Back to Blighty. 17th October 2020.

Jeez, I’ve still got a bit of a headache this morning. I clearly don’t have the drinking legs of my 90 year old Dad. He can drink me under the table!

And I went easy last night because I was feeling delicate yesterday. Yes I know we opened a magnum of Nero d’Avola but I went easy, I did, I promise. No vintage port or 2002 Burgundy last night.

I took it easy this morning. Up early as usual. Cup of tea. Back to bed with the papers for a while. Second cup of tea and then the rest of the house seems to get going.

In 50 something years I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad come downstairs in a bad mood. And he never seems to get headaches either. And, he sleeps like a baby. Two minutes and he’s off. Mum on the other hand is a night wanderer. She sleeps badly and lies for hours putting the world right, making lists in her head and worrying.

Another busy day in the kitchen – the last one.

I jointed a big chicken and made a curry with with peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, chilli and coconut milk. M and D enjoy a curry so I hope they’ll like this one. It made 4 good portions for the freezer.

The chicken was enormous so I saved back one of its huge breasts and we’ll have that tonight cooked with lemon cream and Parmesan with some creamy mashed potatoes (Dad will be heaving a sigh of relief) and some what they call ‘pointy cabbage’.

“Gin & it Cathy?” says Dad at about half twelve.

“Don’t mind if I do” I reply. Maybe this will be kill or cure for my headache. This is only one step away from a Negroni (one of my all time favourites).

What’s not to like eh? Gin and sweet Martini on the rocks (well for me, not for him, he’s not a big ice fan). Mum had one too (she joined me with the ice option). Just the thing to whet the appetite before lunch.

Avocado, tomato, mozarella and basil with a bit of sliced tongue for lunch. We talk about how much food has changed in the past 50 years and how my approach to cooking is so different to theirs.

Mum was a seriously talented cook in her younger days (well she’s still great now but doesn’t cook as much). She subscribed to all the foodie magazines and embraced traditional French cooking long before her peers. Like me she has dozens of cookbooks and still loves sifting though old recipes and talking about food. It’s no wonder that both me and my brother grew up to be foodies.

Decided to make a pud this evening as Dad was keen to try one of the dessert wines from the cellar. A Rieussec Sauternes. Not sure what vintage. The label is so damaged that it’s impossible to see. Maybe the answer will be on the cork. I remember he had some 1976 at some point and it’s clearly an old one due to the amber colour.

Apple and caramel pudding was the order of the day. Halfway between a cake and a crumble topping with lashings of butter and sugar. That should go well (I hope).

The chicken was tasty. Rich and creamy – I decided to serve a 2019 Vouvray from Denis Meunier in Vernou. It’s an estate I’m not familiar with but we all liked the wine. It had a bit of obvious residual balanced with fresh acidity. Upon checking I see it has between 6 and 7g. Still dry but with a softness.

The Chateau Rieussac was sublime. It turned out to be a 1975 in the end. Still fresh as a daisy on the nose with hints of shattered caramel (the sort you find on a crème brulée), orange rind, nuts, treacle and spices. Just delightful.

Conversation turned a bit heavy towards the end of the evening. Our business and Brexit on the agenda, I think Mum thought we would come to blows but we didn’t. Dad worries about us and the precarious situation we are in. We are not alone. We’ll just have to sit tight and see what the future holds like everyone else.

I declined finishing the bottle of Sauternes and stuck with water. Want a clear head tomorrow.