This is definitely my favourite time of year, though I have to fight my natural hibernation tendency and make myself get out onto the crunchy lanes. Yesterday was cold and clear, and Jackie and Jack were here for lunch. Jackie has just come off tour, and to pass the time during the day and during the band's sets when she wasn't on stage, she has been sewing monkeys. Here is the one she made for me. It is the transvestite potter Grayson Perry, interpreted in monkey form:
So as Sunday dinners go, yesterday was not my greatest triumph. The roast potatoes refused to go crunchy (overcrowded roastie pan - schoolboy error) and my chocolate and pear tart would have been much nicer if the pears had cooked through (I will definitely poach them in advance next time, no matter what the Jamie Oliver recipe says). Still, we went over to see Charlie and George down the lane, to see Charlie's wagon now it's all finished.
Jackie played her fiddle for George, which he liked, and I brought them some apple butter, so it was a nice start to the day.
Jackie and Jack were heading back to London fairly early, so we ate mid-afternoon; I'd forgotten the joy of having the dinner cooked and eaten and a glass of wine in your hand, and it's not even time for Antiques Roadshow. So with the evening stretching before me, what did I do? Yep - I cooked. The leftover lamb made a base for a lovely, warming bean soup with garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, and cannellini beans. So that's tonight's supper sorted. I love rich, beany soup/stews. They remind me of some tapas I had in Barcelona several years ago - I've been making variations on it ever since. Normally a bit of chorizo would start it off instead of lamb, but I'm also partial to the ham-hocky bean broths my mother used to make.
Soupy November. Better go light the fire.