It is a very difficult task that the family and I have to undertake at this time of year, every year. We brace ourselves, and tally forth into the exploration of the unknown territories of ...the first tasting of the Christmas rolled, stuffed leg of lamb ;) You can imagine that this experience leaves us exhausted and in severe need of...sleep.... Sleep? You ask. Yes, well, sleep because usually we have over-eaten and can no longer move so the only option is a brief respite in front of the fire. Despite the superb effort of the girls this year, the binge was doubly felt as Patrick was not here to aid in this, the most burdensome of duties. We managed to plough our way through three quarters of a 2kg roast but saved the last for a leftover spaghetti bolognaise later in the week, masterfully produced by Gavin on a Thursday evening after an extremely long day in the butchery.
Our week continued to be very difficult on the culinary front eating Chilli con Carne, made with the mutton mince from the previous week. Our own sausages, chips, cooked in lard and homemade chutney with the neighbours for bonfire night and then in an effort to clear out our freezer a little, a small piece of leg of lamb rubbed in morrocan spices with roasted vegetables. Oh yes and not forgetting the bacon and egg roll (our own eggs of course) consumed after Fridays market back at the butchery.
Goodness that is a lot of meat! I hear you all cry. Well on balance that is over a 9 day period interspersed with a couple of no meat meals macaroni cheese and spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce, and vegetables including: brocollii, some sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, peas, sweetcorn, cucumber, radish, sweet pepper and oceans of spinach. Most of which was purchased at the market from local producers.
Thank goodness also for the arrival of the apple, orange and grape into my standard basket. I do love summer fruit, but by the time I get to the end of the season I have had my fill of soft, sweet fruit and am ready for crunch and acid again. Not that grapes are really either of those they are just natures little gifts for yummy edibleness all year round in all states of personal health, and have the added advantage of being emminently conservable in so many different formats;)
Now my purpose for waxing lyrical about delicious food this week is that whilst Emily was home during half term, I went to the supermarket to buy her a few bits to take back to uni, and as Mums and daughters in the food industry do, we went for a research stroll up and down the aisles to see what people were buying. I am not the worlds greatest shopper, and it is a while since I have browsed through the supermarket. Usually it's a quick dash to get the cleaning stuff, school supplies, insect repellent and beer. It was a stark reminder how my upbringing and inability to purchase ready made food due to location or finances has removed me from what is now available.
Rows and rows of ready made meals, ready prepared sauces, pies, just add water or milk cake packets, biscuit dough, ready made aperitif food or most surprisingly in France prepacked salads. Gluten free, sugar free, fat free, nut free, egg free, suitable for vegan, vegetarian, organic, free range, halaal. And all the flavours from different regions, countries and continents. I suppose this would be called progress by some? But I do question whether this environment is created by demand from the public, or by impostion from the global corporates wanting to add value and hence profit to their own bank balance. Either which way I wonder how long this way of eating, purchasing and moving food around the globe can go on for??
Puts a whole new take on the phrase "Food for Thought".
See you all soon
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area