I’ve been sick lately. Like, really sick.
Well no. Not REALLY sick, but sicker than I have been in a very, very long time (like, I’m thinking primary school).
First was a week of cold/laryngitis (the laryngitis seems to be an unfortunate by-product of every cold I’ve gotten since moving to London). Then, on the first day of half term I contracted stomach flu which literally lasted 11 days. I finally saw a pharmacist and he fixed me right up.
Unfortunately, 2 days after that I woke up with a fever so high I literally imagined things (i.e. calling into work, when I in fact hadn’t). Absolute nightmare.
The only good thing that came of all this illness (depending on perspective) is that I had a lot of time spent on the couch (when able to make it to the couch) watching rubbish telly (when lucid). This meant that I watched 3 different complete series of Heston Blumenthal programs over the course of 2-3 days.
One such program was ‘Heston’s Fantastical Feasts.’ In the 1980s episode he brought out his usual kitchen trickery (using liquid nitrogen and adding popping candy to everything) BUT he also demonstrated the most glorious invention I had ever seen: sodastream.
I had never heard of a sodastream before last week, but Gareth assures me they were pretty common in the 1980s. Essentially it’s a machine that adds Co2 to water….or at least, you are supposed to use water in them (it carries specific warnings to do so, in fact) and then add flavourings afterward.
Heston, of course, was not to be held back by these silly rules! He carbonated a bottle of Blue Nun (incredibly cheap grocery store wine) and went to the financial district of London with a class of his homemade concoction and a glass of actual champagne. Surprise! All the fancy banker types couldn’t tell the difference.
Intrigued, I shared my findings with Gareth who informed me that not only were sodastream’s still being manufactured, but that the kitchen gadget shop (Robert Dyas) in Canary Wharf (10 minutes away) was selling them. Huzzah!
It only took us about 3 days to decide we definitely needed to buy a soda stream and then never leave the flat again. And so, yesterday afternoon, we became the proud owners of the most glorious kitchen appliance ever invented.
After several ‘tests’ (first making an extremely flat batch of ‘Sprite,’ then reading the instructions and making a remarkably delicious batch) we thew caution to the wind and filled up our provided plastic bottle with the bottle of wine we got free from Marks and Spencer.
Success! The process was scary (apparently the bottles can explode if you put anything but water in them, although this could just be urban legend) and it was a bit of a learning curve (you need to wait between carbonation bursts to avoid overflowing the bottle), but 5 bursts of cO2 later and we had delicious, delicious sparkling wine. Huzzah!
Needless to say, today’s mission was to go buy a box of wine and some root beer flavouring (though not to use them together). And, as predicted, we now never need to leave the flat again.