This post may contain nuts. I had tried to explain, and offer, a tasting of dried cranberries to our larger than life house keeping lady, with whom language is no barrier. Since we are regular visitors to the hotel which is in foreign climes, she has taken it upon herself to adopt the tea boy, as her little pet. “Ohh my Darrrrling, you came back to me!” … well … something like that. Her voice utterly victorious as the first part of the ‘social opera’ plot unfolded. Quite obviously she is into older, rounder, greyer, bigger, balder, Mathematicians as she picks him up and swings him around, much to my mighty amusement, their respective faces are a picture, his of torturous, blind panic and hers complicit joy.
I, of course, discretely encourage her, since I doubt there are many people on this planet that could, or would indeed dare (let alone want), to take on this for either pleasure or amusement respectively? As a spectator sport it is however, utterly awesome as she bounces him up and down fuelled by glee. Once returned to his day bed for safe keeping she and I are, momentarily, free of encumber and return to the matter of cranberries. My heist discretely gifted by a restaurant manager is now reduced by half. She leaves having pocketed and scoffed another decent handful and I think understood my explanations of their diuretic properties, if not, I’m confident that she will later.
The face of our tea boy still welded and frozen, the look of horror will likely wain after a decent luncheon, no not lynching, luncheon. “Just relax dear she won’t do it again ……… at least until tomorrow”. Sniggers to self.
As he vehemently insists.”You’ve got to stop her from doing that!”
Thinks: “… and I’m the ring master of this circus?”
I dangle the prospect of a nice bottle of chilled white and whilst our Tea Boy still looks ashen and as baleful as a scolded puppy, I lead him to the pool side restaurant and seat him far away from his new ‘squeeze’. Who I refer to as Donna M. Truth be told, he is even less than thrilled about her nick name.
The following morning he’s up with a lark, dives into our plunge pool, ordered, orderly and keen. He had pre ordered an early breakfast in our room, and then fancies going out for a bit of shopping (did he just say shopping?) in our little hire car. Now that is really scary. Shopping? Oh maybe, indeed the Festivities are looming? Ummm.
I stifle the need to check just how many days it is until the big old, spruced up, spruce tree is provided for, and lain with Mercury glass baubles so as to be rattled by, The Earl Grey (low flying kitty).
Breakfasted, fluffed and puffed, all cheerful and chin up, off we go to conquer the shopping thing and head toward reception as the little car is being brought there. As my intrepid convive and expedition leader turns the corner guess who he bumped straight into? Suffice to say that he must have been pulling about 6 G-force as she spun him round by the leather belt that held up his impenetrable, multi-pocketed shorts. Please note the past tense.
His gait, girlish shrieks, throughly ungentlemanly language, general demeanour changed rather dramatically. He was no longer of jovial disposition. I am lead to believe, parts of his anatomy were entrapped and positively compromised, and with his new-found crepuscular pleasure in shopping utterly sullied. Then it dawned on me – Oh my days, she must have caught hold of his wallet?
After some coffee and an “I need to sit down” moment, he checked said wallet for damage of which, I’m delighted to report, there was none. It was just the shock I think, but that was nothing to the shock I was preparing for said wallet as we later drove to town!
Only a few more days of basking in the shade, full sun now having a comparable affect on me as on the disposition, colour and texture of the cranberries.
It does, however, lead me to thoughts of the long lingering shadows of the end of our Devon autumn, walks and scuffing through the leaves, well a bit of a teeter and slow waddle for some.
As a spectator sport breakfast in a hotel restaurants has become a veritable Smorgasbord and that’s just the diners? I became, however, drawn like a magpie toward tall glass jars, glinting with jewelled fruits in an emollient syrup. Long shard of topaz and tourmaline green were candied grapefruit and bergamot, the little red rubies I found, to my delight, were cranberries. Once home I have had a bit of a play about with my incredibly simple version and consider the finished item a delightful when stored in pretty glass jars ideal for home use and as edible gifts for fellow foodies.
Since I like to gift the odd home-made edible. A swift make follows and I can confirm quite yummy when served over ice cream or greek yogurt for breakfast and even more so lobbed over a cake. Undoubtedly more will follow, both sweet and savoury for that matter. Adding a diaphanous smidgen of edible glitter to make it frightfully festive to boot. (I know any excuse eh?)
Melt a 50/50 mix of white sugar and water to dissolve and make a stock syrup, the only ‘must use’ is dried not fresh cranberries. Pour the ‘saporific’ warm syrup over the cranberries to cover and top them up as they absorb, then and just leave them in the syrup to reconstitute and soften for a few days to get to come ‘closely acquainted’.
Then to do:
Add a dash of white wine vinegar to the syrup and serve with camembert lunch bites, ideal when dearest chum and ‘über baker chef’ arrives. She’s a purveyor of much silliness/playtime of photographs for her webby/and magical meringues as shown below. Staring our cranberries I might add!
Fill brandy snaps then have dearest chum douce all and sundry (including me) in icing sugar.
Lastly spend two hours clearing up a veritable mountain of icing sugar, and more glitter than you could ever envisage, which she launched over her pretty meringues, vanilla ice cream combined with melted white chocolate for stability, said cranberries and a sprig or two of mint to make a Christmas tree dessert.
Since this revelation I have found many uses for the inky garnet coloured gems, they are proving to be a worthy yummy make.
btw: Time short? = Zap ‘um in the microwave… but maybe not the glitter?
Toot toot x