Golly, I'm blogging again. I miss it when I don't and having renewed my love of photography I also seem to have renewed my need to garble on here. It makes some sense of my days when I can look back and see what the weather was doing or,come to that, what I have been doing. I had quite a gap toward the end of last year and now I wonder where on earth I was; what was taking place in my life that made it so easy to fall away from this diary of mine and ignore it. Anyhow, yesterday the sun shone and I hurried out to snap this pot of very advanced tulips sitting on the courtyard.
Despite the amazingly cold morn I lingered and listened to the birdsong in the hedges, breathed deep of that icy air and noticed what was going on: little signs of life creeping out of the wintery chill to bring the delicate purple blooms of Arabis to my eye.
I soon had to seek the warmth of the house once more and set to preparing the evening's dinner. I had an idea for a meal consisting of a rich combination of flavours based around some delicious pork chops and for once jotted it down as I went along in the hope that it would be worth repeating sometime. This was to be a comforting meal full of rich flavours and mouthwateringly sticky juices mopped up with buttery mash, a meal to keep the cold at bay.
So, having finally managed to prise the lid off one of the jars of plum jam made last year from some of our enormous harvest of fruit, I poured the contents into a roasting dish and added three tablespoons (roughly) of our homemade sloe gin.
I then fished out the berries which, as usual, I haven't bothered to strain off and added two large chopped garlic cloves, two tablespoons of Worcesterchire Sauce and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar - you could use white wine or even cider vinegar here but I wanted to try this out. Next I added one tablespoon mustard - something with a little heat but any is fine.
Strew (I love that word as it makes me think of wonderful flavours and beautiful scents or an old English cookery book) some rosemary sprigs. About three or four will do as they can be a little over-powering if not careful.
Place your pork chops into the dish and work the mix into the meat well. Cover and leave to marinade for as long as you can manage - I only had about three hours by the time I got to this stage but it was still lovely. When you are ready place the covered dish into a low oven (gas 4) for about two hours before lowering to gas 3 for as long as you want - mine was in for three and a half hours all told.
Partake of a goodly slurp of aforementioned sloe gin to ensure you are equally well marinated.
Then take yourself out into your garden to take notice of the beautiful twilight fast descending. My favourite time of day when I am able to revel in the moment. There is a hush and expectancy in the air at this time where the birds settle and sing a softer song, and far-distant sounds seem muted by the unfolding blanket of night.
It is peaceful, calm in a way that I seem drawn to and watching the purples darken to mulberry black, the fading pinks blurring the edges of deepening clouds, seems to hold time still for just a moment before the hustle of a family dinner intrudes once more.
And so back indoors to warmth and the rich smells of sloe roasted pork chops, mashed potatoes, broccoli and red cabbage. The sauce was so gorgeous with a lightly Chinese taste to it but different if you know what I mean? Very, very sticky juices and the fat just melted...Mmmm. Did I ever tell you I love fat? A lot! Of course, a meal like this needs another glass of sloe gin to bring out the flavours.
By the way, I have been thinking of changing the blog to have different headings for garden, food, etc - any thoughts?
Bye for now x