Tuesday, 3 January 2006

December 23rd

I staggered up the hill and unpacked all the food under the dying light of the day and then lit a fire. I used paper and a lighter to light the fire, whilst this was an oportunity missed in terms of teaching myself how to light a fire without such things I was in a rush. There is so much food, good food, and it is so long since I have cooked that I am impatient to get cooking. Besides, I should be pleased with myself, a couple of months ago I could hardly light a fire even with petrol, things have come a long way.
I boiled a gammon joint for about 20 minutes and then added some cabbage leaves between the meat and the sides of the Billy and a large red potato cut into large chunks on top to steam. There is something hugely pleasing about a blackened Billy hanging in the heat, especially when the smell of good food mixes with the fragrant aroma of beech wood smoke. It's a hugely satisfying feeling to be eating good wholesome tasty food that you have prepared yourself. The meal I have just had of; gammon, cabbage, potatoes infused with the flavour of the meat through having been cooked with them, English mustard, sea salt, pepper corns freshly cracked under the flat of my knife followed up with hot buttered toast and honey has to be one of the most comforting meals ever. It's just before Christmas it's cold and crispy and yet I'm warm by the white hot fire. What could be better?

The water I used to cook the gammon in is now a very rich stock and I will use it to make a lentil and pea soup tomorrow. I have some dried pulses and normally I would soak them overnight in cold water, drain them off and then use them to make the soup with. Somehow I successfully managed to not buy any water when I went into town and I have consequently nearly run out so I'm going to soak the pulses in the stock overnight and hope that all the extra starch doesn't give me stomach cramps. Having little water is a double edged sword, on the one hand I have the perfect excuse not to wash up but on the other I am rather thirsty. This thirst has been suitably enhanced by the salty nature of the gammon; really I should have changed the water it was cooked in after it had first come to the boil to remove the worst of the salt. The perfect way to round off a good meal (especially if you are thirsty) is green tea with lemon, this is even more true when very thirsty so I bunged the last of the water in the Billy and put it on to boil. Green tea with lemon and a hint of gammon is an interesting yet unappealing flavour


Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but there's now a tree deep in the Woods of Worcestershire, sponsored by my 18 month old niece, Evie, via the woodland trust, (which wouldn't have been so without your stay in the woods - If you want to add the 10 quid plus tax to your total, please do).

She'd probably like a gammony casserole, if only to flick everywhere with a spoon.

Happy New Year.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

Ooh! I love gammon especially in green tea. I know you are escaping the world and living in nature and all that but you know what? I would love to see a picture of your camp and your billy can all a-boil.

Strangeblueghost said...

Gammon is an underrated meat. And, as green tea tastes like dishwater, I think a hint of gammon could only improve it.

Hugh Sawyer said...

Thanks Blandy
Strangeblueghost, you question Green Tea? Verily you are strange
Sarah photos - hope so

2 mins left before internet credit runs out, saturday night and mischief is afoot :)