The wedding of a widowed osteopath marrying a biochemist. He being a first timer, an amateur ventriloquist, an amputee. Creepy Church, begat an organist, a burly lass with a grimacing face, huge bouffant hair, who wore wall to wall tartan. She entered the Church carrying a large, purple velvet goat, her music case, quite obviously?
“Conspicuously absent isn’t he?” “Oh, where’s the Groom.” “There’s a wildly held belief that the Groom should be in attendance” said a loud buffoon. Another hooray heckler boomed “There’s been a misunderstanding the Groom will not be attending today’s wedding”. “He’s swiveled on his heels, sorry heel and legged it” ironically chortled another of the Am-Dram set.
The Bride, wearing an unflattering meringue-of-a-frock, arrived to the theme music from Mission Impossible, accompanied by anticipated, yet unbridled laughter. The flush faced groom popped up, grabbing the air, like a badly manipulated marionette, from his assumed position of crouching behind a pew.
Who knew? More obviously, who didn’t?
The swanky hotel was a wash with Septuagenarian cohorts, a starchily muttering bus load of white tops, sorry grey haired passengers griped about parking access as they Zimmered their weary conga to the bar. “Where’s Wally?” Queried one of the pensioners?
At the Wedding Breakfast we were next to a Cardiologist couple, the conversation about unreliable sundials moved to the heart valve replacement of a Am-Drammer known as ‘Bus Spotter’. Opposite was a Milliner with a steely stare. An indulgent soul, with a huge appetite. He shared his penchant for patterned wallpaper and hand knits. We spoke of 99-year-old Uncle Reggie who keeps his belongings, firmly zipped within a velour cushion cover of which no one knows.
Small prosaic touches to the table were in the style of retro-hideous. Anticipated, audaciously over-engineered and interminable speeches de rigueur. I found myself captivated by the best mans lustrous locks and post punk mufti, he innocently sported a fashion forward mullet, handlebar moustache and filled the room with the arresting fragrance of his cologne. A showman with much to show, but so much more to smell and tell.
The cake cutting extravaganza was re-configured to the decapitation of a marzipan figures. A bride and a one-legged groom, with loosely match-modelled attire. Some liberties were worth taking we were assured. The dropped-jaw astonishment on the face of a rapidly blinking Polish waiter, who was firefly shy, remains an indelible mental picture.
The first dance fiasco saw approximately twenty-two tonnes of tinted tulle wind whirl to a rendition of “You’re the one that I want eew eew eew”. Sung acapella by the combined chorus of the local Am-Dram (Amateur Dramatic Society and Light Operatic Society combi) I should mention that this was in the style of the Muppets. We remain convinced that there was a Groom in there somewhere?
Oh I do so love a good wedding, don’t you?
The Summer heat wasn’t kind to a tinned tomato floppy doff of sop entitled ‘tomato tatin’. An edible version used to be significant in my repertoire of ‘ user upper supper recipes’. Re-inspired I return to making them again, the sharp and sweet, almost gluey balsamic takes this far away from its doppelgänger pizza. Serve with a salad and a saucy little tomato Bloody Mary granita for an outdoorsy summery brunchy lunch. It’s a doddle to make and mighty popular when served.
Use sharp firm, fresh tommies. Wash, dry, cut or, if small leave whole, let them soften on a low heat in a pan with 3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar ( use own brand inexpensive stuff ) will reduce and strengthen in flavour and become sticky as it reduces in the pan with the naturally sweet tomato juice. Taste and adjust if necessary. Leave to cool completely.
Lay a circle of store-bought, all butter puff pastry and tuck the edges in and under the sticky tomato. Bake in a medium oven to golden brown.
Cool slightly and then flip-turn after about 10 minutes.
Dress the upturned tarte, I have used a soft local goats cheese and basil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
For a phaphless grantia, freeze generously spiced tomato juice or passata in an ice-cube/tray or bag. Salt and pepper are key, lemon juice too, I use Tabasco and Worcester sauce (see note below), horseradish, fino or sweet sherry are to taste. Add your preferred combination of hot sauce, celery salt, fennel salt etc but no hooch as yet.
Dip the glass rims into lemon juice and then hot smokey paprika or finely chopped dill.
Freeze completely and whizz the tomato cubes or in this instance shards, to a fine granita in a food processor, serve in shot glasses, and then pour over the icy vodka (or Gin to make a Red Snapper) just prior to serving or at the table. Serve with a jauntily feathered, celery stirrer.
Ah, gulp the note: To the many thousands of kindly followers in or from the US, a little insider/heads up moment, if I may. We locals generally call it Worcester Sauce (posh people pronounce it Worcester-sheer Sauce) rather than Worcestersterstecestershire sauce, whilst technically correct, it undoubtedly delivers wonderous umami however you say it, but is also a tongue tripping mouthful which defaults badly, you are invited to hop on to our well seasoned verbiage bus if you so desire. Toot toot.