It’s undoubtedly a sign of how shitty your work week has been when you come home on a Friday night and get out the cider and a giant Toblerone.

This wasn’t actually my dinner. I cheered myself up by making venison, butternut and feta empanadas, which I’ve been meaning to make for ages. I bought the venison steaks on special about a week ago and they’ve been staring at me in the fridge ever since.

But, in retrospect, I ruined them. They were leaner than lean – I mean almost purple they were so dark. It’s easy to ruin venison when it’s this lean. I rubbed them with cumin, cilantro, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. I flash-fried them in a hot pan for less than 60 secs per side. I let them rest in the same pan so they could release their juices and lose all of that sizzle-tension that causes them to shrink in the heat. And then I sliced them up. And they were beautiful – medium rare, soft as butter, delicious… But then I folded the slices into my empanadas and cooked them again. They turned from soft and buttery to slow-cooked flaky, and lost some of that wondrous flavor.

I should have just done venison steaks and coleslaw for dinner. They were perfect before I cooked them again. You live and learn.

And then my lovely husband came home with flowers because he’s lovely. And Scrappy fell asleep against me as I lay on the couch – curled up against my cheek with his head on my cleavage, as he twitched and fidgeted and dreamed. It was sweet. This is the stuff that makes me carry on.

This and, you know: cider and chocolate.


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