This being the first day of term, an almost unsettling silence has descended on us at home. Having the house/office (one and the same) empty of teenagers, at least during the day time, has created an unfamiliar emptiness. Not that we are complaining! But there is something about the new term starting, and this wintriness that has been enveloping us in this part of the world, that made us feel we needed to throw our own going-back-to-school lunch, and though no one could accuse it of being a light snack, it has certainly lifted our spirits.
Unsurprisingly, the lynchpin of our lunch - the lunchpin - was roast chicken: two roast chickens to be precise.
Alongside this was gravy - just made from the chicken's juices, some vermouth and water and gorgeously intense (that's the joy of organic chicken) and bread sauce (enormously comforting) as well as some peas cooked with pancetta (I just fry the pancetta cubes in garlic oil till crisp, splash in some vermouth, dump in frozen petits pois straight from the deep-freeze and then, when they're slicked with bacony oil, I add just enough water to cover them and cook, covered, until they're sweet, salty and softened.
But the piece de resistence - our culinary hurrah and new-term treat - were some home-made chips/ fries (depending on your turn of phrase and geo-origins) that were so crisp that made just the right clattering noise as they hit our plates. Of course, it was a bit mean to wait till the children went back to school before making chips, but I promise I'll make them a lovely tea to make up for it!