Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ground lamb with peas, please.

Don't eat these bits.
I was supposed to cook this Indian dish on Friday, I'd remembered to take the lamb mince out of the freezer and everything. However, there was one set-back in the form of a trip to the local straight after work. I arrived first, got my pint of Stowford Press in, along with the mandatory pork scratchings, and was soon joined by Boyfriend and my lovely friend Hannah, both whom share my enthusiasm for cider and pork scratchings. Too many pints later and rushing home to cook was seeming less and less appealing, and we peeled ourselves out of the pub and into our favourite Indian restaurant almost next door. I'm glad we did this, I once cooked herb and polenta crusted haddock at midnight, after being in the pub all night, and half way through I nearly gave up. Inebriated cooking is so hard.

Well I had to cook the mince so I did it today and it smells so good I am thinking we might have the roast chook tomorrow. But I know Boyfriend wouldn't like that. Roasts are rather important to him and it's best to provide one on Sundays. Especially as he was a good boy today and changed our door lock that seized up while we were skiing, which meant he had to break in to our own house. Clever boy.

Making Ground Lamb With Peas reminds me of making bolognese a bit, similar cooking method and it's a comforting serving of delishiousness that end up making at least once a month. I'm never too precise with the measurements, I lost the recipe and just hope I remember everything. In a medium sized bowl, mix 4tbsp natural yoghurt with three cloves of chopped garlic, a good tsp chopped ginger, a tsp of ground cumin, tumeric and ground coriander, salt, and half a tsp or so of cayenne pepper, more or less depending on how hot you like it. Add 500g lamb mince and mix well with your hands. In a large deep frying pan, fry 6 cardamom pods, a cinnamon stick and a couple of bay leaves for a minute. Add the meat and stir and break up while frying until there is no pink meat left. Throw in a tin of tomatoes and half a pint of water simmer for about half an hour. Add some peas, and keep on the heat until they are cooked. Sprinkle over a tbsp garam masala and chopped coriander and serve. With rice. Obviously. It should feed 3/4 mouths but I've gone back to the kitchen about five times to check it's ok so perhaps just enough for two this time.

Whatever you do don't eat the cardamom pods, they perfume the curry beautifully but are quite frankly rank when bitten into. I try to fish them out, along with the bay leaves and cinnamon, but sometimes I can't be bothered to dig about for them. I don't like finding them in my mouth but it is hilarious when Boyfriend bites one. Worth leaving them in just to see his little face screw up.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Excess Sausage Cure Part 2

Somehow, there are STILL sausages in the freezer, what was the deal? Buy one get twenty free?? But there are worse things life can throw at you than your freezer being full of sausages, like the bow falling off your Ferragamo pumps (still weeping) or finding out your credit card bill is twice what you estimated it to be (still hyperventilating). To counteract the bad things life sends your way, a nice supper is essential, I live by this philosophy, and good grub will pick me up from the darkest of moments, bad food however, will ruin everything and prompt a massive sulk and possibly an argument with long suffering Boyfriend. Hence it's best to just eat nice things. Which can be anything from a Big Mac to a roast chook and everything in between, I ain't no foody purist type.

So in a final attempt to banish the sausages (I think there might be one pack lurking still in the bottom drawer...) it was time for sausage pasta. Sounds like something my sister would serve the kids she nannys but actually its brilliant and you can make it more grown up, depending on diners.

Take all the meat out of the skins of a pack of sausages, I cut a slit in the skin and just pop it out (buy nice ones, cheap ones are worryingly 'smooth'). Fry a chopped onion and some garlic, when softening add the sausage meat and mush it up and cook like you would mince for a nice bol. Keep it all frying away, get the pasta on, any is good, try to avoid cooking four times as much as you need, as I always do. Add some chilli to the meat and some chopped thyme and season. At this point there are choices to be made, either add grated parmesan and serve as it is, or add chopped tomatoes, or add some white wine and creme fraiche or combine both options. The sausage meat provides carnivorous lush factor and the rest is just sauce.

However, I must is scarily easy, when cooking this dish, to devour a whole pack of sausages between two, what with the mandatory and numerous taste tests the poor cook has to carry out, and even when you are good and leave some in the pan, there is always the 'well there's not quite enough for another meal' argument. Nom nom. January diet is going well then.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chicory dickery dock

I had six girlfriends round for lunch today, I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and due to the volume of wine that I knew would be consumed, I decided to keep things simple. I was grateful for this decision when up I woke up later than planned, realised the house was a hell hole and Boyfriend planned to spend the morning finishing the plumbing for our dishwasher. There is nothing negative I have to say about the latter, the sooner that magical machine was installed, the better. As I write this, the dishwasher is swishing away, draining into the driveway, filtering through a very exciting make-shift contraption involving old guttering, a few bricks and an old door mat.

