Well. Today I cooked Sunday lunch – and this one was different. Last summer, we hatched some chicks under our broody hens. They were very cute and fluffy. Sadly, of the nine, six were cockerels, and they got bigger… and bigger… and by January we realised that we had to do something. Six huge cockerels makes for a lot of noise. And very unhappy hens. So the cockerels were dispatched and today we had one for our lunch. I made coq au vin with garlic, onions, shallots, mushrooms, piles of fresh thyme and a whole bottle of red wine. We had new potatoes and broccoli with it, and very nice it was too.
I have to say, there was something very satisfying about eating meat from a bird we’d reared. I knew that the bird had had a happy life, I knew it had been well fed, and had been free to wander at will. And I knew that it had a quick, stress-free death. I’m not sure whether or not we’ll do this again, but I am glad I’ve had the experience. It’s impossible to be detached from the realities of eating meat when you’ve a pile of dead birds on your kitchen floor, and when the cooking process involves pulling tendons out of the legs!
As today was a birthday for one of our guests, I made a lemon drizzle cake. What a perfect cake for a spring lunchtime – especially when decorated with snowdrops and a silver candle!
I served it with creme fraiche, which I sweetened with a touch of icing sugar and a gurgle of limoncello – a wholly successful experiment which I shall be sure to repeat.