The snow is beginning to melt and Spring is just around the corner. Spring and Paris. It's only four weeks now until I leave (yikes - and still no apartment!) so I've started stocking up the freezer with PC dinners for BB so that he can concentrate on building work while I'm away.
He's actually not a bad cook, BB, but boy, what a drama queen in the kitchen. On the rare occasion that he does cook, when I should be reclining on tasselled cushions with my feet up, sipping a G&T and unfolding my latest copy of Country Living, instead I'm up and down like a fiddler's elbow, digging out kitchen utensils, peeling vegetables (it hurts his thumbs!), mopping up spillages and applying band-aids - all to a Gordon Ramsay-esque soundtrack.
The first meal he ever cooked for me was seared encrusted tuna steak with fresh coriander and basil served with braised puy lentils with rosemary and garlic. This was not long after we first met in France (where I was working in a ski chalet), when I went back to England to visit him.
As I sat in the kitchen of his little cottage in Surrey, calf-eyed, watching him smash up dried chilli and coriander seeds and deftly chopping fresh herbs, I thought that this was a sign of great things to come. And when I reach back for memories of our early romance, I remember that meal - for that meal sealed the deal.
But as soon as I said "I do", he said "Do you mind if I don't cook anymore?"!
This is the lentil recipe he made, from Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef. I'm a big fan of lentils, particularly puy, which have a lovely peppery flavour. Any left-overs are great served cold in a salad with feta cheese and veggies can leave out the bacon and substitute vegetable stock.
2 oz/55 g pancetta or smoked bacon, cut into matchsticks
12 oz/340 g puy lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ pints/850 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the bacon until slightly coloured then add the rosemary, shallots and garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes then add the lentils and coat in the oil. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer in the oven for 1 hour at 160°C/310°F. Remove from the oven and add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and the red wine vinegar and season.