I went for a Spanish theme, grilled chicory with sherry vinegar and jamon to start, the main was chicken with bay and garlic (I cook it all the time and will post the recipe next time) and for pud, Seville orange tart. I had a disaster with the pastry, the tart case fell apart in my hands as I tried not to get burnt when taking it out of the tin, hence a panicked call to one of the girls who picked up a beautiful sweet pastry case from Waitrose. I will never make pastry again. What's the bloody point??

Endibias con vinagre de Jerez y jamon is a beautiful starter completely inspired by my Moro cookbook, I am yet to eat in their restaurant but the book is keeping me satisfied for now, I highly recommend it. The following recipe serves 4.

Prepare the heavenly and brilliantly simple dressing by pounding a clove of garlic with a good pinch of salt and approx. one teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar. They must be fresh. No point otherwise. In a small pan reduce 6 tbsp of sherry vinegar (about a fiver a bottle but sooooo worth it) to about 2 tbsp. Add this to the garlic and thyme with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and pepper. Slice the very ends off two or three heads of chicory, cut each one in half, then into three. Griddle them in a dry pan so slightly scorched and arrange on one half of a serving dish. I finally posess a decent le Creuset griddle pan and its all about stripey food, food with lines on it. Awesome. Splash on the dressing and sprinkle on some chopped parsley. Add as much or as little jamon as you like/can afford. It's well pricey. I actually used Serano ham but don't tell the girls.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Comfort of Carbonara

We often find ourselves waking up a bit late on a Saturday, head a little groggy from too much booze the night before. It's a bit late for breakfast but need something NOW to sort things out. So often when I'm trying to think of something easy, quick and gorgeous to cook, Spaghetti Carbonara pops into my head. When I suggest this to Boyfriend, his eyes light up (as much as they can when a headache is pounding behind them) and I get a very enthusiastic 'Yes. I want that one.' A very energetic set by Kissy Sell Out was on i-player, helping me along the way.

Get twirling

By no means am I claiming this to be authentic, but it's similar to what they serve in my favourite Italian restaurant. Quite why people mess about with separating egg yolks and creme fraiche in various bastardisations of carbonara I will never know. This recipe takes as long as the pasta takes to cook. Perfect when feeling delicate and in no mood to wait for a feed. I find it preferable to feed Boyfriend pretty quickly after he demands food, otherwise his blood sugar levels drop and out comes Mr. Hyde. This is dedicated to my little sister to whom I have given this recipe to a million times. I don't think she ever actually writes it down.

Get the spaghetti going (normally I don't care what pasta I use but with this, spaghetti really is the best). Chop an onion and gently fry in a big saucepan, when it has softened a bit add chopped pancetta (I get the tubs of the ready chopped stuff - GENIUS) or bacon, and add to onions, keep stirring it so it doesn't burn. You want the onions really soft and juicy. While this is happening grate a handful of parmesan, take a small jug, and beat one or two eggs in it (we had an eggy breakfast this morning so only one for today), add the parmesan and approx. 200ml of single cream depending on how saucey you like it. I like it saucy. Grind lots of black pepper in, along with saltand mix. By now the onion mixture and pasta will probably be done, drain the pasta and add to the onion pan, turning off the heat. Pour over the eggy cream mixture, add a handful of chopped parsley and mix it all up really well. The heat from the pasta and onions will cook the eggs and the result is a bit like mini scrambled eggs. I add the juice of a lemon, which isn't traditional but it perks it up a bit, along with the parsley. And there you have it, pasta version of bacon and eggs.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

A healthy snack

My local serves the best pork scratchings known to man. Or pig. They are created by the Bulgarian Meat Man who lives up the road, and when they run out, which sometimes happens, grown men have been known to weep. That is all.

