We were invited to lunch at the weekend, as it was their matanza – their annual pig killing and they invite us because we are neighbours. It’s the done thing.
We don’t keep pigs, as I’d prefer to have a large field with oak and sweet chestnut trees and a huge fence, so that they live a natural and happy life. As we don’t possess a large field, but a reasonably-sized vegetable garden, we don’t keep pigs.
I’d build them a little house or two and that’s how we’d do it. No doubt the neighbours would think we’d gone mad, but some things are better the natural way.
As we’ve – or rather I’ve managed to slip into village life, I took a risk and made some shortbread biscuits.
Two risks really…
Firstly, I’m a truly awful baker/pastry maker. Anything that involves baking and flour and other ingredients is most likely to go wrong. I bought a Kitchenaid mixer, back when we had enough money to do these things and I let it do the work.
The biscuits turned out well.
The second risk, is that as a ‘foreigner’, my contribution would be refused, but as I’d made biscuits, with butter and flour and a proper recipe and as the biscuits actually looked good AND homemade, they were accepted.
We didn’t take all the biscuits next door. There were rejects, as the baking parchment was larger than our cooling rack and some biscuits fell apart at the critical point in the cooling and crisping process.
So, by Sunday evening there was a plate of shortbread biscuits on the dining table, right in the middle of the kitchen.
Shortbread is one of the forbidden foods.
I have MS and suffer from horrible nerve pain, which is easier to endure, if I don’t eat foods containing gluten. I’ve experimented on myself for the last five years and know that I can eat gluten maybe once a week – in small quantities, without an increase in the peripheral neuropathic pain.
I also have a massive risk of becoming diabetic. I have metabolic syndrome, which is kept in its dark and horrid corner by a very strict low carbohydrate diet.
Shortbread is most definitely not on my diet list. However, I am not known for being able to resist temptation. I can and do, but if I think I can get away with just a tiny bite of something sugary, then I’ll try it.
My husband, who is a good and helpful man, came up with this mantra to mutter as I walked past the plate of biscuits. He told me to imagine that the biscuits were covered with slightly runny poached eggs. This worked. How could it not?
So, earlier this week, you’d hear me muttering ‘poached eggs, poached eggs’ each time I walked past the table.
It reminded me of the comedy show ‘Father Ted’, where Father Jack Hacket is lured with a bottle of whisky – shouting his usual ‘DRENK! DRENK!’, but with a variation of volume and speed of his exclamations, depending on how near the bottle of whisky was to him.
It worked for me. I ate a quarter of a biscuit. Not bad. Not bad at all.