If we can’t stand the heat………

RasPutin came for breakfast again, so at least he’s eating well for now.  He’s still hungry but not quite so desperate, poor boy.  He doesn’t come in the evening, I suppose he sleeps most of the day.  I was a bit later than usual going out to feed the barn cats and put the chickens to bed and I saw all the barn cats lounging round waiting for me.  There’s usually one, who rushes off to tell the others, but they’d become impatient tonight.

I made courgette chutney from a  vegetable cookbook that my sister gave me a few years ago.  The writer airily said that she’d been given it by another chef and it was his grandmother’s recipe.  Clearly she’d not tested it or paid any attention to it at all but just had it typed and printed.  It said the range of pickling spices to use, but no hint of quantity.  It said to cube the courgettes and add the other ingredients but didn’t suggest cutting up the dried apricots or the apple.  It said to steep the ingredients together overnight in a preserving pan, then to heat them in the pan and cover it.  You can’t really cover a preserving pan, it’s too big.  It said how long to cook it for – at least an hour until the courgettes were translucent and the liquid was syrupy, but describing how it should look was vague and, having covered it in my biggest casserole dish for half an hour, I had to leave it uncovered or it would have been far too liquid.  Then, having potted it, it didn’t say whether you can eat it straight away or whether you have to wait for a month or three.  I suspect it will be very sweet and I think we’ll try it at once to see whether it’s worth persevering and tweaking the recipe.  At worst, it will add to the compost heap.

We’re debating at present whether to turn the Aga off.  Cooking becomes less of a pleasure in one way, but at least it isn’t so exhaustingly hot.  We’ll have to check the longterm weather forecast.  Tonight, LT made a delicious mushroom risotto, but he suffered somewhat.  Half an hour stirring a pan over the Aga in the height of summer is not for the weak.  It was worth it – which is easy for me to say, I just made the stock … by putting the ingredients in the pan and leaving it for an hour while I did something else.

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