With apologies to Dan

I meant to light a fire last night but didn’t get round to it and we were sat down in the kitchen anyway so we wouldn’t have got the benefit.

So as the light goes out of the sky outside the fire is now lit. There is big log on it and a child is sat bang in front taking the full benefit of its heat.

last night we had four started; beetroot with yogurt, aubergine with yogurt, squid with red wine and tomatoes and clams and beans.

The beetroot was from the garden and for some reason a very pale pink. It was boiled for a couple of hours until soft, peeled and then blitzed in the magimix with a couple of spoons of yogurt, garlic and olive oil. It came out the colour of a particularly vivid blancmange.

But the highlight was the squid. I took a tip from Wards and kept the skin on. I also saved some of the ink for the sauce. After an hour or so’s cooking it was almost black and had a deep dark taste to it.

After the starters we ate monkfish with raisins, vinegar and honey and pearl diver’s rice. Both from Diane Henry’s Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons.

That was followed by five quinces roasted for a couple of hours in a slow oven served on a bed of whipped cream. We will be having that again.

And to drink there was lashings of good red wine.

Dan was missed.

After clearing the head this morning I went out into the garden. Most of the time was spent raking up leaves and scrubbing out the beds. There is now a big pile in the corner of the garden. Hopefully it will be dry this week and next weekend we can have a bonfire.

Although we are almost into winter there is still some colour in the garden.

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