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20 March 2005

When the going gets tough, the tough get cooking. Two happy days I spent, and never wrote a word.

Itís odd, though, how I can still deceive myself over how long things will take to do, despite decades of experience: so much, indeed, that I long ago coined my First Rule of Everything, that Everything Takes Longer. (In case youíre interested, the Second Rule of Everything is that Nothing Is As Good, but thatís a whole nother discussion.) I spent Friday quietly preparing, cooking what could be cooked in advance and shopping for the rest; went to bed confident that there would be little to do in the morning, and woke up in the morning still confident, still unhurried, thinking I could knock off the last few kitchen-tasks and have plenty of time, all the afternoon to clean and tidy and such. I was even composing a shock-horror entry for this weblog, observing that the house had just been hoovered for the second time in a fortnight, which would be the first time since Iíd moved in ten years ago...

Folly, sheer folly. In fact, I spent all the afternoon still cooking, and never got near the hoover.

Still, I think it was worth it. The prime motive behind the dinner was to find something to do with beetroot, and I did that. I made a confit of quail and served it on lemon-rye toast with marinated beetroot, warm beetroot chutney and a red onion marmalade, and I think it was a triumph. Followed that with a four-colour tricolore (red and yellow tomatoes, basil, two different kinds of buffalo mozzarella), and then a Lancashire hotpot with two kinds of cabbage. Caramelised apples in filo for pudding, and then chocolates with the coffee. Those days I donít want to be a chilli-farmer, I think I want to be a cook.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.