The days are long enough now for me to finish feeding my livestock in daylight after market on a Thursday. I hate trying to carry bales of hay over electric fences on soft ground in the dark, it’s a recipe for disaster but I like finishing work in the twilight because we are on a small hill at the top of the town and I can watch the streetlights coming on all across the valley and a whole artery of tail-lights throbbing up the A30 to Henstridge, the connection between isolated people alone in their cars trying to escape from Yeovil, bless them.
Two of my favourite things are Horses’ Nostrils. My last event of the evening is having a beer with my mate Oberon. He is a 16hh Welsh Cob and we both like Tanglefoot. Oberon sticks his bottom lip out to make a funnel and I pour the beer in from the bottle and we stand and watch the lights together.
Last week the Co-op ran out of ale so I bought a bottle of lager. Oberon was not amused. He tried to turn up his nose in disgust while holding a bottom lip full of beer and very nearly drowned.
Here is a very special and precious recipe. Last Thursday I promised Debbie-the-Duck that I would publish this one because she had some lovely mutton joints. Here it is:
There is a certain variety of pumpkin called a “Giant Pink Banana.” Look, I’m not making this up, that’s its name, OK? If you don’t believe me ask Robbie-the-Apples. In this article I will abbreviate it to GPB. It doesn’t really look much like a banana but it is large and pink and has a unique and magnificent flavour. GPB’s are very rare and you won’t find one in a supermarket but you can get them from Charlton Orchards. (You might have to order them a very long way in advance but it’s worth waiting and planning for.)
Place your GPB on a flat surface and find a position in which it is happy to sit without rolling over. Slice off the top 2 inches and scoop out the seeds, making a vessel with a lid. (Keep the seeds. As I say, this is a rare and precious vegetable, and it hybridizes well with other winter squashes. We had an enormous GPB x Crown Prince once that broke my wheelbarrow.)
Place your GPB on a large sheet of foil in a deep roasting tin and put a joint of mutton inside it (if you go to Debbie-the-Duck and show her your GPB she will find a joint to fit it.)
On no account use salt at this stage or your GPB will collapse.
Seal the foil as best you can and bake in a moderate oven for about three hours until the mutton is steamed and tender. You might be wise to cut some swede wedges and use them to chock the GPB in case it rolls over or slumps as it softens. The pumpkin juice steams the meat and turns into the most delicious mutton gravy (which you may need to thicken with some flour paste, ideally made with Gram flour,) in astonishingly lavish quantities. When we tried this at home, we were staggered at the amount of liquid produced.
It is wise to have some old towels or a dog-blanket on the kitchen floor. The important thing is not to panic. Serve with chunky celeriac and swede and crunchy kale from Ray or Helen-the Veg.
This Thursday is going to be a lovely day so see you all at the thinking persons’ super market in the High Street.
God bless our work and send us lighter evenings.
Toby and Oberon.