Day 230: You have to laugh

August 18, 2007

A few weeks ago, rain in August would have seemed like the most deliciously appealing thing, ever. However, when you are destined to cook and eat outside, and you can’t find the box containing shoes with real live bits that cover your toes, it’s not so appealing. We have a sizeable deck, but only about a 3ft square is sort of covered. After huddling under there in the cold feeding Baby A lunch in her high chair, we were pretty much ready to give up on this whole new house malarkey. However the day did improve when we moved the stove and plastic table into the newly-primed kitchen to cook this evening. As there are no workmen around until Monday we can enjoy our eat in kitchen for a couple of days. This makes the food, pans, plates and stove within a flight of stairs of each other, so we only have to go out in the rain for the fridge and the microwave. Despite the regular soakings this evening, I eventually located a box containing trainers and jackets, so all was not a disaster. Of course my coat in no way wraps around my enormous belly, but the hood did still cover my increasingly wild hair. We still have no mirror in the entire house, which is not the worst thing in the world as I am hitting the stage of pregnancy where comfy clothes rule. Interestingly, whenever we’ve mentioned to people in the real world that we have no mirror, not once has anyone replied, “oh but you look fine”. It must be bad.

Anyway, this evening we made Sweet Prune and Sage Pork Chops with Potatoes which looked like we were going to have to juggle 3 pans and a non-existent oven. But, where there is a will there is a way, and where there is a microwave there is a meal waiting to happen. In lieu of a pan, we microwaved chicken stock, thyme, salt, pepper and wine in a pyrex jug until boiling. We then added the halved prunes and left them to steep for a while. One burner housed the baby red potatoes which took a lifetime to boil. The other burner cooked the pork chops seasoned with salt, pepper and sage. They were supposed to be caramelised in the pan then transferred to the oven to cook; we just did them on the pan. Once they were done, we wrapped them in foil, put the package on a plate and put the plate on top of the potatoes. Somewhere along the line of packing, I forgot to keep pan lids handy so nobody knows where they may be. We waited a while for the potatoes to come to a boil before starting the sauce in the frying pan which had held the chops. Then shallots were sautéed in butter, some flour added, then the prunes and liquids were put in the pan. Once the liquid reduced a bit, we added chopped parsley and lemon juice and dished up. The potatoes were served with a smidgen of butter and chopped chives. The recipe suggests that the meal could be served with broccoli or green beans, but we decided that logistics dictated that we would be happy with just potatoes.

This dinner was actually extremely good; very fitting food for a cold, damp evening. The pork was extremely tasty with the fresh sage elevating it beyond the ordinary. The pan sauce was sweet and rich without being cloying. It was very satisfying, and the potatoes were eventually cooked perfectly. We would definitely eat this again, which is good because it sounds like tomorrow we will have a very similar meal. We will be substituting the prunes for dates and apricots in Sweet Date, Apricot, and Sage Veal Chops with Chive Potatoes. We couldn’t find veal chops today, so we’ll probably have to make them with pork again.

In other news, Baby A has made a miraculous recovery from her ear troubles yesterday; she was on fine form today. We are so impressed by how well she is handling the move, we should learn something from her. Tonight she bathed in the bottom of the manky skanky basement shower cubicle and was in a great mood. It’s a far cry from a few days ago when she was scared to go in the basement. Well, I guess I should go home and try and figure out how to get our internet to work. The rain ruled out wireless network poaching and we haven’t had a chance to hook up the airport. I did try to plug in our phone, but it turns out there’s no electrical outlet anywhere near the phone socket. Either we need a rotary phone or a very long extension cord. We’ll get on to that tomorrow.

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  • Reply Melissa August 19, 2007 at 1:28 am

    you really write well it is something you should get into. Have you ever heard anything from R.R

  • Reply Joannie August 19, 2007 at 6:45 am

    You are amazing for carrying through with this project during this time. I would have given up long ago. This is definitely something you’ll look back on and say, “What were we thinking?” You’re doing great!

  • Reply Doctor D August 21, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Your lack of reflective surfaces reminds me of living in Sheffield. I rented from a nurse who had one tiny mirror the size of a crepe maker in the bathroom, which incidently had blue shag carpet on the floors surrounding the toilet. . . gag, barf! The mirror broke and was chucked. I then realized how much we (I) depend on that little reflective glass. After a week of not having a mirror, one of my coworkers said, “Love, you really should have a look at that second nose you have growing there!” Sure enough a large blemish, the size of Rhode Island was protruding off my already prominent Norwegian nose!

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project August 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Melissa, mysteriously we haven’t ever heard from R.R, not that we’ve ever tried to contact her.
    Joannie, what are we thinking?!
    Doctor D, we finally have a mirror up 3 days after writing this post and I have two great observations to make-
    1. Return of the unibrow must be stopped
    2. Hair cut and colour imminent

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