Saturday, 14 September 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: Bookworms

Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BOOKS.

Waffles with apples and cream
Stewed apples on waffle with whipped cream

As the weather has cooled down I usually sit in the kitchen after my golden oldie sleep at midday, the result being that I am surrounded by cookery books. On top of this non-literature result, most of the cookery books I have are in the German language. For this reason I chose the first cookery book I saw in the English language, Roast Chicken and Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson. You can actually read this book like a normal book although there are not heroes, just the chicken and other food items, but undaunted I opened this masterpiece of literature at a random page titled with “Parmesan Fritters” and selected the tenth word was “flour”. I turned to Google who shows me approximately 100 photos of flour packets. Basically I never use photos from Internet, so chose one of my own as above. All made by myself, down to the waffles. The waffle form was a special offer from Betty Bossi, a Swiss cookery organisation and this was the result.

I like to dabble in cooking, I quite enjoy it. Since the invention of the dish washer I even enjoy it more. Memories of my mum in her somewhat basic kitchen years ago live again, where she never had scales to measure the ingredients and everything was washed up manually. She always made her own pastry and cakes, each time it was a little different, but so was her judgement of how much to use. Today we have a perfect weighing system and all ingredients are available at the local supermarket.

Flour is not just flour. This was one of the first discoveries I made when arriving in a Swiss household to bake my first cake. I discovered that Swiss flour does not have baking powder included. Self-raising flour does not exist in Switzerland (and France as well it seems and no-one knows why. Even aunty Internet does not have the answer. There are many questions why from disturbed anglos such as myself about this problem. So my fate was sealed: for every cake that should rise I had to add the baking powder myself. If you are in the process of making pastry, baking powder is that mysterious ingredient that ensures that your cake rises, so if this is missing your cakes result in something like the unleavened bread from the biblical days of the hasty departure from Egypt to somewhere else, although I think the problem there was the missing yeast. If my cakes had been baked with Swiss flour, there would have been a hasty departure from the table when served, so I had to start at the beginning.

To bake a cake in Switzerland you have to add the baking powder yourself. For pie pastry backing powder is not necessary. To be quite honest I know no average housewife that makes pastry herself. You can buy it ready made in the supermarket, sometimes even already pre-rolled. Oh the joys of modern cooking.

As this is supposed to be a homage to flour, according to the directives of WordPress, let us begin at the beginning. Where does flour originate – see photo

View over the Wheat field

It grows in fields. I am surrounded by these sort of fields at harvest time. I never even knew what wheat looked like until, at the age of ten, when I was on holiday in England where there were wheat fields.

“Dad, what is that growing in that field?”

“I am not sure, I suppose it must be wheat.”

What a deprived childhood I had. To continue, the ears of wheat have to be milled and processed and the white familiar powder is the result. There are various kinds of flour, different colours, different types according to from what seed it is milled. It seems you can mill any seed to make flour, even cannabis seeds, the result being hash or space cakes. Before you ask, no, I have never made them, my supply from my plant in the garden was no enough and I only grow them because of their pretty five fingered leaves. Does WordPress really expect me to be a flour expert. I just buy it and use it.

I decided this blog is becoming boring so I had another look in my cookery book. If you remember, the recipe was for parmesan fritters, not that I have ever made them. It seems you make a white thick sauce, adding egg yolks, parmesan and mozzarella cheese and then … are they crazy? You leave it in the fridge for four hours, overnight would be better. Thus do not make these if you are in a hurry. Eventually you cut up the mixture in squares (is no longer liquid it seems) and fry them in deep hot oil. The author says do not overcrowd the pan, seems that parmesan fritters are a little claustrophobic. Ah, and do not forget to sprinkle them with the extra parmesan and parsley and tuck in the lemon wedges when they are finished.

So there we have it, another masterpiece of literature from the keyboard of Angloswiss, and now I think I have to take another golden oldie restful hour to recover from the exhaustion.

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