Lock-down take 2. Day 11. 9th November 2020.

So – it seems we have another addition to our cat fraternity. ‘Tigger’, as we have named him, seems determined to get in on the action here in Noizay.

Those of you that read my diaries during the first lockdown will know that we had a few ‘problems’ with Bigi, the little black cat opposite who had a litter of kittens and brought all 5 of them into our garden every day.

Well, along with the 5 kittens of her own, was a little tabby – Tigger.

Tigger had been adopted by our neighbours opposite just before they realised that Bigi was in the family way. He’s not been over at ours since the summer. That is until today.

So now we have Bigi sat on one windowsill looking longingly in and Tigger on the other one. This is Nigel’s fault. He is the ‘cat whisperer’.

Every time he’s in the garden or in the potager (which is opposite the house), one or other of them comes to sit with him while he works. I think they just like the company but this is all getting a bit ridiculous.

Quick trip out to Super U to pick up a few bits. Attestation filled in on the phone, tick, mask, tick, off we go.

Oh – we can’t both go in any more. One trolley per person required. Nigel sat in the car while I did the shopping. This was how it was during the first lockdown. It’s to stop people taking their partners, friends, children to the shops with them. It’s not a problem. Now we know.

A little ironing on the agenda this afternoon (yawn). I don’t mind ironing (and don’t do much of it to be honest) but when it comes to shirts – there is a way to do it. A system. They have to be ironed in the right order.

What is the right order? Well, collar first, front and back, then the shoulders, the cuffs, arms, buttoned front, back and finally non buttoned front. This is the way my Dad taught me when I was in my late teens and the way I have ironed shirts since. It’s the way he was taught to iron shirts when he was doing military service. I don’t suppose they teach people how to iron these days. Or do they? I might be wrong. Maybe someone in the military can bring me up to speed on this vital issue.

No wine for us this evening which is a shame because I’ve prepared quite a nice dinner and it always seems such a shame to pair a nice dinner with a glass of water.

If you love gratin dauphinoise (layers of potato cooked with lashings of cream and garlic) then you’re going to love celeriac gratin (if you like celeriac of course).

I finely sliced about half a celeriac root using my mandolin (you can use a sharp knife too but I find it hard to get really thin slices that way). In a wide non stick saucepan you put 20g of butter and 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped. When they have sizzled for a moment or too you add in all the celeriac slices and then the cream (I used 33cl). Season well with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the celeriac slices over in the bubbling cream for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a greased gratin dish (shallow dish) and pop in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180°C.

I served it alongside roasted lieu noir topped with fine chorizo slices and fresh thyme. I drizzled a teeny drop of oil over the top, added half a glass of white wine and put a few cherry tomatoes in the bottom of the pan. That went in for the last 10 minutes with the celeriac.

It was delicious. So good that I forgot to take a photo before we started to eat. Water made a mighty miserable pairing!