The winter break is here and the walls ring with the sounds of strident French film makers intent on a brand new produciton of Anthony and Cleopatra. The production team had planned to film outside with our vast bamboo groves as a back drop but sadly it is raging a storm and the rain is lashing down and the Queen of Egypt has rather an annoying cough so they have retired to the upper floors to soldier on regardless.
Fool that I am I have scooped up several waifs and strays this weekend, off spring of working parents,who have inexplicably taken up residence with us for a few days. Out to dinner and under the influence of too much Vin moussant on Saturday night I apparently volunteered to have our hostesses brood to play . "Superbe" she said "but we go to work very early so I will drop them with you on Sunday night"... her husband she said "will pop in on tuesday about 3 o'clock to retrieve eldest for her harp lesson " , nothing about retrouving younger one as well.. I fear if I am not sure footed I will find I will have them for the entire fourtnight, by which time I shall be more than slightly mad.
Our little visitors live in a large beautiful modern house where everything sparkles and matches. The walls are aubergine, the floors slate. We live in an ancient farmhouse in need of renovation , our walls are decorated with an interesting patina of small boys grubby fingers and wet dog cleverly designed to show off our ecletic mix of furniture referred to by a dear friend "as early American Mother in Law" Everything we have is either a cast off, a hand me down, found at a charity shop or retrieved from a skip somewhere. I have serious house envy.
My only comfort is that living though they do amidst the best that modern French interior design can offer, my guests "Cher maman" is the only French woman I have met who seriously can not cook., hence the over imbibing of vin moussant. Everything that emerged form her imaculate kitchen is cremated at a fierce heat, entombed within a dark gritty outer crust be it cake or roast pork and even her gallettes as carbonized . Perversly her frites are soggy.
My little guests happily gobble up all I put before them in vast quantities each mouthful adorned with copious "mmmm" and yammm" exclamations I do love an appreciative audience . They are mazed at my pasta adn pesto, overcome by the homemade bread, lusting for my crepes. Even I though must draw the line somewhere. Thus this morning I made a creme Anglais with the aid of a tin of Birds custard powder in which to drown the bland doughy and carbon coated apple cake which "Cher maman" made especially for us. I know custard powder is hardly haute cuisine but is it wise to waste a dozen eggs and fresh cream on burnt cake ? I think not, charcoal needs something stronger to smother it. If that doesn't disguise the taste perhaps I shall have to flambe it in cognac.
Cleopatra ,Anthony and entourage are now playing with the wii fit in the salle, working off thier vast lunch and building up an appertite for tonight. I have promised they may make home made pizza for thier suppers, something that has elevated me to Goddess status in their eyes.
Ha! I may not have a hand hewn dinigin table in polished chestnut with matching chairs and sideboard made by a little known order of trapist monks in the Perigord but I sure know how to cook. Mrs Beeton eat your heart out!