My hands are cracked and ragged, the bitter cold has turned them gnarled and rooty looking, no amount of hand cream seeming to help. It's made all the knife cuts, burns and scrapes look like a map of the Underground spidering across my fingers, a scar tissue patina of cooking related injuries. There's burns on the wrists from inattention whilst pulling scones out the oven, a large pinkish knobble of a scar from disregarding basic safety precautions and trying to open a bottle of olive oil with a newly bought Global knife. One fingernail is looking slightly forlorn having been sliced by some overenthusiastic onion chopping. Another scar from distant youth tells a story of impatience and a glass bottle of fizzy pop. A handy history of cooking in MG's kitchen, badges of culinary honour, like wiggly sergeants stripes.
Anyway, I've needed heating up on these eye watering bright brief bitter winter days, I've hankered for colour and warming depth. Beetroots, cavolo nero, kale, parsnips, spuds, even sprouts. Not the crisp, sweet colours of spring, not yet anyway, the more mature, serious winter veg has got me excited; something to bring some life back into these brittle bark like hands.
Even with Christmas on the doorstep, I've not been thinking about birds, though a three bird roast in the butchers shop on Lordship Lane was tempting. I've slow roasted lamb shoulder, 4 hours of gentle heat making the meat fall off the bone like expensive lingerie off a high class hooker. The tender flesh separating at the merest touch. Pork belly studded with junipers, thick slices of quiveringly rare beef rib cooked for hours at the slightest of temperatures. Roast meats and the bitter warmth of cabbages and greens and the comfort of turnips and Jerusalem artichokes. It'll pass soon enough, I'm sure and I'll kill someone to get to a decent lettuce but for now, not for me the frivoulous excesses of spring and youth.