Thursday, 6 October 2016

pink and gold

Summer has just scuttled away from me like a naughty little rabbit and autumn is here, all pink and gold. We spent the equinox in London meeting Hannah and a friend, listening to lovely Icelandic Bjork lament in her gentle way, like some kind of delicate, transparent insect. As she left the stage, the audience stamped their feet and called for more. She came back to serenade us, then again to thank us all. An awesome way to put the season to bed on a balmy London evening. 

As we left the city and headed for the countryside the thermometer on the dashboard crept down. I woke next day to pink skies and golden bales of hay turning the corner, and reminded myself that holidays are over, and that I must knuckle down and do some work.

...but first just an itsy-witsy little bit of making and baking....

In the kitchen:

  • The easiest non-dairy, vegan substitute for cream Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's recipe for cashew cream, the sweet version with a little vanilla extract and maple syrup. I could eat mountains of it. 
  • Rustic spelt, date and walnut individual pies to serve trickled with a smidgen of maple syrup and cashew cream. 
  • Baby carrots with carrot top pesto
  • Fresh fruit. An excuse for more cashew cream. 
  • Making a batch of golden turmeric paste.
  • Lovely French onion soup, also golden.
  • Puy lentil and vegetable, farmer's pie with a grainy mustard mash topping
  • Tomato and aubergine risotto with broccoli and cauliflower 
  • Working on the pattern for my fair isle hot water bottle covers made with vintage yarn...

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Autumn Equinox

"Happy Winter Solstice..." (whoops that should be "Happy Autumn Equinox" and last day of summer...I'm wishing my life away here...)

 I have missed this place so much. I got locked out somehow and then couldn't get back however I tried. I couldn't write in the spring, or in the summer but I still took a million photographs and posted some on instagram and still have a trillion in my phone. Busy days took me away and then I came back today on the first day of Autumn determined that I would continue and hey presto no problem. Just like the old times I signed in and started writing. The gremlin that wouldn't let me in must be hibernating... It's like some kind of magical Solstice alchemy is working for me... I'm back with a myriad things to catch up... I'm off to London in an hour but just want to stay and write...

I'll be back soon...

...unless that pesky little gremlin returns...

Happy day

Monday, 21 December 2015

weekend :: Merry, merry

Saturday morning I woke extra early and crept downstairs. I lighted lamps, lit tealights and made tea.  I could smell the Christmas tree's piney smell.  I nibbled  ginger hearts from an old french tin,  got out the rolls of paper and wrapped  gifts (including the Jack Daniels...No it wasn't a breakfast tipple). And I noticed for the first time the decoration of holly leaves and berries, cut out of the little tea light holder. I must have bought those six little candle holders in Denmark, ten or fifteen years ago, but Saturday morning was the first time I realised the pattern wasn't just a random cut-out. Isn't it weird how you suddenly notice something after all that time. 

...Must go help finish decorating before everyone comes for the holidays...We're camped out in Hannah's bedroom...our furniture on top of hers. Even our mattress is balanced on top of her bed. I feel a bit like The Princess and the Pea...

But before I go I just wanted to thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post and let you know how much I value all your friendship. And to wish you a very happy Christmas, the best one yet. The new year too, and that you find everything that you're heart desires. That it's fun and you sing and dance and laugh to your hearts content...all year long...

Merry, Merry,
Love and mistletoe

...see you in the new year...x


joining karen for weekend...

Monday, 14 December 2015

weekend :: All the good things...

It was a jolly pottering catching up weekend. More painting and sorting, a walk to gather leaves for a Christmas wreath to add to those gleaned from the garden. Making chicken stock ready for the Christmas dinner. It's now in a little plastic tub buried away in the freezer. I can't believe how organised I am! We made a flying visit  to a Victorian Christmas Market and accepting an invitation for mulled wine and mince pies from our friendly neighbours. 

We celebrated good news, just quietly. Mostly in our heads with the beaming smiles that we couldn't keep off our faces. I don't usually get too personal here, but it WAS good news. Notification of a clear mammogram result came through the letterbox Saturday lunchtime. Still clear since the one I had three years ago. Following the previous five years  since the first shock discovery. I just wanted to share positive news. Almost eight years, and clear. To give hope to others out there, it's amazing what clever Doctors and modern medicine can do, as well as alternative therapies, and positivity, lots of good friends and family, and trying to eat healthily (well sometimes). Keep your chin up any one out there whose going through those tricky things. 

Now I breathe deeply and can't help saying to myself...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...and trying not to get annoyed about silly little unimportant things...Sometimes I need to remember LIFE IS GOOD...and not to take it for go and smell that honeysuckle blossom that amazingly is still blooming half way through December...

Homemade chicken stock 

Ingredients to make half a pint/half a litre:

  • Chicken. I prefer to make stock with uncooked chicken. I think it's more flavourful. I was making a chicken casserole and jointed it into four pieces but reserved the backbone still with a little meat attached to make the stock for a Christmas dinner caramelised onion gravy. There will only be four of us for dinner this year so a pint is plenty as I'll add some wine and other ingredients. 
  • One carrot chopped into chunky slices
  • A small peeled potato also chopped. Don't add too much or it will cloud your stock.
  • A small red onion with the outter leaves removed, roughly chopped
  • A stick of celery, deveined and chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • One sliced clove of garlic
  • Herbs, I used rosemary thyme and sage. I can't have Christmas dinner without sage and onion gravy like my granddad used to make. 
  1. Simply place all the ingredients into a saucepan and cover with about a litre of water.
  2. Season and bring to the boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover tightly with a lid to conserve as much as the cooking liquor as possible. 
  4. Cook for about half an our or so until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced by about half. Check every so often to make sure it's not reduced too much. If so just top up with a little hot water.
  5. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  6. Cool a little and then remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon. These can be used for bubble and squeak or add to soups, casseroles etc.
  7. If not using straight away pour the stock into a clean container and allow to cool.I left it in the fridge overnight before freezing until it's required. 

I'm joining Karen for weekend...
that was a bit of mine, but how was yours?