The bird-gang have discovered the “pond” that the rain has made at the bottom of the garden. It was only a matter of time I suppose. The hens, of course, are singularly unimpressed. They skim the edges of it to get to the rich bug pickings in the flower beds, looking rather put out. The ducks and geese however, are in water-fowl heaven.
It’s raining. It’s been raining all day, and it was raining all yesterday. In fact it feels like it’s been raining since about 1996, but I’m pretty sure that can’t be true. Either way, the ground is saturated, and there is standing water in the lowest part of the garden.
I have an atavistic love of cooking on fire. In fact I think my passion extends to (safely managed) fire generally, for warmth, cooking, and just plain staring into for hours as my mind drifts away with the curling smoke.
There are many fine pizza recipes out there, but this is our version for the clay oven. The dough recipe is from Tamasin Day-Lewis’s “Supper For a Song”, and is very good, as are so many of her recipes.
Building our own clay oven was far and away one of the most satisfying things I have done. It sounds strange perhaps, but building is a very fundamental act. It teaches you a skill that meets a primal need to find or create shelter for you and yours, albeit on a very small scale in this case. There is also a satisfying echo of the food; the handling and working of the clay is reminiscent of the handling and working of the dough that will be cooked in the finished oven.
I have a peculiar relationship with my garden. I love it, slightly obsessively. It is the thing I love most once you have taken the animal kingdom out of the equation. But it drives me absolutely crazy. It is rather like a child in that respect.
Eating in unexpected places is thoroughly joyful, and the food becomes more interesting. In the same way as chips are never quite as perfect as when eaten from their paper wrapping, perched outside, any number of other foods become exciting and new when the meal is eaten camping out around the place, even if it’s just in the living room.
I am not a fan of breakfast. There are two reasons for this really. Firstly, I am not a morning person. In fact I find the whole being up and about early in the morning thing a little piece of hell.
I love poached eggs, truly and deeply. I love them on toast (toasted muffin counts), with hollandaise sauce. They are the perfect egg. There are many variations on the poached egg / hollandaise / toast wonder-theme, the greatest of which are eggs Benedict, and if I may, my eggs Marmitine.
As I write this, I can hear the insistent tap-tap of Genny and Guy, the pilgrim geese, hammering at the back door, as they try to eat the filler around the window panes.