Crooked House

A country life in France


We are having some weather! and it is highly unseasonal. We have seen snow.

I asked the Crooked Man where on earth this weather had come from and he said “Siberia”. Yes. Thanks for that.

The “feels like” temperature is down to -6 degrees Centigrade this morning and so we have a fire burning today. I am grateful for that but looking forward to having Spring returned to us soon, as the log pile is dwindling rapidly.

Due to an inadvertent opening of a can of coconut milk last night (I thought it was crushed tomatoes and that will teach me not to cook without my glasses on, won’t it?) I had taken some chicken from the freezer and we were going to make a Chicken Satay tonight. The chicken is now in the fridge, along with the coconut milk. For why?

I found the can of Cassoulet in the cupboard and remarked that today would be a perfect Cassoulet day. Just the job. Real stick-to-the-ribs food. I saw the Crooked Man’s face light up at the prospect and decided to rejig the menu.

Ours will be going in the oven, in the conveniently supplied terrine.

But… “but why a can?” I hear you ask. And yes, I know you know me; I am and always have been a scratch cook. I find no fun in convenience. My canned stores are normally limited to tomatoes, coconut milk (see how it happened?), sweetcorn and tuna – and these days I now get my tuna in jars!

We were in Grand Frais recently when we were travelling down south. We saw the pile of cassoulet in the corner and on a whim, decided to buy one to carry around with us on our travels “just in case”. We still had it in the cupboard when we arrived home and I brought it in from the van when I was clearing it out.

Our wine stock didn’t appear to be up to standard when I investigated but the Crooked Man has since produced a bottle of Cotes du Rhone, bought recently in Beaumes de Venise. That should do the trick nicely.

I admit that I am looking forward to my dinner but must also confess that my day looms long and empty when I have no cooking to organise and effect. I shall be doing nothing other than wielding the can opener and then sitting around for 40 mins. I will make a simple vinaigrette salad for a starter but otherwise have nothing else to do.

Currently trying to decide between starting my French lessons on Babbel, getting the spinning wheel out, or doing week 2 of the FutureLearn Covid course. Or knit. I could knit. Or read. So many options!

New options are winging their way to us. We have musical options (a Ukulele and a Kalimba so far) to add to the keyboard and guitar already at hand and some construction options (Lego Mindstorms and a wooden marble run kit).

My good friend Roz, the Autumn Cottage Diarist just shared this poem (from National Poetry Day) on Facebook:

Well, I am never going to disagree. It’s not a competition and nobody has to “measure up” in any way at all (other than the obvious adherence to social distancing). We all do what we personally need to in order to get through this thing but… I do have to. I have always had to stretch and develop myself. I love to learn, both knowledge and skills. if I didn’t keep myself occupied then I would quickly become bored and not too long thereafter I would suffer from depression. This is going to be a long haul. I am looking forward to my occupations. At the moment though I am just wondering how on earth I am going to fit everything in!

It’s not a holiday” – this is so true. It is no holiday and for many it is no picnic either. It is life. Real Life. We had all better knuckle down to it because this is going to continue for some time and this round of confinement, no matter how long or short it turns out to be, is almost certainly not the last of it. We shall be sent back to our homes in the near future. Perhaps repeatedly. I am aware that the possibility (probability?) is that next winter will be far harder than this one. We may be living with this virus and its effects for a very long time. If it turns out to be one that mutates rapidly then we shall all lack immunity each time that it re-emerges. Truly, we may be looking at a new normal for our way of living. That is why I feel the need to engage and not to simply sit around just waiting for it all to be over.

Interestingly, I am not feeling afraid and I am not crying. Make of that what you will.

What I am feeling is a real need to bake bread. I really miss baking bread. Between having sold all of my baking equipment and books and going onto a low-carb dietary regime, well, breadmaking just hasn’t been a feature of my life for such a long time. Every day since the lockdown began I get up thinking that I shall make bread and every day I fail to find the time.

Where is all this spare time going to, that’s what I want to know!

1 thought on “Comforting

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