Posts Tagged ‘clearing snow’


December 18, 2010 2 comments

The Gothic way with an igloo.

It snowed yesterday.

This is the proof that we are easily distracted if not barking bonkers mad ( to quote one of the childrens friends). Actually I had a cunning plan to get the boys interested in clearing snow, this snow was sticky and rolled up well into giant snowballs, I thought they might just roll the snow off the footpaths…back to the shovel.

Still we got the other stuff done too even though it entailed the husband writing e-mail instructions for a project in India until gone midnight. I finally baked the Christmas cake which looks OK and I’ve got up early to get the butter icing made for my mother in laws birthday cake also made yesterday.

Butter icing is one of my stong suits, I discovered as a teenager how to make the real deal from the Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery book which is one of the few cookbooks I use, in fact I am on my second copy the first one fell apart. It offers three ways to make posh butter icing. I use the Italian merigue method which today will involve :

3 egg whites

6oz icing sugar and

 12 oz of unsalted butter.

flavour as required (that’ll be Brandy or Pear brandy today then)

You mix the sifted icing sugar with the egg whites place in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until the mixture fluffs up and looks just like shaving foam, allow to cool , cream the butter and fold the two together. I have just proved that it is possible to drink tea while whisking the meringue its not that arduous.

Its quite a big cake and we took it out of the oven a bit too soon so theres some  stuff to cover up!

It actually has to be unsalted butter for this, this is not one of those recipes which calls for unsalted butter then adds salt on the next line. My inbred carefullness objects to buying unsalted butter unless it is really neccessary as it generally costs more (except in Lidl) and keeps a lot less well. I think this is a mark of how bound we have become by the way people who cook in restaurants cook.

No2 son had to produce a ‘masterpiece’ for school once in any medium…at short notice of course. We went for a master chocolate cake with this icing and numerous chocolate embellishments dreamed up by No2 which went down well…all the children had a slice but then it was last seen disappearing in the direction of the staff room and was never seen again.  I’d do the same if I was surrounded by kids 4-11 year olds everyday.

I have to add that things were getting a bit fraught towards the end of yesterday and I realised how easy it would be to become dependant on brandy soaked sultanas if they were freely on offer every day.

Yesterday morning the snow was adding an inch per cup of tea as I surfaced. Its a shame in a way its in the Christmas run up there would be more fun to had with it if there weren’t other competing activities. As in shame of shames I havn’t made a pudding yet ( still its the easiest of the lot the pud, I reckon)


A leaf from the Newton Wonder – a painting a day

December 5, 2010 1 comment

 SOLD   size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

The snow which arrived on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday in large quantities has now almost all washed away. My neighbours who moved out while their building work was being done are back finally, they must be so relieved, and it is good to see the lights on at night knowing its inhabited again.

Last week’s combination of gammon on Friday and chicken on Sunday made a wealth of other meals. There was a spicy stir fry with Thai noodles , lots of sandwiches and finally chopped chicken and ham in mayonnaise to go in jacket potatoes. Then there was soup using the stock from the carcase and the gammon rind one cold lunchtime when no-one could get to school or work. The fat which came off was mixed with millet for the birds.

On Friday the school was appealing for volunteers to go and scrape snow off the paths and drives in order to get the place open for Monday….it is a close call- which is most unpleasant: two hours hard labour in the cold or another day with damp fractious boys all over the house?

There was no need to go and scrape snow off the school drive the rain has seen to it. Even the four foot icicle fell down today. I saved a section to show to some South African visitors who are due on Tuesday ( I have  saved it in the freezer).

After my vocal complaints last weekend about lack of help in the kitchen especially on a Sunday I was surprised to find that the promised weekend free of cooking really did happen and we still got a roast!!! We also got more kit made croissants than any of us could face No2 just kept taking trays out of the oven.

I have now run out of all but my last carton of Goats milk( UHT not brill. in tea)…the desperate housewives of the weald had stripped the supermarket of bread, milk, goatsmilk , UHT milk and goats UHT, fruit juice (so essential)  crumpets, teacakes, croissants, brioche and butter as soon as they could get the car back on the road ( I did not check to see if they were out of tins of borlotti beans too I expect they were; we are one of the Home Counties). When we couldn’t drive and the shopping was done by toboggan there was more food to buy. I have had to buy what is a marketing dream…oats milk you could pick it up by mistake glancing at the packet in  hurry. I don’t know if it will be any good, if it is horrid rest assured I will tell you.

The snow melted to show a soggy lawn with lots of soggy leaves, I therefore spent far too long raking them up, I have a small long barrow of apple and oak leaves, some of the apple leaves have lovely coloured stems so I did a quick sketch in watercolour (it was that or continue raking). The leaf is from the Newton Wonder tree which has big round serrated leaves, you are looking at the underside to see the best of the colour.

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