Dinner for one….

walnut_tart_0039 This morning, during the daily meeting with myself in the shaving mirror, it occurred to me that I have many more failings than I have hairs on my head. With age comes an acceptance of failings and I take full advantage of this licence. W.C.Fields’ expressed sentiment of liking children but not being able to eat a whole one resonates with me and I make this failing quite evident. By dint of this transparency I get to cook for myself on those nights when Jenny is absent, fulfilling her role as a good grandmother. I quite like to cook for myself as it leaves one free to make random choices and to make mistakes without disappointing others. Last night was one such night and, in the cold light of this morning, I’m still of the opinion that I may have eaten my ideal dinner. The arrival of the cat Molly in our lives has brought out the caring side in me that should in truth have already been there for our grand children…but every child needs at least one grumpy grandparent and I’m willing to make that sacrifice. Back to Molly who, as we know, is a he. All advice on feeding Molly centred around dry biscuits and it didn’t take long for me to realise that this cat was a cat who would never be happy with such dull fare. For the good of Molly I decided to roast a small chicken each week that would supplement his diet and provide me, on occasion, with some healthy protein. The success in the roasting of this chicken increases each week. It gets simpler and better. Half an onion and a bunch of fresh sage goes into the cavity and the bird is then sprinkled liberally with olive oil and coarse sea salt together with a turn or two of black pepper. The prepared chicken is then placed on a small rack in a roasting tray, into which I have poured a glass of water, and cooked in a hot oven for an hour, with occasional basting.

Last night, the aroma of chicken roasting had filled the house and I was ready to eat but, nobly resisting the urge to tuck in, I let the chicken settle for half an hour and then served myself some slices of warm, freshly roasted meat together with a handful of mixed green leaves over which, as a dressing, I spooned some of the hot juices from the roasting pan.That’s it. Unbelievably good…so good that it would have been wonderful to have had Jenny there to share the goodness except that she doesn’t eat meat which takes me back to the pleasure of occasionally eating alone. But that which she would have undoubtedly enjoyed was the breath taking walnut tart, from Caroline Conran’s  marvelous book “Under the Sun”, that I made for dessert. I had often thought to make this and only the lack of walnuts in my larder had prevented me from doing so.  Yesterday, there were walnuts in the larder and by the end of play the walnuts were in the tart and the tart was in me. walnut_tart_0040 tarte aux noix

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Art photography, baking, Caroline Conran, Chicken, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Humour, Nuts, Olive oil, Photography, photography course, Poultry, Recipes, sea salt, tart, Tarte aux noix, Vegetables, walnuts, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Dinner for one….

  1. Michelle says:

    Sounds like a perfect meal (save for the absence of Jenny). “One grumpy grandparent” — ha!

  2. It’s essentially 7AM here in NYC, well technically 8AM, spring forward, you have me wanting roast chicken and salad. The walniut tart is just beautiful, what a fantastic meal.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    The cat will be putting calves liver on the shopping list next!
    That’s a beautiful tart 😉

  4. Misky says:

    I did in a chicken yesterday also. I’ve tried all different manner of tarting them up, lemons, tarragon, garlic, rosemary, Nigella’s breathy words … and my husband still prefers, as he puts it, “real roast chicken” meaning no faffing about with stuff inside it. It was, I’ll admit, as close to heaven as I’ve managed recently. Leftovers tonight. And thankfully, there’s still a lot of gravy left over, too. Over bread, most likely. >

  5. Roasting a chicken is such a satisfying experience. The walnut tart looks very good.

  6. lulu says:

    Did you really make a walnut tart just for you? That’s my kind of self indulgence!

  7. Jen says:

    Loved the writing in this and the chicken aroma came through the computer screen, but won’t make use of the recipe. Alas I am allergic to walnuts! (and never liked them before I developed an allergy as an adult.) Enjoy, though!

  8. trucvert says:

    That walnut tart looks like absolute perfection. Love the bit about Molly the cat inspiring your decision to make Sunday roast chook. Sounds like a very lucky kitty 🙂

  9. Good chicken and good cat husbandry 😉

  10. Ayesha says:

    lovely meal!! 🙂

  11. Tarts are among my favorite desserts, Roger. Sweet and crunch. I hope Jenny’s enjoying the grandkids.

  12. That cat has you wrapped around his liitle paws 😉

  13. Roast chicken and tarts are my favorite. Lucky Molly.

  14. Eha says:

    Looked at the heading and thought you had become James the butler serving dear Miss Sophie on NYE 🙂 ! [Is showing that film a firm tradition in the UK also?] But loved the facts and clapped for both Molly and you . . . boys’ night in!!!

    • I’d never heard of the film until a French neighbour of ours, who had lived in Germany for 25 years, told us about it. I should think that it’s pretty well unknown in the UK:)

      • Eha says:

        😀 !! But British comics played in the original version!! No NYE in Australia and South Africa without it and it is a cult film ALL over Scandinavia and the Baltics!! Some S American countries also show!! Of course Germany has made a new version but I still love the 1960s delightfully naughty version!!!!

      • It is strange, I agree, but it is as good as unknown in the UK….and I can’t believe the original version was made in the 60’s ( just seen that it was and was made by a German TV company with British actors)..:)

  15. Angeline M says:

    A perfect dinner! Roasting a whole chicken has become an obscession with me; it is so delicious and so many things can be done with the leftovers (no cat here to smooch off my chicken). I’m so glad I saw you used a coffee liqueur instead of the armagnac for the walnut tart. I always seem to have Kahlua on hand, never armagnac. Can’t wait to make the tart.

  16. The walnut tart sounds like heaven to me, have to try it soon. Hope you left some big pieces for your lovely wife as she is the “good grandmother”, I am sure that your grandkids love your character as a grumpy grand dad, as it gives room for them to play with you different things.

  17. Conor Bofin says:

    Excellent tart. Very good for the heart, all those walnuts, I believe.

  18. I’m just glad one of you was willing to make the sacrifice Roger… Heavens knows how those kids my have turned out otherwise!
    And that damn chicken talk is makung ME hungry 😜

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