I should put a sign outside saying Chez Liz. Having shopped myself stupid for the last few weeks in a bid not to be alcoholic of the year I finally got bored. Things went a bit further this week. I decided to cook.
No big decision, the rest of you think, but ah ha, I haven't cooked since I started living alone which is at least ten years. I do throw meat and veg into the oven, with olive oil and bring out charred remains when I remember it's there. I do a good line in Cheese and Garlic Bread as a main course. I gave up on fish when I could smell it three days after it left the pan. The exception is soup. I do a very good carrot soup.
This week on the menu has been the most wonderful daube of beef. Wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes and thick strips of orange peel. Can't you just smell it? I actually went out of the house so that I could come back in again and enjoy the scent which wafted through the hall. Unfortunately my stomach, wondering what in hell I was doing, thought the daube too rich and I suffered the following day.
Then it was the best risotto I have ever tasted, leeks and white wine ( you see I do get the wine in, even if the alcohol has gone off it by the time I eat ), bay leaves ( the bay tree in the garden has had a hammering this week )and lemons. I adore lemons. It was sublime.
The day after this it was charred asparagus with lemon, basil and spaghetti.
Last night I excelled myself. Lemony chicken with Fresh Coriander. I hate coriander but my garden supplies curly parsley which I chopped very small. There was ginger made into a paste, garlic, chilli ( red since I had no green ) cayenne, cumin and turmeric. To go with it I had Aromatic Yellow Rice which boasted cinnamon and yes, you guessed it, more bay leaves.
In between all this I've been having rosemary bread with salads for lunch. Not ordinary salads, vine ripe tomatoes, avocado with lemon oil, yellow and orange peppers and king prawns. I haven't had king prawns since Kitty died. She used to hide them under the beds like squirrels hide nuts.
Best of all I did have to go shopping. I needed one of those little collections of spoons which give you a quarter of a teaspoon, half a teaspoon etc. And I discovered that the lady who has the fruit and veg at the covered in market in Market Place, does a good line in herbs. I urge you all to buy your goods at this market. It's cheaper than anywhere else, the people there are lovely and the watch man is mending a watch of mine which hasn't gone for years.
The fruit and veg lady must go somewhere really good for her produce because it lasts and lasts. Of course it isn't very warm in the covered in market which possibly accounts for some of this but I have been buying bunches of snowdrops there, two for £1-50 which are locally grown. On top of that you get the chat, everybody there is so nice, it's a blissful way of shopping.
Today - deep breaths here - I am making spelt bread. I don't need to make dinner, there is enough left over from last night. I went to Sainsburys and bought a big loaf tin and a stainless steel mixing bowl so if you happen by the smell should be incredible.
The only problem I have is that I make awful coffee. I could hit the Guinness book of records for the coffee I have made which people merely looked at. So no smell of coffee.
Kind regards to Madhur Jaffrey and the lovely people at hamlyn books who wrote the mediterranean collection which I bought from my local library last week for one pound. My afternoons no longer exist under the spell of Escape From the Country - Freudian slip there - and Antiques Road Trip. My couch is awash with cookery books. Elizabeth David move over, here I come.