Wednesday, 29 February 2012

In the past week I have been mostly...

...celebrating two new products on the shelves of the local deli...

...and using one of them to perfect a delicious new cake (recipe soon!)

...getting my teeth into a fabulous new book, remembering how much I enjoy academic(ish) reading, dashing into a shop to buy a pencil so I can underline bits whilst on the move, and hunting out more non-fiction to keep me going.
...and finally, (or rather firstly, as we did this on Saturday) eating here. Finally. A couple of months later than planned, but very much worth the wait. We're already planning the return visit. Oh Giorgio how I adore thee!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

In the name of research.

This weekend I went on a jaunt across to Oxford to see a good friend of mine. It was a weekend to sit back and relax, to catch up, and do some serious research into a certain Monsieur Raymond Blanc.
Having started watching his new serious A Very Hungry Frenchman, Lady K and I have been enjoying a barrage of amazing food, and a cacophany of "ooh la la"'s. It's been most wonderful, and gave us the perfect excuse to head straight to Maison Blanc for a post-breakfast pastry and coffee.

It didn't disappoint. We spent a long time deciding what to have, and eventually settled on sharing two pieces. We then went a little mad in the shop and came away with bread and pastries for the next day. I somehow managed to resist the preserves. I'm not quite sure how!
I've been pondering my future a lot at the moment. I'm know where I want to be (geographically), but am not entirely sure what I am going to end up doing when I get there. It's a long term plan, and there is no real cause for alarm, and yet I feel like I should be taking steps. I'm hoping some connections made this week will help.
So in the meantime I have turned to two comfort past times. Knitting and baking. A new jumper is off the needles and and old recipe improved on. Remember these? I've been mucking about with them again.
This time I added maple syrup and more butter. It works wonderfully. The real trick is to add about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to the melted butter, and then any of this mix you have left, add icing sugar and use it to then glaze them. Amazing!
It's sunny today, and feels rather like spring. It has been a rather mild winter here, as I think it has for many people. For some reason, this has meant I am even more desperate for the milder days and sunnier moments than I have been in previous years. I think because my body has been tricked into thinking that the mild winter means it's actually been a slightly rubbish spring all along. I want to get into the garden, stomp through the fields, and start things afresh.

Exciting things are afoot, I'm sure of it.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Snow day!

So the mythical snow finally arrived on Saturday evening. Whilst wandering about in town book shopping after the match we pondered stopping for a drink, perhaps even eating out. Then, while standing discussing whether we knew anywhere close by to stop for aforementioned beverage a few small white flakes settled on our shoulders and the decision was made: head to the station and home for wine and a curry.
What seemed like a few innocuous flakes in London Town, turned into a blizzard of white out in the depths of Surrey, and trudging up the hill to the house we were glad we made the decision we did. We've been caught out like that before! "oh, it's only a bit of snow, the trains will be fine" and suddenly six hours later you're staring at departure boards willing a train to appear.
So home it was, curry it was, and on went the fire.

The next morning we awoke to the telltale hush and magical light that snow brings, and opening the curtains revealed a lovely seven inches of white glittery fluff! One cat was totally unimpressed and tucked up on the sofa frowning, whilst the other dashed in and out of the cat flap to tell us how exciting it all was!
We too thought it was pretty exciting and armed with the knowledge that there was hot chocolate in the house, and this year even heating! We headed out to play.

Our lovely stomp in the snow was marred only by the discovered that there wasn't the beautiful view at the top of the hill! So back down it was for a brief sojourn to the pub for a pint of the local ale, and then home for hot chocolate and pyjamas. The perfect snow day.

I hope you had a good weekend too and the weather hasn't disrupted your Monday too much!

Back soon with some baked treats and (hopefully) knitting reveals!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Goodbye Jamuary, hello February Marmalade Awards!

Well, Jamuary is over. I'm not entirely sure where it went, possibly swept away by the cold winds that have finally arrived here in the South East.
My goodness it's chilly all of a sudden. All the more reason for me to be hovering over a boiling pan of marmalade cooking up some exciting goodies for the Marmalade Awards. I'll be entering this year with a selection of our exciting new flavours. I haven't entirely decided which are being sent off yet (I need to get my act together the entires close next week!), but there are lots of jars piled on the side filled with peel-studded goodness waiting to be chosen.
Which brings me to the winner of our last Jamuary giveaway. Congratulations to Meghanaf who was chosen by the random number generator, you were comment number three, so the tasters go to you! Please email your address to info (at) no98 (dot) co (dot) uk. and I'll make arrangements to get your set of tasters to you.
I think our quick jaunt to France to see the in-laws has gotten us in the holiday mood, no doubt helped by some serious winter weather finally arriving. As a result we've been dreaming of far away places this week and highly unlikely for us, are actually trying to get out act together and book a holiday. With that in mind I am smattering this post with some pictures from our trip last month, because that's exactly where my head is living!

Anyone else got the winter blues and already planning their sunny breaks?