Happy Easter.

Yesterday I was compared with a talking teapot!  The one in “beauty and the Beast”.  Apparently, to transatlantic ears, I sound like the late Dame Angela Lansbury whom the older of us will remember from “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and “Murder She Wrote”.  I was talking to Mark in Canada and Krystal in America for one of their podcasts in which disabled people from around the world speak about their life journeys.  I can only think that mine has been a great success if I’m compared with such a renowned actress.

More mundanely, Easter Sunday was spent sitting in the car alongside a Gosport allotment where the intrepid beekeeping sous-chef was investigating a friend’s hive for signs of serious Foul Brood infection.  Fortunately, all clear but there had obviously been a slug invasion with various slime deposits.  I left them to all the fun and started re-reading John Buchan’s “Hunting Tower”.  I was reminded of his wry sense of humour by the description of the distinctly aging retired grocer discovering the liberating benefits of his new “safety razor”.  There are delightful insights into society between the two World Wars when gentlemen could knock on the door of humbler folk in the hope of a restorative tea.  I suspect that they’d get short shrift these days and not a sign of a home-baked bun.

Talking of cooking, great success with the shoulder of lamb for the Bank Holiday lunch with friends.  So simple and good value even in these days where every penny deserves counting.

I’d brined it (60g salt dissolved in a litre of water, cooled, lamb submerged and stored in the fridge for 24 hours).  Small holes pierced into the meat and stuffed with a sliver of garlic and some rosemary leaves.  Laid out in a roasting tray, sprinkled with pepper.  Into the oven on lowest heat (50C) just before bedtime.  Next morning, moved to the bottom of the oven until 1200 when the potatoes went in to roast.  Lamb had reached just over 70C, covered with foil and a kitchen towel to rest on a hotplate until carved just over an hour later.  £38 seemed quite a lot of money but it made six portions on the day (with seconds), three generous shepherd’s pies and another eight portions with delicious gravy in the freezer.    Just over £2 per serving sounds more economic.

The Valentine’s chocolate orange mud cake was renamed for Easter and lasts so well that it could be made four days early.  Perfect with the Cointreau ice-cream  and virtuous slices of fresh orange.

Delicious catering was very easy with no last minute rush.  The News tells us that home-entertaining is now trending and something as straightforward is just the ticket.

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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