I had just arrived at the house of long-time and dear friends. I had been warmly welcomed and was standing by the familiar kitchen table when Dawkins, the family dog, came and lay down across my feet.
My friends translated the gesture of this handsome, doggy friend. He was communicating to me that I was most welcome and that I must please stay awhile.
I felt welcomed. I planned to stay awhile.
It has become my custom, while staying with these friends, to cook dinner for them most nights. They are all working or studying. I am simply holidaying and one of my favourite holiday activities – or at anytime really – is to cook.
You may have guessed that I would choose to cook this week from Marcella’s ‘The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’. You guessed correctly. I am used to cooking from the hard cover copy I have at home, but I also have it on my Kindle. So I am free to travel light and cook confidently with Marcella’s company.
Last night, I cooked Marcella’s ‘Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables’ – with only salt and pepper added to the ingredients in the title. It was undeniably delicious!! We all thought so. We all said so – several times. Dawkins enjoyed an appetiser of some fatty off-cuts as I was preparing the chuck steak for stewing. He later enjoyed the rinsed-out gravy from the stewing pot poured over his doggy biscuits for dinner. He knew it was coming and barked very loudly when we sat in a too-leisurely, too-long fashion after dinner.
The stew was accompanied – again deliciously – by Marcella’s ‘Sliced Potatoes Baked with Porcini and Fresh Mushrooms, Riviera Style’.
My friends live very near a very famous river – though not the Riviera.
Still Marcella-upon-Thames works well for me. It works for my friends. It works for Dawkins. He’d like me to stay awhile.
Last night: #58 ‘Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables’ and #59 ‘Sliced Potatoes Baked with Porcini and Fresh Mushrooms, Riviera Style’ with John, Jo, Tom (and Me) at their table – and Dawkins waiting, not so patiently, at the back door.