Wednesday 25 October 2006

Z's going soft and gentle. Won't last, make the most of it

It was, indeed, a good evening. Roro (this is Squiffany's name for him and I think it rather suits) had volunteered to cook a beef curry. He had been given a new recipe and some particularly splendid curry powder and wanted to try it out. I offered to cook a cauliflower and potato dish (phool gobi aur aloo ki bhaji, if that means more to you), which has lots of cumin in it. We had done the preparation and the beef was cooking when the family dropped by and so had time to spare.

We'd have spared the time anyway. Everything is dropped for Squiffany and Pugsley.

It won't, of course, all go as smoothly as this. But it is a lovely introduction for them to life as a family of four. Al has gone back to work now. This should be his half day - as he works all day every Saturday he sticks to the tradition of an early closing day midweek - but he will stay open later today. The shop is busy this week for half term. He sold lots of pumpkins yesterday - not surprising, he's undercutting the local supermarket and, he's been told, Tesco too. It's good that parents are bringing the children in to buy them fruit instead of sweets - there has been a visible change in attitude in the last couple of years. People are making an effort to eat healthier; I'm not sure that this will show much effect healthwise for a while, but it is a start. They are also trying hard to cut down on waste, returning bags for reuse or bringing their own. They refuse paper bags too if possible.

A friend is coming round for dinner tonight. He will help us with the sale on Friday (it's a family and friends business) and then he's off to New Zealand on Sunday. His daughter and son-in-law moved there a few years ago and, having visited a few times, he and his wife love the country too - she went out a month or so back. They have now gained residency and spend about half the year in each hemisphere, having sold their family house here and bought a flat instead. In the long run (they both have a mother to think of) they will spend more of the year over there.

I will make a roast pumpkin soup, braised shoulder of lamb in tomato, onion and carrot, pommes boulangère and whatever vegetables look nicest, and pineapple, which I probably won't do much to. There are some gorgeous pineapples around and there's no need to do anything elaborate. I may spoon some passion fruit onto it. I may even make a syllabub, but I'm not promising anything.


Anonymous said...

Please provide postcode for entry into the broom's satnav. Don't worry that I won't eat baaa, I'll just have more veggies and more soup. What time are you serving up? :)

Z said...

Would you like your napkin folded into a slipper shape or a waterlily?

Finishing with fresh walnuts and Green & Black chocolates that Al and Dilly were given and, inexplicably, didn't like.


Anonymous said...

Pommes boulangere..baked potatoes?

Menu sounds good - do you actually roast the pumpkin before making your soup? Recipe?

Oh I found butternut yesterday...hooray...and the girl at the till asked me if it was edible..ha ha ha..these French take the biscuit!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I couldn't make it.
I decided against coming when you failed to understand that I needed my napkin to be folded like a Witch's Hat ;)

Z said...

Baker's potatoes, actually Wendz. It's sliced spuds, layered with a little chopped onion, moistened with a mixture of vegetable stock and milk and dotted with butter and then baked. French housewives used to take it to the bakery to be cooked in the oven to use the residual heat after the baguettes had been taken out. Allegedly.

You have me marked down as someone who would call a baked potato by a poncy name? Ooh, and crème anglaise to you!

Yes, I roasted the pumpkin with an onion, a few tomatoes and quite a lot of garlic, puréed it all with vegetable stock, then added a little cream. I then added some nutmeg and ground coriander seeds.

BW - I'd spent ages perfecting my pointy hat folding too. All that nonsense about pointed slippers was just to tease you.

Girlplustwo said...

how many times must i ask for the wine paring.

i COUNT ON YOU for the wine paring information.


Anonymous said...

Oops - I stand corrected, Madame...désolée...and now I have learnt a bit of French history...I shall check the facts today with some students and let you know if it's alleged or indeed true.

Z said...

Jen, if you count on me for wine info, you might find yourself dismally disappointed. We drank a 2001 Volnay. I picked it off the pantry shelf because I fancied a Burgundy.

Wendz, if it isn't true, I hope they know why it's called boulangère.

Anonymous said...

Well do you know what? I completely forget to check this out. I have a colander for a memory, I'm afraid. But no fear - tomorrow morning I have a particularly lively bunch of students who love to mess about and talk I will def def ask is so noted in my little pink diary.

Anonymous said...

Ah... now... I'd always understood that the pommes went into the oven at the same time as the baguettes because baguettes need to be cooked in a hot and steamy atmosphere.

Hence why when you want to cook a true baguette in an Aga you're supposed to put a tray of water on the bottom of the oven.

Now the internet would know the definitive answer, of course, but I'd hate to find out that my long-held belief was incorrect :)

Z said...

Oh, that's interesting. Thanks BW, I didn't know that.