Current work: Revisions
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR
Had a WONDERFUL time yesterday – simply the nicest sort of PR. Bill, the photographer, had worked with me before and is a sweetheart, really easy to work with (he’s the one who suggested my current camera and where to get it, so he was way up my ‘ace people’ list even before yesterday); and Rowan, the journalist, was utterly lovely. (Very civilised interview, over lunch.)
And I had the fun of being Nigella/Delia for a day. (OK, so I’m shorter and rounder, but I do share their eye colour and love of cooking. Indulge me for a moment.)
Obviously time was at a premium, so I cooked the meal in an odd order so things could be shot at varying stages and Bill wouldn’t have to wait too long. I’d nipped in to Sainsbury’s on the way home from school to buy some bright pink roses for my windowsill, and was quite pleased that these were used as a prop (and as for the heart-shaped chocolates… well, I guess the cook has to be paid *g*. Y’know that apron that caught my eye? ‘Will write for chocolate.’ I reckon I earned them this weekend!).
First were the choc-chip cookies.
While they were cooking, I made the ice cream – and when that was ready to go in the sorbetiere, the cookies were ready to come out.
Next in was the starter (asparagus with parma ham and blue cheese) and then starting the chicken provencal – and while that was cooking, I was able to put the ice cream in a pretty heart-shaped dish.
(Well, hey. I’m a romantic novelist. What else am I going to do with ice cream? … and if you answer that, just remember that I’m planning a gelateria book for next year. 'I am a writer and anything you say may be taken down and used in a book...' Hmm. There's another lightbulb. Apron philosophy. Excuse me while I just go and make a note in my ideas file.)
Then it was plating the starter with rocket and tomato.
And then finally plating the chicken provencal with couscous and green beans.
And while all this was going on, Bill was taking millions of photographs.
Although I was a bit nervous just beforehand (oh, all right, I didn't sleep properly on Sunday night and needed half a ton of concealer under my eyes yesterday), once we started it was enormous fun. Like it is when I cook with friends and family around, but instead of me sitting them down at the breakfast bar with a coffee/glass of wine (depending what time of day it is – am not that much of a lush) and chatting to them as I work, I was working round a camera and chatting to the photographer. If this is what it’s like, doing the shoot after you’ve written a cookery book – yes, please. (I’d love to write a cookery book. Poor Dot is going to get little bleats from me about this for a while…) Bill and Rowan both thought I’d do OK as a presenter, too. I’m calm, I’m smiley and have a passion for what I do.
If I wasn’t a writer or a historian, I’d want to own a bookshop café. I mooted this with my best friend from school, but he said it wouldn’t work because I would refuse to part with a single book. Well, yeah, there is that to it… But this is why I loved writing Breakfast at Giovanni’s, and why I can’t wait to write my gelateria book. Food and romance. Unbeatable combo!
Thank you to India Grey for the tip about Emma Bridgewater – the apron was just fab, as were the matching oven gloves (and I missed a trick – rats, could’ve got nice new ceramics for the kitchen).
And a really special thank you to my RLH, who did more than his fair share of the housework this weekend and gave me a spotless kitchen and a clean oven. (Yeah, I shared the chocolates. He deserved them, too.)
And I guess maybe a picture of the cook might be in order…