Anyway, Hetty has been all of a shiver with the cold. I have wrapped her in a cashmere blanket. She truly has come a long way from her life tethered on some skanky, rubbish-strewn allotment.
I have been reading some trashy newspaper article that women only have 9 regular recipes, that they re-hash week on week. It got me thinking. What would my 9 recipes be. Here goes:
1. Poached eggs on toast or Green and White Scrambled eggs (with cream cheese, spring onions and lashings of tabasco). I like a proper breakfast. A breakfast without eggs just doesn't seem quite right to me. Granary toast, eggs, Yorkshire tea. Possibly some streaky bacon or slow-roasted tomatoes on the side. I sacrifice lunch so that I can have a proper, leisurely sit-down breakfast at the kitchen table. After this unhurried, genteel feast I have a bracing walk in the park with Hetty before heading out to the School of Hard Knocks. If I thought all I had in for breakfast was a bowl of Cocoa Corn Crispies then I'd never get out of bed.
2. Smoked Mackerel pate. Ideally on a toasted bagel. I make this every week, it is so easy and so cheap. I tell myself it is an Omega-3 laden health food. I try not to think of the copious amount of cream cheese than goes into it.
3. Pasta supper. At the moment my favourite is spaghetti with a garlicy, fresh tomato sauce. Just before serving I lightly stir in a big spoon of good quality ricotta cheese. Carbonara is another favourite. I seemed to eat nothing but pasta in the 90s. I think we all did. Now I have it just once per week.
4. Spinach salad: I have one daily, as a side dish with my supper. Ideally it would also have avocado, red onion and be served with a walnut oil dressing. I do feel I should market my salad dressing. It is very good.
5. A roast. Pork belly with apple sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans and proper gravy (i.e. not a watery 'jus') is my current cold-weather favourite. Or maybe lamb with mint sauce and pommes dauphinoise. I love the leftovers from a roast dinner, bubble and squeak, cold-cuts with creamy potato salad or meaty, gherkiny sandwiches.
6. Cauliflower cheese. What to say? The perfect comfort food. I love it with some home cooked ham.
7. Home cooked bacon or ham with either pease pudding or parsley sauce. There is something rather retro about my cooking, I think.
8. Buttermilk chicken. Chicken thighs, marinated in buttermilk, garlic, chili and maple syrup and then roasted till golden and crispy. I think this was originally a Nigella recipe. I have it weekly, with homemade apple and pecan coleslaw. This tends to be my 'date meal' - i.e. what I cook to impress a man. I don't know why.
9. Shepherd's pie. Traditional, English comfort food does seem to dominate this list. I like lots of cheese on top and plenty of butter in the mash.
There. My 9 most common recipes. You know, looking at them, considering I am someone who loves to cook, they are rather conservative. The runners up:
- creamy chicken, bacon and sweetcorn chowder
- cheese, ham and tomato scones
- cream cheese cupcakes
- corned beef pie
- chicken breasts stuffed with Boursin
- Irish stew
- banana bread
- bran muffins