Pakora Binge

I'm totally obsessed with curry and cook it a lot, I swear, if I had to be vegetarian I would just live off Indian food, as its so exciting with so much to choose from. Last night Boyfriend demanded curry, not simply one dish but with an entree of cauliflower pakoras. I huffed and puffed a bit as it was 'such an effort' but was actually going to cook it anyway, as had a beginning to look sad cauliflower on the top shelf of the fridge. I've seen loads of recipes for this and they are all way longer and more complicated than this one, therefore this is the best one ever, super easy.
Never enough or too many
Lightly blanch a head of cauliflower, broken up into florets, so only slightly cooked. In a bowl gradually whisk water into about 300g gram flour (made from chick peas, you can get it in the supermarket) until you have a thick-ish batter. Measurements don't matter because you add the water gradually until the consistency is right. Fool-proof. Whisk in a tbsp garam masala, chopped chilli and chopped coriander. Heat vegetable oil in a wok until it starts making weird noises and is really hot (the noise thing happens in my wok, don't know if its normal, prob not). Mix the drained cauliflower with the batter and fry until golden, I normally do it in batches. Serve with more fresh coriander (I'm a bit obsessed with it) and a raita made from natural yoghurt with all or none of the following stirred in :garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper, or cucumber. We happily devour a small head of cauliflower between us. But we are gluttons.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Excess Sausage Cure

How to turn a million bangers into none.
It got cold again today, as my fingers and toes froze on the walk home tonight, the thought of a gorgeous-equivalent-of-a-duvet-casserole quickened my stride. On inspection of the freezer this morning I found no less than five packets of sausages. I do appreciate it when boyfriend does the shopping, I really do, but I wish that just sometimes he'd stick to the list and try and ignore the tantalising special offer red stickers.

Sausage casserole it was then. There must be a million ways of cooking it but right now this is my favourite. No specific quantities, its all down to how many you cook for and how you like it. Brown the sausages in a casserole dish, add chopped onion and garlic, finely chopped fresh rosemary, turn the heat down, cover and cook gently for 15 minutes. Once onions are soft add chicken stock, beans of your liking (flageolets, black eyed beans or even chick peas are good) and season. Cook for about 20 minutes, stir in a decent glug of single cream,then add a load of kale (lush dark green goodness that probably makes you live forever I reckon) and simmer away, covered for another 10 minutes until the kale is cooked. I add a load of chilli at this point. But I add it to most things. Check seasoning and top with chopped parsley. And serve with mash. Obviously.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

What a pleasant pheasant.

As I was out shooting (and missing everything except air) on Saturday, it was only right that I cooked pheasant on my return home. As luck would have it, the game keeper handed out each brace of pheasant oven ready, so there was no need to re-enact the carnage that was the boyfriend and I sorting out the birds I was given last time, within the warmth of the living room, in front of the fire (don't ever try it, we were dealing with a brace of duck, messy times). Like most ideas that seem good at the time, it wasn't.

I made space for Mr Pheasant in the freezer, and cooked Mrs Pheasant according to the Gospel that is boyfriend's Mum. I don't think she's ever shot or plucked a pheasant but she definately knows how to cook one. And so began pheasant in cider with apples and cream. Use one pheasant for two people.

Middle sister said last dish looked like sick so you get pheasant in flight.
In a suitably sized casserole dish, brown your pheasant all over in a good splash of olive oil, seasoning as you go. Add half a finely chopped onion and soften. Add a peeled, cored and sliced apple, mix in and then pour in 200ml of cider (I very nearly used the left-over-from-a-party can of Magners and realised that would not do Mrs Pheasant justice, so sacrificed a glass of the Aspalls I was slurping, only right with this dish). Lay the pheasant on its side, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover. After half an hour turn your bird over and cook for another half hour at least, with the lid still on. Sometimes the bird gets nice and tender, if its an ol' bird, perhaps not, but always tasty. Pull the bird out, keep warm and stir in 150ml single cream. Carve up the pheasant in four pieces, a breast and leg per person, serve with mash and veg, and pour the delicious sauce everywhere. Be sure to gnaw the legs and lick your plate.

Good Evening Vietnam

I could eat these till I pop. Which I nearly did.

On Friday I returned to my family nest for a weekend at home, and little sister and I had planned to cook dinner together. She was very excited about some Vietnamese spring rolls (goi cuon) that a friend had made her and she wanted to make them for us. That would be our starter and I would do the main. Very exciting. Mostly because I love Vietnamese food and don't eat it enough, let alone cook it, and also because I love cooking at my parent's house as their kitchen is about 5 times bigger than mine and therefore more fun to be let loose in. Plus there is endless free red wine and Annie Mac was on the stereo.

