I’m afraid my food thoughts aren’t very inspiring this weekend. I’ve been pottering around being domestic and organised, getting things together for the week ahead at work.
I bought a whole, free-range chicken (I asked my butcher to break it down for me, but apparently he didn’t feel like it, judging by the very half-hearted job he did on it), which I have used in its entirety: breasts are in the fridge, waiting to be baked under my homemade yoghurt and feta later in the week; the rest of the bird was poached very gently in the beginnings of a stock, and then I removed every single scrap of meat from the legs, thighs, wings and carcase and used them in a pie with leafy greens, pumpkin, ricotta, feta, cinnamon and filo pastry. The bones and skin went back in to the liquid, which I simmered down into stock, half of which I will use in a vegetable risotto with the truffle-infused rice, the other half of which will be frozen. I’m considering removing the layer of fat from the stock and using it to roast my pumpkins with tonight, for the pumpkin and mascarpone and pasta bake that will be dinner and some of our lunches. My bokashi bucket will break down the bones and skin drained from the stock into compost. I feel that I have truly shown respect to this bird.
I broke out my new cheesemaking enzymes and had a try at making mascarpone last night. As of this morning, it seems to be quite good. A little wet – I drained it a bit, but was too impatient to drain it fully. And I didn’t really trust it not to start leaking actual proper cheese through the chux. Possibly because I was squeezing it, which you are not supposed to do, but see above re: my impatience.
I bought more dried cherries and almonds, and made a truly decadent chocolate, coconut and cherry brownie last night. You can feel the evil entering your body as you eat it – there is nothing virtuous about this cake, no matter how good for you dried cherries are supposed to be. It’s really lovely. That, and the chicken pie, will make our lunches divine this week.
I’m hankering after farmers’ markets this weekend, but what with the car needing servicing and four new tyres (eep!), I have to be frugal. But I’ll be heading off to the greengrocers in a bit to buy apples and maybe rhubarb, for a good, oaty, fruity crumble that will make some luscious breakfasts for the next few days. I can serve it with the rest of the yoghurt I made last weekend – or maybe make some fresh yoghurt, which is actually cheaper than the kind I buy, and very nearly as good.
The four organic beef sausages I bought from the butcher yesterday I am saving in the freezer for whichever night this week I am too tired to cook – I know there will be one. Normally, I like to bake sausages with a bunch of root vegetables, or with celery and onions and red grapes to serve with a baked sweet potato, but it’s actually beginning to look like spring out there, so maybe I’ll be extra lazy and serve them in bread with sautéed onions and peppers. I have both these things. I could even make the bread… but I probably won’t.
So that’s the highlights of my food menu for the week. I think I’m going to take a slice of that pie, and maybe a brownie (or better still, an apple – I had a brownie for breakfast, and this may have been a mistake), down to the park, for a sunny picnic lunch. Maybe the characters in my novel will see fit to talk to me about something plot relevant, rather than just telling me the things they like to cook (definitely not relevant, but apparently I don’t change my stripes that easily). Later, if you are good, I will write down that chocolate and cherry brownie recipe, and maybe finally get around to reviewing Sunshine or one of the lovely, foodie romances of Louise Edwards. But spending the day in front of the computer would be a sad waste of this lovely weather. It’s time to go outside and enjoy it.