Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Joy of Eating

Breakfast in the conservatory for the first time this year. Streaming sun, bursting tufts of blossom, bluetits battling away over the grease-blobs in the maple tree - Enormous Joy!

Apparently you shouldn't feed birds in the summer in case they forget what they're supposed to eat and become bloated fat-burger addicts. Soon, then, we'll have to settle for the sight of the worms being heaved elastically out of the soil and snails being smashed against the path until their shells explode. Nature IN THE RAW!

Anyway, enough of the gore. We'd never had a conservatory before - we were lucky that this one was already built when we bought the house four years ago, because it's such a great room. From spring onwards, that is. In winter it's a constant minus 20C and is useful mainly to pin the cats down and stop them bouncing their sodden and splat-covered feet all over the settee.

We've had friends round for two lunches in there during globally-warmed-up March. At least, the first was warm. The second time, people looked horrified at the prospect of leaving the cosy sitting room and asked if they could have their coats and cardis back. They bravely persevered when we brought two more heaters in, and once they could control their quivering cutlery, tucked in to Rosbif and Yorkshire Pudding with gusto. Not to mention Spotted Dick.

George and I love to cook French-style but it's good fun dishing up English stuff sometimes, specially if the guests have never tried it before (so can't compare). The first few times were pretty scary, though. Specially as our home layout is open and all kitchen traumas are shared graphically with people who are going to have to eat the results.

But all you have to do is wimper or start wacking yourself with a ladle, and someone is immediately at your shoulder with handy hints and a tissue. Did you know, for example, that a 1Kg joint of beef only needs 20mins at 220C? I'm sure in the UK I'd have left it in for about a day and a half. (We compromised and did 30mins and it worked beautifully)!

I know - Why don't we open a restaurant?

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