A winter miscellany

How are you, how has your weekend been so far? Ours got off to a lovely start with friends for dinner on Friday night.  Harry stayed up to say hello and enjoyed a mocktail of mango juice and rainbow sprinkles, accessorised with a cocktail umbrella and glacé cherry whilst we opened a bottle of fizz.  I think we all secretly wanted a taste of his.

Whilst shopping for ingredients the day before, I came across these beautiful Romanescos  - a sort of cabbage that apparently tastes like broccoli, and looks like a miniature Christmas tree..have you tried them?

Romanesco

I say they apparently tatse like broccoli; I intended to chop them up and cook them, but decided they were too lovely for that so instead Harry carefully wrote out everyone’s names and they became cheery place-settings instead…

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Talking of all things green, Harry and I have a new project; we are determined to grow a HUGE avocado plant.  Preferably by next weekend, in order to have guacamole for tea.  We have got precisely this far after 24 hours, despite progress checks approximately every 10 minutes:

Plant an avocado stone

In the meantime I have harvested some hardy Hellebores from the garden and planted them up in an old copper trough on the counter; a reminder that we will see Spring before too long.

Blog Jan 2016

In other domestic news, I’ve had a brief attempt at trying to bring order and discipline to our laundry (really, what was I thinking?), buying these inexpensive sorters from IKEA and painting helpful labels so that even the youngest member of the household (you know who you are) can colour-sort his dirty clothes.  I doubt it will work, but they look pretty nonetheless.

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Weather like this requires cake, and cake is also a helpful excuse to drop in on friends, so we also made some of our favourite lemon and poppyseed loaf cake – one of those wonderful recipes where you get to throw everything in a bowl and then pour it into a tin, and do very little else other than congratulate yourself on your Domestic Goddessery  (if you do follow the recipe above, I skip the first step – if life is too short to stuff a mushroom, it is certainly too short to soak a poppyseed).   Try it; I promise you it works a treat..

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And now an epic fail to close.  Firstly, if our avocado stone is yet to bloom, my New Year sourdough starter is looking even rockier.  I had visions of it looking exactly like this:

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…but instead it looks exactly like this:

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It smells like a brewery, which is promising if a little alarming, but I cannot see it causing a loaf of bread to rise anytime this year.  All suggestions welcome please, including alternative uses for it (a solution for loose plaster?).

Know your limits, they say; I think I have met mine.  Any kitchen ingredient which requires daily feeding and careful measuring was, in retrospect, doomed.

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p.s. photo of entirely perfect and well-risen sourdough starter from a true guru here.

Welcome to the Art Room!

Art Room Materials 1

 

When we moved into our dream house a few years ago, we began by gradually restoring the most important rooms, starting with the kitchen.  Most of the rooms in our rambling, period house are part of the original footprint of the house, but there is a little annex attached to one side which housed …
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Separations and Reunions

Travelling 1

The New Year began at a million miles an hour with a flurry of back-to-work-and-school panic and then, for me, a week of transatlantic travel.   I’ve periodically travelled for work since my son was born, usually to the US, and these partings have been easy enough for both of us to manage.  Of late, though, it’s a little harder.  Time has lost some …
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Last-minute Christmas decorations: Simple 3D Stars

Simple 3D Stars tutorial

How are you, are you all set for Christmas?  We’re feeling festive  tucked away here in our small corner of the world, after a weekend of visits from family and friends, the official end of school and work, and the house now bedecked with lights and decorations (I’ll share a few pics tomorrow in a final post).  One last-minute addition has been …
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A homemade Christmas

How was your week, has it been a good one?  It’s been a crazy busy one here; a mix of work and play, of Christmas parties and Nativity plays, of late nights and early mornings (Harry’s latest trick; to slip into our bed at an ungodly hour and whisper hoarsely in my ear ‘I love you to infinity Mummy.  Now can I stay?’).  We’re looking forward to a relaxing weekend and some festive crafting …
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The Fir Lady returns once again

Christmas Lady

Christmas began to arrive in our home yesterday, as I staggered back from the garden centre with armfuls of pine, eucalyptus and berries.  Now the house is filled with resiny scent, as is my hair, my clothes, my hands… it’s intoxicating.

And the fir lady has once again come in from the cold and taken shelter in a corner of the kitchen; this year she …
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