Category Archives: Food and Drink

A moment

I’m hosting a meeting at home this evening.

Rusk and I made cakes this afternoon (he is good at stirring) and they are sitting in the kitchen by the kettle.

Mr F is upstairs, out of the way of the meeting.

People will arrive soon.

The living room is tidy.

Everything is peaceful.

The cat is asleep on a chair (this won’t last long once people get here)

After a very busy day combining work with toddler-minding this is a welcome oasis of calm.

I’m making the most of it.

And relax

It has been a very relaxing couple of days.

Yesterday included a trip to the beach, meeting up with some people from college. They kindly took over the sandcastle building duties and kept Rusk busy for a couple of hours. Sensible boy: he point-blank refused to paddle in the North Sea. I had thought that this week might be my only chance of a warm day on the beach and a swim in the sea, so I tried. I really tried, but it was just too cold. My friend who had accompanied me corroborated my story of only intending a paddle (to mid-thigh) in the first place. At least the Irish Sea feels warm after a little while – I knew it was a mistake to come East.

Checking out a new tea-room came next. Three Cheers! There is somewhere to buy fairtrade, decaff coffee within 2 miles of home, and they do take-away. We admired the piglets and pigs who were sunning themselves in their enclosure, then headed home to play Bananagrams. This is a totally addictive game and I recommend it to any people who like to play with words.

When I got up this morning, Mr F asked me why I hadn’t gone out last night. Oops – funny how meetings just slip your mind when lovely people spontaneously come to visit. I discovered subsequently that the meeting had just assumed that because it was my day off I wouldn’t be there. Normally I wouldn’t have, but having had the rare occurrence of a week without evening meetings, I had planned to go. No-one (except you and the person I talked to about it this afternoon) need ever be the wiser.

I had book group this morning. I think we talked about books only a couple of times in the hour, but very much put the world to rights. I’m currently waiting for the second Steig Larsson, having devoured the first one a couple of weeks ago.

This afternoon I took Rusk to a parish coffee afternoon. He was at his most charming and spent a good half hour climbing in and out of the patio. He collected half the toy stall and put it ready for us to take home, but then changed his mind and put it all back on the stall. He also became fascinated with the tombola drum – this got quite expensive and we didn’t even win anything!

Finally, after Rusk was in bed (his big bed for only the second night), we settled down to watch the finale of Doctor Who with home-made curry and a cold beer.

Phew! This relaxation lark is tiring.

Just grazing

Warning – Don’t read any further if you are hungry and out of range of food.

I’m currently sitting at my desk (catching up on non-work paperwork and the internet) and every so often my hand creeps off to a small cardboard box next to me. Inside are four trays with really, really nice food in. There is a tray of olives, a tray of pecans in honey, a tray of chilli rice crackers and a tray with dried fruit and pumpkin seeds. Seriously delicious.

Where do they come from? They arrived by post on Tuesday, from Graze. The deal is that you sign up to receive a box per week at £2.99. You can look through their entire range and decide which things you want to receive and which you don’t. Each box will then have a selection. My first box had  lots of raisins, accompanied by different things such as dark chocolate covered pumpkin seeds, almonds and white chocolate drops. Anyway, if you like the idea of healthy (mostly) snacks arriving in your letterbox then I have a discount code that will let you have one box free and one half price. Just enter GG1334T at the checkout. As well as you getting free/cheap food, I’ll get a pound off my next box. Go on, you know you want to!

In other news, I have located somewhere that will make me a decaff latte. Only 4 miles away!

A day with Rusk

This is a very dull post – don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Lent marches on. Today has been a day off, spent almost entirely with Rusk, due to Mr F’s continuing battle with the lurgy.

Rusk decided that we would play with tractors today. There is a large box in his bedroom with about half a dozen tractors of various sizes. Some make noises, some travel by themselves, one has a track to travel on and makes appropriate animal noises as it goes past the sty, duck pond etc. The one I find most bemusing is the tractor and trailer with a sheep attached. If you hold the sheep and the trailer firmly and pull apart, then set them down on the floor, the sheep retracts into the trailer, a hook between the sheep’s legs pulls up the gate at the back of the trailer and the whole shebang sets off across the floor, to market presumably. Rusk doesn’t quite have the strength to pull it so there was a lot of asking Mummy to help.

