Posts Tagged ‘taste’

Speculaas Induced Memories

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I am currently sitting at my kitchen table working on my laptop and being easily distracted by Facebook and photographs from last night’s Yelp event. I have just made myself a cup of coffee and am eating a speculaas biscuit that was hand couriered from The Netherlands by Sir Pubert Gladstone when he last visited his Dad.

Speculaas biscuits

Speculaas biscuits – Photo from www.enjoybettercoffee.com

Despite the uniquely spiced flavours of this Dutch speciality, all I can think about when I eat speculaas are summer holidays in Perth when I was a kid. Every day mum would take my brother, his friend, Alan, and me to North Cottesloe beach for a swim. After an hour or so of catching waves on our boogie boards or floating on our backs in the flat water, we would run back to our towels and Mum would give us speculaas biscuits. It would taste of sun-warmed spice, sea salt and sand. After scoffing one or two we would race back for more wave action, squealing a little as our bodies readjusted to the water temperature.

North Cottesloe beach

North Cottesloe beach – photo by Al Black on Flickr

Midday would approach and we would brush the sand from our feet and sit on the hot car seats, the seat belts scolding our bare skin. On the way home, mum would stop at the bakery in Claremont for poppyseed rolls and jam doughnuts. As we waited in the car, Ben, Alan and I would compare who had the most sand in their bathers and think about what video we wanted to watch that afternoon.

It is amazing what a flavour can spark in your memory bank. This week I was fortunate enough to be given a piece of homemade Princess Cake. The making of the cake was inspired by The Great British Bakeoff but for me, Princess Cake means family gatherings at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Out of date juice boxes, teal coloured floral plates, cake forks and the celebration of one of my grandparents’ birthdays. Green marzipan domes will always remind me of this, and while Princess Cake was never my favourite (I’m not a huge fan of soggy sponge and cream), spending time with my family has always been something I have enjoyed. So while they may all be living on the other side of the world, as I ate the green marzipan I felt like my grandma and grandpa and the Miss Maud’s bakery were just next door.

 

Princess Cake

Mary Berry’s Princess Cake

Why Are You So Salty, Mr Chicken?

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Once again those French have tricked me and tricked me good. Tonight I made an ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS dinner using a recipe from my new Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cook book, Veg Everyday (recommended to me by Ben, my wonderful darling brother who asked to be mentioned.) It was quinoa with courgettes and onion. YYUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! Even Tom was mmming and yumming. As it was a completely vegetarian recipe and I was feeding a male, I bought some chicken to grill on my BRAND NEW Bodum grill pan (yay!).

Quinoa and zucchini

Everyone is jealous of my dinner. Jealous, jealous, jealous.

Now, visits to the supermarket are annoying and difficult enough as French supermarkets are generally useless and never have everything you need. I managed to scrounge together most of my required ingredients and made a few compromises in order to not have to go to another shop. I was quite pleased about this fact. It wasn’t until we were eating our meal that I realised I must have gone awry somewhere. The chicken was very, very salty. I am quite sensitive to salt as I don’t add it to anything except when I’m baking potatoes and so I was slightly confused as to why I felt like I was eating salted peanuts and needing more and more water. It wasn’t just me either – Tom agreed and so I wasn’t going crazy. Something was different.

Tom went and checked the herbs I had put on the chicken and questioned me over and over again as to whether or not I had added salt – no. Then we checked the packet the chicken came out of and discovered that the chicken was ‘marinated naturally’ in all sorts of salt. Real salt AND fake additive salt. How I was supposed to notice this I’m not sure as it was in exactly the same packet as ‘normal chicken’ except with a tiny piece of text that said it was marinated. Yum. So my extremely healthy, utterly delicious meal was RUINED by evil French additives. I guess it teaches me a lesson as I should really buy meat from a butcher but I had to buy toilet paper and we have already discussed my dislike for visiting more than one shop in a day.