Peter O’Tool celebrates his 60th birthday today and his feast day has bought out the sun, at a time and temperature that made breakfasting on the Terraza or “Yard” as the Americans call it, an absolute must. The rest of this post was originally going to be about Peter, aka The Pharaoh of Galway, and was to be a celebration of his life.
Sadly, and with the inevitability of a train strike by people who are underscoring the need for driverless trains, the breakfast idyll and my kind intentions unravelled. Firstly ground ginger on Melon. Not to everyone’s taste, but in my book absolutely essential. (As an aside friends of mine have a housekeeper who has known me for at least 25 years and recognises a hangover from 500 paces. Her solution is a fresh apple juice and ginger concoction that is very much better for you than The Guinness and Bloody Mary’s Back solution). I digress.
So hand into herb and spice cupboard, which The Hon. Plantagenet maintains she maintains in alphabetical order, and sans spectacles, I made the mistake of getting the ground Cumin, which I sprinkled liberally on the melon until the unmistakeable dusky odour of the souk reached my nostrils. It turns out that washing it under cold water does not entirely remove the taste of cumin from a melon. Ottolenghi was now front and centre in my mind, and so my Flakes of Mourn or whatever my cereal is called benefitted from a couple of spoons of Pomegranate seeds. I am nothing if not a sophistimecate! This particular cereal already has dried flakes of what are supposed to be strawberries and raspberries, but which look suspiciously like painted toenails. The unfortunate image was reinforced by the pomegranate seeds that added nothing to the flavour, but turned breakfast into a vision from hell.
You are probably thinking, “Kneesup? Fruit for brekker? Has he gone mad?” No, gentle reader, this is The Diet. Four weeks in and with various pit stops and derailments, it continues, but sadly without much pace. For ten days now, and down to the last ¼oz, nothing has changed. Last night, I thought I’d be healthy and eat a salad. Tonno Con Fagioli seemed appropriate, with a little sourdough bread to mop up the Greek Olive Oil and fresh lemon juice dressing. Two tins of flaked tuna, one tin of cannellini, one thinly sliced red onion, two hard-boiled eggs, two dessert spoons of capers, green pitted olives, the aforementioned dressing and a grab of sourdough for pushing onto fork and mopping. Turns out that the calories in that, I assumed, healthy feast are a little less than drinking a bottle of Gin. Perhaps I shall have to stick with my new and inedible recipe, Melone con Cumino, safe in the knowledge that it cannot pass my lips.
The Derby meeting posts will start to arrive later, but in the meantime, I wish Peter O’Tool a very Happy Birthday wherever he is and whatever he is doing, and I very much hope that his growing herd of Racing Llamas bring him huge success in the annual gathering of such beasts.