For the first time in twenty-four hours, she wasn’t hungry. For the first time in days, she was beginning to thaw out completely—and for the first time in months, she wasn’t afraid. She let out her breath and eased her head back on Roger’s shoulder. He made a low humming noise in his throat and took a firmer hold, settling himself.
She could hear Mandy telling Jem a disjointed story about Esmeralda’s adventures, in the back room where the landlady had taken them to eat their soup and bread. Sure that they were safe, she gave herself up to the elemental bliss of her husband’s arms and the smell of his skin.
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
If you can’t find lamb, use beef; more farmers in the Highlands had cattle than sheep before Culloden, so you won’t lose any authenticity.
Serves 6 to 8
Thinly slice the leeks on a diagonal and rinse them thoroughly in a bowl of cold water. Scoop out the leeks with your hands or a slotted spoon, leaving the grit behind. Shake dry in a clean dishcloth or salad spinner.
In a large pot, cover the lamb with 2 quarts (2 liters) cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Allow to boil 1 minute, then skim the scum from the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the split peas, barley, half the leeks, and half the carrots. Simmer until the peas and barley are tender, about 1 hour.
Add the remaining leeks and carrots, as well as the turnip and 2 cups hot water. Simmer until the turnip is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove the lamb, discard any bones and gristle, shred the meat, and return it to the pot. Stir in the kale and salt. Taste, and adjust with more salt as needed.
Garnish with the parsley and serve hot. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Add a little more water if needed when reheating.