Tuesday, 22 November 2011

November 22nd - Cat out of the bag

Dear Nigel,
Had to go for a work-focused interview today. My baby is four year's old, my ex- shovelled us out eight months ago and i need to swallow my fear and do something about it. I'm one of those last breed of Dinosaurs known as the stay-at-home mother: i've been one for twenty five years now.I have my first family of five from my previous marriage, mostly grown-up now, and my two babies from my last partnership of six years.
I sit in the job centre hoping no-one i know saw me come in and i find myself telling this very nice lady that what i want to do is start my own business making puddings. I hadn't planned to say this but every time i think about what i want to do i come back to the same idea. I'm passionate about food and eating and the fact that the only qualification i have is that i've cooked for my family for the past twenty five years does not deter me.
Even our holidays have been focused around food - the detour to the little Lakeland village of Cartmell to pick up a sticky toffee pudding from its original post office home, to a cider farm in Herefordshire to see them making my favourite Dunkerton's Black Fox cider. The rest of the holiday has always had to fit in with the main event.So i'm back home armed with contacts for my research and feel curiously lifted.
I'm making soup for the freezer today. Christmas for us revolves around a series of soups for lunches over the festive period. Teenagers rise at all different hours and it's much easier to have something substantial ready and available than to hang around expecting cheer and conversation at a time to suit you. Dinner is a different matter altogether. This way the dog and i and the little people can take a flask of hot soup and get out into the hills - snow permitting. Today the soup is Butternut squash, orange and ginger, one of my all-time favourites, which i make every year due to its universal popularity in our household. Luckily i have my chest freezer back now. It had to be dug out of our old garage and the straw removed from it as i had been keeping supplies for my chickens next to it. Due to lack of space here it was necessary to throw out the sofa so it now sits comfortably beside the piano - but no one liked to sit in that room anyway
You make a mushroom lasagne with basil and cream for your vegie guests today. I love the indulgence of a real homemade pesto, too. I used to grow my own basil especially for the purpose but found i resented giving over my entire lovingly-tended supply for consumption in one single meal, preferring  to buy pots from elsewhere to use and keep my own plants for garnishing and for sinking my whole face into at intervals when i want to be transported out of a grey day to somewhere sun-drenched and vibrant.
Dreaming of dappled shade and bowls of sun-warmed olives,

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