On a wet and cold day like today I like to plan a comforting dish for my family's dinner. So I've had the cookbooks out on the kitchen table and decided after much deliberation to make a warming Beef and Dumpling Stew.
I pull my rain mac and wellies on, tell the dogs to stay warm "I won't be a minute boys" I call back over my shoulder, Our 5 month old Doberman, Bruce stops chewing on his toy to acknowledge my leaving but returns quickly to the more important task in hand whilst our 6 year old Westie, Tinnie gives one big huff and stretches to warm his paws on the Aga. I venture out onto the farm.
It's very handy having a farm shop at the top of drive, I run in and am greeted by one of our Butchers.
"Morning Tony, what a horrible day it is" I say whilst pulling my shopping list out of my coat pocket. Although I am obviously rather biased, I do love the convenience of having everything under one roof but it feeling like i've popped out to the local Butchers, the Green Grocer and Bakery. The freshness and quality is second to none, we always have seasonal fruit and veg in which is great for my hearty stew.
I chat with the team, check up on a couple of bits and bobs and collect up all my ingredients and prepare to run back down to the house as I've only just dried off.
Back in the house I put the kettle on and wait for it to boil. The dogs haven't moved but the shopping basket full of goodies has caught both their attention. "Not for you" I say whilst unloading the contents out onto the scrub top table. Bruce paws at my leg and I snap off the end of a carrot for him to nibble on. He trots off in delight and curls up on the rug with it. I know I'll be finding bits of carrot for days but at least he's quiet for five minutes.
I follow the recipe but can't help but add a twig or two of rosemary to the pot. The house is filled with the delicious smell and as I stand by the cooker, cup of tea in one hand, wooden spoon in the other I look out across the fields that backs on to our house, rain lashing against the glass and can't imagine being anywhere else right at that moment in time. Of course I regain my senses and think that actually the caribbean would be quite nice this time of year.
"Right Dumplings next boys" Both dogs lift their heads.