What’s in the Pottage

August 11, 2021

It’s a never-ending source of amusement to me, how memories come flooding back with the least amount of triggers. One such memory is of my history teacher, Paul Kelly, explaining what many a peasant survived upon during the Feudal times. 

Pottage, from the French Potage, is a stew made in a large pot. Daily, vegetables and when available, meat would be added to the pot which never stopped slow cooking. Mr Kelly painted quite a grim picture of this food – his facial expressions I vividly recall to this day.

This left me with a lifelong impression of ‘peasant’ – food for the poor. There is nothing wrong in being financial poor. I would rather be broke at the bank, than at the hearth or the altar.

Having made a connection in thoughts & memories, I began to question the validity of this “awful” dish or at least the process of days old food being reheated. 

As a Welshman I know full well the joys of “Cawl”. The better meal is on the second if not third day. I regularly make curries the day before, again allowing time for the flavours to fuse and come into their own.

Another memory that came to mind was the time as a teenager visiting the home of our church organist. His wife who had been in school with my aunt was very hospitable. I would never leave without a meal or a drink. Now as a ‘good boy’ having a sly drink was like the search for ‘the golden fleece’.

On one such occasion I was presented with a bowl of what looked like tinned fruit cocktail in syrup. Indeed it was but I later discovered it was the ‘starter’ for a Christmas fruitcake in the Canadian style. In an old fashioned ‘sweet jar’, alternating weeks, a tin of fruit or a bag of sugar would be added. In essence, I was eating “MoonShine”! Yes a lot of fermentation was taking place in that jar. I don’t think my liver would have coped with morethan 1 of my 5  a day!

Arriving home in 2021 from my journey to the early 1980s I am surprised I can actually remember (hic!). In the present I could quite be guilty of being prodigal. Opening my fridge and spying several remains of meals, all carefully boxed and labelled in Tupperware. Kept for diners who would be making an appearance late in the evening, but never consume. As much as I have a dislike for excess, my hatred of waste is greater. My simple philosophy is “if someone has taken the time to make it, I will spend the time eating it”. 

My Latest Supper was a meander down ‘Memory Lane’ in as much it was a classic pottage. Into the large pan went left over beef curry with garlic pilau rice, a house special fried rice and a house special chow mein. To the pot I added chopped peppers, sugar snap peas, salad potatoes, mushrooms and a spice mix of the Korma kind. Realising the pot was light on meat, I gently cooked whole chicken breasts in skillet before finishing by roasting in the air fryer.

We had a very tasty, satisfying meal, but the story doesn’t end there! There’s still food left in the pot.

The daughter quite timely shared a video with me last evening, “Curry Lasagne”. Unlike the peasants of Feudal Britain who knew exactly “what’s for tea?”, the same as yesterday and last year; though the basis is curry, tonight I really fancy making lasagne – but not in the Italian style but Greek (Pastitsio).

My friends… watch this space.


Beef curry with Garlic rice
House Special Chow mein
Curried Chicken Pottage thingy

For a dish made from left overs that produced leftovers that gave birth to new ideas and more leftovers – the Curry Pastisto (Greek style lasagne) currently ticked boxes and tickled taste buds.

Curry Pastisto


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