I remember the first time I went to the theatre. It was a real experience, truly marvel. And everyone so well dressed. People made the effort. And when I say "effort" I don't mean expensive. A bit like going to a wedding, or a first job interview (well I would have a couple of words even on this topic to be fair...).
On Friday at the Royal Opera House to my disdain there were more jeans and trainers (trainer, for God's sake, trainers!) walking around than black dresses and ties. What is this? A political statement that culture only eats brains and not clothes? As if wearing a suit had become an offence. Or simply too bourgeois to worry about.
I was almost even more astonished once at my seat. A grumpy man who reported me for taking pictures during the break, a Marcel Marceau-looking-guy who must have been concerned about hurting his palm while clapping, a ginger-haired girl in rosy wellies. Where will we end up like this I wonder?
Before the ballet experience we froze almost to death at the German Christmas market in Hyde Park. My idea was to spend the entire afternoon wondering around markets. I don't think I would have survived...somebody would have found a small corpse crumpled in a corner...
What made us going for half an hour though was not gluh-wine but a wonderful hand-baked bread stuffed with cheese and bacon covered with a generous dollop of sour cream. The bread seems to originate in Dresden (for those of you who like me have no clue as where Dresden is, it is practically in Poland and once in the hands of the Communists (is this politically incorrect?). No idea what it looks like - will have to wait for a £0.01 Ryanair flight...
In any case last night while waiting for the agnolotti sauce to be ready (recipe to follow soon) we thought of reproducing the bread and it turned out very similar - of course if you had an open-air wooden oven like Jamie Oliver that would taste better. But you can't have it all. The recipe goes like this:
250g plain flour
2 tsp yeast (if dried, otherwise half a cube of fresh yeast)
150ml lukewarm water
50g cheddar (or Edamer) cheese
2-3 slices of smoked bacon
2 tbsp sour cream
a small handful of chive
1. Pre-head the oven at 240C.
2. Mix the dried yeast with the flour or melt the fresh yeast in warm water (the same warm water you are going to use for the recipe). If dried yeast, then add the water and let it rest for 1-2 minutes and then mix kneading well. If fresh then add the water to the flour with the yeast melted in it and proceed in the same way as above.
3. Leave the dough to raise for 1 hour. When almost doubled, flatten it down and make a rectangular. On one side of it place the slices of cheese, the bacon and and mushroom (optional). You can make it as cheesy as you like. It is actually pretty scrumptious when the cheese overflows and slightly burns on the outsides!
4. Fold the other side and tuck it in well making sure it is well sealed. Sprinkle a small quantity of salt on top and brush with some olive oil.
5. Cook it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes depending on how big you have made it.
6. Serve it hot in slices with some sour cream and sprinkle of chopped chive on top.
Below are some snaps I managed to take before my hands turned blue - at which point I decided to put my gloves back on and switch off the camera...