Sometimes I'm so glad that nobody else gets to see what happens in our relationship (I almost said 'the business of our relationship but I think that probably means something completely different...). I mean the ridiculous conversations that we have and the stupid things that I do which my boyfriend is now an unwilling witness to. The other night, for example, he was putting away some washing and came across a pair of his boxer shorts that had a hole in them. He decided that the mature thing to do was to throw them at me. I decided that the only way to cope with that kind of behaviour was to out-mature him. So I pulled them on over my pyjamas and danced round the room. What made it better, in my opinion, was the fact that I was wearing my Christmas pyjamas with an attractive polar bear print. Sexy.
It's these little moments that I treasure. And hope that he didn't, as threatened, take a photo of me...
We started going out in November 2009. By the time Christmas came around that year, we were still in the first flush of romance but still hardly daring to contemplate whether the relationship would have any sufficient legs to last until spring. I didn't realise at the time but that first Christmas, we were starting to make our own traditions. Of course, being us, these traditions mainly revolved around Home Alone and mini food.
As you may have noticed, however, it is the middle of July at the moment and the shops are noticeably bare of any kind of Christmas food. And so, in preparation for our DVD marathon of Luther*, I had to take matters into my own hands to ensure that we had sufficient nourishment to sustain us.
Gruyère is one of my all-time favourite cheeses (do other people have a similar list?) partly, I think, because it manages that elusive balance of sweet andsalty. It is perfect in these little straws of puff pastry, combined with the smokiness of paprika and a crack of black pepper. 5 minutes of preparation, 5 minutes in the oven. What more could you want?
* Incidentally, late to the party, but how good is Luther? We were only going to watch one episode but were absolutely hooked after 20 minutes. And the fact that it referenced Law and Order: SVU? Genius.
Gruyère and paprika straws (makes approx 20)
200g ready to roll puff pastry
100g gruyère, grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
Flour (for the surface)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil (you will thank me for this later).
2. Roll out your puff pastry onto a floured work surface. Sprinkle with gruyère, paprika, salt and pepper. Cut into shapes as desired (I obviously made mine look straw-like but there's nothing to stop you making different shapes) and place on the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the pastry has puffed up and the straws are golden brown.