As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, I find myself spending more and more time in my warm kitchen cooking up comfort food.
Unfortunately, spending more time in the supermarket shopping for ingredients goes hand-in-hand with a desire to turn yourself into Nigella Lawson at 7 p.m. every night.
“You need to spend less time in the supermarket, Kate,” a friend of mine told me last Saturday afternoon over coffee in Livingston.
I had just asked her if she knew where I could get fennel for my new pork dish.
“Life’s too short. You need to get out there, and, you know?”
Yes, I knew fine well.
You see, there are many people in my life who believe that I should find myself a nice man.
They are not picky about who this gentleman is and, more and more, just keep harping on about “someone” for me.
My daughter’s does it too.
“Wouldn’t you like to be making one of those amazing dinners for someone else rather than just yourself?”
I cook for my children constantly, and even though Emma’s moved out and has kids of her own, I still get a regular dinner reservation for her at Chez Livingston.
While my daughter’s attention span on any subject is limited, friends I meet for coffee are more persistent.
“I mean,” said my friend, “I really don’t know what harm it would do to go for a drink with someone.”
To her disappointment, I ignored her and repeated my fennel request.
“Sainsbury’s,” she signed.
Sure enough, there were plenty of lovely fennel in the store - and a well-dressed, decent-looking man standing looking at them.
Without really thinking, I walked over to him and said, I actually said: “Is this the best place to buy fennel?”
I was expecting an interested reply from a fellow foodie or perhaps we might share a recipe idea.
Instead, he shrugged and muttered “I donno”, and walked towards the ready meals.
At least my fennel and pork didn’t disappoint.