and we walked off, to look for america

As the late, always-makes-me-cry-so-I-can-only-listen-to-her-occasionally, great Laurie Beechman sang in the original Broadway production of Annie: “NYC, I give you fair warning: up there, in lights, I’ll be.”
I also give YOU fair warning: Tim and I have a plane to catch in less than two hours. All the tasks and jobs and endless succession of things that needed doing pushed this necessary blog post further, and further, and further back, till suddenly I’m typing really fast and realising that I haven’t had breakfast but I have had two coffees and I still need to finish packing.
With that, please allow me some self-indulgently breathless bullet points. I’ll try to make them wordily eloquent bullet points though. 
– I handed in my cookbook manuscript. It made me feel a bit like this:
This cookbook has been my life for the last three months. Frankly, it has been my life since I got the email from my publisher back in January asking if I was interested. Franklier than that, it has been my life for a much longer time, it just didn’t realise it yet. Or something. It’s so strange not to be working on it – a little bittersweet and empty, a watermark left from a glass of campari on a table – but my flipping gosh it’s good to have achieved it. I feel like I climbed a huge mountain, only way better, because there was no actual mountain-climbing involved. My creative team of Jason, Kim and Kate (plus project-manager Tim) were utterly brilliant to the last. I’ll be full of more details about the book itself as the process goes along, but for now: I’m just going to enjoy not thinking about it quite so hard.

– Here is some pasta I made. It’s a very specific recipe, based on there being almost no food left in the house because we’re leaving for a month, but also some foods that really need eating. I like bowtie pasta because of its rakish, eyebrow-wagglingly charming shape, but use whatever, of course.

Bowties with Smoked Paprika Burnt Butter and Almonds

A recipe by me. Serves one.

100g bowtie pasta
30g butter
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
50g almonds
Green stuff for garnish. Parsley is good here.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. Drain. 

While the pasta’s cooking, melt the butter in a pan and allow it to properly sizzle and burn. This will give you marvelous depth of flavour. Tip in the paprika, and stir, followed by the almonds. Continue to cook a little longer till the almonds are coated and lightly browned. Remove from the heat, tip on top of the drained pasta, and blanket with any kind of garnishy greens.

This is simple, yet highly delicious. Nutty, saltily fulsome butter. Smoky, intense paprika. Crunchy, lightly scorched almonds. The greens aren’t really that necessary but the paprika tints the butter dark orange and it does have connotations of engine grease. If I wasn’t photographing it I probably wouldn’t have bothered, really.

More bullet points ahoy!

– Dearest Jo made me this amazing and delicious cake to say congratulations for finishing the book. It’s appropriate because I have SO MANY feelings. We ate it, along with waffles and other important breakfast foods, while watching the new season of Parks and Recreation. Did I say feelings? FEELINGS.

– Speaking of Parks and Rec, a pie recipe of mine is featuring in the new edition of BUST magazine, which has the clever and hilarious and stunning Aubrey Plaza on the cover. BUST is an American magazine, even, so just try to calculate how blown my mind is right now.

– I guess I’ll leave it there, since I really, really, really do have to carry on packing and cleaning and such before we go. These beyond-dreamy prints by Colette St Yves arrived in the mail today though: I may just quietly swoon over them instead of doing anything productive. 
Tim and I threw ourselves a little going-away party on Wednesday night and afterwards I fully started sobbing. Tim, ever the logical person, said “it’s only a month”. To which I, ever the logical-in-my-head person, replied “yes but we always do so much every month”. A self-indulgent cry out of the way, I am now more or less full of excitement about America. There might be a tiny, tiny bit of maudlin pillow-hugging before we leave though, what can I say. Feelings. 
I promise real, proper blogging will resume when we get back at the end of October. But – oh what a but – I have two thoroughly awesome guest bloggers to house-sit this blog for me while I’m away. Guest blogger the first is Kate, stylist queen of my cookbook and all round purveyor of excellence. Guest blogger the second is cooler-than-ice cream artist-in-every-sense-of-the-word Coco Solid. You’re in mighty good hands.
However, while I’m gone Tim and I are upkeeping a travel blog, which we’ve called USA! USA! USA! (it was so hard not to try to make some kind of Babysitters Club or Broadway-related title, a Homer Simpson quote is a good compromise.) You’re welcome to read it and keep abreast with our traveling times.
Thanks for all the good words as I felt my way through this cookbook-writing process – if it’s not too disconcerting, imagine me hugging my laptop right now by way of metaphorical gratitude. I mean the gratitude is real, me hugging the laptop is a metaphor for me hugging you all. Actually I’m not sure if it is a correct metaphor, maybe more of a – well, anyway. You get what I mean. 
And so: au revoir. Ka kite. See you soon.
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Title via: Simon and Garfunkel’s America. Dreamy. 
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Music Lately: The All-American Edition
Azealia Banks released her new video for Luxury last night. What a talented babe is she.
Lana Del Rey, Jump. Del Rey always makes me feel a bit moody, but I love her songs so much, so what can you do? I feel like I’m building up an immunity though, this is one of her more bewitching songs that’s juuuuuust upbeat enough.
Seasons of Love, from the movie soundtrack (though the original cast recording is also beautiful and I unsurprisingly recommend both) of RENT. We’re going to New York. Where RENT is from. What is life? 
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Next time: well I’ll certainly have plenty to talk about, won’t I?

5 thoughts on “and we walked off, to look for america

  1. Emma says:

    Was HaF in the USA (Superspecial #1… for you) going to be your BSC-inspired title?

    How I wish I could meet up with you, but alas. Take the country by storm, and have the most best time ever. EVER!

    USA or Bust… USA and BUST!

    Like

  2. camilla says:

    Congrats and have a good time in the US. That bowtie pasta looks deceptively simple… I'm sure somewhere in the process, I would set something on fire.

    Love that you're listening to rent.

    Like

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