Yesterday was one of gardening the weather held until mid afternoon when it started raining but I had just got my washing in in time. I had already spent several hours in the garden when Mark arrived and made short work of the bay trees and the box hedging. In fact the garden was looking so good he even took a couple of photos for his web site. We had a quick lunch of toast and pate and for supper we had the saltimbocca with a green salad. The dogs got taken out for a nice run round the rugby fields. Basso came home covered in "sticky willy" or cleavers seeds which we spent some time getting out or his coat as he has already planted enough in the garden and I am spending hours pulling it out. The boy may have many skills but gardening isn't one of them.
So all in all a very successful day. Today I am expecting Shiona and Jeff and we are intending to go shooting which we haven't done for ages. The chances are that we will either shoot really well or really badly. I had nothing readily available for lunch for 5 so I have decided on a mushroom risotto with an insalata caprese. If I prepare the ingredients it will take 20 minutes to make the risotto during which time I can also make the salad while the others clean the guns. I am also clean out of bread so I need to get a loaf on quickly now.
Ok the ingredients are being kneaded by the machine for 10 minutes then the dough can sit and rise for an hour or so before shaping ready for the oven. I am hoping to get the loaf done before my vistors arrive but bread is a law unto itself and will rise in its own good time.
It has rained most of the night so at least the ground should be a bit damper and save me watering however the greenhouse will still need a drink. The hens had a major clean out yesterday so they should be happy and we tossed loads of prunings into their run some of which they eat and others they just play with. It provides them with entertainment as well as getting rid of some of the greenery. What is left after they have done their stuff is either for the compost or for the bonfire so either way it is got rid of.
The bread now kneaded and put to rise. Using the mixing machine to do the hard work makes bread making really easy and I do find that hand made is better than using the bread machine. Once the bread is made I usually slice it up and put half in the freezer that way I try to stay ahead of demand. Not that I succeed, I always seem to be playing catch up. There is one major problem with homemade bread and that is that it is so nice that everyone eats it. Gone are the days of stale bread or slices covered in mildew.
I was watching Simon Hopkinson making bernaise sauce to have on his steak and I must admit it is one of my favourites so I thought I would make a tarragon reduction to keep in a sealed jar in the fridge so I can run some up when I fancy. It is the reduction which takes the time and as I have a bottle of white wine open and a garden full of tarragon I might just as well make some while the bread is rising.
On that happy note I will love you and leave you and go and bang the pots and pans........