Unless you happen to be living on Venus lately, I’m guessing you’re probably familiar with the new James Bond film, Skyfall, Daniel Craig‘s latest outing as 007. The plot is rather convoluted (involving an international terrorist who hangs out in a far more conspicuous locations that your average Al Qaeda operative.
It’s a bit of a bellwether film. Do you like action? Dramatic landscapes? The fact that no woman ever seems to tell James Bond that actually, no, she’s not just that into them? Then you will love this movie. I went with several of my friends and opinion was mixed. Beardy Boyfriend (who can’t get enough of action movies) loved it. My friend Nina, who would have limited patience for fight scenes, got battle fatigue about halfway through and by the end, even I felt like I’d been watching a non-stop fight scene.
On the upside, the acting is superb. Judi Dench defies all feminine stereotypes as the cold and commanding M, Ralph Fiennes continues to excel as the Old Etonian with nerves of steel character (variations can be seen in the horrible Maid in Manhattan and the excellent The Constant Gardener) and Ben Wishaw is a Q for the modern ages – transformed from an eccentric older genius to a hipster tech kid.
Overall, if you enjoy action movies set in exotic locations, Bond remains a prime, well done, slick, well-acted version of the breed. If you prefer a movie which works on a more intellectual level, I’d give it a miss.
The pivotal climax of the movie takes place in the highlands of Scotland (who knew that Bond, like Connery, was Scottish?) and so I wanted to give a nod to his Scottish heritage. As a result, I decided to make a recipe I got from the chef (and owner) of a hotel I stayed in with my family when we visited the Isle of Skye. Ironically enough, he was Australian, but he made the most amazing tablet (a form of Scottish fudge) and when I begged for the recipe, he was kind enough to give it to me. As a result, I’m sharing it all with you (but safe in the knowledge it’s not quite as lovely – if you’re ever in the Highlands, you should stop by and try some)
Simon’s Tablet (adapted from a recipe from the Glenview Restaurant)
1 kg granulated sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 can (397g) condensed milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
Start by placing the milk, sugar and butter in a pan. A VERY large pan. We realised about halfway through the process that our pan was not large enough – which led to a very burned cooker and a smell of burned sugar which has still not gone away. Leave it on low heat while you melt the butter and dissolve the sugar into the milk.
Once that’s melted, add the condensed milk. This is the tricky part – you’re going to have to try to increase the temperature to about 250F while stirring constantly and being aware that the tablet MAJORLY expands. Ignore the quick change to our larger pot….
Look how much it browns. Once you hit 250F, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes. Then add it into a lined pan and let it cool overnight.
Cut it up and enjoy!
Skyfall is now playing in theatres.