Tuesday morning

Just a glimmer of spring on what was a very cold day.  I was in Tesco by 7am and it was really freezing so I was glad to whistle round and get home.  The car resembled an ice cube when I went out to it but fortunately it has a terrific de- icing facility you switch the engine on and press a button which puts on all the heated screens etc. and in a couple of minutes it is safe to drive.  No nasty scraping ice off the windscreen.  Sadly our garage isn't big enough to get a car in so it has to double up as my kitchen extension/ butlers pantry.

Once home it was on with all the vac packing and on with the sous vide.  I put through the chicken breasts which as it turned out I bought on two whole chickens as it was cheaper.  This meant that I also had legs to cook as well.  The carcasses went in for soup /dog food.  I then made up a couple of packs of potatoes both chopped and sliced and 4 bags of fruit, apple pear and blackberry this time.  Finally in went a belly of pork which has had 12 hours at 60 degrees and is now out and cooling.  I am trying to be economical in my use of the machine so I line things up and start with items that require the most heat which I raise with the aid of hot tap water and the kettle.  Then by bailing out and adding cold I can reduce the temperature quickly for the next item.  The machine then holds the temperature to within 0.2 of a degree so it is pretty accurate.

After Shiona arrived and we had had a nice chat catching up on all the goings on over Christmas and the terrible weather they have had in Scotland.  The lunch was ready we flashed the chicken breast under the hot grill to crisp the skin and served it with a pack of new potatoes and a nice baby spinach and tomato salad.  The dessert of crème brulee was really wonderful despite the brulee top being missing as my gas gun had run out of gas!!!!  This is something I will very definitely be doing again.  Mike shot off to the butcher to collect my knives which had been sharpened to razors.  I only handed in half of them and will give him the second half later in the week that way I am not left without the means to cut things.

Shiona expressed an interest in seeing Basso at work while we were out walking so she is going to join us on, what will be the last official shoot, on Saturday.  After this there is only the beaters day, where the beaters get the opportunity to shoot and the guns get to do the beating.  As we make an early start she is going to come over on Friday night and we will have to have a general rearrange of the sleeping accommodation.  Anyway it should be good fun and I hope it is not going to be too cold.

Today the wonderful Jane is due as is the vegetable box which is just as well as I am clean out of vegetables. I have a load of vac bags of food to put away and a bit of clearing up to do but hopefully nothing too onerous. So I may get a couple of cupboards cleaned!!!

Here is a cheery picture of my winter pansies which have kept my spirits up on the cold dark days.

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