Happy New Year, everyone! It’s the first day of 2016 and the very first “A Fork and A Flick Friday” for this year. Being New Year’s Day, I want to post about a fun and relatable movie for this special occasion. One that inspires us to make our own New Year’s resolutions and reflect. I do believe this one is more for the ladies, but Bridget Jones’s Diary takes us on a woman’s journey starting off on New Year’s Day, where you want to look at her and see yourself reflected back in her in some way. I think Bridget Jones’s Diary fits the occasion as the film starts on New Year’s Day and ends on New Year’s Eve of the same year.
At the start of the New Year, 32-year-old Bridget, played by Renée Zellweger, decides it’s time to take control of her life. She starts keeping a diary, in which she records her negligible weight fluctuations, alcohol and cigarette intakes, and romantic misadventures of the year. Now, the most provocative, erotic and hysterical book on her bedside table is the one she’s writing. She’s turning the page on a whole new life with a taste for adventure and an opinion on every subject from exercise to men to food to sex and everything in between.
Things start off badly on New Year’s Day when her mother tries to set her up with seemingly standoffish lawyer Mark Darcy, played by Colin Firth, whom Bridget accidentally overhears disparaging her. From that moment on she decides things must change. However, she embarks on a disastrous liaison with her raffish boss, Daniel Cleaver, who is played by Hugh Grant.
Eventually, Bridget comes to wonder if she’s let her pride prejudice her against the surprisingly attractive Mr. Darcy, who has come to her rescue several times. Bridget Jones’s Diary is an adaptation of Helen Fielding’s bestseller of the same title and was itself a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, whose romantic male lead is also named Mr. Darcy. So, yes, we will see parallels in the plot. There is even an infamous scene where Mark Darcy proclaims his feelings for Bridget in the same blundering manner that Mr. Darcy had originally done for Elizabeth:
“I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you.
Your mother’s pretty interesting.
And you really are… an appallingly bad public speaker.
And you tend to let whatever’s in your head… come out of your mouth…
without much consideration of the consequences.
I realize that when I met you at the turkey curry buffet…
that I was unforgivably rude and wearing a reindeer jumper…
that my mother had given me the day before.
But the thing is, um… what I’m trying to say very inarticulately is… that, um… in fact…
perhaps, despite appearances…
I like you very much.” – Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones’s Diary
Just as Pride and Prejudice translates into every generation, Bridget Jones is kind of every woman. A blowzy, winningly inept size-12 heroine, Bridget Jones has a very English self-deprecating sense of humor, and a subtly expressed analysis of thirty-something fears about growing up and becoming a “smug married.” With the third sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary currently in the making, I think this is perfect timing to go back and enjoy the original hit film that got Rene Zellweger an Academy Award nomination.
On New Year’s Day I find myself wanting to wind down and relax after a few weeks of holiday parties and celebrations. Just as Bridget states:
“Just came from a New Year party, and I’m a bit hung over. Wish I could be at home with my head in a toilet like all normal people…” – Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’s Diary
I can imagine that many of you were out until the wee hours of the morning, so today you may want to nourish your body and indulge you mind. I like to do so by leaving nothing on my agenda for the day besides relaxing with a few light hearted movies. I think Bridget Jones’s Diary is the perfect movie to start with and recover from the night before, as well as inspire us to persevere for the New Year. Although there is plenty to choose from starting with turkey curry on New Year’s Day to chips and guacamole bar scenes, I have to start with the infamous scene, where Mark Darcy helps Bridget get ready for her Birthday dinner party. Mr. Darcy’s Emergency Omelet from Bridget’s birthday bash is the perfect dose of protein to energize us. To glamorize the New Year’s Day meal I think the Mimosa Bridget sips on in the first scene at her mother’s New Year’s Day party is just the thing. For desert we will go with another punch of citrus to enliven us with Orange Parfait that Bridget tragically failed to deliver at her Birthday bash. Ours will not turn into some derivative of orange marmalade, but we will have a hint of it in our parfait. Whether this meal is your brunch or dinner, it has just the right elements to complete your New Year’s Day.
Note: Mark Darcy doesn’t say the exact recipe in this scene, but he does ask “You wouldn’t by any chance have any beet root cubes? A mini-gherkin, stuffed olive?” So, anything from beet root cubes to stuffed olives can be put into this omelet. The key to an emergency omelet is being resourceful with anything you have in your pantry or fridge. Based on Darcy’s request it seems to me that the Brits like a bit of tang in there omelets.
1 diced tomato
1 diced green onion
1 tablespoon lemon butter (1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, soften butter and mix with lemon juice)
Salt and pepper to taste
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Beat well with a fork. Add the other ingredients, except for butter. Mix with fork
Put a frying pan on a low heat and let it get hot. Add the butter. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, add your eggs and move the pan around to spread them out evenly.
Using a spatula, ease around the edges of the omelet, then fold it over in half. When it starts to turn golden brown underneath, remove the pan from the heat and slide the omelet on to a plate.
For serving 2, cut the omelet in half.
2 ounces of fresh-squeezed orange juice
4 ounces of Brut champagne
Fill champagne flute 2/3 full of fresh-squeezed orange juice and top up with brut champagne.
Note: For the British, any sweet dish served directly after the main course is often called Pudding, so just about anything could be called Pudding. It seems Bridget may have been trying to make a traditional Christmas pudding which is a cake like baked dish drenched in cream or syrupy sauce. There is a great version of this on Nigella.com, which I have adapted for this recipe.
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup sugar
1 extra large egg
1 tbsp. orange marmalade
1 tsp. grated orange peel (orange zest)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- First make the syrup by bringing all the ingredients to boil in a saucepan. Pour into a large greased ovenproof dish that you want to bake your pudding in.
- Beat butter and sugar. Add egg and beat until light and creamy. Add orange marmalade and orange rind.
- Sift dry ingredients and fold alternately with milk into egg mixture.
- Spoon batter into syrup and bake in preheated oven at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with custard or cream and garnish with orange rind.
So, this year eat up, spirits up, and resolve up.