How To Cook For Festival Like Mistress Yseult
Okay. Start with the lamb and cabbage soup. Get out bag of lamb offcuts. Remove the large chunks of fat and grisly bits. Give gristle and a few nice bits to dogs. Brown lamb bits in hot oil in soup pot. Get spattered with hot oil, curse lots. Pour a cup of cheap red cooking wine, test for drinkability. No, too sweet and fruity. Try again in case it's breathed in last minute. Nuh-uh. Oops, the lamb bits need turning. Do so, getting more oil spatters. Cut up two large onions, cry lots. Comfort self with some red wine, forgetting it's horrible. Gag slightly. Try the cheap white cooking wine - uh oh, not cold yet. Put an ice cube in glass. Much better.
Start browning the onions; more oil spatters. Curse again, turn heat down. Sprinkle lamb bits with garlic, turn again. Gosh the kitchen?s hot. Have some nice, er no, sort of adequate, cool wine. Better. Check lamb, add two litres of water and the red wine, remembering not to taste it. Taste the white again. Seems to be getting more drinkable. Cut up cabbage while onions brown. Need to chop herbs, reach for them and knock over glass of water their little stalks are in. Curse more, loudly. Check the white again, start mopping up water.
Arrgh! The onions are burning! Stir hastily, tip some white wine from your glass into pan, decide they're OK, will just add flavour. Turn onions off. Finish mopping up water. Sit down for a minute, finish wine. Pour another glass, you'll need it for the chicken. Go back to kitchen, nearly fall over dogs who are hoping for more lamb, Curse again. Tell husband YES, it's all OK, YES you're having fun, now shut up please dear. Lamb's boiling. Add the herbs, onion, and cabbage before you remember to skim the froth. Have more wine to fortify self, then try to skim froth without removing veggies and herbs. This does not work. Cry. Pour more white for the chicken. Hastily turn down lamb which has now boiled over. Scald fingers mopping up hot lamb soup, stick in nice cold really quite tasty wine. Trip over dog, curse, spill wine. Curse more. Send dogs in to husband.
Return to kitchen, sliding gracefully across floor on spilled wine. Catch at sink edge, ungracefully knock dirty pans onto floor. Tell husband EVERYTHING IS PERFECTLY UNDER CONTROL, and he'll be quiet or divorced, his choice. Pour more white ready for the chicken. Check its drinkability. Pretty good for cooking wine. Oh damn, you already did that. Lamb is simmering nicely, check taste. Urgh. Bland as all hell. Maybe some white - no, lamb needs red. Might as well drink the white.
Damn, that was for the chicken. Pour another glass ready. SPICES! That's what the lamb needs - it-s supposed to have poudre fort - lessee, pepper, ginger, and um, um, pepper ? no got that. Why is no pepper coming out? Oh, this is the salt shaker No wonder the top wouldn't turn. Try the other end. 'SOK 'cause it needed salt too. Now the pepper. Grindy grind grind, grind grind! Fun! Hot again. Nice cool wine. Gumjer, I mean, ginger now. Ooh I hope that's not too much. Maybe the other bit of pooder fought is galingale. Don?t have any. Nightingale? Oh for the wings, for the wings of a dove, er, nightingale? maybe not. REALLY hot - nice cool wine. 'Nother glass for the chickie chick chick chickies.
Taste the soup. Gosh, it's yummy. Amazing. Put lid on hard, turn heat off. Sit down on floor with the wine. Chickies can't have it, 'sh mine now. Mmmn. Tired. Lie down on floor, nice soft comfy floor.
Ed. note: Mistress Yseult credits the "Christmas Cake Recipe" article as the inspiration for her story, although the content is entirely hers.