Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Three Cats And A Gadget

Absolutely nothing of any interest happened this week . It rained , sometimes the sun shone . The house didn't fall down and we ate omniverously , but in moderation . I even noticed in time that my favourite mug's handle was cracked across and avoided a lapful of tea .So all I've got to show you is three cats and a gadget .

First this nifty and rather beautiful wooden bread slicer ( c. 1920s ) which I coveted the moment I saw it in a small cabinet in the corner of an old church . Once used by a small religious community in Leiden , I feel it would be a great success these days in foodie circles , given the interest in good bread .

And , because there are times when I still miss having one .... three very fine cats .

This one seemed to want to be a cheerleader

This one was carved by Johan Coenraad Altorf in 1939 as part of a wall panel for a Den Haag board room

And this one was added by Middle Daughter to a card she sent a few days ago and echoes my sentiments precisely

Oh yes , and I had a birthday .

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Things To Do When It's 30C In The Shade

a) FIND some shade .

b) Once found , just sit perfectly still in it like this gnome and a hundred or so of his brothers

in a corner of the Ceramic Museum's back garden .

c) Failing that , cycle up the river path

hoping to create enough of a draught to cool one's middle .

d) Wander about a shady village church yard

admiring the gravestones , and marvel at the infinity and otherness of Fresian Christian names . Sipke and Sijtske , Meintje and Janke , Wopke and Hotze and the wonderfully named Allegonda .

e) Chat to a horse on the way back

"You're ra-ather beautiful , you know " I coo-ed fatuously ... and he nodded in agreement . I must take a carrot next time .

f) Drink Jasmine tea and eat nectarines .

Thursday, 9 August 2012

No , Not "The Christmas Carol". This Is About Tiny Tom .


I'm so proud ! My backyard pots , full of wavering sun-starved tomato plants , have finally yielded a red-ish cherry tomato !!

So I may still not need a giant canning kettle like this one in Lehman's catalogue

nor can I bring armfuls of pomodori into the kitchen like Larissa Bertonasco's nonna , but I can dream

And meanwhile , I'll just go to the market tomorrow and buy a big bag of Roma tomatoes from the paprika man instead . Then I'll cook the chicken with green peppers and tomatoes from her lovely book "La Nonna La Cucina La Vita " about summers in Liguria with her Italian grandmother ... to cook : chop a small chicken in 8 pieces , brown it in olive oil , add garlic and rosemary , followed by 4 green peppers and 4 big , peeled tomatoes cut in chunks and splash with white wine . Then simmer for 30 minutes . I haven't tried it yet but it sounds , like many of the simplest recipes , certain to succeed and I'm already looking forward to mopping the sauce up with a chunk of ciabatta .

P.S. The Lehman's catalogue is full of ingenious gadgets and must-haves ... a sort of Amish version of the Lakelands Plastics catalogue . While I was looking for their Canning and Preserving section , I came across their Humane Mousetrap that could trap up to 20 mice at one time ! In what hellish circumstances could one ever need it ??

Friday, 3 August 2012

Relaxing .... And Relaxing Some More .

Sonata :

As crows fly to and fro over Smitonius' house on their way to the Olympic Stadium , I've been lolling about with a pile of library books . It's ages since I've had the time to gulp books down whole and I've forgotten how much fun it is !

So far , I've vicariously gone on the Oregon Trail in 1845 with Peggy Elliot's "A Small Part Of History " , used my paranormal powers to find dead bodies with Charlaine Harris's "Grave Sight" and solved a handful of other murders

And now I'm about to do some "Knitting" .

Don't be misled by the pretty but rather twee cover by the way , this is proving to be rather good . And while I'm following the instructions on the way to achieve perfect rice given to me by one of the mothers , "Don't overcook rice .When the rice begins to dance in water , it is the perfect time to put out fire and drain it " , I'm going to read a bit more before getting supper .