Monday, 31 January 2011

On The Table #3

Well.... not really on the table, more like on the kitchen counter.
It's marmalade making time again.

This batch was made from 12 11-1/2 Seville oranges (one was squishy at one end), 4 lemons, water and 3.5 kg of sugar.
The bitter Seville oranges are only available at the end of January into February, and are the traditional ingredients for marmalade. I can't stand the very sweet sickly stuff that passes for marmalade in N American grocery stores. I like my marmalade to have a kick to it!

So you know what I'll be spreading on my toast in the morning.

Monday, 24 January 2011

On The Table #2

Some dear friends came to dinner tonight .... we ate chicken pie, creamy mashed potato and steamed broccoli, with trifle and cream for dessert .... and they brought me a beautiful housewarming present.

A Lampe Berger air purifying lamp.

It's on the table.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

What am I Bid?

I spent today in a local Community Hall at an auction.

I wasn't aiming to buy anything in particular. You don't really have to spend money to have fun at an auction. You just have to sit there and if you see something you'd like to take home, wave your card at the auctioneer. It's that easy.

It's a great place to do some people watching. The scruffy guy who spent $500 on a piece of Inuit art... is he a dealer, or will that painting grace his wall at home? And that lady in the fur coat.... what will she do with that "thingummijig" that she bought?

And those three burly chaps in the back row..... one with green hair curling under his ball cap, one with arms covered in tattoos and the other one's face adorned with threatening looking spikes either side of his mouth.... what are they going to do with that huge box of WW1 books and encyclopedias?

I had my eye on a 1920's glass fronted bookcase, but it went too expensive for me.
So this time, I walked away from the sale emptyhanded, but just wait until next time.

Monday, 17 January 2011

On The Table #1

Fellow blogger Madretz in San Francisco has suggested a Monday blog theme of "On The Table", pictures taken from a table viewpoint.

I can't guarantee that I'll be posting one of these every Monday, but here's a start.
My dinner at Saturday's Rabbie Burns Night. Roast beef, horseradish, HAGGIS, coleslaw, mashed tatties, green peas, chappit neeps, and gravy!
I can't believe I ate the whole thing!!!!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Wee Beasties

What is it? Any guesses?
Alien creatures from outer space?
Something found slithering in the basement?
Something you might find out behind the barn? Ewwww....

Nope.... none of the above.
There are FIVE of them warming up in my oven right now.
Yes.... HAGGIS!

You've heard of a HAGGIS haven't you? A small furry animal with one set of legs longer than the other so that it can run on the steep slopes of the Scottish Highlands without falling over. But it can only run clockwise.

You don't believe me?

You're right. Haggis is a kind of giant Scottish sausage containing sheep's heart, liver and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, lots of pepper to drown the taste, and simmered in a casing of sheep's intestine. Sounds awful but actually is quite good. Just remember to keep your eyes shut while you're eating it.

All this in preparation of our annual Rabbie Burns Night tonight.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Vanilla Bean Pudding

Whenever I feel some kitchen creativity coming on, I look at this blog. Such yummy things to make, but often quite complicated so I immediately decide that I don't have all the ingredients, and go off and do something else until the creative urge subsides.

But today, the recipe is Vanilla Bean Pudding! What could be more simple? Yes, I know I could buy a Vanilla Pudding mix at the grocery store, and it would probably taste great, but this is home made....

.... and it tastes BETTER than the packet suff. Much better in fact.

But I admit I made these using vanilla extract, but next time.... watch out taste buds, vanilla beans are at the top of my shopping list.

Monday, 3 January 2011

My 2010 Reading List

Fellow blogger Dumdad has published his list of books that he read in 2010, so I thought I'd copy his brilliant idea!

Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

Little Bee by Chris Cleave (loved every word!)
The Heart Specialist by Claire Holden Rothman

Incendiary by Chris Cleave (great story)
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (weird book)
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (brilliant!)
Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
Dog Boy by Eva Hornung (weird but totally fascinating)

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (marvellous Canadian author)
Volkswagen Blues by Jaques Poulin
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (hilarious!)

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (brilliant again!)
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (gave up on this book, it didn't grab me)
Attachment by Isabel Fonseca (gave up on this too, but can't remember why)
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Burrows
Away by Jane Urquhart (Canadian author)

did I really not read any books in October??? I must have forgotten to write them down.

The Bishop's Man by Lynden MacIntyre (Canadian author)
The Death of Donna Whalen by Michael Winter (hmmmm... strange)
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (I love David Mitchell's books)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

And I started reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, but it was requested back by the Library before I got very far so I expect it will be on my 2011 book list. I'll just have to read faster.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A Fresh Start

It's rainy and foggy and damp and drippy outside my window today, but the good news is that the snow is melting fast and giving us a fresh start to the New Year! I can actually see some green grass out there.

And more good news... my rotten Christmas head cold/flu is mostly gone, my 2010 bills are all paid (which is what you're supposed to do every First of January), and I only have a few more unpacked boxes languishing in the basement waiting for my attentions.

So now it's time to think about those pesky New Year Resolutions.

Well, I don't smoke, spit, drink to excess, swear like a trooper, commit violent acts towards helpless furry animals or otherwise misbehave myself (obviously, I'm really boring), so there's not much there to promise to reform.

However, I have a feeling that 2011 will be a good year. So many changes in my life have taken place in the past few months. Some happy, some sad. Some of the good things..... I'm living in a nice new house, I'll be meeting new neighbours, making new friends. My family are all well and remain employed (thank goodness), my two little grandboys are thriving. YoungerSon and his family live within walking distance. I have good health (apart from that nasty Christmas cold) and I am so thankful. Some of the sad things.... a good friend moved away, but not so far that I can't visit, and there were funerals for people who passed away much too young. I wonder what this year holds in store?

Wherever you are in Blogland..... HAPPY NEW YEAR!