Sunday, 25 August 2013

[minute] Coffee With D

Remember {Midweek Monochrome}, the black-and-white photographs I once made a habit of? I don't like habits; I always cut them short. I stopped Midweek Monochrome when it felt like they were becoming routine. Why I boxed myself into black-and-whites, I don't know. I don't like being boxed in; in the same way I don't like sleeping in the middle bunk of a sleeper train. Claustrophobic.

(noun) a period of time equal to sixty seconds or a sixtieth of an hour.
(adjective) extremely small.

I want to do photo posts, but without a monochromatic cloud hanging over my head. Mostly, they'll be photos off my iphone, and as they come. Photos of the little ordinaries that I want to freeze and keep.

So, here's [minute]. Think of it as you will: a sliver of a few seconds; an extremely small fragment of my day.

I'll start it off with good coffee. A rich Colombian blend, for those of you who like details. The red leaf is a gift from Chotto-ma. The madeleines are shop-bought. And for no reason at all, D and I are talking in whispers.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The art of an omelette

A couple of weeks ago, we drove to the mountains. Remember our winding drive through Wales last year? We went back there with Ma and Baba. This time, Chotto-ma was their glib little tour-guide, having sucked up Snowdonia through a straw on her last visit.

The mountains had been a brownish-grey in September; they'd stood like whittled warhorses against masculine skies. This time, everything was different; the same road now winds through mellow mountains; it's summertime. Green has grown over slatey grey ridges and covered them in coyness. Their jagged edges gentled, the mountains hugged our car like lush, matronly ladies.

We went back to the lovely whitewashed B&B we had stayed in the last time. Surrounded by conifers, Glenwood House, sits opposite a rocky stream which hums past in steady song. The B&B is run by Marie and Said, a charming couple, with a little boy, warm smiles and seven chickens. They're easy to return to.

Chotto-ma helped Said collect just-laid eggs in the morning, still warm to the touch. The chickens pecked at our shoes, ate some toast and cleared their throats. They had a lovely home at the edge of the garden next to a busy little brook. Before we left, Said packed up the eggs Chotto-ma had collected and gave them to us to carry back home. Fresh eggs from happy chickens who live by a mountain stream.

They were meant to be omelettes.

Courgette & Gruyere Omelette

Now, there's an art to an omelette. It's one of the easiest foods to rustle up, but very few make it well. A good omelette is soft, but not soggy. It's golden-brown on the outside, pale on the inside. It's fluffy, but full. It's seasoned, it's seasoned, it's seasoned. I belabour the point for a good cause.

Thanks to Ma, I grew up on artful omelettes, folded off the heat at the right sliver of a second. Her omelettes had a secret. Not a secret ingredient, no. But a secret sleight of hand. A secret rule: Don't let the egg rest. As you pour the egg into a hot pan, with whatever you've whisked into it, take a fork and give the middle a stir. It should scramble up, and parts of the pan should show through. Pat the top of the omelette to fill up those bits. Then, scramble it up again. And pat it again to patch up the top. Let is rest now for a few seconds. Move off the heat, and fold.

For this omelette, here's what I whisked in:
Courgette, grated.
Gruyere, grated (use any cheese you like)
Coarsely ground pepper