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Archive for November, 2010

Pomegranate and snow

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Click here to bid size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

Back in my bedroom and I can take things in there now for good, the wardrobe stands where it will stand for good, the hat box would go on top but the ceiling is too low just there, it’s been so long since we had a proper finished room to sleep in that I find my brain can’t recall what I like in a bedroom anymore; I have to come across the object and it then reminds me that it is handy to have that lamp, that basket and that bowl near the bed. I still have not found my rug- the coolness of the floor reminds me that I have a rug somewhere that would be good to step out of bed onto.

It has finally snowed, last night was frosty and close inspection revealed small snowflakes sprinkled over the frost this morning, but now it has snowed enough to coat the path. Last year of course it went on to coat the road in three inches of solid ice so that we were lending the sledge out to neighbours who couldn’t drive home with their shopping. Some pig in a Landrover Discovery drove up and nicked all the rock salt in the bin so we were really stuck; not being a bus route or anything we got no council gritting until the end of January. My brother came to visit and nobly dug a track through the ice for twenty yards.

My car is under some of this snow,

The final revision of this week’s recipe for food DT was put in my hand after the supermarket closed tonight. I suggested pork sweet and sour instead of chicken but No2 is implacable, someone will be going out early to get it, snow allowing…I suppose he has been relying a little too heavily on snow closing the school. I expect he’s dreaming sweetly of that now.

#158 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Buy one get one free

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Lentil and ham soup with sippets

There is nothing better than a bargain, but I prefer to pre-plan my bargains and make sure there is enough variety to keep us all (well me ) happy.

There are times when I have regretted the buy one get one free in the supermarket, it tempts me into buying outside my normal pattern and then I find I end up eating more than I want of one thing or never working it into a meal schedule and throwing at least some of it away. I make an exception for packs of satsumas and new potatoes pausing to check that the pack price is not simply double what it would be normally.

My big plan to get us though the next few years is to go back to some of the habits of the frugal fifties and earlier. As a kid I loved this as it meant you knew that if you had boiled bacon joints one day the next week would contain a soup either made with lentils or with leeks and potato. My grandfather could recite the weekly menu that his mother used to get the family through until she had more than one working adult at home-1900-1916. I wish I had written it down, it was fairly austere but it had a takeaway for the day when the washing was done-chips and mushy peas. Apart from that day it was all home cooked and each meal dovetailed around another. They made good use of cheaper cuts of meat and offal too of course, cowheel stew , tripe, elder, breast of lamb, steak and kidney and liver all featured until my childhood in the fifties/sixties.

So the take on buy one get one free is to plan a meal for one day which produces one or more meals for the next two or three days. Today’s example is a gammon piece which was quite dear but it made one meal  on Friday night, it will make one more main meal for four and also lunch on Saturday.

 It is very cold today, warming food is vital; I put a jar of the water in which the ham had boiled into the fridge in case I need it again. The rest I tasted and made a judgement on the salt level, I then diluted it to taste and brought it to the boil. I added half an onion which was left over from something else, a cup of lentils (red) and boiled until it was getting smooth.  I then added a cooking apple peeled and chopped. It had gone a little thin when I add the extra water so I thickened it with semolina ( I could have used ground lentils), I didn’t use cornflour as it could have made it a little too smooth and the soup needs to have a texture to it. Once the semolina was worked in gradually I boiled it for three minutes. Just before serving I diced a slice of the ham and added chopped parsley, winter savoury, black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Serve with sippets, they are easier to cook than croutons. The sippets were made from the heel end of a malted grain loaf; each slice cut in four and gently fried in olive oil. It helps if the bread is old and beginning to dry out. Funny the boys eat brown bread without a word when it is fried. There is still enough on the gammon joint for an evening meal. It keeps well in the fridge so I will leave it until Monday by which time I will have some leftover chicken from Sunday, at the moment I am thinking chicken and ham pie in a creamy sauce. I’d be thinking ham chicken and dried cep risotto if the fussy member of the family didn’t have quite such an anti-risotto stance.

We moved back into our decorated room with a sealed sanded and polished floor, bliss. It has some furniture in too now which is going to take a bit of getting used to. I could end up with all my clothes in one room….odd that.

Holly leaf and Holly shadow – a painting a day

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Click here to buy   size 5in x 6 in, 13cm x 15cm

I am very jealous there are people out there who have snow already and we have nothing but a deadly frost. It is already five below zero.

I am very relieved that No1 son did not get himself organised to go on the protest in Brighton on Wednesday. By all accounts the police waded in as if they were dealing with seasoned protesters and kettled people irrespective of age and behaviour. No1 son would have reacted very badly to this and would have been climbing buildings and railing to escape and would no doubt have got into more trouble than was necessary. Perhaps when the Red Cross appear to bring relief to the prisoners at the next protest the police will begin to question what they are doing.

Kettle say ten children from a school and restrain even one in the way which the police tend to do, the news will flash round 1500 teenagers in under 24 hours and they will never forget because it has happened to someone they see every day. They would be able to see the bruises on class mates first hand after Wednesday I am told. As a parent I am utterly disgusted.

I can’t help remembering a conversation with two Police Officers a long time age, they were recalling going to Stonehenge on overtime to evict hippies who were camping nearby for the solstice celebrations. They described it as the best fun they had had since the miners’ strike. They did not appear to be monsters but they were obviously glad of a clearly defined enemy to lay into once in a while….I just don’t think that they should allow themselves to see school children as that enemy.

The holly leaf fits in with the series of leaves, even evergreens lose their leaves at some point, they just take care not to lose all of them at once. And yes, that is how prickly I am feeling.

#156 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Mothers garden

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I took the boys to see my mother, as usual I had a wander round her garden and had to admit she has a far better collection of plants flowering right now in drear November than I do. Here is the evidence. There were also Mahonia bealei and Vibernum bodnantense bushes in full flower. In contrast I have more autumn colour and a lot more leaves to rake up.

Felt better

November 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been experimenting with a new (to me ) craft. These are my first attempts.

Normal Service

November 20, 2010 1 comment

The technology is not working.

Some of the technology is not working.

I also managed to spill 5 litres of gloss paint in the car when I braked to avoid White Van Man in a lane. Whoever you are I hope it happens to you one day.

Normal Service should be resumed over the weekend.

The application I use to upload images has broken.

Coffee cup – a painting a day

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

NFS size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

The decorating is beginning to make the centre of the house look more finished. DIY Dad has got to some tricky conceptual stuff which involves making neat joints in the skirting board where the corner of the room is an oblique angle with a diagonal descending valley board joining (exposed wooden beam). I have the better grasp of 3D problems and in any case the problem is of my own invention as I designed the extension, so I feel obliged to sweat the angles and help make it work. The extension works as a space and it is, I am sure, structurally sound –  but my not being an architect can leave some awkward detailing in the final finish. The valley boards are two immense planks of oak which lace through the room and the room opening off it; from the window the triangle they make can be seen clearly. I love that as it was not part of the aesthetic  plan but a structural necessity and the way the oak framer worked, yet it has turned out very pleasing to the eye, well at least my eye.

The meal this evening was some home made burgers that NO2 son made in school, but he then made some lamb and mint burgers when he got home as well, the first ones were veal and sage. They were really very good, he dosn’t cook often but when he does he is very thorough and I’m not just referring to his ability to get every last jar of herbs out of the cupboard. Waitrose sell veal that is not the cruel white stuff but more like the oldfashioned suckler herd veal.

Today’s picture is simply a coffee cup in pencil. I also tried to sketch No2 son at the computer but I did not catch him in a still mood.

#155 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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