My flat is full of the delicious smell of beef dripping rendering!  What a bizzare endeavour this cassoulet is proving to be.  Today I went in search of “salt pork” with little hope of finding it but EUREKA the crazy butcher on Camden High Street (so out of place amongst the goths) came up trumps.

I am still a bit scared that the men who work in butchers’ shops will laugh in my face when I ask them for the nutty things in these recipes.  I worry that they are out of season.  Or I’m asking for something in American terminology rather than English.  Or it’s just something that modern folk no longer eat.  Anyhow I decided to be brave and just read things off the list.  “Shoulder of lamb?” – yes of course, would I like it chopped into chunks?  “Garlic sausage? ” Yes, he’d recommend Toulouse Sausage.  “Salt pork?”  I asked this in the fashion of someone who is fully expecting a blank look…  “AHA!” he said, going off out the back then coming back with a big chunk of meat.  “You are making CASSOULET?!”  I laughed and asked, “How did you guess!” and he just grinned and chopped me off a big lump. I shall buy ALL my meat here from now on.  Especially as all of the above, plus the white beans which they had lying around on the counter came to a grand total of £6.40.  A bargain.

My duck legs came out of the fridge and into the oven submerged under 1000g of melted beef dripping.  For those of you who have been following the blog since the beginning I am happy to say that despite that crazy blood splattered Kilburn butcher saying, “Dripping is a thing of the past my dear” way back in 2004, MORRISONS sell beef dripping in handy little 500g pots for 99p.  Superb.

So now I immerse myself in the tax return.  I shall talk to nobody until Charley comes for dinner to eat this legendary cassoulet on Sunday.  There is nothing going on in The Palace of Solitude but cassoulet and sums this weekend.

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