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Friday, October 24


I did some cooking today. People do this all the time, but planning had gone into this cooking. Not only that, but I had also made a series of choices about working in order to fit around the various things that were going to happen today, some in the kitchen and some not. It was another work-from-home day, which should, perhaps, be a euphemism for pissing about, but can't have been since I was on duty from about an hour earlier than even early for me, and I worked quite solidly producing plenty of results, some of which actually shocked me.

The reason for the work at home started with the workmen who were coming to fit three radiators back on. This is no coincidence, each radiator required a lot of preparing and painting and, having never painted a radiator ever before, I'm really rather pleased with the way these ones had turned out. I even devised a special system for doing it. Given that I would have to be up to look after these workmen, I brought my laptop home ready to start the day at home. Given that the rest of the team were either on holiday or working out of the office for much of the day, it struck me that I didn't really need to be in the office and would benefit from working at home, which would also afford me the chance to run some laundry through the machine and prepare for the meal tonight - small tasks.

Of course, things are never quite that simple. I still needed to make a trip to the office to pick up some computer equipment, but it's the thought that counts. Most of my thoughts were deep in a rather interesting computer program which was coming out rather well.

However, I did also chance to make some garlic bread. I'd been asked not to make a high-fat garlic bread for the evening meal, and I also didn't want to use a lot of butter for the cooking. So, it occurred to me that one could simply bake a lot of garlic into a ciabatta mix and create some garlic bread that would meet all the criteria. Had I had some parsley, I'd have added that too. All of this added together raised a question in my mind. What is pre-meditated? Can you, for instance, make bread on a whim? In this case, I hadn't. I'd thought about the sort of bread I wanted, really mused, come up with a variation on the standard approach, whacked it in a breadmachine, set for 4 hour hence, and walked away feeling like I'd created something. So is that pre-meditated? Would that always be pre-meditated? Can you make bread on a whim?

Well, I've thought about it some more, and I think I've come up with a definition. Though, you could decide to make bread on a whim, it's never going to come out the moment you put it on. Bread takes hours. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but fresh bread is a dish that, whether served cold or hot, is going to come out when your temper has had time to cool off, should you, in a fit of pique, taken it out on the dough. So, bread, in my view, has always to be pre-meditated. Or pre-breaditated if you wish. So, what's the definition of pre-meditated? I think it's this. Anything you could come home from the pub and just do, is probably not pre-meditated. You're just doing it. Bread is not in this category. By the time it's ready, you'd be asleep and the kebab meat you intended to put in the bread would have congealed.

All this talk of bread and congealed kebab is somewhat detracting from the wonders of the coq au vin which I con-coq-ted (oh dear, it's pun central here) starting as soon as my work had finished. I did all manner of sautéeing, followed by some flambéing and then some pouring in of cheap french table wine (so cheap it came in a plastic bottle in which you'd normally get squash). I had previously prepared some vegetables and attacked a whole free-range-chicken with a cleaver, creating pieces of chicken.

All of the above went into the newly bought casserole dish and simmered on the stove until it was time to consume them.

And this is the beauty of pre-meditation. After a lot of conversation about the best way to create this particular dish, the creation occurred and the result was, after some seasoning and a small mishape with the bouquet garni (I was distracted), well worth the wait. Revenge is a dish best served cold, coq au vin is a dish best served hot, with the bouquet garni removed.

Red wine on the other hand: room temperature.

Note: if you are a judge and there's been a murder, please ignore my definition of pre-meditation.


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