Friday, oh, Friday. A sunny one, not a bit like this day.
No. Not at all.
I make a list of every vegetable we have, mindful that there will be not an ounce of shopping done this weekend. Plenty of potatoes in the drawer; a bag of mushrooms need using before they open their gills and expire; three long, expensive, but irresistible leeks; a plump-bottomed eggplant and a kabocha squash (both currently employed in a still life and, therefore, out of culinary action); a grimly smiling half pumpkin; a tiny bunch of radishes; two heads of celery (can’t get enough of it right now) a bunch of baby carrots and two cauliflowers, hiding shyly beneath their leaves. Onions, always, and some really good local garlic. There are pears and apples too, small and perfectly fitted to the palm, sweet mandarins and a hand of slightly unripe bananas. More than enough, with what’s growing in the garden, to see us through to week’s end.
Potatoes are scrubbed, knobbly, waxy kipflers this time, then sliced and layered with rounds of leek, cut from the tallest of the trio, and thin, crisp crescents of mushroom. A rich, porcini-infused sauce – I am temporarily annoyed with Deborah Madison for referring to the resultant cupful of liquid as a ‘stock’, one thickened with a generous sprinkling of flour – is warmed with an equal quantity of milk that would, without Oscar, have gone to waste. Carefully poured over while hot, the dish is covered with foil and baked slowly for a couple of unattended hours. We come home to woodsy, wintry aromas, cheeks flushed by the cold and appetites bolstered by a considerable amount of sandy dog-walking. Foil comes off, heat goes up and all is lifted, golden and bubbling, to the table.
There were other things this weekend, of course. Quiet, good things. Onions cooked on the gentlest of heats in 2 cups of real stock (retrieved triumphantly from the back of the freezer), a few chunks of preserved lemon, some ginger and oil - oh, boy – for a tart with roasted chunks of said grim pumpkin. The cameras and I went out collecting light, too, and the wait, as always, is part of the fun. There was sun on the skin, sleeping in, dog burrowed between us each morning, and some unformed thoughts about photography and the importance of illustrating our food.
That post, I hope, is to come. How did it get to be Monday so quickly?