Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Pleasures of a Late Summer

If I've not been the near the blog this week, it's because I've been enjoying myself too much to jot down anything resembling ordered thoughts. I won't say life in Birmingham is always as sparkling as it currently is, but the last ten days have fizzed with some abandon.

Just as Sky Sports gives ridiculous names to days laden with important games, so last Saturday earned the nickname in our house of Food Saturday! After the monthly Kings Norton Farmers' Market in the morning, we headed off mid-afternoon to the opening of a new community bakery two miles away in Stirchley.  Loaf has opened up in an old billiards shop and its cookery school nestles next to the new Stirchley community stores with organic and ecologically funky goods. There is a promising range of loaves - our favourite thus far being a spent-grain loaf made from grain previously used for brewing - and an interesting range of classes (bread baking, urban foraging, pizza making, etc.) which for the moment remain beyond our modest budget.

On Monday I wanted to make something special for the wife and so (after frantic scouring of various cook books) came up with monk fish, croutons and pork belly skewers alongside savoury rice. I love this way of cooking - which is rather "unkosher" according to Mrs S but nonetheless extremely tasty (and she didn't complain!).  The beans and courgettes in the rice came from our garden. The monkfish and porkbelly came from Sainsbury's! I hasten to add that this is not normal for our Monday repast but I have been on holiday this week, and, well ... as I said ... I wanted to do something special.

The special week continued on Wednesday with the arrival of an old friend with whom I went to see the final match of the England-South Africa T20 series at Edgbaston. I am hardly a cricket afficionado. I loathed cricket as a child after watching too many Geoff Boycott moments on the TV. I only took to it when living in a village in my early twenties, at which time there was little to do on the long summer afternoons but wander down to the cricket ground and watch the local cricketers getting slowly stewed at the bar before going out to bat against some visiting demon bowler. I am hardly now a fan of T20, preferring the slow-cooking of a four day match, but it has its own charms and - since England won - I couldn't fault it!

Sport, food: I promise I have not given myself over to the modern equivalent of panis et circenses. It's just that sometimes I think life has to be enjoyed rather than endured. Hmm, is that so novel? 

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