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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Just call me Delia

To be honest, my cooking style is more akin to that of the deranged Swedish chef on the Muppet Show, than Delia Smith's. I don't know if I'm going stir-crazy, stuck indoors all the time because of the rain, or what. But I've found myself getting busy in the kitchen these last few days. And I normally loathe domesticity of any kind.

On Friday night, I made a sultana and cherry cake. It was the easiest thing in the world to do. I just bunged some soya marg, sugar, milk, sultanas, cherries and mixed spice into a saucepan, and gently brought it all to the boil. Then, I cooled the mix a little, and bunged in some flour. It looked like the most gut-churning, vile, sodden, sticky brown mess you've ever seen. But after an hour or so in the oven, at 160° Fahrenheit, it emerged as a fully fledged cake. Amazing. And it doesn't taste too dreadful either, although next time, I think I'll add some ground almonds, for extra flavour. If there ever is a next time, given my hatred of housewife-y things.

Yesterday, I realised I was out of bread, and there was no way in the world I was trudging through torrential rain to the corner shop, even if the hilarious and outrageous Mr. Pete Burns himself was serving behind the counter. So I certainly wasn't going to do so, just to part with an even more outrageous £1.30 for a semi-stale, tasteless sliced loaf. Nothing hilarious about that. So I checked the contents of my kitchen cupboards, and discovered a bag of bread flour I purchased a few months ago, which was still in date, and a few sachets of fast action dried yeast. Several tedious hours later, after much kneading, proving, knocking back the dough, kneading and proving again - oh, and baking, of course, I'd invented the elephant loaf.

Why the elephant loaf? Well, I think I let the dough rise a little too high the second time round, and a great big, bulbous deformity had grown on the side of the loaf, as it cooked. So, in honour of the Elephant Man, I christened my loaf the elephant loaf. I salvaged its slightly bizarre appearance by removing the offending protuberance, spreading it with butter and eating it. It's a very tasty loaf, far nicer than anything you'll get in a supermarket. And it hasn't given me heartburn, which most shop-bought bread does, because they add about five times the amount of yeast needed, to make it rise faster, as well as evil flour improvers and other poisons.

Today's culinary effort promises to be really yummy. When I was in Tesco on Thursday, they had a buy one get one free offer on four-can packs of tuna. So I came home with eight cans of tuna. Ever one for a bargain, I'd somehow forgotten that I don't actually like tuna that much. Not as it is, anyway. So today, I decided to invent my own tuna pasta salad. I cooked about ten handfuls of pasta, drained and cooled it, and then bunged in two cans of tuna, a can of sweetcorn, half a chopped red onion, some chopped, black olives, and seasoned it with garlic salt and black pepper. I then made a dressing from extra virgin olive oil, reduced fat mayonnaise, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, oregano and basil. I had a quick taste when it was all mixed together, and it's already rather scrummy. It's now chilling in the fridge, where it will remain for another couple of hours, whilst all its flavours develop and mingle.

Yes, I'm bored. Why else would I be pretending to be Delia? AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! I wish the rain would sod off, especially as a brand new, half hourly summer bus service to Caswell Bay, comes into operation tomorrow. Poxy weather!

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