I was hoping for some glorious spring weather, but sadly the windows are rattling in the wind and the sky is grey and heavy with drizzle. Spring feels a very long way away. The house seems empty without Kipper. He spent the last couple of years curled up like a spotty kidney bean in his bed by the kitchen radiator. He would stagger to his feet whilst I was cooking or baking - always eager to help by hoovering up crumbs or licking out pans and bowls.
So, I am feeling rather sorrowful. Not only am I missing Kipper, but I have also sprained my ankle whilst walking Hetty and Cyril. I've been in need of comfort. I was thinking of making panackelty today, a classic North East stew. Housewives made it with left-over meat from the Sunday roast or cheap corned beef. The meat would be layered with sliced potatoes, onions and gravy and left to simmer gently at the bottom of the oven for hours.
In the end though, I opted for a Lancashire Hotpot. Tender, melting lamb topped with buttery, crunchy layered potatoes. Gorgeous. I ate it in bed, whilst watching Inspector Morse. Even better, I managed to keep the left-over hotpot out of the covetous claws of Cyril, so tomorrow's supper is sorted.