You know what smells really, really bad? Shrimp paste. Yes, I know, this should come as no surprise to me: it is made from fermented ground shrimps, after all. Also, I really should get over the habit of sniffing curiously at things which I know will be particularly offensive to my nostrils, especially when I’m going to put those things in my food. I used to do this with fish sauce, too: eurgh, fermented anchovies, yek (surprise, surprise, right?), then I’d put some in my dinner, and then I wouldn’t want to eat my dinner because it smelled of fermented anchovies.
I have just about made my peace with the fish sauce – I went on a Thai cookery course a little while ago, and it turns out that the secret to making Thai food that tastes actually properly like Thai food is to put huge quantities of fish sauce in everything. This is distressing at first, but the trick is not to inhale while you pour, and definitely, definitely not to immediately run the measuring spoon under a hot tap right near where your nose is.
Sorry, guys. I meant to come home and make the most delicious-sounding rhubarb and rye scones from my new favourite place for finding things to do with rhubarb. I also meant to make watermelon lemonade, because somehow it’s been 30 degrees out for the last two weeks and I’ve sort of forgotten what to do when that happens but I’m pretty sure long, refreshing drinks are in order, and what sounds more refreshing than watermelon lemonade?
Instead, though, I didn’t. Firstly, I got distracted by a boyfriend (mine, just to be clear) in a pub garden with a glass of pimms and some calamari – not a good start, productivity-wise – and then, then, somebody on twitter posted that the water at Claverton Weir, my
second new favourite swimming spot, is at a perfect temperature right now. I am not so good at resisting that kind of temptation, apparently.
Oof! I don’t know what happened there, but one day it was May, and then suddenly it was July. What happened to June? I’ve gone straight from early rhubarb to elderflowers, without so much as a whiff of wild garlic and hardly an asparagus spear to be seen. My sister is becoming really quite concerned that I don’t seem to have eaten in a month. (I’m secretly hoping that she’ll take pity on me and come and live in our flat when her lease is up, and make me lots of her delicious food to fatten me back up).
In reality, though, I have been eating – mostly ice cream, I admit, but I have been eating – I just haven’t been writing any of it down. I blame John, who very unreasonably had a birthday only a week before our old housemate returned from 18 months on the other side of the world for four very short days before jetting off to Finland, only a week before my godfather flew across for a visit from Australia (although, in his case, not with a new Finnish girlfriend).
Obviously, it’s been a very hard month.