15 November, 2007

Coq au vin

Just a short note this week to mark the occasion of Sunday's dinner dish. Coq au vin holds a special place in our gastronomy as it was the signature dish of Lisa's beloved Uncle Jean. Several times his version of this dish, always saved for a special occasion, was the high-point of a visit to Nice for us. And, for Lisa, the association goes back very much further. That this was the first time we'd dared cook this dish since Uncle Jean passed away was highly significant. That we unconsciously chose to do so on the day (11/11) that, here in the UK, goes by the name "Remembrance Day" was, I suspect, not coincidental. Not at all. The food was good. The memories powerful and positive. Such are the pathways of grief.

08 November, 2007

New Wheels - All Round

After several months of indecision, Lisa finally settled on the new bike that she wants. She's opted for a new “everyday” bike to take her to work and back and for riding about town and made her choice last Saturday in Howes Cycles on Regent Street, Cambridge: our cycle suppliers of choice. Her new steed is a Specialized Globe Comp the successor in the Specialized range to the Crossroads bike that Lisa rode for many years. This particular model has an 8-speed hub gear: a technology we’ve both come to love over the last few years for its reliability and ease of maintenance. We picked up the bike yesterday morning (the photo was taken in the shop as Lisa was about to ride off to work) and already I can report that the Lisa is enjoying the new bike's lightness and responsiveness so much that I've got my work cut out to keep up!

On Tuesday we had a serendipitous dinner of rabbit stew. We're both quite partial to rabbit so an unexpected opportunity to come by a freshly-killed carcass wasn't one to pass up. Lisa has detailed the recipe we used in this entry in A Coook's Journal. As you can see, the presentation was straightforward with boiled spuds and plain vegetables to foreground the meat. The outcome was wonderfully tasty and probably the most tender dish of rabbit we've ever had.

A big feature of our dining this autumn has been slow cooking. This has proved a great way for us to enjoy long-cooked food on mid-week days when we don't have the time to spare in the evening to let something cook for hours. Monday's dinner was a case in point: a slow cooked brisket joint that we put in the oven on a low heat on Sunday to cook overnight. In the morning we just turned the oven off and left the pot undisturbed then, when we got in from work, all we has to do was warm the pot up again (on top of the stove) and prepare some fresh vegetables to go with it. The depth of flavour is completely out of proportion to the minimal effort involved and particularly suits the dark autumn evenings. Delicious!