Sunday 8 April 2007

Programmed Eating....

...was what Jocasta Innes called it in The Pauper's Cookbook. I think she had in mind a positive, forward-looking process whereby meals are planned for days (weeks, even?) ahead, on the basis of knowing '.....what baked meats (will) coldly furnish forward...' future meals - or, more prosaically, what leftovers will be available from one meal to form the basis of something else down the line. Personally, I tend to do it the other way round, and am pleasantly surprised to find in the fridge things available for future use which have survived from previous dinners, and which have withstood the ravages of the Technical Department on a midnight raid.

For me, part of the satisfaction in cooking is the sense of efficient management of resources, and the avoidance of waste. This past week has been a prime example of this: leftover sauce from Salmon in Walnut Oil was splendid subsequently with green taglietelle, tasting of celery and tarragon and faintly of salmon; Poulet Antiboise provided leftover onion, which two days later was used in Pissaladiere Nicoise, whilst the chicken carcase made stock which was used firstly to blanch broccoli (for broccoli puree, to have with garlic and anise flavoured pork belly, a frozen leftover from a month ago) , and then in turn for a Celery Risotto (using the leftover Celery from the aforementioned salmon dish), and finally was used up in making Spinach Soup. Possibly rather perverse, but I take as much pleasure in a freshly emptied fridge and freezer as I do from a freshly filled one - as long as I know all the contents have found their place in one dish or another.

I remember encountering Jocasta Innes once, many years ago in Nevile's Court at Trinity, in the middle of a May Ball. Gushy woman, and rather irritating, I recall. Nevertheless, her recipe for potato and bacon hotpot will always rank high on my list of comfort-food-to-be-eaten-in times-of-great-personal-stress.......even if its consumption is to be strictly unobserved and with the curtains closed.....

Dining out again tonight. Ms Robinson's Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding last week was stellar!

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