Cobblestone Cooking Music XXXVIII – Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Just a quick usual disclaimer for whenever I do Italian cooking here – if your beloved Grandma from the sun-scorched hills in Umbria (or wherever) did this differently, this is not an attempt to cast spells on your family 😉 Hey, I ‘m just a closet South European of a Dane who likes to cook…

All the music tonight is by Gladys Knight & the Pips. Because she turned up on a Spotify playlists – and because she’s headlining this summer’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival. And because we have tickets.

  • Smile
  • Midnight Train to Georgia

And then there is a quite other reason for writing this up after some hiatus. At work today, we had a Friday bar – a short get together over a single beer or glass of wine or a sparkling water. Happens on the first Friday of the month and is a lovely “hygge” (go look it up) thing.

  • Who Is She (And What Is She To You)
  • If I Were Your Woman

I got to speak to some colleagues who were joking that they were at the party now and didn’t intend to leave. I mentioned that I had to – as I’m doing the cooking in the household and I was sure that my wife, as well as myself, would like some dinner. To which someone retorted that if I cooked, I should of course also get a blog.

Yeah! 😉

Right, Cacio e Pepe. Very, very simple dish – long, thin-ish pasta (we used a very regular spaghetti), black pepper (whole) and pecorino.

Get the pasta boiling. Take a decent amount of black peppercorn – say, a tablespoon for serving four – and give them a gentle whcaking in a mortar or with the bottom of a small pot on a board. Just crack then open a wee bit.

  • I WIll Survive / Free Again
  • Bourgie’, Bourgie’

Put them on a dry pan, let them roast for a minute or two. Add a lump of butter and, when it’s done it’s initial sizzling, turn down the heat some and add a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. It’s needed in there to make the sauce and it stops everything from getting overly brown.

  • Still Such A Thing

Now, I often have issues with the cheese clumping – not Italian, recall? So today, I added a bit, let it melt, stirred it into the butter/water/pepper. Waited a bit, added som more cheese. And, at this time, some pasta water because it seemed the time to do so.

When the pasta’s not quite done yet, fish it out of the water and put it on the pan. Add cheese and pasta wtare (as neede, if needed) until you have that creamy consistency of a sauce surrounding the pasta.

  • Spoken Word
  • Taste of Bitter Love

Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with parsley on the way. And drink a decent Italian red along with it.

No picture, sorry – wanted to serve it while hot.

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Words – did you take them?

You left
I miss you
Those two lines never made much good writing
Except for the odd blues song
That I am so far from being the right guy to do

But when I try to make something better of them
Add some eloquence
Put flesh on the ribs of those lines

The words aren’t there

Did you, by any chance, take them?
When you packed up your things to leave
Like, somehow slipped them into your suitcase?

Sure, I know, words are different from your shirts and shoes and perfumes
They don’t lie around in orderly bundles or stacks or sheaves
In the hallway cupboard
Or the second desk drawer

And yet
They left with you

Did you calmly walk around
Finding them, picking them out, extracting them?
Rounding them up?

Or did you do the Pied Piper trick
And made them walk after you in an orderly line?

It’s empty here
And it’s silent here

You left.
Me.
Without a word.


I found this in my Simplenote app. No idea when I wrote it or what promoted it. And as far as I can see, I haven’t posted it before.

It does link nicely to this one, though.

(And just for the sake of good order: Nobody just left me 😉 )

Photo by me. Nearest thing I had that showed a void.
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What happened to them?

I really wanted to write something today

But the words didn’t come.

Did you take them with you when you left?

Note to anyone who may know me in person: no dramatic changes in my life, rest assured. As always, the writings here (that are not obviously about what’s going on) are fictional 😀

And now I have Jim Morrison’s “Did you have a good world when you died? Enough to base a movie on?” In my head. Such powerful stuff he wrote.

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New Tool in the Armoury

Exchanged a Christmas gift for this shiny beauty 🙂 It said: “Caution, contains sharp items” on the box. No sh*t, Sherlock…

OK, it is just one blade. But it made me think of Dire Straits’ ” Six Blade Knife” anyway. And now that one is stuck in my head. Worth it.

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Why First Now?

See? Perfect bacon. And nothing what so ever stuck on the pan…!

I now have a cast iron pan.

And after using it only three times, I’m thinking of it’s predecessors –

If you, if you could return
Don’t let it burn
Don’t let it fade
I’m sure I’m not being rude
But it’s just your attitude
It’s tearing me apart
It’s ruining every day
For me
I swore I would be true
And fellow, so did you
So why were you holding her hand?
Is that the way we stand?
Were you lying all the time?
Was it just a game to you?
But I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do you have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

In other words, I don’t need to occupy myself with the memory of the ever so “nothing will stick to this” surfaces of the previous ones. My first thing on this was a Danish thing called “krebinetter” – basically, breaded minced meat. Prone to stick. And – it just didn’t.

Yes, I conditioned the pan. Even if the paperwork that came with it said that it had been done. I did like this.

And yes, you have to do the cleaning right and do a little bit of maintenance. But I swear, it’s worth it.

Now, I have these larger pans that are wearing out…

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First Frost of the Year

First frosty morning
Winter’s welcoming us with
Brillant crisp beauty

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Unexpected Dance

Your eyes were blue and full of light
Making this more than just a night
And while we danced I saw just that
Your eyes were blue and full of light
The smile, the touch, the tit for tat
They held me close – I only know
Your eyes were blue and full of light
Making this more than just a night.

———-

Man, I have written very little here lately. Basically, I’m in some kind of period without that many words.

