Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Not Even Hare Today , Never Mind About Tomorrow


For anyone who remembers my planned hare hunt and had hoped for a photo or two , I have disappointing news .

This is as near as I got

hares proving as elusive as leprechauns this year . Even the rabbits , usually hip-hoppitying about in the industrial park at the east of town every evening , proved to be camera-shy .

But , in Groningen on Friday , I caught sight of a postcard announcing an exhibition of bronzes of hares in the Hazenkabinett in Weener in Germany ( on till 18th September if you're near ) . I love his hat .

Never mind . There's always next Spring .

Meanwhile , I've been re-reading Honey From A Weed by Patience Gray . With all the delicious recipes and its sheer enjoyment of good food and delight in the sharing of treasured local dishes , it's a fabulous read .

Her recipe for Rabbit with Garlic Sauce is simplicity itself , the rabbit being marinaded in olive oil with thyme and rosemary , then grilled and served with allioli . But , as she says , "You will not be disappointed ".

If you don't eat meat , of course , you might prefer my recent 50 cent find in a secondhand book shop . Gail Duff's Vegetarian Cookbook is "very of its time" so has the occasional interesting surprise among the vegetable moussakas and mushroom kebabs . If you want to give a meat-free 70's Theme Night , you couldn't do better than to include Carrot , Grapefuit and Yoghurt salad . But it would be a good idea to have plenty of her Mushroom and Ale soup for the chaps and her Brown Bean Chasseur should appeal to all .

With any luck I won't be cooking much this weekend , anyway . I'm going to eat tapas and Turkish food and paper thin pizzas in Amsterdam , instead .

Monday, 23 May 2011

You're Only As Old As You Feel


We probably all have an age we'd like to be , the age which we picture as The Best Years Of One's Life . And if it were simply a matter of Positive Thinking , how easy it would be . My grandson would be FIVE , the age he'll know everything and be ABSOLUTELY grown-up . I'd settle for my thirties , I think .

But , of course , it's not that simple . He'll have to wait another year-and-twentyfour-days and I can whistle . But I was encouraged this week by a couple of television moments . A BBC series about lesser known Stately Homes had the spritely presenter , Dan Cruikshank , negotiating a secret spiral staircase carrying a brimming chamber pot with his customary enthusiasm . And then the two Geriatric Greedy Italians galloped all over Turin , making and eating enormous plates of delicious food .... as Carluccio said , with Mof Mof ( minimum of fuss , maximum of flavour ) .... and a schoolboy joke involving a camera and a fountain .

I , mind you , do seem to be going backwards all of a sudden . Much to my dental hygienist's amusement I'm , rather painfully , growing a wisdom tooth .

So , instead of the wondrous French anti wrinkle powder shown at the beginning ( just add a drop of water , mix and spread liberally over your wrinkles , rinse off and astonish the world ) , I'm off tomorrow to buy Calpol and a teething ring .

Friday, 6 May 2011

Do Seasons Ladies Paint In Thermals ?

Sonata :
A free week , thanks to the May holiday , and the sun's shining !

And to ward off any chance of being at a loose end I'd arranged an assortment of things-to-do . There was more housepainting ( lots more housepainting , actually ) . There were recipes to try ..... lots of those too . The giant Queen's Day flea market to wander around . A bike ride to hunt for hares . A Day Out . Leisurely breakfasts with time to read the paper and drink big mugs of coffee in peace .... and a sewing project .

And it's all gone more or less to plan .

Hunting through the endless clutter on sale on Queen's Day was , as usual , fun and I found a pile of '70s craft magazines , full of hilarious black and white photos of ponchos and Interesting Things to make out of corks , melon seeds and pompoms .

Standing outside , up a ladder , painting high windows was character forming , given the arctic winds that blew and blew , at one point even blowing a large blob off the brush straight onto my sweater . But they do look better for it . As a neighbour commented , eyeing my less than professional finish , "At least that'll protect them " .

Deventer is such an elegant little town to visit and my Day Out was its usual mix of endless new corners to see , the game of "If I were to live here which house would I buy ? " or the alternative "if I lived in this house what would my life be like ? " , little shops to enjoy , friendly people to exchange a few words with ..... and train delays . ( I've come to the conclusion that I am to trains what Typhoid Mary was to caring for the sick ) .

When I've been there I always come back determined to be more of a Seasons Lady . Seasons , the lifestyle magazine par excellence for the reader of a certain age , is full of articles on little gifts to make for friends like these carafes of homemade spiced apple juice

decorated with little crab apple garlands from your own orchard . Even their readers' gardening clutter

looks delightful , unlike my pile of black plastic pots , leftovers from purchases at the garden center . A Seasons lady has swathes of wild flowers and heritage roses . I have three and a half pots out the back with chervil , tomatoes and a strawberry plant .

But when the train drew into Leeuwarden again in the evening , I saw this and remembered that I'm not really a country woman at heart and I'd miss the surprises a town has to offer .

Oh , and I must just show you my sewing project . Rattling On had very kindly sent me this fabulous crochet bag I'd admired when she'd blogged about it and my plan was to line it .

I abandoned the idea of carrying the lining on round the handles and settled on using bias binding instead . I've nearly finished and will be bringing home leeks in it tomorrow for Soupe Bonne Femme .( Leek and Potato Soup for Seasons ladies . No handmade garlands will be made though ...... there is a limit ! )

Hare expedition on Sunday if it's not too windy ....

Sunday, 1 May 2011

this is as close as I got to Royal Wedding


driving through Islington (North London), I couldn't help but stop the car and snap this:

A bit like Marmite indeed... love or hate?

PS: Beatrice's hat.... say no more.