Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's all in the crack

Well, yet again it's been a while. Still trying to catch up with myself really, and to find the balance between work and home. It's pretty tough, as oh-so-many of you know.

I find that there is one sure-fire way to make things a little calmer, to bring a pause, a bubble of niceness, into the mania of the answering of emails, the printing and reviewing of documents, and the ridiculousness that is trying to book a room for an event.
Biscuits. And knitting (preferably munching on the former whilst steadily, soothingly, progressing with the latter).
Tonight I needed a little space of calm to curl up in, so well before bedtime I donned the old dressing gown, rolled up the sleeves and perused a cookbook. Ah, it felt like old times, and because of this I wanted an old fashioned recipe. A biscuit from my childhood. Gingernuts. As soon as I fell upon the recipe in the suitably 1970s "Delia Smith's Book of Cakes" I knew all other suggestions were going out the window and this biscuit just had to be it.

They've just passed the taste test of my harshest critic whose response was "it's a proper biscuit!" followed by "sometimes what you really want is just a biscuit." How true that man is.
I have a feeling these will be just the thing at work tomorrow, around eleven, with a cup of tea.

So, here I give you a recipe for a "proper" biscuit. Not a cookie. No, it's a biscuit, and a rather nice one at that. I would also like to dedicate this post to Siri, as a far too belated congratulations, and a huge thank you for the particular excellence of the postcards that have graced our flat recently. I have a whole backlog of things to post on the Mavens site (including wonderful and much needed warnings on tsunamis and bears - Molly, you crack me up),but frankly, nothing quite beats a Norwegian milk maid riding a pig, or a 1950s bikini-clad water skier. I have long drooled over some of Siri's ginger recipes, and so here,finally, is one of my own...

Gingernuts - adapted from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes

Makes 15 aprox.

4 oz self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 level tsp baking soda (on reflection I'd use 3/4 tsp, I feel one is a bit much)
1 1/2 oz muscovado sugar
2 oz cold butter, cubed
2 oz golden syrup

Preheat the over to 190C (375F) and line two baking trays with parchment.

Whisk together the flour, soda and ginger. Stir in the sugar (I would use a spatula, it'll come in handy later), and then rub in the butter until it is the texture of bread crumbs. Now add the syrup, and stir with the spatula until it begins to come together in a paste. You can then help work it together with your hands.

Form 15 equal balls of the mixture, and place them on the baking trays. Allow them a little space as they will spread. Press them down slightly to flatten them a little.

Bake for 15 mins, until the tops are cracked, and they are a dark golden colour. Cool, and enjoy with a nice strong cup of tea.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Tonight I have been mostly...

...mourning the loss of blog followers due to my lack of posting.

...enjoying new faces in the comment section.
...catching up with close friends.
...sewing together bits of fabric I had previously cut up.
...listening to John Coltrane.
...eating nutella with a spoon straight from the jar.
...pondering the future, and sheep called Eddie and Bill.
...remembering to do things because I love to, not because I have to.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Ups and downs

Well, it's been quite the time of it here. Bit of a baptism by fire in the new job, lots of hours, lots of things to take in and get to grips with, and lots of things doing battle in my head.

Oddly, I think the biggest thing I've struggled with this week was the fact that I miss being home so much it hurts, and yet I love my job. It's such a strange feeling. If I hated my job I could almost co
pe with the pining for domestic life, but in fact I don't want to give up my job, because it's great. Weird.
So this weekend I went a little bit mad! I'm just so desperate not to lose the hobbies and interests in the new mess of working life, so I crammed my weekend with all sorts of manic activities. I might have over-compensated a tad. Something I'm trying to learn, with lots of help from N, is that sometimes you just need some time off, and I shouldn't get too het up about time that isn't "productive" as rest is productive too.
And indulgence is definitely something that aids rest, and sometimes you need the simplest dessert to curl up with on the sofa on a Sunday evening, in your dressing gown, whilst watching recorded cookery shows.

The trick with this is to use the best cream you can, and the ripest berries. I add a sprinkling of granola to add a more autumnal feel.

Raspberry "fool" - Serves four (or two,
really generously!)

200ml double cream
200g raspberries, so ripe they're almost dripping (I just used two small punnets)


cinnamon/spice of your choice
Toasted oats/granola

In a medium bowl place a large pinch of caster sugar and one of whatever spice you prefer, I'm a cinnamon lover myself, but I think star anise would go well, or ginger for a hint of warmth. Add the cream and whip lightly. When it just starts holding it's shape stop whipping and add the raspberries, and smush them into the mix. Serve topped with a few berries and toasted oats/granola.

Eat immediately...
and relax...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

What would Hemingway do?

Most people don't have to know me long before realising that Mr Ernest Hemingway is a huge influence (ahem, obsession) in my life.

Yet perhaps only one person truly understands just how motivating it is, on a dark grey autumnal Monday morning, to drink my espresso from a Cafe de Flore cup, just as Mr H himself would have many mornings in Paris.

It's going to be a good week (and tonight I'm putting things in jars again so a recipe post is right around the corner)