Since it’s coming to the end of the rhubarb season, I thought it best to give you lot a couple of recipes which include this fabulous vegetable. However, I’ve not always considered it fabulous; in my younger days it was looked upon, by me, as a most contemptible ingredient. To be fair, it is easy to see why, since rhubarb does have an inherently bitter component to its flavour; which is why it’s always cooked with sugar. Luckily, as I’ve grown older my tastes have come to love the tang which accompanies fresh, seasonal rhubarb. The less said about forced rhubarb, the better.

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In recent weeks my Grandfather has developed a penchant for divulging a number of his favourite Clement Freud anecdotes. His favourite story concerns a trip Freud made to Mexico. Whilst in Mexico, Freud thought he would sample the delights of a true Central American Chilli, something he soon regretted. After ordering ‘six bottled of beer in quick succession’, Freud advised the chef that it may be best to warn visitors about the deadly speciality. The chef replied that ‘the ratio [of chilli to meat] was about one to one.’ Had Freud wanted his chilli with only a little spice the chef said that ‘there was an American place just down the road.’ I think it’s rather a humorous little tale, though perhaps you’ll disagree if you are an American. Anyway, a deep interest on the writings of Freud developed within, and I asked to borrow my Grandfather’s copy of ‘Freud of Food’. To my delight I discovered that my taste in humour shared an even closer affinity to that of Freud’s, when I discovered a section entitled, ‘Give The Wife A Break’.

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In my last post I mentioned a desire to overcome my Christmas “hangover”. One method by which this might be accomplished has already been mentioned – the hair of the dog. However, it appears that a more effective method may be required. This is where my new, roughly vegetarian, diet comes in. By ‘roughly vegetarian’ I mean that I shan’t sniff at a soupçon of a fairly healthy, meat-filled dish, but my main diet shall consist of vegetables and fruit. Surely, this must be as close to a cure for a food-hangover as it is possible to get?

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The Lancashire hotpot is one of the most widely recognised, and loved, British recipes. Traditionally it is a mutton or lamb based dish which includes vegetables and is covered with a layer of sliced potatoes before serving. This is my beef version of the Lancashire hotpot, though it is probably rather far in aesthetical terms from the original dish. The reason I have given it the name ‘hotpot’ is because both dishes share an ideal – they are inexpensive, easy to prepare and extremely hearty and delicious. I tell you, dishes once intended for labourers in heavy industry do work rather well at this time of year.

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I’m determined to get right back into blogging following the last 3 weeks of busyness. All the travelling about I’ve been doing has put a downer on things blog wise. However, now I’m back and settled – for the time being – in Aberystwyth I shall attempt to blog far more regularly. I make it sound like a chore – it really isn’t!

Today I went in search of food related inspiration which came in the form of my grandmother’s vast collection of BBC GoodFood magazines. I plucked this delectable recipe from the folds of one particularly useful copy, and suited it to my own uses. This was necessary because flageolet beans appear to be absolutely impossible to find, especially in west Wales. However, I must recommend this dish, as it is absolutely beautiful. It manages to be both hearty and not too wintery at the same time, which means it’s a perfect soup for this time of year. This is perhaps because it doesn’t contain any meat and therefore lacks the richness of a beefy broth.

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