A friend came over to repair, clean, sand and wax an old table. In the barter economy and society of mutual inter-dependence I inhabit we pay each other not with money but with favours and exchanged skills. This marvellous, ad-hoc, instinctively anti-capitalist system puts me at a slight disadvantage since all I can offer are green fingers and sentence-turning – and there ain’t much call for either in contemporary Wales, he said bitterly. So, most often, I reciprocate with food, drink and, er, general hospitality. There was three-fifths of sweet fuck-all in the cupboards, but I still managed to rustle up a light luncheon for two.
CAULIFLOWER, CANNELLINI BEAN & SWEET POTATO BAKE (BLODFRESYCH, FFA CANNELLINI & THATWS MELYS POBI)
1 small cauliflower, separated into florets
1 sweet potato, peeled & cubed
200g cannellini beans, cooked
knob of butter
tablespoon of flour
200ml single cream
200g grated cheese (I used cheddar and parmesan)
salt & pepper
1. Steam the cauliflower and sweet potato until cooked but still firm, put into an ovenproof dish with the cannellini beans, season, mix about a bit
2. Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon over a low heat, slowly add the cream stirring all the time until thickened, add most of the cheese, keep stirring until the cheese is fully melted you lazy sod, pour the sauce over the vegetables, sprinkle remainder of cheese and grated nutmeg on top
3. Cook in a medium oven for 20-30 minutes
4. I served it with a few left-over cooked spuds, fast-fried in hot sunflower oil.
After we’d eaten, D got on with rubbing down the unusual 19th century Welsh chapel table. “I’m going to do a live blog, my first ever,” I said. “What’s a live blog?” asked D. “There’s no such thing, I just invented the concept,” I replied, heading upstairs to the, ahem, office, where I typed out all the lines up to and including the words you are reading RIGHT NOW.
I went back downstairs. “I’ve written a blog and you’re in it. It’s no good and it’s not funny, but at least it racks up another quick one after the writer’s block. Shall I publish it?” “Yeah, why not,” he responded through his dust-mask, not looking up from the table.
So I clicked ‘Publish’.
Fair do’s, the emergency services responded promptly. Paramedics stomach-pumped poor D in the back of the ambulance and he should be released, I mean discharged, tomorrow. It was the nutmeg.
The 3/5 of F all had me laughing anyway. The skills exchange is something that should be taken up in more places. There are plenty of retired tradespeople for example, who are more than capable of doing some wiring, painting or whatever but aren’t physically capable of doing some heavy work.