Monday morning



Did I clean the cupboard yesterday?  No but I did do both my saucepan draws so I think that will count.  I did have a good reason as lots of the saucepans were in use it seemed like a good time to attack the draws.  I find it all but impossible to keep them tidy and it is a real juggling act to get everything in.  The lids are the bane of my life and I frequently use enamel plates or frying pans as lids because I can't be bothered to find the correct lid.  I look enviously at the old Victorian kitchens with their nice neat rows of pans either hanging or on narrow shelves.  As I don't have a scullery maid to keep them all tidy and clean the draws are the next best thing.

It was pretty wet here yesterday but as luck would have it I managed to get the dogs walked before the rain started and so managed to stay dry.  The lentil dish was adequate for both lunch and supper and tasty enough that we didn't mind having it twice.  The accompanying polenta was made very soft more like a savoury porridge and very unlike the per made slab that can be bought in supper markets.  While it is hot lots of butter and Parmesan cheese are beaten in so it is rather like cheesy mashed potatoes. The left over lamb was made into shepherds pie without a lid as I am potato-less and two portions of scotch broth.  The bones were then passed on to the chickens for picking clean.  Today the menu is some ox tail that was in the freezer with my favourite vegetable, curly kale, and some venison rosemary and red wine sausages which are the butchers latest experiment.  I am also going to use up the last of my fresh yeast and make a nice cottage loaf to put in the freezer and I may make some grissini as well.

I spent some time yesterday trawling around on the internet looking at recipes that I could use in the water bath when it arrives.  Apparently you can use it to temper chocolate which I have tried and failed with on occasions.  The other thing that it can do is make egg custard without bubbles so crème caramel and crème brulee, Mike favourites, will be easier to accomplish.  The other main advantage is that by slow cooking at the correct temperature you can achieve tender meat with very cheap cuts.  Of course both fish and vegetables benefit from this method as none of the nutrients are lost and no smell is produced.  As you can see I am very excited at the prospect of my new toy.  I will keep you abreast of developments as they arise.

Tomorrow my vegetable box arrives and I will be able to finish off the shepherds pie.  The base is frozen so adding the potato topping will be nice and easy.  I am tentatively booked to go shooting on Wednesday with Jeff, Shiona is still in Scotland until the 10th so it will be just the two of us.  I think the pie will make a very good shooting lunch so it will not be long in the freezer.

Well that is the plan of campaign for today so I will go and make a start on the bread and get another cupboard done.  The current score is 5/26 !!! so not even a quarter done yet. 
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