Between Easter cakes and birthday cake (about three weeks) I intend to lose 5 pounds and be comfortable in my clothes again!
My sister bought me this pretty plate. It says Have your cake and eat it!
If only we could..
Well, comfort food to be precise. Bitterly cold outside with minute flakes of snow in the air, I took a notion to make pancakes...two days in a row.
Crispy and wafer thin, drenched in lemon juice and caster sugar, with a few slices of banana. Yum.
Made in minutes with 50g plain flour, one egg, 150ml milk and a good glug of olive oil whizzed together.
Raise your hand if you have not put on weight during this pandemic.
..eat them outside I wrote on my Making It Through November list.(nearly there!).
Well after yesterday's eating outside experience I am waiting for a brighter day. A freind and I had coffee and cake in the greenhouse. It was freezing!
for something you really want to do is the eighth item on my making it through list. If you are one of the millions who are still working hard to keep our countries functioning this is especially important for you! And harder I expect.
I have more time than I have had for years, but the things I really want to do that don't involve friends and family, I have rather lost sight of...
There are lots of things I ought to do, and am doing - putting my house in order is feeling good as I get many neglected jobs done. But I am finding it hard to think of what I really want to do. I want to overcome the mental and physical lethargy that threatens all the time, and my list is helping with that.
I have been wanting to finish my Desert Island Discs selection for a while, so maybe I should do that so that if I suddenly get famous and they invite me onto the programme I will be ready. :-)
What do you want to make time for?
Time for a snack, and pears are at their juicy best.
Or sweet clementines from Spain? Tree ripened and hand picked, in a wooden basket.
Cakes and memories;
Though not quite in the Proustian manner I have been remembering cakes past...
Home made cakes to die for at Open Garden days in English villages, pasteis de Belem near Lisbon. rasberry torte in Berlin (Scottish respberries!), Mary's Pavlova at the Christmas Tree parties, ricotta lemon cheesecake from the Co-op in Venice (on the cheese counter - I didn;t realise I was buying cake!), sticky baklava in Cyprus, warm fondant fancies from Betty's on a very hot day at the races in York.
We all have our favourites and our special cake memories. I still have some coffee and walnut cake in the freezer which I made for the visitors I hoped could come. I did share some with a friend who came on a rainy day so we ate it sitting in the greenhouse.
Today I made marble cake which also freezes well.
I've had a lovely cake day and it's taken my mind off you-know-what! Thinking of our American blog friends.
Did you make a cake?
Would love to know your special cake memories.
Don't miss Gwendoline's chocolate cake recipe in the commentson this post.
Some do it every day, three times a day for decades. It's quite a feat of creativity really, especially if you have a big family. but it's also quite a privilege and those of us who can do this are the lucky ones.
My local supermarket have made-up bags of food which you can purchase along with your shopping for the local Food Bank - a simple way to help put food on someone else's table.
I love to set a beautiful table. It adds to the pleasure.
A candle, a flower and a napkin does it for me.
I left the fallen petals from a vase of alstroemeria for a few days because I liked the pattern..
Do you have favourite tableware and rituals around meals?
..on a domestic theme.
Inspired by this little book I made Melting Moments (recipe in this post) with added ground almonds and almond essence.
I rolled them in ground almonds and added an almond atop each,
I haven't baked so much for years.
..and some good news! See here
It's taken a while. I first heard of it when I was doing a landscape design course at the university there in 1992 (my first visit to Venice) and we were shown the plans and models for the prototype gate.
It's wonderful news for Venice and everyone who loves La Serenissima! You can read more about it on Erla Zwingle's blog I Am Not Making This Up.
If you would like to celebrate with a glass of something and a little biscuit - here is the recipe for Melting Moments. (Measurements are imperial as it was a recipe from my Mum.)
1oz lard (makes for extra crispness)
6oz self raising flour
few drops vanilla essence
rolled oats or dessicated coconut
Cream fats and suga.r
Add flour then beaten egg.
With damp hands roll into small balls, add glace cherries and bake at 180 for10 - 15 minutes.
Stocking up the freezer for future visitors (on a kind of 'build it and they will come' principle - optimist that I am) I have added these little buttery crispy biscuits. Sometimes I add ground almonds to the recipe, sometimes I roll them in coconut instead of oats. They freeze really well and thaw quickly which can be very useful when you live a long way from the shops.
