……escape to a faraway land…..this Crowded House song has been on my mind all the way home from work today because it sums up how I feel today completely. I’ve had a really grim day.
Meeting after meeting after meeting filled my diary. My first meeting of the day saw one of my colleagues put me in an impossible situation, asking me to break my company’s protocols because they didn’t suit him. Of course I had to refuse! My second meeting wasn’t much better – my boss decided to cancel a function that I’d spent much of yesterday planning – hmmm – good use of my time then! Later, I discovered that a colleague that I’d volunteered to help because he’s a good worker and I like him, was doing the job I’d volunteered to help with to save the bacon of someone who has spent the last couple of years trying to make my life a complete misery (and often succeeding). So, I found myself helping my tormentor. Excellent – that just topped off my day.
I decided a trip to Alio’s was a good way to revive my flagging spirits. Alio’s is the wonderful Italian Deli in Epsom, run by two brothers. They’re magic – they can make me smile just by the fact that when I go there they are interested in my cooking and in my use of ingredients. They also have the best tomatoes it’s possible to buy in Southern England in the winter – real tomatoes, still on their vine and grown in a hot country rather than a Dutch hot house. Yum. You can’t find finer love apples (pomodoro) in mid-winter.
The trip to see them was really to stock up on my De Cecco pasta flour – it’s the only place I can buy it that I’m aware of and they recommended it to me when I was complaining that my home-made pasta was sticky and difficult to manage before it was cooked. They told me their mama uses De Cecco and I should try that and they were right – their mama uses the very finest pasta flour I’ve come across.
The boys always make me a sandwich (ciabatta drizzled with olive oil, strong provolone cheese and crispy salad) for me to eat back at the office and while I was waiting for them to finish slicing the cheese and salad, I noticed something lurking in the corner…
…..this Chianti bottle and it took me way back – you just don’t see these bottles anymore – the supermarket chains are so powerful they’ve forced the Chianti estates to put their wines in ordinary wine bottles so their shelves don’t look messy! How I loved the sight of something so out of its time. It really cheered me up no end.
Needless to say, I bought a bottle and decided we’d have risotto made with those yummy tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and some field mushrooms, all topped off with veggie parmesan and butter. The wine will wash it down nicely and I can spend my evening dreaming of being in Tuscany, eating pasta, supping wine and best of all being away from the trials and tribulations of work.