Party Time The Earlier
Our good friends the Banjos came over last night and we had a small party for ourselves which consisted mainly of chocolate, wine, whiskey and pork and bean stew. I had intended taking charge of the catering but I was busy with my country wines, lots of sterilising, racking and little tastes. The raspberry has a divine flavour already but the carrot will need a lot more time. Speaking of wines, Mr D and I started a batch made with birch sap. That was a new one for me. We're also planning on making nettle wine and Japanese knotweed wine this year.
But anyways – back to the Banjos and the catering. I had intended making some kind of a cassoulet but before I got to it Jazzer had the meat and some onions boiling in water. I nearly fainted! What about the browning off and seasoning? What about the vegetables?
Jazzer doesn't do vegetables. She hates them and she says her children hate them too. Personally I think it is a miracle that the authorities have allowed her to keep those children. But she has an excuse. It's not that they hate all vegetables – it is just that they hate cooked vegetables. Why, Jazzer will tell you, her sprogs have eaten delicious raw vegetables all their lives. They cannot get enough of them. They scoff them by the bucket load. If I dredge through my early memories of the Banjo young 'uns I do recall pleas of,
Nelleee! Can I have a carrot?
Nelleee! Can I have some celery?
And then five minutes later they'd be in shouting for crisps and the yard would be strewn with carrots with just one small bite taken from each one.
So, back to the pork in water. Jazzer assured me it would be delicious and she started looking for things to add. In went a tin of tomatoes, some fenugreek (?) and other assorted spices and seasoning. She refused carrots, assented to mushrooms (then didn't use them) and I managed to get her to throw in some tinned kidney beans. She still felt it needed something. And started to hunt for vinegar. I was a bit worried about this. Anyway she located the vinegar (it was actually sloe gin) and put the whole lot on a slow simmer.
Two or three glasses of Merlot later it was time to serve. We boiled some rice and we dished. I'm afraid the dishing lacked finesse. I'm sure that weary cowboys around a campfire in Montana would have served their pork and beans with more delicacy. Then. Guess what? Jazzer didn't even have any! Said she wasn't hungry! Deprived the rest of us of delicious vegetables because she didn't like them then didn't even eat it. I was raging. And how was it, for those of us that ate it? It wasn't bad at all. The sloe gin helped.
Party Time The Later
I went to bed at around eleven and I'm told the rest followed at about midnight. Charlie and Judy were left downstairs, where to their glee, some fool hadn't closed the fridge door properly. They feasted on cat food, chocolate, butter, cheese and salami. At some point a fight broke out. Probably over the salami. Judy barked for assistance and Bert got up to rescue her. He failed to notice the signs of Canine Party Time. When I got up this morning Charlie was lying on the sofa surrounded by an incredibly clean and shiny cat food tin, several chocolate wrappers and the shredded butter paper and two piles of disgusting buttery vomit. Ah well. Better out than in.