I've always thought that the various incarnations of Vogue say more about their country of origin than the cutting-edge of fashion. The concept is hardly new, nor can I lay claim it as my own, having read the theory somewhere - presumably somewhere glossy - many moons ago.
Once every few months I treat myself to pile of glossy magazines, for lazy flipping and ripping. Vogue of some foreign variety, preferably French or British is a must (I seem to have a thing for Kate Moss, despite her misbehaviour); Saveur when I see it (though I despise the postcard-sized inserts imploring you to subscribe which continue to fall out after you've shaken them, you swear, free); and, occasionally, a copy of a local food magazine, over-styled though most at the pricier end are.
Small doses of over-styling are about all I can take.
Tony Tan's Chinese-style edamame, torn, none too carefully, from Australian Gourmet Traveller, will make your kitchen, for at least a few hours, smell heavenly. Edamame are very fashionable right now. Don't, however, let fashion stop you. Simmering whole, frozen soybean pods in a heady mix of spice, garlic and tamari is more slow-burn than Wow; but addictive nonetheless, as salty, nutty things invariably are.
The Sichuan peppercorns prickle at your nose, tingling, very faintly, lips and tongues; fennel, cinnamon and star anise perfume the beans and the garlic, well, it's alchemical.
Fast, simple, satisfying. Perfect snacking food. Adapted, but only slightly, from here.
Take a small square of muslin and in it, place 4 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns, 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds, 1 stick of cinnamon, broken in two, 2 star anise pods and 5 whole cloves. Tie into a tight bundle with kitchen string. Peel 3 cloves of garlic and squash them with the flat of your knife. Add the bundle of spice, garlic and 2 tablespoons of tamari to a saucepan and pour in 1 litre (1 quart/4 cups) of water. Bring to the boil slowly then simmer at a lively pace for 5 minutes to infuse. Add 500g (2 lb) of whole frozen edamame in their pods, and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer again for 3 minutes. Drain well, discard the garlic and spices and serve hot, cold or anywhere in between with a separate bowl in which to dump emptied pods.
Couldn't be easier.