Cowart's Common Room
Chef Lark

We've had several days now of J being unwell and it has fallen to me to do the cooking. Now in the normal course of things I would go to the fridge and look for ingredients only a little past their sell by dates, and from them concoct a stew or a fry up or maybe something with pasta. Sometimes this technique works; more often it doesn't, but nevertheless we put on a brave show and eat whatever it is; it has killed neither of us (yet!).

But now that I have reached the grand age that I have I think I should be more grown up and have started to look at recipes. So recently I have made an excellent cauliflower cheese, a fricassée, and now tonight a cottage pie which the BBC would have you make with more ingredients than you could shake a stick at. I have to say it was most excellent. The BBC wanted parsnips and horseradish, neither of which I had so I used instead garlic, an onion, tabasco and Lea and Perrins and we had steamed asparagus as a starter. Plus lots of butter and milk for the potatoes. It all worked very well and the best thing is that we have only eaten a third of it so it should do for supper tomorrow, when I come back from Casablanca, and perhaps still be good for a lunch as well. I even trusted my stomach with a full glass of red wine. (I find it impossible to cook without a glass of wine at hand).

But what I am leading up to is the sheer complexity of all the operations, their timings: the potato peeling, blanching, steaming, prepping, simmering and so on. The trips to the sink, the cooker, the bin, the kettle, the plate cupboard, the store cupboards, the sink and so on. All a kind hectic Brownian motion were it to be plotted, though no doubt if you had to do it everyday it would soon become a well-oiled and slick operation. I am slightly surprised that I can do it at all. But the downside of cooking of course is the washing up and the dishwasher stacking and the coffee brewing and the floor sweeping. You can see why the idea of servants caught on. Or maybe just an au pair - come to learn English.

We used to have them - au pairs that is - and the first one that I can remember at the age of about five was Brigitta who came from Sweden and taught me to sing 'Oh my darling Clementine' not in Swedish but in English as we walked along the banks of the Cherwell. 'Herring boxes without topses, sandals were for Clementine,' she sang. I can still hear her now. Though I could never understand why hitting her foot against a splinter should be the cause of her plunge into the foaming brine. And with that I shall say good night and wish you all pleasant dreams.

Very HappyVery Happy

Posted at 12th May 2017 - 08:24PM   Posted by Fennie   Chef Lark Comments: 8

Fennie's Avatar PS No picture either of Clementine or of Cottage Pie. So you'll just have to imagine. Very HappyVery Happy

Posted by: Fennie on 12th May 2017 at 08:26PM

Withy Brook's Avatar Laughing

Posted by: Withy Brook on 12th May 2017 at 08:29PM

Faith's Avatar Cooking is a boring faff that I can do without - also the clearing up etc

The weird thing about your post Fennie was that only yesterday I thought of that song and was singing what I remembered of it, and thought I must look it up on youtube. So here it is.....


Posted by: Faith on 12th May 2017 at 09:04PM

Faith's Avatar Hmm.... doesnt say 'kissed her little sister.....'

Posted by: Faith on 12th May 2017 at 09:06PM

Fennie's Avatar But I kissed her
Little sister
And forgot my Clementine

Oh my darling
Oh my darling
Oh my darling Clementine
Thou art lost and
Gone forever
Fell into the foaming brine.

Posted by: Fennie on 12th May 2017 at 10:51PM

Camilla's Avatar Very Happy

Well done Fennie with the cooking I do love cooking but as you say it sometimes goes on for ages especially the prep. Perhaps make a list of menus you have done and add something as a different recipe each time. Stuffed peppers are good served on a bed of brown rice, jacket potatoes cooked in the oven in foil for an hour on a high heat and fill with tuna or cheese when ready.

Sleep well Fennie, sweet pleasant dreams .Very Happy

Posted by: Camilla on 12th May 2017 at 11:51PM

Fennie's Avatar While I love jacket potatoes, Camilla, I put peppers (at least the sort you buy in supermarkets here) in the same category as goats - that is something the Creator with a spot of moral courage might have left out of creation (or at least kept south of the Mediterranean). Brown rice is a similar abomination as are all dishes based on rice except possibly Indian ones like kedgeree. Very HappyVery Happy

Posted by: Fennie on 13th May 2017 at 08:41AM

Fairy Nuff's Avatar In that case you can't go far wrong with a good plate of mince and tatties then Fennie. Laughing Peas and/or Carrots included of course.

HO does pretty much all the cooking in our house, not that I don't or can't cook but he enjoys it and finds it easier than much of the other housework one handed so that's how we divvy up the chores, he cooks and washes up, I do the rest.

Posted by: Fairy Nuff on 13th May 2017 at 10:40AM

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