Forget Flowers: Say It With Food!

I’m a very firm believer in using food to win friends, impress people and throw a warm fuzzy blanket over any icy social situation. But food can also be used to send a myriad of messages, from “sorry I screwed up and forgot your birthday” to “thanks for putting up with my terrible stressed-out behaviour during exam week” and “I think we would have beautiful babies, will you please marry me”. The trick is matching the dish to the sentiment. Because just like certain flowers have particular meanings (did you know that for Victorians, peonies supposedly represented “anger”? Can you imagine? “I’m absolutely livid… so I gave him a HUGE bunch of peonies!”) I think certain foods can send messages as well. I haven’t got recipes for all of these yet, so if you really need a good recipe for one of the following dishes, send me a message or comment below and I’ll sort you out! Now, here’s how I think you can say it with a dish…

My failsafe cupcake recipe is Nigella’s Fairy Cakes. Works EVERY time.

 

  1. To say “THANK YOU FOR BEING FANTASTIC” you should make… CUPCAKES

Everyone loves cupcakes, and what’s more you can tailor them to the person. Some people are more classic vanilla with lemon icing, others are more burnt butter caramel and pecan, some are just always going to be red velvet. Also some people are allergic to nuts so be careful with that, nothing says “thank you” less than an accidental poisoning.

2. To say “SORRY I’VE BEEN A BIT SHIT” you should make… PIE

Maybe a delicious deep dish apple pie, served with ice cream. Maybe a mouthwatering lamb and rosemary pie. Maybe a succulent sweet potato pie. If you’ve been really bad, use some pastry to write “sorry” on top of the crust. Apologies are even better when they’re visual. And involve pie.

3. To say “CONGRATS ON DOING THAT REALLY COOL THING” you should make… RISOTTO. Have your clever friend/loved one round for dinner, pop some bubbles, and serve them a fragrant risotto, maybe mushroom and herb, maybe pumpkin and goat’s cheese, maybe chicken and tomato. Serve with a lovely salad and fresh baguette because they are brilliant and deserve it.

My mum makes the best lasagne in the world and don’t you dare even try to argue

4. To say “I’M SO SORRY YOUR HEART GOT BROKEN” you should make… LASAGNE

Lasagne is a fantastic comfort food, and you can make a really big one that will last them a few days’ worth of eating their feelings. If you’re worried about them not getting enough nutrients, you can sneak some extra veggies in there too. Ooh, and garlic bread. Make them garlic bread.

5. To say “GET WELL SOON” you should make… CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

I feel like this one is a bit of a no-brainer. If your sick friend is a vegetarian, spring vegetable soup will work just as well. Pack it full of health-giving magical foods like garlic and ginger and leafy green vegetables (but no kale, because kale somehow manages to remain dry even in SOUP. I am not a kale fan, not at all).

6. To say ”GOODBYE MY DARLING” you should make… APPLE ROSE TARTS

These simple yet delicate and delightful little cakes accurately convey the message “look how much time I spent on an edible goodbye gift that is as sweet yet as ephemeral as our time together, also it was bloody fiddly, but that’s ok because I love you, safe travels and enjoy the piece of my heart you tear out as you leave me”, I think.

7. To say “THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME STAY IN YOUR HOUSE WHILE I SORT MY LIFE OUT” you should make… A FRITTATA (and also some other things. Like, dinner a couple of times a week)

I’m staying with my wonderful fairy-godparents (by which I mean, not technically my godparents but that is an accurate description of the relationship/the amount of love and support I get from them. They don’t have wings… that I know of) at the moment, and on a rare occasion when we were all home for dinner the other night I made a really nice frittata. And took some pictures. And will provide the recipe below. So yeah, this was a weak attempt at linking the recipe to the article, but I regret nothing.

Pizza cake!

8. To say “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU” you should make… THEIR FAVOURITE FOOD

Sorry folks, there’s just no one-size-fits-all for this one. I think to show that you love someone, you need to know the exact culinary path to their heart. Maybe it’s a glorious caramel mud cake, maybe it’s chilli beef burritos, maybe it’s pork belly with extra crackling, maybe it’s golden syrup dumplings, maybe it’s a colourful vegan buddha bowl. Maybe you’re my brother, and it’s pizza cake, and you have the best sister in the world, and she MADE you a damn pizza cake. Showing them you know, and that you care, and that you love them enough to make it for them (even better, surprise them with it!) – that’s love.

THANK YOU FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS

8 x eggs

2 x handfuls grated tasty cheese

1 x handful grated parmesan

1 x sweet potato

4 x medium potatoes

1 x bunch asparagus

1 x onion

3 x cloves garlic

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Boil a largish saucepan of water and chuck in the potatoes and sweet potato, which you will have peeled and chopped into roughly thumb-sized pieces.
  2. In a large, oven-proof frying pan – if you don’t have one of these you’ll just have to use a frying pan then an oven dish, I’m just trying to save on washing up because we all know how I feel about that – anyway as I was saying, into this frying pan throw the sliced onions on a medium heat with some olive oil and butter. Add the finely chopped garlic and after a few minutes, when the onion is translucent, add the asparagus. If they’re fat asparagus spears, slice them in half lengthways.
  3. When the potatoes are soft, drain them and throw them into that pan, baby. Sauté everything together for 3-4 minutes.
  4. In a jug, whisk together the egg and about 2/3 of the cheese. Pour this over all the goodies in the pan, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and whack it in the oven for 15 mins or so, until cooked and golden.
  5. Present with a side salad, a nice wine, a warm smile and a big thank you!!

Please leave any ideas/questions/thoughts here, I'd love to hear them!