Tuesday, August 21

a damsel in distress...

dear Nigella,

i have been a fan of yours ever since you first appeared on Richard and Judy's morning show all those years ago. i liked your hair and your care free attitude to calories. later when you had your first TV cooking programme i liked you even more, i especially liked your house...i felt if i was ever to own a house like yours it would indeed help me with my cooking skills. i secretly envied your fridge/freezer contents that always seemed well stocked for late night raids, i also marvelled at the convenient camera crew that seemed to live with you day and night.

fast forward a few years and you are now residing on my kitchen shelf alongside Jamie, i hope this is not a problem for you as i think he is rather sweet and i liked the first home he decorated with Jools which was featured in Living Etc. however i am digressing...

my problem is, every now and then i forget that i can not cook and foolishly open your book up.
today was such a day, i promised my children that as i had sadly been neglecting them for the past few weeks due to a "nutty state of mind", i would bake them something delicious. i donned my dottie angel apron, tied my hair back (this is the first of my mistakes, obviously dear Nigella you do not tie your hair back to bake, i see that now) and wore my new red flats. i proceeded to announce to our #3 that i was making meringues, at which he wept a tear of joy. i choose meringues as i had four egg whites loitering in the fridge well past their best. i flipped through the pages and found it in the children's section. "ah ha" i said to myself, "if a child can do this then so can i" (my second mistake). you implied it was so easy that it really didn't even require a proper table of ingredients, just a bit of small talk and 'voila' you have meringues.


so i did the whisking to soft peaks, i added the sugar, sprinkled a bit at a time...twelve spoons of it!! i was very concerned by this, so i re-read it and proceeded...Nigella i must tell you, i use organic sugar so i don't feel so guilty about the amount i guzzle down a day in my cups of tea. twelve spoons was costing me serious money. so i sweated it out, first with the electric whisk and then by hand. and try as i may i did not manage to whip my ingredients into (and i quote)
"neat-nippled, small-bosomed shapes."

i have placed you back on the shelf next to Jamie for another day when i forget that i can't bake and take you down and make the same mistake again,

yours sincerely,
a fan with "nipple-less flat" meringues and four hungry children

thinking possibly the yellow house might make her into a better cook ~ Tif

18 comments:

Hear Me Roar! said...

This post made me laugh, made me cry... it became a part of me. And I remembered how much I miss you!

E said...

It was the egg-white freshness that let you down (and not your mad cookin skillz). Never mind, Nigella is a great fan of the French thing of just going to the patisserie .... and the apron and cooking glam sounded so good!

Francesca said...

welcome home tif!
don't you know that nigella is one of the original stepford wives?...no matter how hard we try we will never be as good as her. so i suggest getting your ladybird simple meals book out of the box and start all over again!
x

debbie said...

Tif. You never fail to make me laugh. That photo of your meringue is just priceless. My mother is a master of meringues and I had therefore avoided them for many many years until at the ripe old age of 37 I decided also to make an attempt. "Granny's are better" (humph!) but they were at least edible. I have to recommend Delia where meringues are concerned and leave Nigella firmly on the shelf (she's just too much to live up to).

Tracy said...

never, ever trust a woman with such good hair and ample bosoms - when will you learn tif.......
much love from one badddddddd cook to another x
tracy x
p.s - i am also hoping that my new house and kitchen will transform me in to a cooking and baking goddess.
we can but both hope.

dottie angel said...

Francesca, you are quite right...i have located my easy meals book from underneath a growing mound of paperwork on my desk and flicked through...i realized i should be wearing a butcher's apron and not a flowery little number plus i need to buy a lot of orange colored ingredients and utensils...having studied it for sometime i see that there really isn't that much difference between the end results whether they are showing you the main course or dessert. it just depends whether you add cheese or cherries as the flourishing finale as to whether you serve it first or last..

plus they seem to imply from their pictures that my hair should be cut...and also not show 2 inches of gray

off to study how to make a 'fruit fool' :)

Gill at Lucy Locket said...

I know it's not funny...but it is! I've got a few of Nigella's books but really, they're only good for bedtime reading....the truth is I've not attempted one recipe of hers...they're just not laid out in a user-friendly way. Yay for Deliah or Tamasin I say.

Gigibird said...

I don't want to sound like a home economics teacher BUT there are a few basic rules when making meringues. The bowel and utensils have to be squeaky clean and if there is the smallest drop of yolk then you will be unable to get them to fluff up.
When you say your eggs were old - how old? As long as they weren't off I can't see age makes much of a difference.

Suzie Sews said...

10 out of 10 for having a go.
Suzie Sews

Di said...

I bet they tasted good no matter what they looked like!!

dottie angel said...

gigibird, my utensils were squeaky clean as my cooking gadgets do not get used often, however the egg whites were three days old and it is quite possible that they contained a bit of yolk...i blame it on my man who needed yolks for his pasta receipe on Saturday night. (do not be fooled by that one either, sadly i am not married to a man who is a chef) so i can only imagine that he seperated the yolks and the whites with careless abandonment not realizing the consequences...

LucyKate Crafts said...

i've cooked lots of nigella recipes, we had prawn thai red curry for tea tonight. my favorite has to be from nigella bites, chocolate cloud cake, it has fresh cream on top so has to all be eaten that day!!!. the thing about nigella, is she actually admits to not being that good a cook, better at eating! and i'm a bit like that in the kitchen, a bit slap dash!.

she has a new tv series coming out soon here in the uk, nigella express aka cooking quickly whilst still looking both glam and sexy and not spilling anything on your new boden outfit!.

Christine said...

Hi Tif, I just like to look at the pictures in my Nigella books - I buy my meringes from M & S - I could post you some! Lovely to see you back - I think your yellow house looks beautiful and perfect for you xx

Gigibird said...

A man who makes pasta?.....bragging again

lazylol said...

Hi - I discovered your blog through Gill at lucy Locket and have spent an enjoyable afternoon reading your posts - you are very funny. If it makes you feel any better I am ok at cooking but can't make meringues to save my life!
I know you have probably had this already but I've tagged you, hope you don't mind. Dan't worry if you don't want to do it!

madrekarin said...

I cannot make meringues either. You are not alone.

melissa said...

oh dear, poor nipple-less meringues. mine always turn out just the same!

Poppy Black said...

Coming from New Zealand, I am an expert pavlova maker (and proud of it). Basically a pavlova is an enormous meringue. Gigibird would indeed be an excellent home economics teacher. Stringent quality control is required when separating the eggs. I usually use 6 to 8 whites and have to separate each one into a little jug before adding it to the mass. This is because I have a short attention span and become a bit slapdash by the 5th one. Nigella would never have such a problem. Remember not to accidentally put the grill on as my lovely mum did one birthday and created a giant cow pat.