Ladies and gentlemen, there will now be a short interval

May 22, 2010

Well, I have packed, moved, cleaned and had a little cry. And now I am homeless. Homeless, but very excited about what the future holds.

However, I do feel like I need some time to get both my mental and physical energy levels back up again, so I’m going to give myself a bit of a break from blogging.

Luckily, my little sister (whose spare room I’m kipping in at the moment) has a beautiful, big, well-equipped kitchen, so I’m sure I won’t be able to resist for too long the temptation to roll up my sleeves and grab a wooden spoon.

In the meantime, appropriately for the mood I’m currently in for reminiscing, I thought I’d have a look back at what I’ve written so far on And The Cupboard Was Bare, and remind both you and myself of some of my favourite posts.

One of the first dishes I wrote about – an anchovy and cherry tomato risotto – was a perfect example of the philosophy of this blog… that it’s so easy to make a tasty meal out of very ordinary ingredients that are sitting around in your cupboard and fridge.

Another recipe of mine that came about thanks to some random ingredients was one of my most successful cakes – a pear, almond and vanilla sponge. I’ve made this many times since my original post, and it just seems to get better and better.

The vanilla for this cake came from one of my many trips to Istanbul – which, of course, can’t be missed from this mini round-up of blog posts.

As well as vanilla, the most regular purchase of mine from Istanbul’s Spice Market is pul biber, a red pepper spice that comes in flakes or paste, and in varying degrees of saltiness and heat.

I have discovered innumerable uses for this unusual and tasty spice, from tomato and cauliflower soup to carrot and sesame guacomole and it has definitely become a store-cupboard essential for me.

Unfortunately, not all my foodie purchases in Istanbul have been as successful as pul biber, as I realised when I was, um, ‘persuaded’ to buy something that was described to me as lemon salt. It turned out to be little more than citric acid. As determined as I was not to waste the stuff, I couldn’t find any good use for it, so in the bin it went.

One of my most avid readers and commenters is my mum (thanks Mum!). And it really is because of her that I’m so passionate about food and cooking. She is a great cook herself, and from a very early age, taught me to eat and cook well – which is why the above photograph of my sister and me eating artichokes in about 1973 is such a treasure to me.

But I don’t only have photos to remind me of my foodie childhood – I also have a number of kitchen utensils that used to belong to my mum to bring back memories.

From an ancient Tala measuring cone to an equally well-used and well-loved chicken brick, these are my ‘madeleines’ – the things that instantly bring back a memory of a certain time or place.

And soon they will be providing me with a set of very different memories, when they are transported to my new kitchen – and my new life – in Istanbul.

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8 Responses to “Ladies and gentlemen, there will now be a short interval”

  1. Janice Says:

    Hope you get your own home soon.

  2. Wendy Says:

    Good luck! I’m looking forward to your posts from Istanbul….we are heading there next year.


  3. Thanks, Janice. I actually have a new home ready and waiting for me in Istanbul! And it’s lovely (despite being directly opposite a little mosque that starts its call to prayer at about 5am!). I’m not going to be there until the end of July or so – but it’ll be worth the wait.
    And Wendy, please do make sure you get in touch when you go to Istanbul next year. If you haven’t been there before, I’d love to show you round some of my favourite foodie spots.

  4. Jasnieres Says:

    I know you told me not to make any sentimental comments, but this blog definitely brought a tear to my eye – as I share many of those memories.
    It is a great pleasure for me that you love the things I gave you and I look forward to seeing them in use in Istanbul.
    Your blog has really refreshed my interest in cooking and I now have a Portuguese cookery book, after my visit to Porto, recipes of which I shall be trying out on friends.

  5. Gabriel Says:

    Oh,Goodluck to your new place. I’ve heard a lot of beautiful things about Istanbul, so I’m pretty sure you’ll love it there.

  6. Choclette Says:

    Crikey, just catching up and you’ve gone! Do hope living out of the suitcase doesn’t become too daunting and at least you have a very bare cupboard now. Good luck, it all sounds very exciting and I look forward to hearing about what you get up to in your Istanbul kitchen.

  7. Gun in Ada, MI, USA (Thomasine's mum) Says:

    Good luck in your new life! That picture of you and Ailsa eating artichokes brought back memories of Coldstream … :0)


  8. Hi Gun, great to hear from you. I think that photo must have been taken just before we moved to Coldstream. It seems an absolute age ago now!


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