It appears to be one of the depressing truths about getting older that time is permanently getting away from you. I am sure that when I was a child, a single weekend would stretch out for days, summer lasted pretty much forever and a year was a lifetime. And now, at the grand old age of thirty-ouch the whole play reel has sped up to an alarming degree. I don't know how it can possibly be nearly the end of October, and 2017 approaching its final throes.
I mean, I understand logically that we must be nearly into November, and thus practically at Christmas, because I made my Bonfire Night parkin today. It was my second attempt, I am very sorry to say, the first being an abject lesson in trusting my cooking instincts. Basically, we have an absolute beast of an oven and always have to reduce both cooking temperatures and times whenever we make anything to ensure that it isn't overdone; even bearing this in mind, I still managed to over bake my first parkin until it resembled nothing so much as a big, spicy HobNob biscuit. Nothing wrong with the flavour, and, if you're happy to lose a few teeth, perfectly edible. But not squishy, sticky parkin. For those unfamiliar with this particular bake, I'll stick the recipe up next week. The key thing to remember is that if it looks ready, smells ready and is only slightly springy to the touch DO NOT PUT IT BACK IN THE OVEN. Even if you've only baked it for half the specified time.
I've titled the post, winter is coming, but last night's weather - full on wind and rain screeching and battering at the windows - made me think that it is pretty much here. It was a perfect night to be inside, with all the sparkly loveliness of Strictly on the TV and a fire blazing in the log burning stove. That stove, which we had fitted back in early summer, finally seeing off the Gawdawful 70s-style gas fire monstrosity, has proved to be our most worthwhile purchase of the year. It was the first real stamp we put on this house after we bought it from our landlord and it's fabulous. Every home should have one, plus a cat to stare wistfully into the flames. Example:
I say wistful. That particular emotion might be slightly beyond her but she does a good impression, no?
In addition to the fire, we were also warmed on the inside by the delicious Rafi's curry that we had for supper (do you see how elegantly I segue into food chat? Seamless!) It had been quite a few years since we'd used one of their curry packs, but, now they have a permanent presence in Kirkgate market I can see us buying them much more regularly. The Xacutti curry, which we made with chicken thighs, red peppers and onion, had a wonderfully rich, almost smoky quality to it. We both agreed that we could have taken more heat, so, if we repurchase will request the mix be made hot rather than medium. Served with nothing by rice and a supermarket naan bread it was a perfect Saturday supper.