This Christmas Decoration represents blog perfection. Just after midnight there should be a blog ready to be automatically dropped into inboxes around the world. I”m not saying it never happens but it is mostly an aspiration rather than an actuality.
72 days ago when the blog changed its title, while I was on a blogging course. The course leader suggested being a little kinder to myself and give myself more freedom to deliver blogs less often. While not, as yet, feeling the need to abandon whole days I do, on occasion cut myself a bit of slack and a later blog goes out.
Yesterday I thought laying about would give me time to be on time with the blog, in fact all I did really is be a bit unfocused.
Yesterday not much happened following a bout of food poisoning. Me and the Christmas tree were together a bit as I dozed between bouts of activity which is when I noticed the time on the Christmas decoration. In truth I was just a bit less of myself, low energy and a bit achy after my digestive tsunami.
24 hours of abstinence, apart from two bowls of rice crispies with oat milk, has created a fine dining monster in me but at low cost. The first cups of real tea were revelatory.
All the flavours of the Asia, blended in Yorkshire, dancing around my mouth like there was a post pandemic party going on. Who knew tea could taste quite so good!
The afore mentioned rice crispies embellished by oat milk were a comfort food, tweaked by my newly over sensitive taste buds they have become fine dining. Their vanilla notes enrobed in oaty richness.
Goodness knows what gustatory delights await me this morning. Toast perhaps masquerading as something far more significant. Today I will be more focussed.
Oh these silky waters were a fabulous swim on Friday morning. Miss Spearmint, the seal, was away swimming near the Hoe so there were no sudden departures,from the sea, required of swimmers to give her space. Today was a birthday swim so there was cake and conversations to follow once we were dressed. The richness of the aquatic wildlife in Plymouth Sound was one such conversation.I managed to find this picture of a specimen jar to illustrate the conversation in a festive way.
And then later in the day we found some more underwater creatures all gussied up ready for the festive season.
I wish this was the last thing I could discuss about wildlife but sadly a bout of food poisoning has wracked my body and mind. The physical aspects do not need to be elaborated on but the mental ones were quite daunting. I must stress that, beyond food, only tap water and tea was ingested all day. After my personal eruption and once I was well enough to return to my bed I was straight off to sleep only to be dumped into a hideous nightmare. Large birds that under normal circumstances adorn our wallpaper started to fly off the wall and wrap themselves wetly around my body. They were warm and wet, as if freshly dipped in hot wallpaper paste and alive but as flat as any wallpaper bird would be. Try as I might I could not stick them back on the wall in the right places. Waking up was the only way to save the situation. A lurid way to welcome the weekend. Of course this morning they are all perched calmly in the right places, catching the first of the morning light.
“Perhaps Juliet could illuminate us” was a phrase my English teacher would sometimes use when one of my essays had gone somewhere unexpected.
Lighting him up with a torch would almost certainly not gone down particularly well. In choosing, for myself, the loose working title ‘Illumination in the countdown to Christmas’ for the month before Christmas 2021, I fully expected to use both meanings of the word at various points. Yesterday, Storm Arwen, gave me illuminating photographs that did not at all illuminate what was going on around me.
Nothing in this picture articulates how much effort it took two women and two dogs to get to this point. Even a closer look at the sea gives no hint of the power of the wind.
A stop at our regular coffee shop was a battle against the invisible elements, and a moments foolishness of removing my coffee cup lid gave me a face full of the “flat’ that gives a Flat White its name. Yesterday was the start of another birthday surprise, a trip to Bude. Hugo and Lola were off to visit some friends for some overnight care.
There is absolute peace in this picture, but five minutes before we were unable to get to our friends house. We either had to leave our car at the top of the hill and walk the dogs down to them or tackle the tree which had blown down and blocked our path. The tree had a fragile beauty while laying, languidly broken, across the drive. No match, I thought, for one woman, so despite wearing some lovely clothes I jumped out of the car to move her gently to the side. Appearances can be deceptive and despite being slender and elegant she was going nowhere with one woman power. Two women in lovely clothes and two dogs in the managerial role, of hovering about but doing nothing very effectual,struggled to move the stricken tree. Ultimately we dragged her to one side, not particularly elegantly but effectively enough for us to deliver the dogs for their overnight stay.
The reason for our trip to Bude was an evening ‘Take Over’ by Chef Dan Murray at Temple Cafe.
This may have been the best bowl of mussels, clams and cockles I have ever eaten. I love seafood but it doesn’t always love me. This never deters me, the occasional night of gastric turbulence is a risk I am always prepared to take. When it happens it is the fault of my fastidious gut, not the responsibility of the establishment serving the seafood.
