2015 Bastei Entertainment Blog Tours Emma Hamilton Guest Post
Blog Tour: Greedily Yours by Emma Hamilton - Guest Post
Today I am delighted to welcome Emma Hamilton to the blog. Emma is the author of new serialised novel Greedily Yours. To celebrate the publication of the first episode of the series, she has stopped by to share with us her Kitchen Disasters! Emma, all yours:
Cooking has always been a pleasure for me and generally it goes well. I mean, I’m not too gifted at the presentation side of things, or, in fact, at producing anything calling for a “light touch;” soufflés are definitely not my bag. But if you want a dish to pack a punch and fill you up, then I’m your woman! -Having said that though, I’ve been responsible for some notable disasters. I once got together with an Italian guy who also loved food. A match made in heaven you might think. He would sit long in to the night, expounding on the beauty of life after the third bottle of wine and he would plan elaborate meals with expensive ingredients; a rare cheese here, a “top” cut of meat there. I met him at a press conference and a few weeks later, after long email exchanges; he came down to see me in the town where I was working. As I was writing at my desk, he proceeded to wash up the dishes in my kitchen and then popped out for some “delicious ingredients” to cook me a meal. Wow, this could be love, I thought. Report finished, he turned up with fresh seafood, huge langoustines, mussels and a choice cut of meat; excess, or eccessivo, was his middle name. One time he brought home globe artichokes and we proceeded to attempt to stuff them and fry them, alla Romana. Another time we made stuffed Zucchini flowers with anchovies and mozzarella.
The quest for the new and for recreating dishes I had previously only eaten in restaurants had begun. He liked the finer things in life and we both wanted to cook them. At first I was impressed, he was a gourmet and I was loving trying new things on my tiny studio flat two ringed cooker. The relationship progressed and I visited him in Milan. There I realised that food hygiene was not his strong point. His fridge was full of old and mouldy bits of cheese, rinds and his kitchen table contained not one but two wicker baskets of gradually mouldering breadcrumbs, because, as he explained, “he liked making everything from scratch”. The green tinge on the breadcrumbs didn’t seem to bother him at all. The kitchen sides where he would flamboyantly throw things around to create a dish were covered in crusted food and dirty pans. In short, he lived like a student. Despite this, the relationship continued and when I took over the cooking, and cleaning, of the kitchen; things seemed to be looking up. A few months later though, it all went pear-shaped and my culinary confidence took a nose dive too. It was very strange, suddenly, even things that I could have done with my eyes shut, like bake a Victoria sponge, would turn out wrong.
For my birthday that year, I baked a cake and held a picnic. That cake just wouldn’t rise or set in the middle, even after several hours in my tiny oven. In the end, I tried to foist a half liquid chocolate sponge on my Italian guests; they politely declined and snuck off to get slices of pizza. Needless to say, Signor Eccessivo didn’t turn up to the disaster birthday; we were on the first of a couple of breaks before we eventually split. Heartbreak has always turned me off my food and induced a temporary period of Spartan eating. Perhaps that’s why I turned to a delicious Afghan soup made with spinach, rice, lentils and yoghurt to comfort me during that period. The pounds dropped off as I moped around feeling sorry for myself. Then I read that if you added apple cider vinegar, you could lose even more weight. Soon I was supping my soup with a good shot of said vinegar. Hmmm, delicious I thought, and slimming. But when I foisted my meal on a friend who’d come to cheer me up, she took one spoon and declared herself “full.” Recently, as my husband was busy telling that friend, a Tuscan, who we were visiting, how great a cook I was and how his favourites of my repertoire were “Italian”, she eyed me dubiously, “do you still cook that vinegary soup?” she asked.
I coughed as my husband looked confused. “Erm, no, no I don’t,” I said, feeling my confidence draining all over again.
That night, she let me loose in her kitchen. To accompany the grilled Tuscan steaks, I offered to do slices of fennel and tomato covered in breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon, as a “contorno”. “OK” she happily agreed as she laid the table. How can I possibly mess this up? I thought, it’s only cooking an Italian inspired dish for Italians after all, but mess it up I did, as people looked surprised that a Brit had been allowed to cross the hallowed portals of an Italian kitchen. Everyone “Mmmmnhed” politely, but I ended up eating the copious leftovers for the rest of our visit.
That’s why I gave Mia “temporary culinary incompetence”, because I really believe that when you are down or feeling worried, (a bit like in that book ‘Like Water for Chocolate’,) your feelings come out in your food. Luckily, as I finally realised, just like heartbreak, “temporary culinary incompetence” will pass. When you’re in love again, or just happy, your food will once again taste divine (at least to you) and everything in the kitchen will go right.
About Greedily Yours:
Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she's made it her career. On the surface Mia seems to have it all. She lives in trendy east London with her best friend, Lizzie, who owns a cupcake cafe. By day she runs her own food PR consultancy, and by night she's a food blogger with a burgeoning audience. Mia has a banker boyfriend, Paul, who enjoys travelling the world, enabling her to taste the globe's culinary delights. But Mia is still hungry and, when she heads down to Cornwall to run a food festival, she doesn't realise that her entire life is about to be cast adrift.
Get the 1st episode on: Amazon | Amazon UK