When you are looking for a little bit of nourishing comfort food, nothing is finer with vegetarian sausages, buttery mash, some steamed green vegetables and really thick gravy, than a dollop of English mustard on the side. Even living in tropical Brunei, it is a little home-cooked taste of England that we still treat ourselves with every few weeks. If we draw the curtains, put all the side lights on to create a soft glow, and crank up the air conditioning, we could almost pretend it is a chilly autumnal evening! Almost. Well, close enough.
Closer than the days when we are invited to the Officers’ Mess for a Sunday roast. Thirty or forty adults and children, all dressed up and sat out on the shaded veranda in the midday heat, sweating profusely but grimly determined to enjoy their roast beef, yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings (English mustard included, of course!). And if they are not feeling uncomfortably weighed down and warm by then, there is always a hearty apple crumble and custard to follow. Truly, ‘mad dogs and English men’ doesn’t even begin to cover it!
So that was the first thought that ran through my head when I saw that this week’s one word colour from Jennifer Nichole Wells was mustard. Sauce jars aren’t in my usual photographic subject area though! Still, I knew pretty much immediately which photos would fit the bill, and they seemed to have to go as a pair, mottled as they both were. I think these two mustard macros knock the spots off Colman’s! Yeah, okay lame word play, but I just had to do it…forgive me?!
Of course you just can’t think of the colour without thinking off the condiment! So a little dab of mustard on the side of the plate, courtesy of Nigel Slater:
“Almost anything is edible with a dab of French mustard on it.”
(Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater).
Nigel Slater is an English food writer – ‘a cook who writes’ as he humbly calls himself. He is an all-time food hero of mine because of his approach to seasonality, honesty of flavours and simplicity in his cooking style. Not to mention that everything he makes always looks delicious and beautifully presented, even when it is just a simple supper. My food photography skills are dreadful, so looking at his photographs is a genuine inspiration. And if it means I have to go make (and eat!) something in order to practice my photography skills, well I guess that is just the price I have to pay!