Wednesday, 29 September 2010
For the next four days, I'll be 24 hour nannying. I will be in rural Kinross-shire, which means I am highly unlikely to have even phone internet.
I hope every-one has a good few days, and I'll catch up with all of your stuff on Monday! I will try to get on twitter occasionally though!
(the pic above is of tonight"s rather lovely sky)
Sunday, 26 September 2010
So' this week two thing have happened - Dave has been in Germany for work for a week(and will be till next Saturday, and I'm working that weekend so I won't see him 'til Sunday night), and temperatures have dropped fairly sharply in Scotland. Yesterday it was 7 celcius. It look beautiful outside, and it's sunny, but goodness it's cold! The two of these things mean that I've sort of gone into hibernation mode this weekend, and have rarely left the house. What I have done is what I like to do to feel comfortable
I've done some sewing...
This wee pile of mending has been sitting on our windowseat for almost a month, I feel so pleased to have finally worked through it. I've even managed to salvage Dave's favourite but very old jeans.
I've investigate hot drinks as an alternative to summery fruit juice...
because I love tea, but sometimes you need something else! My current favourite is hot spiced apple juice. There's nothing complicated here i put half a litre of apple juice in a pan with 1/2tsp each of cinnamon and ginger. It is really lovely!
I've read 3 books and am half way through my fourth...
because I read alot anyway' and there is something about books that makes me feel really content.
I've takes a few autumn photos...
with colour this time!
and I've baked...
Because for me, nothing says home like the smell of baking( except a Dave-hug, but those aren't available!). Especially when the outcome is oaty, gingery biscuits with a bit of dark chocolate. They happen to go really well with spiced hot apple juice too!
Oaty Ginger Biscuits
50g golden caster sugar
1tsp ground ginger
100g butter, melted
2balls preserved ginger, minced
1tbsp preserving syrup(from the ginger jar)
50g dark chcolate
- pre-heat oven to 180
- put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl
- add in wet ingredients(retain choc) and mix well 'til dough forms
- placed out between two pieces of cling film and roll out till 1/2 inch thick
- chill for half an hour
- cut out shapes with biscuit cutters
- flour a baking tray
- place on tray 1inch apart
- bake 15min till golden
- when cool melt choclate in bowl in microwave, and drizzle over with a spoon
- leave to set
I've done most of this wrapped in a blanket, and with a backdrop of cheesy TV or nice radio. Next weekend I'm nannying for 4 days solid, and the weekend after Dave and I are London bound, so it has been nice to have time to just be at home.
To be quite frank though, independent and content on my own though I am, I can't wait for Dave to come home!
How has everyones weekend been, and what do you do on a weekend alone, or just on a homey weekend?
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
I'm still getting to grips with my new-old film camera, but in the meantime, I've discovered my phone camera is pretty good! I LOVE the colours and textures of autumn, so on the way to and from work' I've been trying to take photos.
I think generally autumn's beauty is though of in terms of colours - russet, gold and copper. Quite by accident, I took all of a day's photos in black and white mode, and it seems that autumnal leaves are beautiful in black and white too! I think it's the texture provided by crisp leaves that make these!
I do hope to be able to show some of what autumn look like here soon, perhaps that will be my next-but-one post!
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Last week when I made chocolate cake, what I had really been craving was a ginger cake or something similarly spiced. I like the flavours spices bring to food anyway, but they seem so much more appropriate at this time of year, with their autumnal colours and warmth, so comforting! I've been thinking about spiced cake since then - it's a sad day when ch0colate cake doesn't hit the spot - and today I've had my 'fix'! This cake was borne out of a lack of butter, my desire for spiced cake, and my good fortune in having all of the other stuff in the cupboard (even if I didn't have stuff to make dinner!).
Honey-Almond Spice Cake
300g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
2tsp ground cinnamon
1.5tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
120ml sunflower oil
140ml honey (I used whisky honey, but do choose your favourite)
1tsp almond extract (I like almond with spices, but if you aren't keen, leave this out)
- pre-heat oven to 150c(130 in a fan oven)
- put all of dry ingredients into bowl and stir
- add wet ingredients and stir with spatula till all of flour is just incorporated
- pour into a non stick 11"(ish) cake pan( the batter is quite thick, but don't worry!)
