Welcome, friends and fellow feasters! I know you’ve travelled far.
Alas, we’re nearing the end of our progressive blog-feast. I hope everyone is suitably sated, sticky-fingered and ready to pop their buttons … although for the last course we aren’t going to need any buttons.
Please join me in the great hall of Comeagain castle, where the kind serfs have laid a roaring fire and piled pillows and sheepskin rugs over the flagstones. Yes, it’s cold outside, but I’m sure if we snuggle up close we’ll be all right.
Gents, you’ll find a kilt in culturally-appropriate tartan waiting for you in your room. Please respect local traditions by complying with the usual rule about underwear. Ladies, there are thick lambs wool blankets to wrap yourselves in. If the blankets tickle, please ask a serf to assist you with scratching your itch.
Ah, here’s the coffee. A good, strong Arabica roast. You’ll find a little dram helps to warm the parts other drinks can’t reach – either a sharp, smoky Islay malt or a smooth, honey-flavoured Balvenie from Speyside (my personal favourite)- at least 15 years old.Who’d like a dash of something inspiring in their coffee? How about a bit of poetry?
"I carefully arrange a chain of nips
in a big fairy ring; in each square glass
the tincture of a failed geography,
its dwindled burns and woodlands, whin fires, heather,
the sklent of its wind and salty rain,
the love-worn habits of its working-folk,
the waveform of their speech, and by extension
how they sing, make love, or take a joke."
From 'A private bottling', Don Paterson, God's Gift to Women
After such a vivid, sensually-drenched tour with our moveable feast, we’re going to take a little time to mellow and absorb. There’s a guitar, a harmonica, a penny whistle in the corner if anyone feels like honouring us with a song. There is no entertainment – other than ourselves. I can’t think of anything I’d like more than to spend an evening chatting with the assembled erotica clan!
As the sky is ivory black outside and the wind buffers in the chimney, it’s time to unwind and share stories.
What does the future hold for erotica? What would you like to see happen, in the genre itself and in your own work? Look into the flames and tell me what you see …
While you muse, please take a dish and help yourself to handmade truffles and some quirky little petits fours. One last little taste, bittersweet and delectable, to round off the meal.
Beware, these sweets are easy to make, but terribly messy!
Bite my cherry truffles
Fresh double cream
Chocolate – dark, good quality, finely chopped.
Cocoa powder, to dust
Bring the cream to the boil in a pan. Add the chocolate and stir until dissolved. Scoop into a bowl and add the brandy, stirring well. Chill until quite firm. Dust your palms with cocoa powder and take little pinches of truffle mixture and roll into balls.
Sweet juicy shocks
I don’t know if this is a recipe, to be honest. Or if this is really ‘crystallising’. Anyway, I had these once at the end of a stunning meal and loved them – little brittle-shelled, bursting fruity mouthfuls that look gorgeous.
physallis/cape gooseberries/Chinese lanterns
2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring to the boil in a pan. Pull back the papery leaves of the physallis and dip and roll in the hot sugar mix. Leave to cool on a plate.
Traditionally, petits fours (literally ‘little ovens’) were tiny cakes put in the baker’s oven at the end of the day so as not to waste the last of the heat. Often exquisitely decorated little delicacies made from sponge and marzipan, or choux pastry boats and fruit. I truly think that a good patisserie is the best place to find these. But we’re in the wilds of the Highlands*! Not a French baker in sight!
Luckily, I have a bag of marshmallows and skewers for toasting. As the guitar lulls us into the night and the sound of our voices drifts like wood smoke across the ancient stones of the hall, grab a gooey, sticky mallow and – be careful! – don’t burn your lips … let it melt on your tongue.
Lastly, please join me in another toast – this one for the inspirational and awe-inspiring Donna and Kirsten, who dreamed up this whole fabulous feast. Thank you both, it’s been a truly delicious adventure!
Dear guests, feel free to stay here by the fire all night, talking of life and lust and the future. If you’ve found something under the sheepskin rugs that you’d like to explore further, there are rooms upstairs with four-poster beds. But you may want someone to hold your hand, as it’s said these halls are haunted …
*(Okay, Dumfries. Do you need to see my poetic license, officer?)