The spring rolls were basically rice papers (got them in china town) wrapped up to enclose a mixture of cooked prawns, rice noodles, lettuce, mint and spring onions and little sister made them beautifully. She methodically soaked each paper until pliable then got wrapping. So fresh and delicious, we all felt very virtuous munching on them, dipping into the special sauce she'd made that consisted of a delicious combination of rice vinagar, sugar, chilli, crushed garlic, lime juice and fish sauce.

Vietnamese Duck a L'orange
I did duck in a spiced orange sauce for a main, stolen from Rick Stein's recent series. Mum's stressing over various texted shopping lists from two different daughters was now worth it. The duck dish is so easy and so delicious I urge anyone reading this to make it, its like a casserole but with really exciting ingredients.

Use one duck leg per person, brown in a casserole dish, remove and put aside. Add lots of chopped ginger and garlic to the dish and fry for a few minutes. Add a litre of orange juice (fresh or a carton) a massive lug of fish sauce, 5 star anise, 4 chopped bird's eye chillies, 2 finely chopped lemongrass stalks and grind some black pepper in. Throw the duck back in and simmer with the lid mostly on for about an hour and a half, until the duck is really tender. Serve the duck on rice, with lots of sauce, sliced spring onion scattered on top, and some nice veg. So tasty and so easy. Gotta love Rick Stein. Accompany with lashings of red wine and then go and collapse in front of the TV.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Yum yum, pig's tum

Sunday = mandatory roast in my house, as it does for many others. It was just the two of us, so I cooked a small hunk of pork belly. I bought a big bit at the meat counter, and in a moment of restraint I asked the nice lady to cut it into two pieces, as I knew that if she didn't, I would slow roast the lot for just the pair of us, leaving us resembling the animal we just devoured.

This recipe comes from a friend, I ate it at her house and had to have the recipe and it never fails. Just make sure you leave enough time to cook it nice and slowly.

Snip off any string from the joint and lay it flat, skin side up. Make sure the skin is scored, it normally already is when bought from the supermarket. Sprinkle salt liberally over the entire skin surface and leave for half an hour. Meanwhile heat your oven to about 220 degrees.

In a pestle and mortar bash up a few teaspoons of fennel seeds (they do eventually grind up, trust me, most satisfying!) then add about 4 cloves of garlic and salt, bash until you have a bit of a paste going on. Add a small splash of olive oil to loosen it up.

After half an hour of  'salting' brush off the excess salt from the pork and use kitchen roll to mop up any moisture from the skin (the salt draws it out to help with the crackling). Coat the flesh side of Mr Piggy with the paste, lay in a baking try, skin side up and blast in your hot oven for at least half an hour, you want the crackling to have really started forming, leave it longer if not. Once you are happy turn the heat down to 150 degrees and roast for about 2 hours until the meat is really really tender.

Sometimes you can make a gravy from the juices, but normally when I do it the garlic has caused too much burnt caramelly mess. I really do think this is the best way to deal with pork belly. Crackling should now be tooth crackingly good. Oink.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Steak Soup

Well not exactly, more like spicy beef ramen. But I like the idea of steak soup. Meaty.

Wanted to make this for a while after seeking solace in Wagamama's when only a massive bucket of beautiful, medicinal ramen soup will do, and it wasn't far off surprisingly, they don't use magic ingredients like I thought...

For two: marinate a piece of steak, I used rump (quite good because you use half the amount of meat you would use if just having steak on it's own) in a splash of sesame oil, grated Ginger and chopped garlic.

Meanwhile simmer 1lt beef stock (I only had chicken stock cubes, eurgh, but actually ok) with a chopped red chillli, bit more garlic and Ginger, big splash of soy sauce. Add two portions of egg noodles and a load of finely sliced cabbage. Fry steak on griddle to your liking, slice up. Fill bowls with soup and noodlely cabbagy goodness, top with sliced steak, garnish with sliced spring onions and slurp. You may need a bib.

This takes about 20 mins from start to finish and use any veg you have, mushrooms, sliced carrots etc, add lime juice and fish sauce to pep it up a bit, a great way to use things up.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

You say French Toast, I say Eggy Bread

Looks a bit like marmite toast, but its not.
Sunday morning, the cupboards aren't exactly bare but neither of us fancy lentils and marmite for breakfast. Eggy bread it is, whoop! The thrifty side of me rejoiced as it meant I was using up the stale end of the loaf of bread I bought last week and the eggs that needed using.

