A warmth found

There is some benefit in the clocks going back, winter is tightening around us and we have the benefit of warmth found, a newly made fire with chopped wood from the garden. It is getting dark just after 4.00 in the afternoon and I spent an hour outside as the afternoon merged into that winter glooming. The beds are a tangle of old and dead vegetation but as I pull and cut it away there are the first half shoots of next years growth.

In the last ten minutes or so before it got too dark to work it was quiet, just the sound of my breathing and the rustle of my hands in the dead leaves. It was still and there was a temptation to allow the time to stand still for a moment or two, to pause in my work and look up to the sky and close my eyes. Behind me a Robin turned the soil looking for food.

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When it was finally dark I came in to make a late lunch. I had bought two medium chickens at the International Store, these were cut up into eight pieces, the carcasses put to one side for stock.  The chicken pieces were then fried off in olive oil until golden, a handful of peeled garlic cloves were thrown in and once they had taken on some colour I poured in a glass of white wine and some saffron water. Once that was simmering the lid was put on and it was left for forty minutes. About halfway through I stirred in some raisins and pine nuts.

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Earlier in the day I had chopped up ten quinces, covered them with water and left them to simmer for a couple of hours.

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Once they had collapsed into the water I forced them through a sieve and stirred a pound of sugar into the pulp.

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We had the chicken with crusty rice flavoured with cardamon and cinnamon and flat bread that had been heated in the oven.

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Th quince pulp has been put back on the oven and is bubbling slowly and volcanically. It is a deep dark red and the smell is starting to perfume the house.

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Listening to Tom Waits and waiting for him to get to Kentucky Avenue.

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