This mornings wake up followed a night of a very peaceful, happy, belly. This raises the bar for the little bowl of seafood. It was the best I have ever eaten.
We’ve just had a lovely weekend filled with friends and family. All the usual stuff happened but with extra family members. We dined in barns, farmyards, walled gardensl and out in the open and the food slipped effortlessly into our tummies as we talked, laughed and reminisced.
When Sunday evening comes with the inevitable farewells, the left-overs hide in the fridge waiting to catch out the casual grazer searching for a non essential snack.
A rare moment of culinary serendipity occured @theoldmortuary yesterday evening. A recipe in the Saturday Guardian exactly corresponded with our selection of left-overs.
Sunday night supper was amazing and finished off a lovely weekend perfectly.
It’s been quite a red and white weekend in England. There was a significant football match brewing. Sadly the result didn’t go the way England would have wanted and we are not Champions of Europe in Football. On the other hand strawberries and cream nourished and consoled us through penalties and ultimate disappointment. A different red and white army, an English summer served in a bowl. Reliably successful every time.
Yesterdays ‘bob’ was a little different. A nearly 10 mile walk, enlivened by lemon cake and tea in the clifftop village of Mortehoe before we descended to Barricane beach for a dip.
Fresh Foxgloves and lots of mud was the reward of walking after a day of heavy rain.
After serious refreshment in the village of Mortehoe, made prosperous by farming, smuggling/wrecking and tourism we descended down to the coast. Farming and smuggling created beautiful architecture, tourism less so. But what humans can make ugly nature can improve, and the views on the way down were spectacular.
Nature and cultivation pulled out the stops too.
Barricane Beach, a small rocky cove was hugely enhanced by sunshine and the fragrance of curry being prepared. Sri Lankan Curries are the evening speciality of this amazing location, prepared by the Barricane Beach Cafe. Please go to their website below for photographs of the actual beach . I managed not to take a single picture!
An hour or so of resting in the sun, was followed by some wonderful swimming/ bobbing as the tide came in and a first time ever experience of freshly served curry to warm us up as soon as we emerged from the waves.
This popped into my in box this morning. At the time I was thinking of one of the small things I appreciate and have been denied again because of Covid restictions. Eid sweets, tiny morsels of sweet tastiness.
Eid al-Fitr was called last night and with Covid restrictions still in place the special foods of celebration will not be shared as widely as they should. There will still be the wonderful smells of home cooking wafting from the kitchens for the restricted gatherings to celebrate the ending of Ramadan. Eid sweets are one of the small things I have learned to appreciate over the years, colleagues bringing them into work or finding them on the counter or reception of Muslim run businesses.
Will Eid sweets shared to the public ever reappear in normal life , in just the same way that bar snacks are unlikely to make their way back anytime soon.
This blog is not going the way I planned. But it can start with Brunch which is not a bad way to start the week.
Brunch featured egg islands. Fried bread with a fried egg served in a hole in the middle of a slice of bread and the remaining circle of bread also served fried, to dip in the egg. Fried bread for both of us is something our Dads did well.
Both our fathers also loved blood oranges which was the planned route this blog was going. We could have pondered on over tea and cake about our fathers and their domestic skills. My domestic skills, however blew a hole in that comforting scenario.
So successful was the whole orange cake I made last week, I planned to make another one today using blood oranges for extra flavour. The boiled oranges were good subjects for photography.
The ripe red orange colours of the days cooking stop right here.
There was an error in the making of the cake. Instead of adding Baking Powder I used Baking Soda ( Bicarbonate of Soda) Any other cake would have just looked beautiful but tasted nasty with this error. An Orange cake containing three whole oranges was a completely diiferent matter. Bicarbonate of Soda reacts crazily when combined with acid. The acid of three oranges combined with Baking Soda was a thing not dissimilar to an erupting volcano. Not realising the extreme cause of the problem I trimmed off the extra crust and binned the volcanic run off caused by effluvial action and had something resembling a cake, passable only to a desperate woman who wanted to serve gorgeous slices of cake to prove the afternoons efforts were not in vain. Eating the slice was worse than looking at it. Bitter and cloying are not words that are ever said between mouthfuls of comestible pleasure.
There is no sumptuously moist photo of domestic triumph to neatly end this blog. Instead all I can offer is some flowers that match rather well with the now extinct, in this house, Blood Orange Cake. The flowers are anonymous, I found them in a supermarket.