Monday, 22 August 2011

Peas = Peace?

As mentioned in the previous entry, I'm a total foodie. I love cooking for friends and family but it's a relatively new hobby. I've 'cooked' since I was a student but have only started honing my skills in the last few years or so. Student food was relatively simple - toad in the hole, pasta bakes and the ingenious one tray roasts which, I'll be honest, could probably have scraped a C+ in home economics, but not much else. I didn't realise garlic, salt and pepper could change a chicken so much until Nigella draped herself across my television screen. Nowadays I'm pretty confident in the kitchen and can hold my own in a tarragon vs oregano conversation but I will happily profess that I've still got a long way to go before I can call myself a master-chef.

My love of food comes from my entire family. My dad has been known to hotfoot it down to Chinatown in the middle of the night in his younger days to slurp up a bowl of noodles and my mother looks like she's won the lottery several times over every time she cracks a new recipe. My brother just has fun eating the products of everyone's labour... However, the primary reason I love food (I think) is because I find food = peace. And here, dear ones, is why.

I have grown up in a noisy, emotionally charged family who all lack a sense of tact and see no reason to hold back criticism even though taking it themselves is impossible so you may be forgiven for thinking that I mean peace as silence. In some ways I do but silence is normally the added bonus. The peace I mean is a truce.

Throughout my youth I was involved in countless shouting matches with both my parents and even now, they pull the, 'I'm-not-having-a-go-at-you-because-I-enjoy-it' card, adding a pinch of, 'I-know-I-said-I-wouldn't-mention-it-again-but-I've-got-to-say-something...' along the way but everything always seemed to come together peacefully at the dinner table as if someone had stationed a white flag above the centrepiece of steaming dishes. Dad would spoon things on to my plate - normally things with a lot of sauce that I would otherwise decorate the table mats pebble-dash style with and Mum would push the near empty bowl of broth towards me at the end of the meal telling me to drink it. Ed would eye the last piece of meat sat in the centre of its serving dish and put on a show of humble gratefulness when we all said he could and should finish it. Criticism would be forgotten and instead reassurances that the toyu pork had enough chilli in or that the stuffed tofu was tasty would take precedance.

Even when my parents had one of their huge arguements resulting in radio silence on both sides of for weeks, if we kids were at home, dinner was always served around the table. A swift jerk of the head from Mum towards the lounge where Dad can normally be found, lost in a programme about extreme fishing or silently committing how to build a set of collapsible, rotating shelves out of old floorboards, cotton wool and belly button fluff to memory, is the signal for one of us to alert him to the fact that dinner was ready and he should come and play happy families. It wasn't the most natural of circumstances but everyone always seemed to be quiet, and more importantly, happier when we were all eating together.

I cook now for Si, but I cook to show him I love him and want to take care of him and eventually, our family. I often grumble because he doesn't eat fish and he tells me to cook it for myself and he'll have something else but it's not something I'm happy doing. I don't want to be one of those families with three different meals on the go because it's disjointed and doesn't signify togetherness. I hope that I can distance myself from my family's method of using food as some form of truce and place more emphasis on the connection to love and happiness. So I hope that with further blog entries that I will share particular recipes or meals that conjour fantastic memories of love and laughter not just for me, but for anyone who reads this.

And for one girl, peas definitely don't equal peace. I can't stand the bloody things.

Delicious simplicity

I love cooking. I love poring through cook books and experimenting with new recipes. Give me a new cook book with beautiful photographs and I'm a happy girl. I make thai crab cakes from scratch, I whip up cakes if I'm bored, I hate buying things from a supermarket that I can make myself (like rotisserie chickens and risotto) and I consider myself a total foodie (more on those adventures later!). But for dinner I had two soft boiled eggs - cooked to perfection, I might add! And buttered toast. Simple but very delicious and totally satisfying.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Hello... I work in TV

It's 11.40pm and I'm currently sat in an apartment in Warrington, on my own. I've just spent the last few minutes flicking through TV channels, giving up hope of finding anything decent and settling on some awful looking Anthony Hopkins film that I've never heard of. (The fact that Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise co-star and I've STILL not heard of it must mean it's truly, truly terrible!)

I'm just thinking how weird it is that TV is the reason why I'm here. It's also the reason why I've had a steak sandwich made with ciabatta bread and drunk a glass of raspberry and orange juice (god love per diems) and why it is I've been bored out of my brain for the last quarter of an hour as there's nothing to watch.

But it also plays a massive part of who I am, what beliefs I hold and what I know. Rather scary how such an increasingly larger, flatter box in the corner of the room can influence your life so much. Of course, newspapers, novels, the internet and conversations play their parts but how much easier is it to flick to 601 on the Virgin box and have George Alagiah tell me all I need to know about bombers, shooters and natural disasters? At least I can cook at the same time and he does know how to sport a nifty tie...

I love my job, it definitely has its negative points but I believe the good far outweigh the bad. However, I do wish there better programmes out there for broadcasters to choose from. Not just because I want to work on them but in situations like tonight, I can practically feel my brain dribbling out of my ear.

Oh god, Anthony Hopkins is dancing with Gary Sinise. Cue wide shot, backlighting and the pronounciation of viagra as FY-HARG-RAHR.

In the beginning...

I don't know why it's taken me so long to start a blog.

As a person who has always considered myself a writer, I have to admit that I've been woefully slow off the mark as far as blogging is concerned. I've always written. As a child I wrote poetry and stories, proudly showing them to my parents and teachers, living in fear of criticism. Even now I can remember the first time I felt that devasting, crushing feeling as one of my poems was critiqued.

Like all other sulky teenagers, convinced that nobody on the planet could possibly understand what they were going through, I religiously kept a diary, scrawling pages and pages of angst and romantic notions and carefully hiding my notebooks in an old bag on a shelf in my cupboard stuffed behind a row of cuddly toys.

As I approached A-Levels and the frightening decision of a uni placement, I ploughed all my confidence into my writing ability and switched from my decade long ambition to follow in the footsteps of Scott Robinson from 'Neighbours' to become a journalist to the slightly shakier decision of taking up Scriptwriting for Film & Television instead (much to the horror of my parents).

One degree, a published short story and a frankly, awesome wrestling role-playing website later, my writing has lapsed even though I still have daily ideas swirling around in my head, itching to be put on paper. Or on screen. And so to it then... a blog. More so for me but for anyone else who wants to read it as well.

PS - I still get that devastating, crushing feeling whenever my work is criticised, so unless you're prepared to stump up for Prozac.... be nice!