I’m still working my way through the kitchen, in case you’ve been wondering. The freezer practically has tumble weed blowing through it now and last night I finished the last of the macaroni, which was a significant moment.
I’m still burdened, though, with copious amounts of polenta – disgusting stuff, really, isn’t it? Every time I pick that packet up and wonder if the family can stand any more corn bread I remember something Jonathan Ross said once: ‘You’ve got to feel sorry for the middle class – they have to eat polenta…’
The only thing harder to shift is the bloody cracked wheat. My former colleague at the Sydney Morning Herald, Paola Totaro came to stay with her family a few weeks ago (we have daughters the same age, which is brilliant luck, and they actually like each other, which is even better) and we cooked a Middle Eastern feast together, including Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe for tabouleh, which I was hoping would make a cheeky dent in the bulgur. Ha ha ha.
It only uses about one tablespoonful and by the time dinner was ready Paola and I were nearly hysterical. You cannot believe the amount of work in that recipe. I was chopping parsley for what felt like several hours, while Paola gathered spices from a list as long as her arm – with just enough differences to be really maddening from the long list of spices required for the other Ottolenghi dish we were ‘rustling’ up.
Since then I’ve cooked the only other of his recipes I could find which uses bulgur, which was equally torturous and prompted my husband to say: ‘No more experiments. Please.’
I worship the food in Mr Ottolgenghi’s restaurants – particularly the tiny one in Notting Hill – and I adored reading his book Jerusalem, written with his Palestinian partner Sami Tamimi (right), which is as much travel as cookery and confirmed that city’s position at the top of my list of places I most want to go to (closely followed by Berlin and Copenhagen), but I won’t be cooking from it again. Too hard.
So – does anyone have any other suggestions for bulgur wheat? And if not, do you think I might be allowed to bin what’s left of it?