We interrupt this blog for an 80s musical interlude


Back in 1984, when I was still fresh and lovely and rather a "fille niaise" as the French would say, I remember being fascinated by this song by Axel Bauer. This was obviously before I had ever seen the Fassbinder film, "Querelle" and before my French was good enough for a second, more attentive reading of the lyrics. The girl's boobs (NSFW), as far as I'm concerned, are just there to convince everyone that this is not a homo-erotic video clip. I leave you to decide for yourself as you watch this excellent video by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. A warning though: the refrain will stick in your head for a couple of days.

Axel Bauer - Cargo de nuit

But then, let's go on to make some assumptions. We know that Madonna worked with Jean-Baptiste Mondino on several occasions, and as early as 1986 (Human Nature, Open Your Heart, etc.). So how interesting that she went on to make the following clip, with David Fincher, based of course, on Fritz Lang's Metropolis, but now take a look at the men...

Back to the present.

Normal cooking will resume today!


Yes, dears! It's autumn and I have the Bake-o-glide ready and I'm rearing to go.

Yesterday evening marked the real debut of autumn food, although in all fairness our meals in the last four days have had orange ingredients in them, the most healthy option being the hamburger with shredded carrots in the mince mix earlier this week, which was a hit all around.

But yesterday came the first of many carb bombs, in the form of a delicious butternut squash orzotto. For some reason, when it matters the most, I'm never able to find a bloody butternut squash. I did however stumble upon a marrow in one supermarket, and something that resembled a butternut pumpkin, all the way from Spain at the Asian corner store. So I settled for the disconcertingly pale little pumpkin and proceeded to hack it up with all of the glee of a mutant ninja housewife.

Seconds later (nah, I kid you, it took a little longer than that, exactly the time to get to the oven to 220°), I oiled up the oven dish and tossed in my little pumpkin squash cubes and microplaned some nutmeg over them. They spent 40 minutes in the oven caramelizing themselves to a delicious sweetness. Did I mention that I'm interminably lazy and did not bother with peeling my little plump goodie?

Meanwhile I cheated and brought some powdered veggie stock to the boil and started gently frying an onion in some oil. In went the orzo or pearl barley, followed by a liberal sprinkling of some Sauvignon Blanc. And then... I screamed with glee because of the facility of an orzotto, which unlike a risotto does not require 20 minutes of arm and ladle work. Simply pour in the stock and let it all sit on the hob for approx. 30 minutes on low heat.

Finally, when the oven's buzzer goes off, toss half of your squash in a girl's best friend (no, not diamonds, silly but your magimix!), add some mascarpone, whizz away and scoop it all in the orzo, which should be pleasantly nubbly by now.

Brown some pine nuts and you have a deliciously filling fall meal known as orzotto. Feel free to try this out with other vegetables.

This afternoon: white chocolate and craison oat cookies; this evening sprouts and chestnuts with bacon. Fall has landed with a bang.

(photo taken on an afterthought as I was carrying the plate to the table and already contemplating its consumption).



12 years already since my father died. 12. Yesterday and yet still today. Autumn is in the air, the colours are ripe oranges, and blushing reds, and the screaming bright ochres of certain trees, which stand out in gardens and parks. I cried for the first time yesterday as I was scouring the sink after breakfast. A friend's father has been given weeks to live and I try to understand my own feelings in the face of her feelings.
I never had the time to grieve. Too many decisions to be made, too much responsibility placed on my shoulders suddenly.
And this morning, as Arvo Pärt's 'Festina Lente' burst from the radio, I cried again.
The scar never heals, the pain never ebbs away.

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