Sue Perkins/Marilyn Monroe, Almond Cake with Cherries, Chicken in Pomegranate Molasses, Three Sisters, the Freedom not to Look Pretty (ffs)
So I was getting ready to go to a work lunch last week and I looked in the mirror. I mean, fucking hell. Even three or four years ago I was still basically good looking. Now I look okay “for my age”. And that’s if I make some kind of effort. But, so what? Right? Were the blokes going to this lunch arseing around in front of the mirror wondering if they looked okay? Were they smearing crap all over their faces? They were not. And for whom exactly do I want to look like some sort of simpering idiot? Why do I care if these people think I’m good looking or not? I don’t, is the answer. I decided to dye my hair grey and have a short back and sides. Put a shirt and trousers on and go to fucking lunches like a normal person. Eat food. Chat. I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to get laid here. At said lunch I’m talking to a hugely successful City type person who says she’s on sabbatical and might do more grooming. This sounded a bit paedophilic, but wasn’t. “I don’t know how to pluck my eyebrows,” she said. She looked great. I mean, would a selection of random men have wanted to have sex with her? Who knows. And who in the name of crap cares? But she looked happy, friendly, not shit. I told her about my short back and sides plan and we laughed about being old and the idea that women are supposed to look…what? Pretty? Ugh.
I went to the hairdresser and a nice Jordanian man did me a wash and blow dry. More Marilyn than Sue Perkins. So, I didn’t do it. I remain blonde and coiffed. I remain cowed. The tyranny wins again.
I went to see Three Sisters in Russian the other day with another all Russian crowd (even the signs in the theatre were in Russian, so disconcerting that I ordered my bottle of water in Russian and got a baffled look). Anyway, the Russian women seem to have it. They are seriously done up, but somehow they look tough and cool, rather than pathetic and simpery. How is this done? I don’t know. I also had Lebanese food with an ex-boyfriend who had a grey beard and a tailored suit on. “Do I look old?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. “We are old.” We talked about Dostoevsky. I mean, that would cheer anyone up, right?
Okay, it won’t. But this will! Chicken in pomegranate molasses!
Marinade chicken thighs (no skin) in pomegranate molasses, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli. Fry in oil slowly on a low heat until all black and sticky. Boil some bulgar wheat, drain, and add lemon juice, a spoon of pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, mint, parsley, spring onions, salt…what else? Oh, spinach, watercress, anything. This is a heavenly supper. Quick!
Almond cake. With marzipan. I’m still with the Honey and Co. book by the way but I mess with the recipes so I’m telling you what I did, not what they tell you to do. They have these as individual cakes with roasted plums. I made one cake and boiled cherries in vanilla.
100 butter, 110 sugar (light, dark, whatever), 3 eggs, 50g flour, 80g ground almonds, 25g or more of chopped almonds with skin on, 50g of marzipan.
Mix all the ingredients apart from the last two. Chop the marzipan and stir in with the chopped nuts. Cook the cake/s until golden. Top with cherries or any fruit boiled or roasted with sugar and vanilla. This is properly just paradise.
Therapy via Skype or even email: email@example.com