Fasten your seat belts folks! You are in for an unctuous treat today. That means butter, cream, cheese and white bread. Um, there are healthy elements too; sweet corn? and mushrooms! Just picture these ingredients together; don’t they all sing together beautifully, in chorus?
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Marilla’s plum pudding in Anne of Green Gables, madeleines soaked in a decoction of lime-flowers from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Agatha Christie’s Devonshire cream, Treacle Well from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I could go on and on, really. Food in these books were dear to me as much as the characters. And so, today I am including a one-off column in my blog – Literary Lashings, where I will recreate both fictitious and real food and give them the undue importance they deserve.
As a baker, I live by a rulebook. Never go out of butter, flour and eggs. Keep the oven squeaky clean. Never mix baking dishes with cooking dishes. Bake when the world goes to sleep, in complete silence and solitude (and self-humming). Never, ever, ever, give the classics a miss.
Some recipes leave a mark that is imperishable. I look nowhere beyond my own country for example –Biryani. There are almost 15 different versions that adopt different cooking techniques, but there will always be that one variety, the first of its kind, the original classic, that very few people know how to recreate. If you like to play with fire and a wok, Biryani is not something you will easily skip.
With baking, there is a whole different repertoire of classics and I don’t know about you, but I shouldn’t call myself a baker if I don’t try them out. They are masterpieces that formed the timeline of baking. Some were created even before the oven was invented. They are what recipes are born out of. Some of them have had a very humble beginning, but today they have been polished off as contemporary and sit pretty in a pristine white plate, at a fine-dining restaurant for big bucks.