..not Tiffany's but at The Boat House.
Super organised and super friendly, it was a real treat to have someone else cook!
You can see from the angle of the sign on the bike how strong the wind was!
On the tidying front I was thinking how boring this task was but when we had a power cut last night I felt, if not a spark of joy, at least a pulse of pleasure that I could lay hands immediately on a torch that works and candles and matches....
I am experimenting with the Keto diet and autophagy to see if it improves my eye condition. I have AMD (age related macular degeneration).
I now call it AMR - age related macular regeneration as that is what I am interested in and I do think that regenerative medicine will be the medicine of the future.
Autophagy is the the body's self cleansing mechanism, and it appears to be activated by a combination of the Keto diet and intermittent fasting.
All healthy stuff, and weight loss and great energy appear to be a bonus (I have been doing this for just 3 - 4 weeks). It is fascinating.
Good starting points for research I have found are academic research papers, Drs Jason Fung and Michael Mosley on YouTube, and the work of Nobel prizewinner for autophagy, Dr Yoshinori Ohsumi.
am writing this at sunrise and another lovely day is forecast..
Though maybe not helping out because I am just meaning in the greenhouse!
A keto meal - baked salmon in butter and lemon, steamed broccoli served with butter and toasted almonds, and thick creamy yoghurt. Dill both n the plate and in the vase. Yum.
(I should explain that here in uk the government has introduced a scheme of subsidies on the cost of a meal out to help the industry to recover. Their slogan is Eat Out To Help Out.)
Do you have a favourite tray? Why not set it with your best dishes and a pretty flower and send a photo of it to a friend with an invitation to join you ? Ideally in person but even if it's WhatsApp or Zoom, or Facetime..
I just did and she said yes! Not face to face this time, but soon....
Making a Beeline - an interesting wildflower/wildlife article today.
Ready to grab a mug of instant the other day, I stopped myself and decided to make real coffee. As soon as I had made that decision I slowed down. I knew it would take a little more time and I realised how nice that was. That small ritual...
I took it out to the greenhouse.
I've had lots of meals and drinks out there and of course it's where I celebrated Midsummer (see here).
It made me think of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, British Elevenses, English Afternoon Tea, Swedish Fika....
..for water and for knowledge!
I drink a lot more water if I make up a jugful with a little lemon, cucumber and a splash of tonic and keep it sitting out.
So far I am enjoying reading Michael Singer's The Untethered Soul, The journey Beyond Yourself. (I'm almost half way through.)
Inner strength? Spiritual growth? Maybe a good use of this strange time. I would like to think I can come out of it stronger.
Yes, same title as yesterday, but yesterday I meant it literally.
Today with an announcement that easing of the lockdown may be imminent here in Scotland, I mean it in the sense that things may be getting better! It can't come soon enough. The strain is beginning to tell.
Normally pretty disciplined about what I eat, I binged yesterday on treats and fell into a 'sugar -sleep' on the sofa in the afternoon. It's all too easy to start thinking What does it matter?
What does it matter if I write a blog post tonight or leave it till tomorrow? What does it matter if I wash my hair today, if I put off changing the bed for one more day, if I don't bother cooking tonight....If I skip the death tally today.
Perhaps what matters for me right now is to find sweet things to do for myself that don't involve sugar!
Pick little posies of lily of the valley to put beside the bed
and in the bathroom. Check.
Light a candle. Check.
Have a daytime bath. Check.
Send a loving message to someone else who is alone. Check.
Wear something different. Check.
Trivial perhaps, but also quite important. As so often it's the little things that make a difference and help us maintain our equilibrium.
What matters to you right now?
A change in the weather has brought me in from the garden - the good weather and the garden have kept me going for weeks - so although I'll continue my survey of the garden design I'll also take a fresh look at my sheltering space... home.
Blackbird and heron
Clematis 'Freda' needs her fringe cut..
Talking of which have you been cutting your own hair? I've always had a bit of a go at my fringe between haircuts, but I have just given myself a full cut! My hairdresser, who is very meticulous, will have her work cut out when she eventually gives me another cut - one of my first wishes after lockdown.
My first day of juicing was great and I am not the least bit humgry.
If you are interested in the topic you might like this documentary..
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)