Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tasty Things To Do With Sage

Given that we have an almost completely untouched crop of sage (above) in our burgeoning garden, this afternoon I asked on Twitter for people's recommendations of what to do with it.

I had so many excellent and delicious-sounding suggestions that James said I should put them all into a blog post, so here they are, with appropriate credits.

1. Put it in a butternut squash risotto. (@danieljowen)

2. Melt some stilton into cream, add sage, butter some pasta and add sauce. Lots of black pepper. Rich so serve as a starter. (@davidsteven)

3. Pan fry until crispy and have with risotto - it's a Hugh recipe. (@ecovallee)

4. If you're not veggie, saltimbocca. (@SoniaRothwell)

5. Sprinkle torn up leaves over vegetables and roast. Yum. (@SueLlewellyn)

6. Tricky but affinity with pork and veal. Crispy deep-fried leaves. Twigs on BBQ for fragrant smoking... (@TessAlps)

7. Add to pork dishes, maybe some meatballs. It's a good stuffing ingredient as well. (@FoodiesSW)

8. I find the standard sage and onion stuffing with chicken most pleasant. It can also be eaten cold, should summer bust out. (@hannahswiv)

9. ...also substitute for basil in a pesto-like pasta sauce. Lovage excellent for that too. (@TessAlps)

10. If you've got heaps of it, Native Americans dry it and use for 'smudging' - burn it, blow out flames and use the smoke to clear sacred space. (@SueLlewellyn)

11. Coat them in batter and fry. Very Italian very delicious. Serve with a Prosecco or Pinot Grigio while listening to Puccini. (@EnterpriseIain)

12. Sage fritters, in a cornmeal batter. (@CulturalSnow)

13. Sage is also a good medicinal herb to keep in your garden - good for sore throats and dry coughs, dontchya know. (@RunSqueezyRun)

14. Mix in with Welsh rarebit. (@kevfrost)

15. Put it in a pork pie! Yum. (@piersroberts)

16. When eaten enough,pick some stalks and put it in vase with some pinks? (@JudyAstley)

Whew. That lot should keep us going until the sage plant is no more - hurrah!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Like No Aspirations You've Ever Had Before

Not long after giving birth to the Blue Kitten I was comparing notes about the whole gruesome affair with my old friend Becky.

Never one to mince words, Becky observed that in her experience (three infants to date) 'it's difficult to maintain any kind of dignity when some bird is doing embroidery in your minky'.

This word 'minky' was new to me, although its meaning all too painfully apparent. But then Becky has her finger on the pulse of modern argot, whereas I like to model my conversational and writing style on detective novels of the Golden Age. (You'd never hear Lord Peter Wimsey uttering the word 'minky', at least not to denote the precious flower of the female nether bits. It probably meant something different in the 1930s.)

For those who are similarly untutored in the vagaries of modern parlance, rest assured that the Urban Dictionary backs Becky up, providing no fewer than eight user-generated definitions of 'minky', three of which refer to the precious flower of the female etc.

So it was not without some merriment that it later came to my attention that there is a company called Minky, whose business is the provision of mops, pegs and other humble domestic essentials.

But Minky, a company - its own name notwithstanding - with its finger on the pulse of the early 21st-century Zeitgeist, has realised that in our narcissistic age, there is no room for humility in domestic matters. Just as buying an air freshener or a tea towel is now an important lifestyle choice, so the purchase of a new ironing board cover must be imbued with a sense of excitement, panache and social self-betterment.

Replacing one's worn-out ironing board cover can no longer be conceived of as an act of tedious but inevitable drudgery, no, but as a gesture symbolic of the renewal of hope and enthusiasm, of the recapturing of lost youth, beauty and energy, of a better life to come.

In short, it must be seen - along with everything else - as aspirational.

So while 'minky aspirations' may sound to my friend Becky like the kind of febrile affliction that besets a million pub-bound Nuts readers up and down the country every Friday evening, to the marketing department of this venerable British brand it represents nothing short of the complete re-imagining of domestic drudgery as something suffused with glamour and desirability.

And for attempting to instil those qualities in a metallised ironing board cover while having a name that is a rude word for a lady's secret place, I salute them.