Saturday is the only day I get to lie in; and perversely, I always wake up at the crack of dawn. So I get up, put on a load of washing so that it’ll be dry and ready for ironing later, and go back to bed with a good book and a cup of Redbush. Then I get up when I’ve wakened up again, hang out my washing and have a ‘proper’ breakfast. This is today’s. It couldn’t be better if I were staying in a five-star hotel. Lucky me. Generous slices of cooked ham and musky fresh figs. Definitely makes up for the other six days’ early rush.
One of the joys of my day job is buying meat at the butcher’s, and getting to know him and be able to ask for specials. All my cooking life I’ve read books advising you to ‘get to know your butcher’, but since my day jobs never included cooking till the last year or so, and I was busy busy busy (nothing changes), I never had that opportunity.
So here’s a big thank you to Derek O’Neill of Johnston’s the Butcher at Abbeyview. His is part of a small chain and he can tell me which farm his hens come from and all the other details this inquisitive shopper wants to know. Ours is perhaps a pie-and-sausage neighbourhood rather than your Fillet Valley, and proud of it; Derek serves both admirably (he provided me with this trotter and bones for my recent raised pie endeavours). I’ll be picking his brains soon, when I start on my Intermediate Food Hygiene certificate – butchers are probably in the front running when it comes to food hygiene, with the highest risk products. He was telling me that soon there’ll be a USB stick for his oven which will tell inspectors how long his meat was cooked for, and then cooled. He has to learn how to do the IT, and says, ‘Computers? It’s all new to me. I just chop up coos!’
And now it’s breadmaking time … ah, Saturdays! The ironing can wait.