Monday, July 27, 2009

Tunisian Cakes

My brother's Tunisian fiancé came to the UK this week, to meet the family. She brought these beautiful homemade cakes as a gift. They are absolutely delicious; not too sweet, so you can really taste the fragrant pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, orange flower water, rose water and dried fruit that they are made of. As my tactful mum commented in response to opening the boxes of these treasures, "wow, you've really started off well here!".

It makes me emotional when such an effort is put in to make food so pretty and delicate and delicious. For me, that is what life is about, making the most of basic human pleasures, and giving to each other. See! The cakes have even made me philosophical! Is this normal?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monaco, Cannes & Cuttlefish

A couple of days working in Monaco last week meant parma ham and hot peppers for lunch, whilst watching superyachts and listening to the regular roar of supercars.

I was staying with a friend in Cannes, and the evening meals included a pizza, valpolicella and limoncello in the local Sicilian-run pizzeria, plus two beach picnics. So nice to be on the beach at night and warm! Isn't that what summer is supposed to be like?

Superyachts and swimmers, Cannes

Beach picnic parties consisted of champagne and rosé, all sorts of perfectly ripe French and Italian cheeses, baguettes and olive bread, fruit and olives. There was a plum tart, too, with crumbly pastry and a thick layer of almond paste - mmmmm-m! There was even candlelight, music (a Michael Jackson extravaganza), and dancing!

Camembert by candlelight

On my last day, I had time for some sun-bathing and lunch on the beach, before catching my flight. Attracted by the bustling open kitchen and the sight and smell of the seafood dishes, we picked L'Annex as our beach-side restaurant. I chose the cuttlefish which I had seen being prepared for other diners and looked amazing. My companions chose another cuttlefish and tuna steak. We sipped ice-cold rosé and nibbled light baguette slices as we waited for the griddled seafood to arrive.

We were not disappointed! The seafood itself was perfectly cooked and super-fresh. The pungent garlic and basil sauce that was poured all over it was absolutely mouth-watering. Ideal! Ideal food, ideal to be eating it on Cannes beach! This is one of my favourite ever meal memories.

After the food and wine, my lovely friend hired sun loungers, and I soaked up the rays for as long as possible. We drank sparkling mineral water and cava. When the empty cava bottle was discovered, we were repremanded like naughty school children, for bringing our own drink. This, despite paying a fortune for the loungers, and spending €90 on the meal for 3. Oh well, I forgive them due to the idyllic day and the perfect lunch.