During his afternoon nap, I played a level of The Settlers:Rise of an Empire – the latest in my favourite series of computer games.

Late afternoon saw us headed for the beach, or rather the promenade at the local town. There is a long stretch of prom that has reasonable barriers on either side (i.e. no sheer drop to the beach) so Rusk was able to run about without reins or holding hands. This means he can run further than I have to walk = tired toddler and not so tired Mummy. We bought an ice cream and shared it. He doesn’t really like the coldness of the ice cream so only had a bit. Marvellous! There were only a few encounters with large dogs. I was under the impression that leads were to keep dogs away from danger, frightening small boys etc. Apparently not, although it is ok because “he (the dog) won’t hurt him”.

At teatime, he ate marmite on bread. This is a real breakthrough – he has refused spreads or toppings of any kind on bread or toast for the last two months. Looks bad when you give him dry crusts, but really that is all he will eat usually. Hurrah for marmite (bet he doesn’t eat it again for weeks).

After his bedtime, I finished the Settlers level (and another one) before a spot of catching up online before my bedtime (now a couple of hours ago – ah well).

So that, in case you were interested, is what the clergy do on their day off, at least this clergy on this particular day off. I cannot guarantee that the next day off will be the same. Nothing too exciting.

In other news, I am knitting another sock, having ripped a complete sock back to nothing. Oh, and the foghorn is going so I’m guessing the weather has reached us.

It’s Pancake Day!

So we are all off out to one of my churches for a party.

I have many happy memories of village pancake parties in my youth so I hope I can pass that on to some of the people here. One particular memory is the vicar walking round waving a frying pan in a rather menacing manner, trying to get people to enter the pancake-tossing competition. I shall attempt the same!

Lent-wise, I’m intending to read Maggi Dawn’s new book – Giving it up. I’ll let you know how I find it. Interesting discussion with my incumbent today about how to burn palm crosses to make ash.

In knitting news, I’m working on a stole (of the shawl type, not the clergy type) as my contribution to the knitting olympics on Ravelry. Slow going, but enjoyable.

Peculiar Old Cake

I took a cursory glance into my baking cupboard before sending Mr F out to the supermarket this morning, but discovered later there were some key ingredients missing for making Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake (very easy cake – from Feast). No Guinness and very little cocoa powder. Not to worry, I have improvised. Half a bottle of Old Peculiar replaced the Guinness then I replaced the dry weight of cocoa powder that was missing with extra flour, then grated in some dark Divine chocolate to add extra chocolate flavour. The cake is now cooling and I am drinking the other half of the OP to avoid wastage. It seems to be OK. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve been tinkering with a post on the Roman Catholic announcement this week, but I think I’ve decided some things are better left unsaid. I will just have a quick link: Dave Walker (@davewalker) drew my attention to this article by Frank Skinner in the Times. Very interesting point of view. Go have a quick peruse.

The other thing going around the web today is the whole BNP – Question Time thing. I’m sure most things have been said but, having stayed up to watch it last night, I was left wondering at the use (overuse?) of one particular word: elite. The “politcal elite” was mentioned by the BNP leader more than a few times, meant in a derogatory way. What does it mean? Presumably those in the main political parties. Do you know what? I think I want the country to be run by the political elite – those who are best at it, those with the skill, experience and talent to sort things out. Inverse political snobbery perhaps on his part. There are of course many other reasons for not voting for them.

Teething troubles

Rusk is having a few troubles with the next tooth. Our normal sunny little boy is replaced by a grumpy, moany person. So sweet. I’m hoping the worst will be over before his baptism on Sunday. It’s going to be quite a party. Lots of lovely people visiting, much cake and generally a lovely weekend I hope.

On a related note, there are more vegetables in the kitchen than there have ever been. It is going to be quite some stew on Sunday.

Just saying

There is some irony in having spent an afternoon this week in a ‘caring for self’ session and then having a preliminary to-do list of 10 items that absolutely must be done today before it turns into the study day it is meant to be. This is of course because the time I would normally do a good many of these things was the afternoon I spent in that session. Ah well. It was a good session and I was reminded of much interesting and useful information (such as the benefits of setting aside time to study). Still a little frustrating.

