Determined not to make the mistake of last year and wait for ‘summer’ to arrive before doing some al fresco cooking and dining, I seized the moment of warmth last night (which with our climate might be all we get) and put some duck breasts on the BBQ. I use the expression BBQ in the loosest possible sense. It is a brick construction along the lines of a chiminea covered in a daub of clay and pig hair (a by-product of pig scalding) much of which has come away during the winter. Thankfully Gabriel is about as concerned with aesthetics as I am and we had a great time kindling the fire and grilling a bit of meat. My little helper really got into the swing of things, loudly proclaiming ‘more stick’ at regular intervals, before rushing off into the wood for fuel. He certainly enjoys a blaze and I can see an avid fire prodder (as I was) in the making.
Once stick boy had been herded to the table our simple diner of Aylesbury duck breasts marinated in plum dipping sauce and served with stir fried wild garlic and broccoli tasted good, the experience seasoned with the ‘tack tack’ and lyric line of black caps in the trees around us. Under Gabriel’ s supervision the meat was cooked to a turn, pink but not a massacre, just as it should be.
The final morris dancing practice before May Day was last night and there was much talk of the lack of may (hawthorn) blossom, with which we normally adorn our hats, or in my case bonnet. In years past we have resorted to black thorn, but even that being out looks doubtful for the official start of this summer.