Monday, 21 December 2009

Praise be to the distant sister sun

Pork loin steaks make an excellent, quick supper. But don't just grab them from the fridge and drop them straight onto the grill-tray. As Nigel Slater so wisely observes, we can do better than that. Take two or three stems of fresh rosemary and chop the leaves finely. Take a clove of garlic and crush. Black pepper; salt. Lemon juice and good olive oil in 1-3 proportion. Mix it all up well (a pestle and mortar will help and give you a feeling of really doing something advanced). Marinate your steaks in this for at least an hour, ideally more, and you will find that when you do cook them (as it might be after you've been goofing off on the blog), they will be immeasurably improved. Very good, perhaps.

Anyway, moving right along. It is the Winter Solstice. Actually, it was a bit over an hour ago, but I was up to my elbows in oily pork; and it's not every day you say that. The solstice is very much welcomed here at QOHQ, since Mrs QO suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The thought that the year has turned and the days will (albeit very slowly to begin with) now be getting longer, is a good one.

SAD is a bugger, let me tell you. The US National Library of Medicine, as quoted on Wiki, says:

"Some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed."

Yup. Mind you, the Wiki page also calls it a disorder in which:

"...people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter."

There's a pretty large assumption in there, and another pretty large assumption is that I will survive the night if Mrs QO happens to check the blog.

The pork steaks call, so I leave you with best wishes for the turning of the real year. I also offer a small but pungent prize for anyone who correctly identifies the source of this post's title without recourse to a search engine.


  1. It's Jethro, innit? Ou est mon prox?

    Mrs Eyre

  2. See that's why one should use the preview function. Prix, ou est mon prix?


  3. Bien fait! Tu as raison.

    A prize of 20 kilos of parsnips will be despatched forthwith, along with a special Christmas bonus: a signed copy of Horse-hoeing Husbandry, 4th edition, 1762.

  4. No parsnips having been delivered I conclude that you have changed your mind are are even now casting around for a prize of lesser value. A few rocks or pebbles perhaps, a small, mouldy twig, the sodden mitten of an infant, retreived from the pavement, or the bendy cream cracker from the bottom of the tin (no, don't try to pass it off as a coaster).

    And really - 4th edition? Cheapskate.

    Mrs E

  5. Madam, I am mortified. The parsnips were despatched per pro a normally reliable agency. I can only suggest you watch Mrs QO in the office with great care and challenge her if you see her nibbling on anything. If you would prefer a sodden mitten, that would be a pleasure to arrange, there being some infants round here that would be no loss.

    As for the bonus prize, I suppose to the unitiated there would be some cachet in the first edition of 1731, but JT himself added a substantial amount of material for the 2nd edition, and the work continued after his death in 1741. The fourth edition is prized by horse-hoeing connoisseurs for its thoroughness. The editors introduced it thus: "The fourth edition, very carefully corrected. To which is prefixed, a new preface by the editors, addressed to all concerned in agriculture." I chose it very carefully.

  6. Fine and dandy, my man, but I don't have a horse. Now go.

    I shall weigh the sample conveyed via Mrs QO, surmising that it makes barely a dent in the promised 20 kilos. And it's true of course that fine words butter no parsnips, especially when there are, you know, NO PARSNIPS.

    Ladies, beware a man who leads you on with promises of root vegetables. Warn your daughters.

    Mrs E. (La Belle Dame Sans Parsnips).

  7. She was a redhead too, according to Frank Bernard Dicksee (the famous non-member of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood). A thought: does that make him a Pre-Raphaelite orphan?

    Love to both,

    Mrs QO

  8. Pre-Raphaelite nephew?

  9. Chère Belle Dame Sans Panais... excusez-moi, je veux dire 'Chère Belle Dame Avec Un Seul Panais'... je suis right desolée about all this and j'ai passé le whole file à mes confrères légals, Messieurs Blaggit, Scrote PLP. Ils sont sur le job, lady. N'avez pas des worries, chuck. Panais beaucoups venant à votre passage, jusqu'as soon as ils sont tombées de l'arrière de la camion.

  10. See, maintenent je suis really worried a l'idee du panais dans mon passage. C'est un Carry On film ou qoi?

    Mme E

  11. Ooooh, Matron!

    But seriously, folks, nothing to worry about. Just keep the children out of the kitchen and all will be well.