I think everyone in the world knows how to make the deliciously indulgent yet simple treat that is French toast. But just in case:

Whisk a couple of eggs in a shallow bowl/dish and season. Soak your bread in it for a minute or two then turn it over. In a frying pan with nice hot oil, fry each piece on both sides until the egg has cooked and gone crispy round the edges. Drain on kitchen paper if you're that way inclined.

The big debate is savoury or sweet. The boyfriend decided on the usual, a medly of brown sauce and ketchup, I went a bit crazy and chose honey (accompanied by groans and looks of disgust by the boy).

A rather religious breakfast.

Purgatory? Nope, this is pure heaven.

This will sort you out
Woke up gloriously late, even for me, on Saturday and the only thing I wanted and needed was Eggs in Purgatory. The soothing twangs of Taj Mahal was on the stereo. I got the recipe from my trusted Waitrose Kitchen magazine, its by that nice Ozzie bloke Bill Granger. I thought it was some bizarrely named thing he invented but actually its a very traditional dish from Naples. After the first time I made it I was hooked, so much better than the usual fry-up but equally theraputic when seeking a cure for a thick cider head. Make it once and you won't need the recipe again. Another plus is the way my fridge/cupboard always seems to be magically prepared for this dish.

For two: fry a chopped onion, add a few cloves of chopped garlic, get it really soft, add some chopped chorozo, bacon or other salty meatiness, chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes, stir around, then break in as many eggs as you like on top, cover, and simmer until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still oozy. Sprinkle with chopped parley and chilli, season, and voila! Serving with a hangover is optional, whatever works for you.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Friday night sizzle

In January, boyfriend and I have this rediculously pathetic regime in search of giving the old liver a break. Basically there is to be no drinking at home during the week. Fridays do not count as week days and as the first Monday was a bank holiday we had a whole 3 days of drought. So we were very excited when Friday arrived. We had arranged to see our awesome ex-neighbours down the local. Boyfriend got stuck in a late meeting so he arrived at the pub just as mates had to leave (he is a pilot and apparently BA frown upon hangovers and grogginess etc). I was three pints deep into some lovely Stowford Press as we got a lift home with nice sober pilot friend.

I can't mention The Local without praising their legendary pork scratchings.They are cardiac-arrestingly good. Almost too salty, but really thats impossible with scratchings, and pretty much as good as my mum's crackling from back in the day. You always have to get two portions, one is never enough.

I was quite surprised that I managed to cook din dins when we got home, boy was starving, as was I, and dinner just happily fell into place. I made what the recipe called 'Korean Sizzling Beef' but it was really just a nice beef stirfry: slice up a nice bit of steak, marinate in soy sauce, mirin, toasted sesame oil, chillis, throw in some brocolli, serve on some rice and yum yum pig's bum. Steak in a stir fry seems much more exciting than the chicken what we normally have.

Boy wolfed if down and then announced that it wasn't substantial enough. I asked if he was still hungry. He said 'Well, no.'

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Skiing Fodder

Many of us like to ski. Some of us prefer, as my boyfriend does, to tear up the pistes like a hooligan on a snowboard (which did turn out to be extremely useful as a make-shift picnic table).What we all have in common is a mutual love of throwing ourselves down snow filled mountains in a search of thrills and possible broken bones.

Probably over about 50% of my excitement about the anticipation of this annual event is the food I know I will consume.  Quelle surprise.

For several years now we have travelled to the French Pyraneen resort of La Mongie  We have stayed in several places close to the resort, the most memorable by a million years of amazingness would be ‘Le Grange’. A property once owned by my Dad’s best mate Charlie. Le Grange was an interesting place, one needed a 4x4 (or a catcat as I thought it was called) to negotiate the rock and boulder infested climb up to the divine house. It had no electricity but a generator, which provided a very welcome hot showers after a day’s skiing. The best meal Charlie ever cooked us here was the magret de canard cooked over the fire, rare as you dare, followed by a nip of almangnac, accompanied by a ‘deep’ (for a 17 year old) heart to heart with Charlie about the future of one’s relationship. It’s all about crossroads apparently. I’m still with the boy a million years later so something he said must have been right.

In a kind of pilgramatic quest to re-enact that dinner, each time we go back to the area I cook duck breasts with a load of green beans and garlicky-oniony potatoes. Be it on a two ring elecric hob or comparatively luxurious 4 ring gas hob, it always somehow works. Big fat duck breasts (alarm bells ringing, they shouldn’t really be that big should they? The ones in my freezer on the duck my Dad shot last month are miniscule in comparison) pan fried for a surprisingly long time, no need for oil, rather a few mugs to pour the excess fat into (not forgetting a big splash for the potatoes). What else could you ask for?

