Sometimes there’s ups, sometimes there’s downs. Sometimes this happens all within one day, but this week is undeniably down. I’m learning very, very reluctantly that life is not like a movie where you get like, one shopping montage where everything’s fun and one sad montage where you learn your lesson and then everything’s fine afterwards. Nor does processing the stuff happening in your life move in an upwards diagonal line, sometimes it’s more like a hexagon shape with a star in the middle and flames shooting out one side.
Sorry to be bleak, but I feel like I’ve been pretty admirably lively for someone whose life has just changed in a million different ways, so, y’know. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s that weird thing where I’m like – this is my blog and I want to be honest! But don’t worry about me! But I want some people to be concerned but I don’t want to burden others! But I’m still getting out of bed! But things really are tough! And so on into infinity, by which time most people have stopped paying attention anyway because despite my suspicions, I know I’m not the only person on this earth with Stuff Going On.
I find old-school Nigella Lawson very, very comforting – I’d still protectively defend her and celebrate her till my feet bleed (I imagine there’s impassioned dancing involved to prove my point) but like Mariah Carey, she was at her absolute perfect best in the early years. Reading How To Eat, that seminal text, that important book, makes me feel like everything will be okay. And also, quite importantly, like cooking. This Barbados Cream isn’t actually cooking in the slightest, but I had the tail-end of a container of yoghurt to use, and so I bought a bottle of cream (sooo financially sound right now) to make this small, intriguing recipe.
It’s just yoghurt and cream mixed together, lightly blanketed in brown sugar, and left overnight in the fridge. It’s a recipe of Nigella’s grandmother, which explains a lot about it – a recipe from back when you could serve someone a bowl of formless cream for pudding and give it an uneasily “exotic” name and have people applaud you as an exemplary and sophisticated hostess. Personally, I think it makes a better breakfast.
This is my slight adaptation of Nigella’s recipe from How To Eat, all I’ve done is have a tutu with the proportions to make it suitable for just one person.
1/2 cup (125ml) really thick plain yoghurt, Greek or Greek-style or otherwise. I don’t like being stern, but this will be nasty if you use anything less tensile than a memory foam pillow.
1/2 a cup (125ml) cream (just cream, no yoghurt-style rants here)
1 tablespoon or so of brown sugar
Whisk together the cream and yoghurt in a bowl till thickened enough that you can trail said whisk through the mixture and it will leave lines in the cream behind it. If that makes sense? This will happen quite quickly, after a minute or so. Spatula all this into a 250ml capacity ramekin or pretty trinket-y bowl, evenly sprinkle over the brown sugar, cover in gladwrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, or after a suitably, unfairly long waiting time: eat.
The sugar melts into the creamy yoghurt, getting fudgily crystallised but also saucily absorbed, giving a smoky swirl of butterscotch with every mouthful. Cream and thick yoghurt are both delicious, no further elaboration needed there. In fact the aggressive simplicity of these ingredients is what makes this so damn good. Especially first thing in the morning with an equally selfish plunger of coffee for one.
Seriously, the butterscotch-toffee-caramel family of flavours is the best thing on earth, yes?
Here’s what’s been happening in my life lately:
New stabs! Brooke at Tattoo Machine is incredible. And it has healed up with such amazing speed that I’ve been going round conspiratorially asking “am I a vampire though?” every time I show it to someone.
Been watching lots of ballet on youtube. Swan Lake is excellently bleak and beautiful and the music gets to me right in my heart and my temples. And, as they sing in A Chorus Line, “everything was beautiful at the ballet, raise your arms and someone’s always there…”
Speaking of birthdays, it’s mine in one week’s time. I wouldn’t mind if I could put it off for a month, since I always overthink birthdays with this whole “it has to be a really good wonderful perfect day” stressful attitude that I’m bringing to the table, but it is going to happen, and if nothing else – it will also be my first day after leaving my current job. So far I’ve been turned down from two jobs that I’ve applied for (it’s the strangest thing, like, it happens to everyone but it’s still so you-didn’t-want-me? demoralising) but am keeping my fingers crossed that I land on my feet. I’m also applying for more jobs, in case just keeping my fingers crossed doesn’t sound like a very sensible strategy.
That said, I really am just keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out okay. Hope is a powerful thing, and if you’ve got it, you’ve got to hold it tight. Oh my gosh, not to sound inspirational or anything, but seriously: hope is nice, right?
title comes from: Elegie, by Patti Smith. It sounds like it’s from a musical, and also it’s so upfrontedly miserable and sad. So, naturally, I like it. (Also I can dance frantically and joyfully to Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances from this same album in case you’re like “okay Laura I get it. Bleak.”)
Lennon and Maisy, Love. These two girls are so talented and happy and this song is so sweet and happy and adorable and wise and yeah.
Ellie Goulding, Anything Could Happen. It makes me feel happy and like the title is…something true.
Next time: still getting to know the kitchen at my new house, so…anything could happen.