Monday, 24 November 2008

Baking for Sanity

I wouldn't say I was one of these Domestic Goddess types. Nor would anyone who's seen my house! But when life is weird/ out of control/maddening I like to bake things. If I'm mildly annoyed I make muffins or cookies, stressy I make banana or fruit bread and plain crazy I make real cakes with icing. No icing today you'll be glad to hear. Making things makes me feel in control and concentrating on things takes my stress away. Try baking for sanity. I may have to bring out a line of aprons, tea towels etc with Baking for Sanity written on them...or start a club. You all make stuff and then you eat it and then you feel better. Aaaaah.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wealth of History

There seem to be loads of excellent historical dramas and programmes on TV at the moment. Apart from the deservedly lauded 'Little Dorrit', a new one starts this evening on C4, 'The Devil's Whore' set in Civil War England. (Or The Devil's W***e as they put it very coyly on my HDD listing). I'm also really enjoying the High Society series on C4, the last programme 'Prince John', about George V's youngest son who suffered from epilepsy and learning difficulties, was really moving. Although I was gutted that we don't get 'Sharpe' in Scotland due to the curse of regional programming. Still it is on DVD soon.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Retro Cookbooks

Poking about in the castle's cafe (formerly Victorian Kitchen) the other day I found a stash of 1950s/60s paperback penguin cookbooks. I took some home to experiment with.......and am converted to the joy and simplicity of Elizabeth David. From Italian Cooking I made pasta shells with marscapone and walnuts (fantastic and easy) and peaches topped with macaroons. I used tinned peaches but it was still nice. Although I thought you'd get more peaches in a tin than that. The French Provincial Cooking looks good but all French cooking seems to involve wine and I can't get that from the supermarket on Sunday mornings due to licencing. I may have to find some of the other books too such as the immortal Cooking in a Bedsitter.........

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Straight Bananas

In a rare triumph of sense over bureaucracy, the EU law dictating the shapes of fruit and vegetables is to be repealed!
Does this remind anyone else of Yes Minister?
I always feel sorry for weird fruit and veg which are mostly only found in small grocers now, although I also get excited by unusual variants. On holiday you see millions of different coloured veg etc, I remember in St Louis the 'heirloom' tomatoes, which even came in purple! In fact, I've also had purple spuds.
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the odd veg in my supermarket, to supplement the already excellent small/variedly sized veg which are more interesting than the giant supermodelesque specimens sold more expensively.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Text adventures

Does anyone else fondly remember those gripping yet maddening computer games...the text adventure? Back in my youth before graphics were invented. In fact, you don't always need graphics, the simplicity of the games always sparked my imagination. There's a great one on this site...'The Mansion'.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Obama win

Now, this isn't really a political blog, but I just wanted to say what an amazing and historic day this is and to celebrate the arrival of Barack Obama as America's first black president. Not only that but a leader of what is popularly known as 'the free world'. Here's to Mr Obama's uplifting message of hope, inclusion and progress so needed right now. I was actually crying watching the news this morning.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Escape the Madness

Where do you go when you need to get away from it all and chill out?
We went to Johnston Gardens today and it was so lovely. It is a small valley with beautiful trees and plants, a pond with a Chinese bridge and a classical summerhouse. At the moment there are red leaved acers too and exotic Mandarin ducks.
Other favourite escapes include Duthie Park Winter Gardens (where we got married btw) Central Library, the Art Gallery (the upstairs historic art section is peaceful with comfy seats) and John Lewis, always an oasis of civilisation.