Got a couple of collages done for Alphabet Soup today. I think I'm probably on course to get perhaps a half-dozen completed, with ideas for the rest which might or might not come to fruition once the deadline heat is off.
So here is P for pumpkin:
That thing in the middle of the right-hand pumpkin flower is a messed-up scribble, which I meant to do something to correct but forgot to. But the good thing about this technique is you can stick stuff on top! So I think I'll make it a bumble bee.
The next one proved to be somewhat topical:
Kippers. I have mixed feelings about these smoked members of the herring tribe, indeed about most smoked fish really. We used to get them in England that were boil-in-the-bag, from a man with a van who came round. His stuff was so expensive the kippers were all we could really bring ourselves to buy, and I know that b-i-t-b is shameful and Not Proper Food but these were just so good and so easy and didn't stink the place out. Now I often swear I will not buy kippers here again, but then Tom looks at them with such longing I give in, knowing the ordeal I have in store in the preparation of them, often for a dry, salty, disappointing result. Those vacuum packed Breton smoked herrings in oil are not much better, but at least you don't have to wrestle with fins and bones and stuff, and they don't smell quite so bad.
So when we were at a low ebb in the supermarket the other day and my dear one's eyes fell upon a bloater, or un bouffi, as it is known hereabouts in pleasingly transparent translation (and as an adjective it seems that also means 'bombastic' according to the dictionary), instead of saying 'put it down it's disgusting' as I might have had I been feeling stronger, I allowed him to put it in the trolley.
I have never actually handled a bloater before; it took me a couple of days, until today, to square up to the thing and only then did I realise it was whole, all it's innards still contained within its plump form - hence its puffiness and its name, I suppose. Fortunately it was in a sealed pack and well within it's eat-by date, as the well-documented 'gaminess' and it's bloating tendencies might have been really unmanageable. I was by this time feeling slightly stronger and less self-sacrificing, and picking over it's smoky, slimy guts, jaundiced eyes, intact gills and hairy bones I felt little compunction in saying that 'I am only putting myself through this because I love you and because I'm still feeling mortified about smashing up the car, so yes I am largely doing it out of guilt.' He ventured to say he might not in fact enjoy it much under those terms but I said he'd bloody better do so.
But then something happened when I looked at the generous and firm portion of roe that emerged from it, which one source described as the cook's treat, I couldn't help myself thinking, and saying aloud: 'That looks good!'. The bronze, gold and silver skin with its delicate criss-cross patterning was also rather exquisite, and by the time I'd cleaned up the fillets and put them, with the roe, under the grill, and having eaten a good portion of Jean-Paul's crisp and cleansing scarole salad, I was coming round to the idea that I might have some after all.
It really was very good indeed, much better than any kippers we've had here, and it was very inexpensive. The roe was saltier than the flesh, but spread on a piece of bread was very interesting too. So I will buy them again, now I know what I'm letting myself in for, or else find a way to persuade Tom that dissecting and preparing a bloater for consumption is a project that he really needs to engage with for his moral, intellectual and spiritual betterment.
(Kedgeree is also a good smoked fish option, and also begins with a 'K'. Kippers don't in fact make one's breath smell, so kissing is not completely out of the question.)