- bake for 45 mins, till golden
DONT bake it at 220c for the first 15 mins if you can help it, you will be nervous and sad! I did this and quick thinking saved the cake, but it's quite uneven as a result. I think some proper stem ginger chopped in would have improved it too. It is delicious and really moist though, so I'll live with the compromise (woe is me etc, etc)
I quite often favour cakes that are coated in a liberal layer of cream cheese icing or ganache, but for me they are for summer time, and occasionally winter. In autumn I like a hearty cake that could be breakfast as easily as pudding, and can be eaten with custard! This one looks quite plain and homely, but it is lovely as it is.
If people have recipes like this, please pass them on! Am I alone in the need for spices at this time of year, or are you all having cravings too?
Monday, 13 September 2010
I took the picture above from my new fancy phone. Autumn is in full force in Dundee!
Even though I am clearly quite fond of the internet, I am not really one for drooling over the latest phones and computers. My last phone was a basic text and phone Nokia. I used to think that as i have a netbook at home, and take at least one camera wherever i go, i had no need for a fancy phone.
I lost my trusty Nokia a month and a half ago, and have been phoneless since, but with Dave going to Germany next week, we set off to get me a new one so that we could stay in contact easily.
I now have a Motorola Dext. It is quite all singing all dancing, especially compared to the dinosaur i had before! I am excited about being able to blog on the bus (the main reason for this drastic upgrade!).
If you could all bear with me while I learn to do this, that would be lovely!
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
It seems autumn is upon us, and is making itself known! This is what Dundee looked like early this morning.
What with the cold and windy day yesterday and seeing the additional torrential rain today, I could moan and whine, but instead, I'm looking on the bright side!
Autumn brings blustery winds, grey days and dark (often wet) evenings. With it though, comes trees in colours of gold, crimson and amber. If you look to the right of the very dismal photo above, you'll see a crimson tree! Yesterday at work, Tom and I had great fun jumping in the crunchy leaves lining the pavement.
The other thing autumn brings is thoughts of warming spicy food and and hot, comforting drinks(Of course there is also the 'hurrah, new clothes' thought, which I'm sure I'll address in a later post)! I feel I may be flogging a dead horse in telling you this, but my favourite foods are hearty stews and soups, and they are definitely autumnal food! I've been bad at meal planning in the last few weeks with being busy at work, and there have been quite a few last minute buying of something mostly pre-made on the way home from work(though still home-cooked on days I've been off, we haven't completely gone to seed!). I rarely properly enjoy the food, and it costs a lot so with the onset of autumn and a day off with nothing else to do, I set about some bulk cooking! Both of these recipes are pretty simple, but I think good for it!
Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato soup.
(makes 6-8 portions, depending on desired thickness)
This recipe requires a blender
1.2ltr good stock(I had some left over from doing a roast chicken)
1 butternut squash, halved
3med/2lrg sweet potatoes
one large onion, halved
5tbsp olive oil
2tsp chilli flakes
1tsp course ground black peppercorns
- preheat oven to 140
- place squash, sweet pototo and onion on baking tray
- mix spices with oil, and drizzle over vegetables
- bake for 45mins - 1 hour till cooked through(a knife will go straight through easily when they are cooked), remove onion earlier if cooked through
- remove and roughly mash together flesh from vegetables
- place half of the mixture in blender with half of the stock, and whizz till smooth, then repeat (alternatively mix together in pot and use hand blender)
(makes enough easily for 8 people, 12 if you serve it with sides)
5tbsp olive oil
14 thick cut sausages, halved
2 large onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
20 button mushrooms, quartered
tsp chilli flakes
half bottle of cheap red wine (don't use good stuff, drink it!)
tin of copped tomatoes
salt and pepper
- heat oil in on medium heat
- add onions, sausages, carrots and mushrooms
- saute till onions are soft and sausages browned
- add herbs/spices and stir, frying for 2mins
- add flour and stir well, fry 1 min
- add wine, and simmer a few mins, scraping pan
- add stock and tomatoes
- bring to the boil and simmer on a medium heat for 1 hour (or transfer to casserole dish and cook at 160 for an hour), till sauce thickens and is glossy.
To top off a day of cooking, I also made this cake. I feel I have well and truly restocked the house(and I've had a bowl of soupand of casserole, so I've restocked my tummy too!) Oh, and please excuse the quality of the photo's, the light is terrible today!
So, does anyone have an autumn food recipe to share/general autumn thoughs?