What does happen is some photography – so hopefully, you enjoy the sideshow.

This is a deliberate attempt to write a triolet. It won’t win me any Nobel prizes in literature – but there is a certain satisfaction in seeming to have wrestled the rhythm and rhyming pattern and not lose all meaning in the process.

And there’s a memory of a swell evening in good company in there 😀

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Monday Motorway Music™, July 2 – Magical Copenhagen Nights

We had a night out last week – a small group of good colleagues as one guy was leaving the team.

The scallops…

The food was absolutely excellent – New Nordic style and both the starting scallops and the main course venison were to die for. The wines picked didn’t stand back for the food. The friendly banter and good laughs were all excellent.

But still, what really stood out for us Northeners was the evening itself. We sat on the restaurant terrace until somewhat close to midnight and I walked home in rolled up shirt sleeves. It felt no less wonderful than the previous weekend in Italy!

And the photos only halfway gives Copenhagen by warm summer night credit. Amazing 🙂

The Chain – Fleetwood Mac
Melody Gardot – It Gonna Come
Snail Mail – Pristine
Østkyst Hustlers – Hustlerstil

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, June 25 – Three Travel Mysteries

Before I get to the travel bit – last week was one of mixed live music experiences – all good.

Tuesday was rock – Haim played in Copenhagen on the tail end of their Sister, Sister, Sistor tour. And gee, don’t come and tell me that girls can’t rock!

Switch of genre and geography: Saturday was opera – Verdi’s Aida at the Arena in Verona. With a magnificent Anna Pirozzi singing Aida and the most stunning surroundings and ambience.

That done and told, here are my three major “I don’t get it” travel mysteries:

Boarding conundrum

Those of us who travel a lot for work also get some perks for our time and trouble spent. As an elite member (“Gold”, whatevertheycallit), one of these is priority boarding. And yes, in days and time where airlines restrict checked luggage in favour of fees, it can be quite nice to get abord first and have time and reasonable opportunity to get your bag up in the overhead bin and not having it limit the already scarce space between you and the seat in front.

So – when the plane happens to be in a remote parking and boarding is by bus, why on Earth do airlines bother with doing priority boarding first, only to pack everyone together in the same overcrowded bus and releasing them to a free-for-all at the plane?

Dear airlines – either do it properly (announce priority boarding, then drive those passengers off in a bus first, followed by the next boarding waves) or don’t bother at all and just do general boarding right off the bat.

The dreaded plane change

You’ve been diligent and checked in online and early and picked decent seats. At time of boarding, the smiling gate agent hands you a new boarding card – or you get on board and find that your seat is not what the seat plan on the website/app promised.

The plane has been changed in the meantime. To a type with a different layout.

And this invariably gives someone like me a bad customer experience because – and this is the first part of the mystery – 89+ times out of 100, the change is to a less desirable seat. Even, at times, one of the dreaded middle seats.

The major part of the question is – in this day and time where we can have computers predict ordering patterns, tailor ads precisely (more or less) to our exact needs and all that, why can’t airlines create an algorithm for plane type changes?

One that goes “Reseating? Let’s iterate through the whole passenger list in some elegantly weighted manner that analyses check-in order (the sequence number is on your boarding pass, so they do know in what order people checked in) and airline status and then, as much as possible, assign people the same general kind of seats as they picked originally…?

As in “OK, Seq 008 picked an aisle seat in the forward third of the cabin. Check, done. Oh, hey, Seq 12 wanted emergency row, aisle – seems like this one is Gold and checked in early – yeah, fine, let’s grant that…”

Don’t tell me it can’t be done.

When the elite isn’t really that elite anyway

This one is particular to SAS. My dear home airline is part of Star Alliance family – but it seems, sadly, to me that they are choosing at the moment to be the black sheep of the family, the cousin who does come to the family gatherings but noone really wants to talk to.

I have recently been in four different airports – MXP, AGP, DUB & BLQ – where there are lounges marked with a big friendly “Star Alliance Gold Lounge” signs and security fast track queues for Star Alliance Gold members.

Only to be told that yes, my card has a beautiful Star Alliance Gold symbol and name on it – but as it also has an SAS logo in the other corner, sorry, but it is not the right kind of Star Alliance Gold.

At some point, SAS needs to decide if it is part of the family or not. Because this is just getting bloody annoying.

Oh well. First world problems, I guess 😉

The music list is a longer one – had a meeting today on the other side of our small country.

Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen
Get Out Of You Lazy Bed – Matt Bianco
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Celebration – Kool & The Gang
Born For This – Paramore
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Cæcilie Norby
My Love, My Life – ABBA
Better Than Anything – Sinne Eeg
Orinoco Flow – Enya
The Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet
Bag duggede ruder – TV-2

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, June 18 – Those Su-ummer Nights!

We’ve had a long, long stretch of warm, sunshiny weather.

So long, in fact, that the area I live in is dry beyond belief and the traditional Midsummer celebration in my village has been cancelled – it was due to be this coming Saturday but the ban on bonfires that has been called to to the draught will be in place beyond that. And a Danish “Skt. Hans” (Midsummer) celebration without a bonfire isn’t one.

(Here is one of last last year’s local bonfires)

Oh well. We can enjoy the summer and the weather in other ways. The photos up at the top and down below are both from a canoe evening with the scouts last Wednesday. A truly great and beautiful evening!

Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Missing – Everything But The Girl
Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf
Chicago Institute – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
The Man With the Child in His Eyes – Kate Bush

Photos by me.
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