In case you were wondering, blogging is not on the list of 10 things. I am doing that as a nice extra, since 5 of the 10 things are done or delegated.

Today would also be the day that my copy of the new Diana Gabaldon book, An Echo in the Bone, arrived. Despite not being published here until January, there was a deal with the UK publishers that if you pre-ordered a copy from Amazon or similar  and sent them your receipt, they would send an export copy at the same time that it was published in the US. There is absolutely no chance of getting to read it today (well maybe if I write 500 words of dissertation this afternoon I might read a chapter or two… or three).

So knitting – Daisy asked for a picture of the hat. This will be forthcoming in due course, as will a work in progress picture of my Strictly socks. Not socks to be worn while watching Strictly Come Dancing, but socks to be knit in the bits where you don’t actually need to watch it. With half an hour of Strictly It Takes Two to watch every weekday, as well as the weekend shows, these are growing nicely and the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is doing something very pretty and spirally with the colour variations.

While on the subject of Strictly, my favourite Strictly results site has moved to here: http://bit.ly/VhoCR. Why not go and have a look?

Update on No-Cake Month. One cake of pastoral necessity eaten and three biscuits (including one malted milk that I was tricked into eating). I think I might make it – only 4 days to go.

OK back to sorting out things for Church tomorrow. I have just ordered a book of intercessions that has emergency intercessions written for each Sunday, all tying into the lectionary Gospel reading. This will make last minute changes of plan and personnel easier to cope with, but will not help with the intercessions for Sunday evening since a) there are no more postal deliveries before then and b) I am not using the lectionary reading. Lord, in your mercy…

Hat finished, sloes started

This afternoon I took a visiting friend on a bit of a tour of the parishes. The coast here is so beautiful. We wandered down to the cliff path from one of the churches and sat looking out over the sea. The weather is beautiful today – so sunny and calm. Even on sunny days usually there is what we call a ‘breeze’, if only to distinguish it from the gales that are the customary fare. While we were sitting there watching the fields rolling down to the cliff, while some paragliders floated serenely overhead, I could feel a story starting to bubble up. As if I have time for that now – I have an MA to write you know. I will sit on it until after the end of November and then wander back amid the winter weather and see if the urge is still there. It is such a privilege to minister to people with such a rootedness in the landscape. I feel a real sense that the people here do see themselves as custodians for the future.

The hat went much quicker than expected, and is now finished, pending blocking. I *think* there will be enough wool left (yes, Daisy, it is Rowan Tapestry) for another one. I had about 3 yards of the first ball of purple left at the end of the hat and I have weighed what is left of the variegated ball and have 26g of a 50g ball. Might be cutting it a bit fine, but we’ll see. In the pause between starting the decreases and the 4mm dpns arriving, I started a sock. I have never knitted a toe-up sock before. It looks most peculiar with just the toe done.

The sloes have been pricked, jarred and covered in gin and sugar. It looks quite revolting at the moment, but the caterpillars all floated to the surface when the gin was added and I have fished them out so it could be worse. Not sure I would be able to describe it as suitable for vegetarians now.

Back to pondering the Sunday readings. We follow the related series of readings in the lectionary and it has not yet clicked as to how they are related. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I sometimes wish there were footnotes where the compilers could say what they had in mind.

Off to a consultation on stipends and pensions this evening. Pray for us, please.

More sloe news

Here they are on the tree:

sloes

And here they are in the kitchen. Note there are now jars there too.

ingredients

I am not confident about these jars. I would rather have jars which seal properly. They will have to do until the end of the week when Mr F is heading for the big city where there is a Lakeland. I really, really hope they don’t explode all over the under the stairs cupboard. The instructions do say to shake the jar(s) every day for the first month, so I don’t suppose they will mind being decanted.

In other news, I am making a hat:

fairisle hat

The knitters among you will see that I am using magic loop because I had neither the correct dpns nor a short enough circular for normal circular knitting. I am enjoying it. Slightly disappointing that the colours in the pattern aren’t showing up very well. I would blame the camera, but it isn’t much better in real life. Still the challenge of two-handed fair isle is keeping me busy.