Never mind the fancy-schmantzy patisserie, what counts around here is Sunday lunch. When we are at home, we always sit down to something a bit above average each week. If we have company, then there’s nothing we enjoy more than sitting around the table and enjoying good conversation, good (not necessarily fancy) food and a bottle or two of wine with the afternoon and evening spreading out in front of us. If there’s three of us, there’s likely to be a pavlova on the worktop, waiting for whatever fruit will be plonked on top of the whipped cream and meringue. If there are more, then perhaps there will be a choice - something chocolate-y maybe, home-made ice cream or jelly.
Last Sunday, we enjoyed the company of long standing friends over a leg of mutton. Yes, you read that right - my hero had enjoyed some mutton in a Yorkshire restaurant last year and has not forgotten the wonderful flavour. So when we came across a special offer from an online butcher recently, we decided to give it a try. Thankfully our friends were happy to come and help us finish it off - but there was still a couple of packs of diced mutton in our freezer, awaiting attention from me. (The leg was delicious, by the way - slow roast a la Jamie Oliver et al)
This morning was a glorious Spring day and with nothing planned, my hero and I were pottering about enjoying the sunshine and reacquainting ourselves with the garden. Meanwhile, something was in the oven, because as soon as I got up, I’d started the process of making a hot-pot.
I’d come across a little pamphlet in Daylesford the other day with a range of ideas for Spring cookery, including a recipe for hot pot with “lamb or mutton”. Perfect! I got a bag of mutton out of the freezer yesterday afternoon and prepared the carrots, leeks and onion first thing. I delegated the preparation of the lambs kidneys to my hero 😘 (He did a grand job)
I’m told the aroma coming from the kitchen was amazing, not that I experienced it fully, of course, since I was probably wearing that same perfume myself in spite of the spritz of Rive Gauche this morning.
Whilst we pottered about, it did what it’s meant to do in the oven and by the time I returned to it a couple of hours later to apply a layer of finely sliced King Edwards, it was looking good. (No, actually, it was looking - and tasting - great!)
At this point, I might have got carried away and cooked a little rhubarb for a pudding, knowing there was a cheesecake in the fridge, waiting. I had totally overlooked the other favourite, sitting there on its sell-by date, which my hero had been anticipating for quite some time!
What can I say? The hot pot was delicious and proved to be exactly the best kind of home cooking - the sort of dish that is just too simple and undeserving of such flavour. The mutton was perfect - tasty and just about holding together. How pleased we were to know that we have another identical package in the freezer for another time!
And there was pudding. Marks and Spencer’s Apple Pie - our guilty secret until it was recognised as the second-best apple pie in the country (after the super cheap but hard to find around here, Aunt Bessie’s) It’s definitely one of those things we seize upon whenever a £10 meal-deal comes into view and this one had been sitting there in the fridge, anticipated by us both for some days.
It was the best kind of Sunday lunch - simple, tasty, fuss-free. There might even have been a glass of our favourite red wine too, as it’s been on offer at 30% off these last couple of weeks and hey, how could we refuse?
Wake us up when something needs doing, please? (and who needs macarons?)