Housework and the Blue Screen of Death. Scrubbing filth from the bath, mould from between the tiles, and viruses from the start-up files. Struggling with various anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-adware programs. Sweeping pubes from the corners, and deleting swathes of unused software. Hours of annoying tasks in two of the most annoying fields of annoying bother: computers and cleaning. Every time I thought the cleaning was finished, the corner of my eye announced ‘missed a bit’. Every time I thought the computer was clean the Blue Screen of Death pounced, again and again and again. I’ve messed aimlessly and ignorantly with registry stuff and rooted out (hopefully) all the Trojans and ahem backdoor agents I can find. Fingers crossed, touch wood, hello Mr. Magpie, Our Father who art in heaven, insha’Allah, yes I’ll buy your lucky heather. Amen. Nothing else can possibly go wrong.
The day was brightened intensely by my culinary skills (and ability to patiently wait for a Delia recipe to load on a laptop riddled with slowing worms). Here’s the recipe: take one big lidded pot, stick in a kilo of beef brisket, and a pile of potatoes, carrots, onion, swede, turnip, and garlic. Then add half a pint of chicken stock enriched with a few generous slugs of Worcestershire sauce and some of that expensive balsamic vinegar your mum got you. Bay leaves, salt, pepper, thyme. Seal the pot with kitchen foil and the lid to get a tight fit, and put on the hob. Leave until you hear it simmering, then pop in the oven, pre-heated to gas mark 1. Leave for three hours. Take out the meat and veg and put them on a warmed serving dish. Stick the pot back on the hub and get the sauce boiling to reduce it. Slowly stir in some flour, making sure not to get any lumps, and serve the resultant gravy with the beef, veg and some strong English mustard. A stomach full of juicy beef and soft root vegetables can cheer me up more than any other activity I can currently think of. Top of my shopping list now is a slow cooker, and then I can eat like that every day. I can turn the cheapest cuts of meat into rich, tender and flavourful delights. I can leave it cooking all day whilst I am out, and then when I return ready to eat, so is the food.
I can’t remember how I ended up here, but the last few minutes after writing that last paragraph have been spent reading about traditional Scottish cuisine on Wikipedia. I want to try some crappit heid. Sounds terrible: a large cod’s head, stuffed with oats, suet, onion and cod liver, sewed up and boiled in sea water. Serve with potatoes and seasonal root vegetables. Where can I get this? I want some. Now I want some red pudding and rumbledethumps. Off I go to dream of food. Night.