Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Heston & Gordon for tea

I hadn’t watched television for something like 8 months until tonight. But it seems as if some strange food- and work-related triangle has transpired to put me in line to meet Blumenthal in the coming months. I therefore thought I should sit down to his an installment of his “Search for perfection” series being aired on BBC2 this days. Tonight it was the perfect steak and salad, which involved plenty of close ups of the best aged beef marbled with hard creamy ribbons of blue-cheese-scented fat. Large hunks of the stuff were being variously blowtorched, cooked for 24 hours at a temperature of 50 degrees, rested, seared and finally served with smoked salt, stilton-infused butter and a 250 year old mushroom sauce. I like Heston. He comes across as a nice bloke. And I sat there watching him while doing another thing I haven’t done for 8 months: eating a pasta bake. My head has disappeared up my arse regarding food since the weekend, just like most other things have lately. But the idea was to use some of the random veg I returned to find in the fridge, so I roasted a couple of sliced courgette with garlic and rosemary and tossed in some ad dente penne in three rough layers filled with handfuls of salty cheddar cheese and topped with thick slices of deep red tomatoes. Plenty of oil to loosen things up. The idea was for something for us to eat tonight that would also do the kids tomorrow if they are unable to eat the Wank I am going to be throwing out for a friend’s visit.

So after Heston I finished off some of the prep for tomorrow’s lunch, cooking up an egg custard infused with cinnamon and vanilla to accompany a freshly made apple and almond tart; and completing an aromatic veg stock in which to braise some diced celeriac that will sit next to a neat row of purple venison medallions and a rich game sauce.

Then came the next audiovisual feast in the form of a brand new series of Ramsay’s nightmares. It so happens that I have recently been watching the best of Ramsay’s “Boiling point” on YouTube, in which he looks like a real fucking nutbag. He is fatter in the face and vile, yet at times deeply witty. But this couldn’t be further from the square-jawed alpha hunk gleaming back at me from the box tonight. It was the usual set-piece, this time with a Spanish backdrop. And it struck me all the more how junk-choked and polluting television is.

The content was minimal, and mostly containing shots of Ramsay’s flaccid chest or laughable pseudo-psychological stunts to drive the chef’s message through (a bullfight this evening for the arrogant, daddy’s-money-wasting victim). And that was just when the show was actually on – for about 15 minutes of the hour we were being sold lies in the form of washing powders, rock-bottom party-snack packs and sinister insurance deals. Christmas is in full swing apparently, with even Jamie popping up in a giant Sainsburys hot-air balloon talking up a cranberry-stuffed chipolata. The selling-out is so blatant – who in the world could have thought of sponsoring Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares than a certain brand of gin that rhymes with boredoms?

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