Getting rid of the only son

So the only son is upstairs packing his stuff away in anticipation of a trip down to London over the weekend when we will get rid of him and he will start on an immersive journey into the world of art at Camberwell Art School. We may never see him again.

It is going to be a wrench to lose the only other meat eater in the house.

By way of a farewell a lump of beef was roasted last weekend.

It went into a hot oven after we had been for a walk along the marshes at Parkgate where the sky seemed to fill with cloud against the last sputtering heat of summer. There was even time for a pint in a pub.

The beef was smeared with olive oil before being rubbed in a mixture of sea salt, pepper and crushed black mustard seeds.

It lasted barely an hour in a very hot oven.

In the meantime a pan of Kilcrohane potatoes went onto the boil and were rescued a few minutes before they fell apart.

They were quartered and went into the oven to roast. I finished them off with garlic, salt and parsley.

There was enough left over for us to have a second round on Monday evening.


This weekend we have been partly eating out of Sabrina Ghayour’s new book Sirocco which was a half unexpected birthday gift.

Last night we had stir fried tangy prawns. There was only three of us so not too many mouths to keep happy. The recipe called for 6 pickled red chillies. No pickled chillies were available so I compromised with just one large dried red chilli. This may have been a mistake as the one chilli I chose transpired to be capable of disseminating more than enough heat to compensate for it just being the one. Notwithstanding the heat the prawns were eaten with the heat being tempered by the cooling balm of the cucumber slices thrown in at the last minute.

For supper today some of us tucked into the roast chicken that had made a welcome return to The Farmer’s Market.

For those not having chicken I made some butternut rostis.For those who have not previously grated a butternut squash I should let you know that it takes some effort. But it seems to have been worthwhile as they went down very well.

In the meantime I have spent time in the garden expanding the pond and gathering the last of the courgettes.


Porter Cake – baking with beer

Having set myself up with a good cigar on Monday evening the week has been beset with worry on account of my failure to bring a box of chocolate into work to help everybody else celebrate the birthday.

It matters not that September has been a prodigious month so far and that every day there has been a fair selection to be had from the other birthdays that have been celebrated. I have felt a prick of guilt as the greedy hand has been dipped into the box of Celebrations, the Roses and the chocolate chip cookies.

This evening I have started on making amends and a good twenty minutes has been spent putting together an assemblage of sugar, butter,eggs, flour and raisins. These have all been stirred into a half pint of Guinness and are due to be spending the next hour or so cooking slowly and filling the house with a good smell.

Baking with beer. There can be no complaint.

Let us hope I remember to take it all out of the oven and bring it with me tomorrow morning with a sharp knife.

Thai beef with chilli & basil

No pictures but this tasted so good it is worth noting down what went into the making of it. I tried to find a recipe but nothing seemed to fit what I was looking for so I ended up throwing it together as I went.

A robust Friday night meal for one.

  • a trimmed piece if sirloin steak chopped into mince sized pieces
  • a small sliced onion
  • a thinly sliced piece of lemon grass
  • a couple of chopped garlic gloves
  • a finely chopped knob of ginger
  • a teaspoon of prawn paste
  • just over a teaspoon of sugar
  • fish sauce
  • a couple of sliced chillies
  • a bunch of basil
  • juice of one lime

Put some rice on to cook.

As the rice is cooking fry off the onion in very hot oil in a wok until starts to crisp up. Put to one side.

Heat the wok until it is smoking then tip in the beef and stir for a minutes. Whilst it is still pink tip in the lemon grass, garlic and ginger and stir for another minute.

Check if the rice is cooked. If it is drain and put to one side.

Add the prawn paste to the wok and stir in. Then add the fish sauce. It should all be cooking fiercely. Add the sugar and let it cook through briefly.

Stir in the chillies and then the basil. The basil should fall back into the sauce. Once it has done so it is ready.

Season with the lime juice and eat with plenty of rice.