their garden.

Dinner – a very important part of the holiday. This is a picture of some boeuf bourginonne which was extremely nice. It is a slightly blurry picture, but possibly I had already had a glass of wine at this point.

Spooky ruined tower – la tour du rochefoucauld.

Flowers from the garden.

le weekend

I was planning to tidy up the house today but instead I have been making a mess (see above). Sometimes it’s good to make a mess.

I’ve had the day off today, so as well as making a mess, I have been eating crumpets and drinking tea and going for slightly damp walks and not bothering to put any make up on, and just generally doing the sort of things it is nice to do when you don’t have to go to work on a Monday.

It’s been a good weekend. I’ve been feeling a bit weary, mainly because I went out on Saturday night for my friend Jamie‘s 30th birthday. I am not very good at staying up late, and so I was particularly tired on Sunday – also because I had been dancing a little too enthusiastically to the musical stylings of Mr Scruff (who didn’t look anything like I thought he would, though saying that, I’m not sure quite what I thought he would look like – a bit like one of his illustrations, perhaps?) and because I had exceeded my usual 2-beer limit. Yes, that’s right. I had three beers. THREE. I am a party animal.

So I spent most of yesterday lying on the sofa and being very lazy. I bought myself an ELLE which is a bit of a treat for me: I have a slight addiction to fashion magazines but have recently been trying to wean myself off them. I then got very, very cross with a ridiculous article in said ELLE magazine where they had asked three high-achieving businesswomen to keep food diaries of everything they ate for a week. One of the women thought nothing of going for a 50-mile bike ride without any breakfast. She did have a latte afterwards, but sometimes no lunch. Another one snacked on delightful-sounding things like soya yoghurts, but ate practically no carbohydrates, like, ever. A third one did manage a diet coke once in a while, and also ate some fries, but still seemed to think that “a green salad” constituted a reasonable dinner. It was awful. I just wanted to scream “eat a potato, for heaven’s sake!! have a piece of toast!!” The worst thing about it was that the article presented it as if all this was really quite normal. There was a nutritionist saying things like “it’s a good idea to eat breakfast” and “why not combine carbohydrate with your protein?” but basically, the general attitude was that it was completely normal, if not healthy, to eat practically nothing all day except a few almonds and maybe a banana if you’re feeling really crazy, and to shun all forms of carbohydrate as if it was the devil’s spawn. Which, when you think about it, is actually very irresponsible. I’m all for healthy eating, but don’t enough girls (and women) seem to have food hang-ups (not to mention out and out eating disorders) without a magazine suggesting that practically starving yourself is completely normal behaviour, and indeed might help you get ahead in the business world?!?

Clearly I am never going to be a successful businesswoman. After reading this, I was so disturbed I had to eat an enormous sunday dinner (cooked by my most wonderful boyfriend whilst I lay on the sofa being enraged)- roast chicken with gravy, roast potatoes (lots), braised red cabbage and carrots. And then a large bowl of apple crumble for pudding as well. It was very, very delicious and I was very, very full.

After this, I thankfully found a much more sane article in the same magazine by a very sensible chap called Walter Kirn. He writes:

Maura… was not a fussy eater, and it showed in her hips. It also showed in her face, radiant with the happiness that comes from filling up on pasta and not leaping up afterwards to go running. This distinguished her from the other girls I dated during my first two years at college. They were slimmer than Maura, their features more symmetrical, but their facial expressions were harder and more anxious, particularly at meal times. Salad without dressing will do that to you.

Well, quite.

Salad without dressing, indeed. What’s the point of that?

some things I did at the weekend

… went shopping for misty’s birthday present – we bought her a bird necklace, a “make your own monster” and a goats cheese (like you do), plus a beautiful moomin bag to put it all inside

… ate a tasty prawn bun at the vietnamese restaurant round the corner (it’s a noodle dish, not an actual bun made of prawns, or anything weird like that, in case you’re wondering)

…watched the rain from the balcony

…drank coffee, ate bagels

…meandered down Brick Lane for people-watching, window-shopping, bicycle-spotting…

…went to John Lewis to buy luscious Rowan wool for a secret knitting extravaganza

… wandered across the river to Tate Modern to see the Street and Studio exhibition (I liked Wolfgang Tillman’s tube photos and the entertaining yet slightly disturbing two channel video installation by Rineke Dijkstra) – and as always, to covet all the lovely books in the bookshop

…misty’s surprise birthday party at Mildred’s in Soho. I ate baba ganoush, a vegan burrito and vegan tarte tatin (nice but not a fan of the tofu ice cream I’m afraid). I am quite tempted to post a really amusing photograph of me eating the tarte tatin but I’m not sure I’m ready to share my pudding-appreciation grimace with the world just yet.

… read “Perdido Street Station” by China Mieville

… treated myself to a most beautiful ruby slipper necklace – hurrah!

… went to the Publish and be Damned DIY book fair at The Rochelle School and checked out inspiring things from fuselit, strange attractor, 20×20 magazine, the arts pneumonia, impulsive random platform and the archive of shredded catalogues, amongst many others

… took photos of things that caught my eye

this week I have mostly been looking at…

On Thursday night I went to check out the private view of Broadcast Yourself, the new exhibition at Cornerhouse.

On Friday, I headed over to International 3 for the launch of Artranspennine08, an exhibition taking place across various locations across the transpennine route over the next two months, which will include work by a number of my pals.

Afterwards, I went along to the preview of the MMU Degree Show, where I picked up all these lovely postcards. My favourite piece in this year’s show was by Amy Davies, a student on the Interactive Arts degree programme: a whimsical and beautiful installation made up of hundreds of images cut from old Ladybird books that appeared to be growing across the gallery wall. However, I have to admit that it’s always the sketchbooks that I like best. Looking at them makes me wish I had chosen to study art or design – actually, I haven’t even got a GCSE in art. I think I decided not to study it because I felt I wasn’t good enough: teachers were always telling me that my work was ‘too messy’ and I knew I couldn’t draw ‘properly’ (i.e. draw things that looked ‘real’) so I felt it wasn’t for me. I didn’t realise that being messy and making work that didn’t look exactly the same as everyone else’s could actually be a good thing. But now, I look at all those sketchbooks and I feel quite envious – I want to make a sketchbook too!

this week I have also been…

reading: mainly The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. Whilst I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of her other novels, I was impressed by the back-in-time structure of the book. At first I didn’t find the characters especially engaging, but by the end, I was completely engrossed and I found myself wanting to go straight back to the beginning to see how it all fitted together. For me, wanting to start all over again the moment you’ve finished is always the mark of a good read.

I have also been browsing a newly-discovered blog, hulaseventy (full of lovely photographs) and the latest issue of the mighty fine Blanket magazine.

listening to: CSS and the Juno soundtrack whilst sitting on the bus and gazing out of the window trying to spot the unexpected secret things that no one else is noticing: hidden fragments of graffiti; a bird swaying on a t-v aerial; wild flowers growing on a building site; an abandoned bicycle with no wheels (one of the saddest sights of the city); and, predictably enough, any passers-by with particularly cool shoes.

eating: homemade burgers and sweet potato wedges; pineapple and mango for breakfast; my favourite vegan pizza at Cornerhouse; udon noodles with king prawn, ginger and spring onions; and erm… jammie dodgers.

and most importantly of all, sleeping: as much as is humanly possible.