Happy New Year

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Nigella Bites is the cookbook that defined the naissance of my competence in the kitchen. Funny to say that a woman whose instructions read like “I won’t explain the kitchen-torch part; this has been gone over often enough” is the one whose guidance I looked to… but then again, that’s exactly the slapdash approach I use for most things in life.

It has been on the shelf for a lot of years. Today I have gotten it down in order to make Nigella’s creme brulee. I used to make this creme brulee a lot, when I was in graduate school. I have a kitchen torch. When Sparks first moved in with me he decided it was a more appropriate tool for the garage than the kitchen, and absconded with it. He did that with a lot of my things, early on. A habit I have, fortunately, trained out of him.

But the torch has been found, and the custard is cooling. We are neither of us sure that the torch still has any fuel in it, but we’ll find out. If so, we will have proper burned-sugar-topped creme brulee. If not, we will have custard along with some Venetian fig-and-almond cake I had the foresight to buy from the specialty store.

Prosciutto-wrapped figs and aged Irish cheddar for nibbles beforehand. Game hens stuffed with apples, onions, garlic, and raisins for the main course (another dish I made a lot when I was in graduate school), accompanied by smashed sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower, and a green salad of the guest’s devising. Custard and fig cake for dessert. Various wines and one bottle of bubbly, to toast.

I will put the pink cloth on the table, and put out my “wedding ring” china. Crystal glasses. A new year only comes once a year… better celebrate it properly.

Cheers!

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