Friday, 27 January 2012

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Sonata :

The sun's shining . Ark-building is temporarily on hold . Three Polyanthus For Only 2.99 Euros are now appearing by the supermarket checkouts and there's a bird busking by the kitchen window .

Of course , it won't last . It is , after all , still January and the weekend forecast is dismal , but I nipped quickly into town and people-watched at the market . The man at the biggest plant stall had his arms full of flowers , " Five bunches of tulips for 3.50 , Mevrouw?" he asked a beady-eyed woman , to which she replied "Five"? I don't need five! ". "Give one to your neighbor , then ". Just one look at her face and we all saw that she'd eat her own arm before she did any such thing . I wondered what the neighbour was like ....

The man at the paprika stall was employing his usual sales technique , throwing a couple of extras in your bag and charging you anything that comes into his head/what he thinks you'll pay today ( He's safe . His paprikas are the best in town. )

The Lebanese stall heaped hummus , olives , feta , and sesame-sprinkled Turkish bread into my bag and charged me ridiculously little , giving me a chunk of bread with a garlicky dip as a farewell gift

Oh I've missed all this , during these dark , dreary winter days . But now I'd better pull myself together and make a huge pot of hearty soup , before the hail begins again .

Smitten Kitchen's Carrot and Ginger soup sounds good .

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Ruby toots cahoots

Smitonius:As you may know, we lost our 15 year old cat over Xmas. She is irreplaceable, but we missed cat company. I researched all rehoming options in London, and we visited Wood green animal shelter in north London, Battersea and an independent cat rehoming home. We decided we couldn't have another tabby, although our local vet would have given us first dibs at a mum tabby cat who needs a home... As it is, I can't quite kick 15 years of saying our cat's name!We considered a black cat who was missing her companion, a violent but beautiful sharp nailed swiper of a dame, a shy and shivering tailless cat, a toothless ginger Tom, two distressed cats whose previous humans had relocated, a tortie who was somewhat phantom of the opera faced.... And then, at Battersea, we saw Toots, a black and white 5 year old cat with a heart condition. Or she saw us first. Anyway, one week on and Ruby Toots Cahoots has moved in, been in every room, endured a vet trip (again), and is a joy.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I Must Be Better ... I'm Bo-oh-red .


According to my mother , who was always right , you were well on the way to recovery once you started to feel fidgety and fretful . So I must be nearly better .... though I've got another week of Plaster of Paris and I still can't go to work ( it's a two-handed occupation , taming toddlers ) , but I'm desperately casting my mind about for one-handed things to do .

The muffins were really quite successful , the 6-Grain flour from the North African shop proving to be delicious . Though it was probably just as well I changed the recipe's 2 cups of bran to 1/2 a cup , human digestive systems being what they are ...

Finally getting to grips with crocheting was the next thing on the list . I had the instructions and a photo tutorial , 1920's style , from a Paton & Baldwin's booklet , so it would be a cinch .

I'd have my very own Granny Squares Afghan any day now .... or not ....

After an hour of re-running YouTube's How To Crochet _ Part 1 : Basics For The ABSOLUTE ( her capitals , not mine ) Beginner , given by a cheery young woman in a wondrous crochet cardi , I had a loop . Flushed with success , I then turned to Attic 24 and her Summer Garden Granny Square tutorial ...... and put wool and hook back in their bag .

It was getting dark and there was still the rest of the list to get through . The novel could wait .... another 64 years , at this rate . So that just left my pepper mill . There is a certain irony in the fact that a device designed to be used with one hand , has to be refilled by someone with two , fairly strong , functioning hands . Luckily , Husband turned up before I'd got too profane .

Anyway , today , had I made a list of things to do , it would have been much shorter . Finish book ( The Night Circus , a Christmas present from Y.D. ) and make 's Potato curry . So I did . They were both excellent !

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Penny Plain , Twopence Coloured


Well , perhaps not always ...Friend and I have just been to the exhibition " Alaia . Alaia Azzedine in de 21e Eeuw " ( in the 21st Century ) in the Groninger Museum . It's a catch-up on the highlights of his creations in the last ten years , the museum having held a big exhibition of his work in 1998 , which I was lucky enough to have seen .
His evening dresses are stunning , each one calling up visions of Oscars , red carpets and Rita Hayworth .

The craftsmanship and eye for detail are impressive .

So no , I doubt that you'd get even a plain black one for a penny ......

Whereas today's Twopence Coloured really only cost 69 cents . A bag of Rainbow carrots grown locally , which I steamed and dressed with caraway , parsley and lemon juice à la 64 foot kitchen ( see our side bar for the link to her blog ) .

Delicious , especially with freshly ground black pepper from my new , and very nifty one-handed pepper mill .

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy 2012

Smitonius and Sonata wish you all a Happy New Year and a prosperous one!