Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The One With The Rehearsal

Last night I went and watched the theatre group I belong to rehearse for their forthcoming production of Fawlty Towers.

I haven’t acted since autumn 2013 and although it’s not unusual for me to have a break from theatre for a while, this is probably the longest I’ve been gone. Hubby’s job take him away from home quite a bit now, so what with that, work and the boy starting school, making rehearsals felt nigh on impossible and I couldn’t see when or if I’d be going back for a long time.

Then last night happened.

Everyone was so pleased to see me and I read in one of the parts while sitting next to the director and watching the action. I love Fawlty Towers and I adore acting comedy so I really enjoyed it. It was lovely to see all my friends again and be back talking about scripts, lines, direction and timing.

Most of all I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed acting and need it in my life. It’s in my bones, my soul and my heart.

I’ve been horribly down recently. I’ve been back to the doctor and gone up from 10mg every other day to 20mg every day of my anti-depressants. I’ve felt lost and uninspired, especially since the New Year.

Last night was like a breath of fresh air. I felt like I’d come home.

I know what I’m missing now and I need to go back to it. I went through a stage of worrying when I was in a show that I hadn’t sold enough tickets and got enough people to come and see it. I realise now that’s not important. Yes we need bums on seats to carry the group on, but that isn’t my sole responsibility. If friends and family want to come then great, if they don’t, no worries. I do this for me, no one else.

I also went through a stage of being in some ropey old rubbish or taking on too much. Mainly because I was too scared to say no and let everyone down. Again it’s not my sole responsibility. I need to be in plays I enjoy. The part doesn't have to be huge, I don't need to be the star. I just need to act.  I’m no longer falling for ‘Well if you don’t do it I can’t see how else we can cast that part. We’ll just not do a play this time.’

That’s balls!

No one person is bigger than the group and plays can always be cast.

The theatre doesn’t need me that badly.

I, on the other hand, have realised that I need it. Very badly indeed.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The One With the Made Up Meals

I’ve been making up a lot of meals in my head recently.

I can’t actually claim to have written any recipes but neither am I following any. It must be something to do with being more right brained than left and not wanting to follow instructions

If I do make something from a recipe book I can’t help ‘tinkering’ with it until eventually it’s beyond all recognition of the original. I rarely look at a cookbook anyway, unless it’s for the proportions for Yorkshire puddings; for some reason I always have to look that up, or buy Aunt Bessie’s, who is known in this house as the patron saint of the roast dinners.

I’ve been creating desserts with bags of frozen berries, making apple and leek stuffing to accompany roast pork and rustling up a sort of bubble and squeak with left over roast potatoes, ham, cranberry sauce and peas. Don’t knock until you try it. Although I’ve had several friends question the existence of a ‘left over roast potato’.

The boy had a run on brioche for breakfast recently. For some reason he called them brioche sausage rolls, (they were rolls but contained no sausage), and it was all he’d eat for weeks, then suddenly he announced there were ‘balls’ in them and he wouldn’t eat them anymore.

No, I don’t know what he means either. I can only assume it was a dry bit or a clump of dough or something, but once he’d found it that was the end of the love affair with brioche.

So when my friend Actor Laddie and his family came for Sunday lunch I had a whole 8 pack of brioche rolls that needed ‘using up’ as my Mum would say.

So I came up with 'White Chocolate and Raspberry Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding'. 

Split a pack of 8 brioche rolls lengthways so you have 16 pieces and butter them.
Arrange a layer of 8 pieces in a deep roasting dish.
Scatter over half a punnet of raspberries and half a 100g packet of white chocolate chips or a white chocolate bar broken into pieces.

Do it all over again with the other 8 pieces of brioche, the raspberries and white chocolate.

Make a custard with 3 beaten eggs, 600 ml (1 pint) of milk and 50g of light soft brown sugar whisked together until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are incorporated. I added a dash of single cream as well because I had some to go with the pud once it was cooked.

Pour the custard over the brioche and let it soak in for about half an hour before baking at 180C (160C fan) Gas Mark 4 for 40 to 45 minutes.

I did it on 160C for 40 minutes because my oven is fierce and even after nearly a year in this house I’m still coming to terms with how it can burn something to a crisp in seconds. My cake baking prowess is nowhere near what it was because of that bloomin’ oven.

The pudding was declared a success and I would’ve posted a picture but we wolfed it all down before I thought about taking one.

After this makeshift masterpiece I’m going to have a go at something that doesn't sound like a proper recipe but actually is; brussel sprout risotto, which was sent to me by a fellow blogger and Twitter pal. 

There’s a glut of sprouts on the fields round here so they’re going for a song. Well they can be rather a ‘musical’ vegetable…