Monday, 7 November 2011

Full of Beans

What a beautiful November morning. The sun is blazing through the window and I am squinting to read what I'm typing. Yes, I have blinds, but they are staying resolutely up today so that I can absorb as much of this precious daylight as possible.

I've just recovered from a nasty stomach bug so am feeling full of the joys of health and vitality today. And coffee. My first cup of coffee in a week! Bliss.

I got up early(ish) yesterday to watch the sunrise. It's a fairly slow process at the moment because of the sun's very low arc in the sky. It seems to meander along behind the mainland mountains for quite a while before finally putting in a full appearance. But that lazy rising gives plenty of time for optical fireworks as the light morphs and beams its way to full blazing glory.

Later in the day we drove to Balmacara and took a walk in the forest before scrambling down to the shore. My wife made arrangements of brilliant red and yellow leaves then photographed them against ivy, moss and rock backgrounds. We rounded off the walk with an al fresco cup of stupidly-sweet Aero hot chocolate, from the wee shop.

Cassoulet for dinner tonight, I think. We've loved it ever since our first giant French tin of it. We make our own now: soaking the beans (mostly haricot or cannellini) overnight; rapid boiling them; then bubbling them up with frankfurters, pre-roasted pork belly slices, thyme and tomato puree. The meaty surprises are great but, for me, cassoulet is really all about the soft and savoury beans. Get those right and your cassoulet will work perfectly, whichever recipe you use.

November can be a grim month, so I intend to savour the good days like the softest of savoury cassoulet beans. There may be repercussions.

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