Friday, May 26, 2006

Things to do in Somerset when it's raining:

We had a dry winter and then we had hosepipe bans in the South East and now we have had torrential rain for about a fortnight. Raining cats and dogs and plagues of frogs, for days and days and days. The cricket has been rained off. Footballers are splashing around like little kids. Golf matches have been halted. Two and four wheeled vehicles have spun and slid and skidded and fallen over. The wet has a psycho-literary dimension, like the fog at the beginning of Bleak House, or the drizzle in A Hundred Years of Solitude. I think I have forgotten how to do anything but peer out at the bluster and mutter darkly about global warming.

Oh to be in a warm dry climate, with some colour other than green.

So, a quick comfort plate to excite the palate and warm the soul.

Elizabeth David’s Aïoli (from French Provincial Cooking)

She says
2 large cloves of garlic per person
and, for eight people, the yolks of 3 eggs and nearly a pint of good olive oil.

(This quantity of garlic might seem a bit much, even to seasoned garlic-heads, so I leave the quantities to you.)

Pound the garlic in a mortar with a little salt until really well squished. Add yolks and, when well amalgamated, start to add the oil, a little at a time.

(The first time I ever made mayonnaise I took the instruction to add the oil ‘drop by drop’ literally, and it took me all afternoon. These days I am a bit more cavalier, but I still make sure I have all the ingredients at room temperature and I add the oil with care and slowly. I think it is in Mastering the Art of French Cooking that they describe the consistency as being like thick paint. I have always liked that.)

A good aïoli should be, according to Mrs David, practically solid. You can, if you like, add lemon juice at the last minute; or not, if you like the flavour of your olive oil. Whatever you decide to do, let the aïoli sit for a while so that the flavours develop.

I’m going to eat this with chips. And turn up the heating. And dream of Provence


Susan in Italy said...

Hello June,
I found you after having seen that you listed my blog (thanks, BTW) and after just a few minutes browsing yours, I'm utterly charmed. Will be back soon and regularly.

June said...

Huge welcome, Susan, spiced with grindings of teeth and a dollop of jealousy - Italy huh?

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