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Mostly Concerning Food

The house is coming along nicely. A few rooms have been re-furbished and a good deal of the structure has been worked on. This is a two year job and I’ve put in an eight hour shift every (week) day since the beginning of November. Things are coming on nicely. I feel in need of a bit of a break. So it’s back to the food. We’ve continued to eat well but the nature of our work has meant an awful lot more snacks and sandwiches. This week began with a family gathering for Mothering Sunday. (Always Mothering Sunday in this house: never Mother’s Day. It’s a true holiday and should be celebrated with love and style. Father’s Day isn’t acknowledged in the Johnson household being an invention of people who make money selling greetings cards.)

Half the table are non-meat eaters or not eating meat during Lent. Half of us failed. I’m normally good with a Lenten fast. Not this year. I’m afraid I was defeated by the thought of steak and chips a week in and my will-power wilted. It’s been something of a meat feast ever since. Especially during the week when I’ve been cooking for one.

I made two quiches; one with caramelised onions, Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and eggs and one with these and bacon added.

DSC_0082-001DSC_0078It’s the first pastry I’ve made since Christmas. All butter to satisfy the non meat eaters . I’m pleased with it. Delicious and delightfully short and crisp.

DSC_0083The eggs are all from Frances’s chickens, the potatoes and peas from the supermarket.

DSC_0084I wish I could claim this beauty. A chocolate cake from the Hummingbird Recipe Book. The book is a good one. The cakes always turn out exceptionally well, the instructions are simple and the ingredients follow tradition. This cake was baked by Frances. It was superb.

DSC_0091-001Jam tarts. As simple as baking gets but as wonderful. These are a mix of plum jam and cherry.

DSC_0092Rather difficult to feel any thing other than happiness when confronted with a sight like this.

DSC_0100-001Working day meals require a little thought. I try not to stop work for too long so anything with a lot of preparation is out. Stir-fry is perfect. Take a pork chop and cut it up and brown it in a wok. Add chopped onion, then half a bag of bean sprouts and stir fry vegetables ready bought, add a sachet of sauce, some salt and pepper and a touch of soy. Garnish with a chopped scallion and you are eating within 12 minutes.

DSC_0107-001The beef was in the reduced section of the supermarket. A roast takes very little preparation. With a small joint you can shove the meat and roast potatoes into the oven and go back to painting the ceiling. The Kale took minutes, the gravy seconds. This was the first roast dinner I have ever made for myself. I felt rather special (and a touch guilty) eating it for Wednesday lunch. Blooming lovely though!

DSC_0116Chefs will tell you that there is no substitute for the best sourced ingredients. The eggs come from Frances’s chickens and were laid the day before, the black pudding from the Welbeck estate. A breakfast to enjoy. The black pudding is superb. As good as any I have tasted.

DSC_0120This picture was taken a few minutes into the meal. Friday fish and chips. One portion bought from the local chippy and divided between the pair of us. We’re not the only nation who regard fried fish and chips as a special treat, but it has become a British classic.

DSC_0122Talking of classic meals, here’s the best way to have a cooked breakfast. Don’t overload the plate with lots of ingredients. Simply bacon, eggs and bread and butter. The bacon is dry cured back from Welbeck, the eggs as before.

DSC_0123I’m not the biggest fan of Tesco but when I saw them selling live oysters on the fish stall I knew lunch was taken care of. These were enjoyed (with chopped shallot, black pepper and vinegar) just before going to donate a pint of blood. If the claims for oysters are true then someone may be getting a little extra with their transfusion.

DSC_0132This meal was enjoyed an hour ago. Pork chops with a simple rustic ratatouille.

I feel better for that little burst of blogging. Now time to mix a bucket of paste.