Lamb is, bar none, the favourite meat of those who consider Wales to be the land of their fathers. It is the quintessential meat and taste of my ancient, proud Celtic nation, which also, as the English would have it, finds itself inhabited solely by ‘sheep-shaggers’ or, to put it more politely, ‘wool-fondlers’. However, as the landscape of New Zealand or the cuisine of Greece suggests, Wales isn’t the only country in the world in which lamb reigns supreme. It is a meat considered by many, including me, to be the perfect balance between flavour and tenderness. Indeed, if you don’t mind my saying so, there are few things which exist on God’s earth as pleasant as the feeling of the freshly braised neck of a young wool-covered ruminant on one’s tongue. Anyway, that’s enough ruminating; too much deep-thought can do catastrophic damage to one’s mind.

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Baking bread is one of those ironic acts that everyone wants to do, but very few actually go ahead with. Yet, despite the evident irony, the state of laziness in which we find ourselves is understandable; there is something magical about the smell and taste of freshly baked bread, hence the desire; yet the process itself can appear rather time consuming. Indeed, those of us who do occasionally succeed in baking a loaf of bread do so on days on which one has the luxury of being able to potter around the house. We all fall foul of such lethargy from time to time, myself included, so I shall try my utmost to instil within you an overwhelming compulsion to leaven on a regular basis. That is, assuming indolence isn’t the reason behind your lack of freshly baked bread.

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Fish is something only very rarely eaten in our house. One reason for this is because it tends to be relatively expensive. However, one must remember that there are always cheap ways of eating most things (see my advice section). For instance, if one is looking for a fillet of succulent white fish, why not use coley instead of cod? There is always a reasonably priced alternative to that which is most in vogue. Trout is much cheaper than salmon and one must never forget the varieties that most don’t like the look of, such as gurnard. Remember, in the world of fish, it doesn’t have to look good to taste good; use the misplaced shallowness of other’s to your advantage.

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As you might imagine, there aren’t many entirely incomprehensible acts that can take place in one’s own garden. However, the fact that some people grow their own herbs, fruit and vegetables and then fail to make any use of them succeeds superbly in making my mind boggle. Luckily, I am neither lazy nor feckless, though some may wish to contest the former, and try my hardest to make use of my own produce as often as is humanly possible. Happily, our mint seems to be rather enjoying our unseasonably wet weather, so this will be the first in a three-part series of simple, mint-based treats. Mint really is a gorgeous herb and one of my favourites, so I shall truly enjoy posting a trio of ideas based around it.

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