Yesterday, for the first time in about three months, I got properly drenched on the bike – as in needing to change out of everything when I got back and being truly grateful that just because it’s late June doesn’t mean we don’t light the woodburner of an evening much of the time.
The thing is, we’re clearing out our freezer because it needs defrosting, which means eating our way through all those supplies we sensibly filled it with during those not-exactly-hoarding-but-definitely-stocking-up-on-stuff days in late March. We got through a lot last week when we decided to go without our weekly supermarket shop, in preparation for visiting my parents, but now we’re down to the trickier items that raise more questions than answers: uses for half a packet of filo pastry, anyone? What best to do with a lockdown-inspired pasta sauce that is a bit like pesto but it turned out the recipe was for feeding an army? And why did we think it would be useful to stock up on frozen sweetcorn when we never actually eat it?
In answering that last question, I remembered an old Hugh Fearnley-Washingup recipe for ‘extra corny cornbread‘ that was so old it was actually filed in our recipe folder instead of being stuffed in the back with all the other recipes we have accumulated since. This would go wonderfully with the pork stew we had planned for tonight to use up the last batch of salsa verde made from last year’s tomatillo crop. The problem was that the supermarket was completely out of cornmeal or polenta, and we didn’t really want to go traipsing round all the other shops in Bigtown looking for one that had it in stock.
Fortunately the barter economy is still alive and well in Bigtownshire (despite the actual barter group being shut down out of caution at the start of the lockdown) so thanks to the magic of Facebook I was able to find someone within cycling distance who had spare cornmeal, and wanted new potatoes (the plants in the greenhouse having finally produced a crop). The only problem then was picking a window in the weather when it wasn’t absolutely hissing down. As you may have gathered from the introduction to this post, I failed – although I did manage to set off while it wasn’t raining which is often half the battle.
I doubt that back in February, when I noted that I was getting the full use out of my new Aldi waterproof trousers, I could have even begun to imagine how little I was going to get rained on in the coming months. This should be the point at which I wax lyrical about how I long for the days when I regularly get soaked on the bike again, as things return to normal … but that would be a lie. Even after a break of three months, and with summer’s slightly warmer rain, I’m never going to pretend I enjoy cycling in the wet.
However, I do enjoy baked goods and now we have cornbread, so every cloud …