Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I Would Like To Thank Willie And Merle , Emmylou And Dolly ...


Without Willie Nelson , Merle Haggard , Emmylou Harris and dear Dolly

this would not have been possible .They kept me company all weekend as I painted the hall ... endlessly .

Thanks are due , too , to the very nice young man in the DIY megastore who mixed the exact shade of red* I'd had in mind and restrained me from buying far too much , reassuring me that he could mix more , if needed , in a jiffy . And forebore to point out that , next time , it might be an idea to measure the room I intend to paint .

And last , but not least , to my oven which supplied a constant stream of baked potatoes to keep body and soul together . ( It's astonishing what you can fill a baked potato with , when you're famished . I didn't realise , either , exactly how much chili I'd stored in the freezer .)

*This Rie Cramer postcard

De Familie van Muizesteijn ( 1931) , helped in the choice of colour . I'd love to find a frameable print of it .

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that the finish of the paintwork leaves a little to be desired . Actually , I think it's just the successive coats of paint , however applied , that keep this house standing . The wall shown has more filler than plasterwork , by now .

Oh , and if you're not at least on nodding acquaintance with Willie and Co. , you must see Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan singing Pancho and Lefty . It's on YouTube and is definitely extraordinary .... whether you'll like it or not , remains to be seen . But might make you giggle as much as I did .... or was it just the paint fumes ?.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Fishy Business


although the summer is behind us now, and the weather has turned autumnal (though many felt they didn't much have a Summer in UK) I wanted to share some seasonal foody pics. The lighthouse above is on the Isle of Man, which I visited one recent weekend. It was a magical day, as the tail end of the hurricane Irene stole all the clouds away. As I stood on the shore, a seal popped his (or her head) above the waves, looked quizzically at me and then swam away. Although his lunch would not have been served on a plate, mine was

A fitting final fish of the Summer season, which has been full of fishy delights. For instance, one recent weekend, we discovered a fine fish and chip restaurant in the area. It serves oysters too:

And our fishmonger, as we like to think of the fish stall in Broadway market, sold us some nice fish as well, including these delicious Venus clams.

Though that all looks like fine dining, we have also "slummed" it in Folkestone, eating a pint of prawns in the harbour:

I expect some of you may now be hankering after something fishy now? I might have to have a salmon bagel for lunch today or some sushi....

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bring It On!


The Autumn term seems to have started with high winds , storms and torrential rain and , failing a huge lottery win (a ticket might help) and a Mediterranean cruise , we are destined to get a lot wetter , colder and more windswept before our next stab at al fresco dining .

With this in mind , I've been poring over my two new cookery books for hearty winter warmers .

Smitonius sent me a copy of exerpts from Colonel Wyvern's "Notes From Madras" reprinted by Penguin .... isn't the cover pretty! ... and I'm delighted to find plenty of good advice on how to produce "good Anglo-Indian food in the Victorian style with the ingredients available"... and a full kitchen staff . The Quoorma ( sic) definitely sounds yummy and ribsticking .

And I'm also delighted to say I've found another 70s' classic . "Russian Cooking" , author unknown , by Mir Publishing , Moscow in 1974 . While some of the recipes are downright strange , others like Beef braised with Quince would definitely be worth a try and Potato Soup With Sturgeon's Head is just a filling plain-ish chowder , good for winter lunches . After all , all I'd need to do is find a sturgeon .

I won't be making Sprat Pudding though . Layers of sprats , salt pork and potatoes baked in a sort of cheese custard might be nourishing , but won't be making an appearance here . Nor will an equally filling dessert , Lentils And Dried Apricots ( Soaked dried apricots , drained and gently fried with minced onion , seasoned with salt and pepper , with a cupful of cooked lentils , some chopped walnuts and coriander added before serving .)

But whatever I produce will have to involve using my lovely new toy .

Such a practical gadget , startlingly simple and brilliant . I love it !