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Something at once marine and disdainful, I fancy, to show how much we care for local frutti di mare and how little for rented beach umbrellas and ice creams. Here we are, then:.
- Cooking with Fernet Branca - James Hamilton-Paterson - Google книги!
- Language and the Brain: Representation and Processing!
- Self-compacting concrete.
These days conveyor-belt curry is as safe a taste as Mozart. Anyway, how can there possibly be degrees of virginity? Olive oil snobs are even worse than wine snobs. Heat this until small bubbles appear before it begins to seethe. Toss in a good handful of fresh rosemary. Meanwhile, dunk each mussel in soy sauce and roll it in the bitter chocolate.
You will learn nothing from it. Put the mussels in the deep-fryer basket and plunge them into the oil. Exactly one minute and fifty seconds later lift them out, drain them on kitchen paper and shake them into a bowl of pale porcelain to set off their rich mahogany colour. Listen to how agreeably they rustle! Most people are surprised by their sound, which is not unlike that of dead leaves in a gutter. The day has dawned bright in every sense and I am making good progress up a ladder painting the kitchen—the most important room in the house—in contrasting shades of mushroom and eau de Nil.
It also takes a complete absence of salt-of-the-earth peasants and their immemorial aesthetic input. It is all rather heartening and as I work I break cheerfully into song. I have been told by friendly cognoscenti that I have a pleasant light tenor, and I am just giving a Rossini aria a good run for its money when suddenly a voice shouts up from near my ankles: Excuse, please.
I am Marta. Is open your door, see, and I am come. I break off at tutte le norme vigenti and look down to find a shock of frizzy hair with an upturned sebaceous face at its centre. This is ominous, but I descend with an exemplary display of patience. Seeing no way out I admit to being Gerald Samper while refraining from adding One of the Shropshire Sampers , which, while true, would obviously be wasted on her.
No, no, I lie feebly.
Amazing Disgrace - James Hamilton-Paterson - Google книги
One can always do with a break. I am kicking myself for having underestimated the threat posed by that glimpse of stone roof some way off. Months ago my specious little agent, Signor Benedetti, told me it belonged to a house lived in only for a month each year by a mouse-quiet foreigner. What can I say now about this person who, during most of a long, hot summer and for much of the ensuing long, hot autumn, becomes the principal bane of my life, or primo pesto , as I expect they say in Chiantishire?
In this role Marta faces formidable competition from Italian bureaucrats and enforcers of building regulations, but she outclasses them easily.
I gather she comes from somewhere in that confused area between the Pripet Marshes and the Caucasus. We of Voynovia are Christians when Slavs and Russians still barbars much more even than today. I tell you history. I tune out at this point, staring sadly at my empty glass and feeling the paint splashes drying on my arms. In a kind of rueful dull rage I curse myself for weakness. Weak, weak, weak. Well, this time the worm is going to turn. Apparently Voynovia is one of those enclaves that was on the fringes of the Holy Roman Empire and ruled for centuries by Margraves or Electors or something, clinging to its ethnic identity through thick and thin: thick being represented by the Soviet era and thin by the post-Soviet era.
I wish to acquaint her with knouts. So we will becoming close here, you and me, she is saying. I want to learn. I want to learn you all of Voynovia, the fooding number one of all. Voynovian fooding best in all Europa, best in all of world. Is… mm. But you will learn me other things, yes, Gerree? For a chill moment I imagine her voice suggests a leer, then reject this as absurd. Oh, no, er… I hear myself temporizing.
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I am thinking of the treat I have promised myself—a dish of poached salmon with wild cherry sauce which I modestly claim is not the least successful of my little inspirations. No, perhaps not tonight. OK, tomorrow, she says with the implacability of a JCB sinking its scoop in a trench. You may bringing your wife. It is her parting shot. And why not, might I ask? I could easily have one.
At any moment during the past hour a wholesome creature like Felicity Kendal in The Good Life could have wandered down the stairs, spattered with distemper, to counter the Fernet with a bottle of home-made nettle wine. It is entirely presumptuous of Marta to make such an airy assumption. I wearily pick up the paintbrush which has stiffened into a birch-twig besom. As I climb back up the ladder I notice that quite half the contents of the bottle she brought have gone.
Rather disgusting, the way she tucked into her own present. I resume painting. It is hot up here and the ceiling seems to sway a little. I do not at all feel like singing now. The truth is, this neighbourly intrusion has had an upsetting effect on me and I really feel I shall have to go and lie down. But alas the moment has passed and immortality will have to be postponed. This is a historically established syndrome, of course. One Magus going to Bethlehem would probably have sprung for a box of After Eights.
So to the mischief. What shall it be? Rossini—come to my aid! And he does, bless him. Only a few bars into Vedi la data indicata I remember he was himself an excellent cook who invented several original dishes Tournedos Rossini being only one and had a predilection for ice cream. Ice cream, eh? I further reason that Marta requires something punitive to remind her not to make a habit of these neighbourly invitations. So what better than. Put the garlic and the sugar into a blender and empty over them the remains of a bottle of Fernet Branca with paint splashes on its label. This will yield a curious compound the colour of Iodex, which older readers will remember as an embrocation made from seaweed extract that sporty school-boys used to rub on their little stiffnesses.
Whip the cream, but only until it starts to thicken. An attractive tawny shade emerges while the garlic note brings tears to the eyes. Pot it and leave in the fridge for an hour. Then turn it into your ice cream freezer and proceed as usual. When going out to dinner with someone you would be relieved to learn had died during the course of the day, remove the ice cream as you leave the house.
It will have the consistency of a brick but by 10 p. If after that she ever invites you round again, you are in very much worse trouble than you thought. Oh, and a spray of fennel embedded in the surface looks well. It is a sensational combo and I urge you to try it out on friends and make them guess what it is.
All these preparations have made the morning whiz by. Not only did she cause me to lose most of yesterday but much of today has now vanished on her behalf.
It is appallingly hot up there among the beams and rafters and it takes all my resolve not to have a little nap and wait for it to cool down.