Today, I had been going over to Weeza, to receive the wood delivery for their new floor. But the firm, which we all agree has been excellent, found a time on Wednesday that suited her, so that gave me a free day. And all the scheduled deadlines, ending on Thursday evening, had been met. So I’ve had an easy day. I could have used it to catch up with everything else, but I haven’t. A couple of hours were spent this morning on straightforward paperwork and then, at 1 o’clock, I decided to call it a day. I had some of Johnny’s lovely local unpasteurised cheese with some nice bread and a glass of wine, I sat down to read the paper and then I settled down for a nap.
I’d slept exceptionally badly again last night, five hours awake around three hours sleep. But what really tipped the balance was my difficulty in reading. I wear one contact lens to help my distance sight, nothing in the equally short-sighted left eye, which I use for close work and reading. And it was blurred. Yes, I did take it seriously, my first thought was to consider a detached retina, but it didn’t seem that bad and it could well have been eyestrain and tiredness, so I took the measured approach and decided on rest first.
I was nearly asleep when someone called round to see Russell and the dog barked and so, in case I was called on to be hospitable, I scuttled upstairs and into bed. And I slept, darlings, for well over an hour and, on waking again, I just lay there relaxing for a while longer. It was all better done today than waiting for the weekend, I was lucky to be able to collapse when I wanted to.
I didn’t say, because I was still writing about Holland, that there was an excellent Food and Drink Festival in Yagnub last weekend. We went along and had a lovely time. I came home with a lot of food, including some beautiful home-made charcuterie from Norfolk, local cheese and sausages and some Suffolk fig preserve and mayonnaise, amongst other things. We ate while we were there, sausage rolls and ice cream, the latter being local as well, made within five miles of here and very fine quality. I had salted caramel, Russell had rum and raisin, the raisins had obviously been steeped in the rum and were delicious. I also came home with an oven-ready hare, having decided against the goat, squirrel and rabbit.
I believe I’ve mentioned before my only previous attempt at eating hare, when it was disgusting and neither I nor my husband could eat it. And that was the better part of forty years ago, probably thirty-eight. I thought it was time to give it another chance, but to take matters into my own hands. I looked up a Sophie Grigson recipe – she credits her mother-in-law, in fact – and marinaded it in red wine, onion, carrot, bay leaf, thyme and juniper berries for two days. The smell, every time I opened the fridge (it was in a sealed bowl but the aroma came through) was wonderful. Then I chopped another onion and a large carrot, fried them gently in butter and olive oil, lightly floured the pieces of hare and browned them. I put them in a casserole with more herbs – bay leaf, juniper berries, thyme and rosemary – stock and the wine from the marinade, seasoned, added some tomato ketchup and cooked it for about three hours.
That was a couple of days ago, all I needed to do tonight was reheat and add some redcurrant jelly. I don’t have any redcurrant jelly though, so I put in some of the fig preserve instead and it was fine. I describe the process at some length because it was truly gorgeous, a wonderful dish. Sophie suggests mashed potato and red cabbage – the potato was the obvious accompaniment, but I roasted a chopped home-grown butternut squash with home-grown tomatoes and Turkish garlic to serve alongside.
And then we had cake.
And here’s a brilliant advertisement for the opening of the Rijksmuseum to entertain you.