Current Obsessions, 11

10/18/2019 11:22:00 PM

Cheese and charcuterie platter
Cheese and Charcuterie platter

Hey hey there! Time for a new obsessions post. Here's what's been filling up my brain lately.


Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack
Picture source: El Diario Vasco

Gentleman Jack is a historical British drama series, set in 1830s Yorkshire, about the real-life "first modern lesbian" Anne Lister, an industrialist and land-owner, who was the head of Shibden Hall estate. She was a prolific diarist, writing over four million words in her diaries, chronicling the details of her daily life, business wheelings and dealings, and her many (many!) romantic adventures. The show is energetic and exciting, moving at a brisk pace and held together by Suranne Jones' excellent, high-spirited performance as Anne Lister, navigating her way through a restrictive world that doesn't quite know how to deal with her. I think a real strength of the show is how it portrays all the different relationships - not just Anne and her lovers, but also her immediate and extended family, the household staff, the families she employs to work and live on the estate, her industrial rivals, and more. I also loved taking a peek into the ye olden days lifestyle - the clothes, her business dealings, how she managed her finances, how they travelled, how they communicated, the inner workings of the estate, the way food was served, and how guests were entertained. I thought of it as a smaller, and grittier, version of Downton Abbey or Gosford Park. (Obviously Gentleman Jack is set in a much earlier time, though). And look, the show is worth watching for those hairstyles alone.

Now I really wanna watch Doctor Foster! (Starring Suranne Jones, and the truly excellent Jodie Comer from Killing Eve).


Brooklyn 99

Brooklyn 99
Picture source: VOX

Yup, I may be late to the Brooklyn 99 party, but I'm making up for it with enthusiasm! We started watching it a couple of months ago on Netflix, and promptly fell in love with it. I love the snappy dialogue, the chemistry between the cast, I love that it's current and modern and unselfconsiously inclusive and just hilarious! It's all too easy to binge, and we're already halfway through season five. It was perfect having this to watch on the iPad on the long flights to and from Germany last month. Captain Holt is my absolute idol. (His deadpan delivery slays me every time). But Sarah also loves Terry! I like to think I'm as cool as Gina, but I think we all know I'm Boyle. Nine Nine!

Related: after getting into Brooklyn 99, I also watched the first season of Cuckoo, the 6-episode-a-season British sitcom with the hilarious Greg Davies, which bizarrely starred Andy Samberg. (This was fresh out of his stint on Saturday Night Live, when the world was at his feet, and before anyone knew he'd go on to produce and star in the big hit Brooklyn 99). It was... not that great. I found the story really disjointed, the tone confused, with not that many laughs, and despite being a huge fan of both Davies and Samberg, I found both of their characters really unappealing, and it was a bit of a chore to get through.


After Life (and to a lesser extent, Derek)

After Life
Picture source: IMDB

Yup, lots of TV shows this time, but I have been watching lots of TV lately! I started watching After Life, Ricky Gervais' latest sitcom, when we were in Germany last month. Sandra's not a huge fan of Ricky Gervais, and I wanted something to watch on my almost-daily rounds on the exercise bike. (A fervent, yet ultimately futile, attempt to stave off weight gain in the land of pork and potatoes). Although I'm a huge fan of The Office and Ricky's early stand-up specials (Animals and Politics), I hadn't really followed his career after he moved to the US. So it was nice to get back into his stuff. After Life stars Gervais as a man who is devastated at the recent death of his wife, and who essentially stops giving a shit about social norms and expectations, and just acts how he pleases (he thinks of it as a superpower). There were funny moments, but it was more poignant and sad. A couple of the episodes really made me cry!

Once I'd finished After Life, I moved onto Derek (his previous sitcom), which was set in an aged care home and starred Gervais as an impossibly pure, kind-hearted worker at the home. Derek the show certainly wasn't perfect - Gervais' performance was uneven, and also Kev, just why??? (After watching the outtakes, I actually think the Kev character was given a much bigger role in season two simply because he made Ricky laugh like crazy). However, it was still very engaging. I found myself zooming through the episodes, and the theme of kindness and compassion really resonated with me. (This series was another tearjerker as well, and a few of the episodes had me bawling my eyes out). Not perfect but still worth watching.


Blood oranges

Blood orange juice
Blood orange juice

I've always liked blood oranges, even in pre-blogging days, and during Sarah Discovers How to Eat, but this year I've been getting into them with a vengeance! You may remember I received blood oranges in the mystery bag I got from Prahran Market last month for their A-Team challenge, and re-discovered their beautiful colour, gorgeous fragrance, and intense, sweet and tart flavour. For the challenge, I made a lovely blood orange meringue pie and a goats curd panna cotta with diced blood orange. My local supermarket has started stocking blood oranges too, and this means I'm buying them ALL THE TIME, as I want to make the most of them before the season ends. (I love markets, but I usually only manage to get out to one every few weeks or so). I'm not usually a big fruit eater, and certainly not a big juice-drinker, but I've been hand-squeezing blood oranges for juice for breakfasts. So wonderful!


Kenji Lopez-Alt's Foolproof Pan Pizza

Serious Eats Foolproof Pan Pizza
Serious Eats Foolproof Pan Pizza

So, you saw that epic cheese and charcuterie platter at the top of the post? Well, I was gifted all those goodies in a hamper at the media launch of Prahran Market's Say Cheese Festival. (Coming up Sunday 20th October!) Receiving the hamper was also the perfect excuse to make a fancy Instagram-friendly The Delicious-style board, and so I did! I ate a *lot* of cheese and charcuterie in the following days. But by about the third day I wanted to mix things up a bit, so decided to try the Serious Eats Foolproof Pan Pizza, and top it with the goodies from the hamper. Well, it was literally the best pizza I've ever made! It's so easy - a no-knead, slow-rise dough - and the results are excellent. Crispy and fluffy and chewy and so delicious. I can't get my oven as hot as his recipe asks for (240°C vs 290°C), but it still worked really well. I've made it twice already! The pizza in the pic above is topped with 'nduja, tomato sauce, bresaola, jamon, comtĂ©, grated tasty cheese and pecorino, but I can confirm the pizza is just as tasty with low-rent supermarket salami and grated cheese.


Bonus obsession: pumpkin baking (again)!

Pumpkin bread; Pumpkin muffins

Well, it's northern hemisphere autumn (or "fall") and that means all the American food bloggers and writers are kicking off the pumpkin baking for the year. This means MY pumpkin baking obsession is also starting up again. My local supermarket has started stocking tinned pumpkin (although they were sold out earlier this week, boo), which has made this easier! I've started simple this year, with pumpkin bread from Once Upon a Chef, and a batch of Bravetart's pumpkin streusel muffins. I also treated myself to a pumpkin spice latte donut at Short Stop. More baking to come!


And we're done for today! What's coming up on the blog? Finishing up my Paris posts, blogging my trip to Germany, and I'm thinking of blogging the wedding (it's nearly our first anniversary, woah!)

You can read all of my Current Obsessions posts here.

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My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.