Omar, Michael & Peter

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum, Ad Infinitum | 5 October 2014

And so Thursday arrived, 6 more meals to eat and before the end of the day Scotland was looking at Independence.

I wasn't sure which way I wanted it to go. I am so bad with change, but there is no love lost between me and the coalition, so I was fascinated to see how the Scottish public would call it.

I climbed out of my double bed, you could see the shape of my body still in the sheets. I had practically slept through the night.

Left everything and skipped down the stairs to my awaiting taxi. I say skipped. The fall had crippled my coccyx and compressed my sacroiliac, but with two shows on the menu I ignored it.

This morning I was facing a Spanish Christmas with the thuperb sthpaniard known as Omar Allibhoy, a chef of such Beleriac beauty he could have served up beanthz on toastht and still I would have sthwooned.

Kathy , using her brushes and paint, did for me, covering up my crinkled brow from banging on the bathroom floor, I dressed in appropriate Spanish clothing and off we went.

Mel, our floor manager had never eaten oysters so with the crowd baying for blood, she slipped one of Omar's Salsa Verde Oysters into her resistant gob. We all cheered when she swallowed it down in one. I still don't know whether she liked it or not....

Peter Richards, Cava in hand, slurped the delicacy in one, two three. I followed on closely behind delighting in the bivalve molluscs that had offered themselves to the table. Omar freshly shucked them then cooked them for a moment in olive oil, garlic, parsley and white wine, what was there not to like?

Sometime its hard to find the time to have a shuck at Christmas, but sometimes, when those fancy clams taste like Madrid on a plate, it may be worth the effort.

Mostly I call myself a vegetarian, mostly I eat very little flesh, mostly I leave the carbs to the rest of the framily, but when a whole Suckling Pig, costing an arm and a trotter, is served up on a bed of herby roasted potatoes, it would be churlish not to stuff ones face. And I did, over and over again. I thanked the little piglet for its unselfish sacrifice.

At Christmas time the whole of Spain, eat pigs rather than turkeys so joining Omar in such an ancient feast was a privilege,

Mostly I can't eat sweet stuff, the old blood sugar pulls a flanker if I go over the top, but Turron Mousse served with white wine poached pears was irresistible. Melting down the Spanish nougat and adding a bit of honey, cream and cinnamon then pouring it over the pears was so mindblowingly delicious, I felt myself, for just a moment, to be part of the entire Spanish population in their seasonal blow-out.

We kissed adios to Omar and changed for MC MBE.

The idea that I had to sit through a banquet brought by Michael Caines felt just a little too gross, but I am a professional and Michael's food is worthy of every Michelin star put before him, not to mention his MBE and winning smile.

'Tradition' was the name of the game. So I changed my attire and settled down for home cured Smoked Salmon, otherwise known as Gravlax with sour cream and potato pancakes, then a proper sweet mustard roasted Gammon. It's amazing how the body makes way for more food, the decadence of it all did not go unnoticed but Mr. Caines fed the whole crew and more. Whilst Sammy Jo and her team cooked in the little kitchen the temperature rose.

The smell of baking ham, the smell of Christmas spices, filled the studio and when the table was set for Michael's magnificent trifle there wasn't a belt in the house that hadn't been let out two notches.

This was Boxing Day fare to send even the heavyweights back into the kitchen. The trifle made with Sherry, Créme Chantilly, Jaconde Sponge, Fruit Jelly and Créme Patissiére was so mesmerizing, so aesthetically pleasing, so sensually satisfying that it was just too impossible to pass.

If you want to make your table look swanky then you could do worse than Caine's incredible pud. My dearly, departed sister-in-law used to provide the trifles in our framily. Now that she's gone it falls to somebody else, this may be my year to turn out the trifle of a lifetime.

From Rioja to Cava from Moscatel to large glasses of perfumed red, Peter Richard's plied our palettes throughout the day. By the time the director stood me down I wobbled to the taxi.

When I arrived at The Hotel Du Vin I was greeted with the joyous news that I had been given a garden room again.

I leapt up the stairs, I say leapt, to my old room. The towels and bed were as I had left them. They must have known I was not returning.

The sink was still gurgling, the light fading so I switched on a table lamp, one huge flash later and I had fused all the lights in the room.

It was most definitely time to leave.

I bounced down the stairs - okay okay - and returned to a beautiful ground floor room. Not my original one, but that didn't matter.

There was space and light and I was near to foliage.

I unpacked my few wash things, put on a fluffy bathrobe then settled down for the Referendum.

I could not sleep. I had to wait for Glasgow and Orkney, I had to see Edinburgh and Fife declare, I drifted off only to return throughout the night to the vote of the Century.

By the time I fell asleep it was time to get up. The penultimate feast awaited. Cake, cake and more cake.

I found to the taxi, nodded off in the back, nodded off in the makeup chair, and nodded off in the studio. Alex Salmond had resigned and all was as it had been for 300 years.

Today would be a celebration of all things baked, moussed and German. Could my body take any more?

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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