Mention the name Eric in La Mongie, or perhaps further surrounding areas, and every local will know he is The Man. He oozes Frenchness, the most handsome beret wearer that ever there was and his wink will reduce any woman to a giggling wreck. Or me at least. Each year I return to his restaurant at the top of the mountain, petrified he won’t remember me (English are kind of frowned upon in this resort but for some reason they like us, probably because we embrace the eating and drinking piste-side like the locals). It took Eric a few minutes this year, but once I reminded him of my name it was all shouty roudy Frenchy welcomes. I felt like a mountain celebrity.

Eric. He doesn't have/need a surname.
I am getting at something here. Eric is a shepherd during the summer. The Shepherd. And during the winter we eat the fruits of his labour. His menu consists of steak frites, saucisse frites, garbure (one of my favourite French words) Agneau de Campan (Campan being the local area) and a few other things including plats of the glorious jambon noir and the mysterious garbure royal. I knew there was no point in asking what this was, I wouldn’t understand. It was the most expensive thing on the menu so I know its something life changing. Eric doesn’t mess about.

Eric does Piggies too.
So during our glorious and precious week in La Mongie this year, or last year (we went over New Year), Eric did us proud, we had dangerously rare steak (a friend asked me to request it well-done, WHATEVER!!!!) the finest sausage money could buy, lamb chops so good one literally gnawed every last morsel off the bone as if it was your last meal, and finally on new year’s day, a leg of lamb (two actually, there were 8 of us) accompanied by this gorgeous haricot blanc casserole thing with bits of lamb fat floating around in it for added carnivorous flavour (my sister actually ate a bit of said fat, and started to pretend it was on purpose, you’re not supposed to eat the fat hahahahhaa!). Plus salad and chips. And wine. Obviously. The best bit was when Eric gave us a bottle of 2007 Bordeaux. Bisous all round!

We keep saying ‘next year we’ll go somewhere else, we need to ski somewhere new, push ourselves.’ Then Eric and his crew say ‘L’annee prochaine?’. We say ‘Oui’.

Banging tunes and ….pork patties, last Thursday.

Radio 1 have jumbled their DJ’s round for the last week and its been amazing, literally life changing. As I listened to Annie Mac today I blasted through the drawer of credit card receipts I had been saving for a special occasion, nodding away to her dubstep beats as insanely as a 28 year old in a posh Mayfair office can manage (I was alone in said office FYI). And I get to rave it up cooking dinner each night, listening to DJs who don't usually get airtime until after midnight.

So I got home, safe in the knowledge that I had spent the last Monday food planning (writing a list of recipes I want to make, buying stuff from Tescos online, and running into Waitrose to buy the meat and fish). In my Good Life fantasies I dream of heading down to the Surbiton Farmer’s Market and gaily filling my trug full of handpicked wild mushrooms (which boyfriend doesn’t like but I love), juicy sausages from rare breed piggies and lovingly crafted beef and stilton pies from some ruddy cheeked farmer who’s wife made them all home made don’t you know. But I always forget which Saturday is the last Saturday in the month and in reality all the good stuff would be gone by the time I dragged my booze addled head down there.

Good God I ramble, anyway, along with the meat and fish shop I got some pork mince (v. cheap YESSSS!) and while whooping along to a soundrack of Kissy Sell Out (He played ‘drumstep’ then a re-mix of Paul Simon OMG) I made them into lovely patties by mixing them with grated apple (I had one in the fridge after a failed pheasant dish, don’t ask) and finely chopped onion, fry, then keep the patties warm while making a nice sauce by frying a bit more chopped onion, adding chopped black olives, big splash of water and crème fraiche. And OBVIOUSLY a massive load of chopped parsley. As my Dad always says: you can never have too much parsley. I bloody love parsley.

Well there has to be a first one...

Nothing to do with food but what a fire!
 When I suggested to the boyfriend that I had been thinking about starting a food related blog he announced that his thoughts consisted of the following: a third about the blog, a third about 'when will dinner be ready?' and a third about 'shall I light a fire?'.

He then proceeded to attempt to light the said fire, and for the first time ever had to resort to making awful Rolf Harris impersonations as the fire failed to take. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. A bad omen? Whatever. By the time he'd run my cook's blow torch out of gas we had a roaring success. Then I fell asleep and missed some really good telly.