New Year, New Decade?**

We have just returned home from the annual “Trip around the UK” which is Christmas/New Year. Much to blog, much to do – glad to have the weekend back at home before back to work on Monday.

A few loose resolutions have been made – one of which is to blog more, and to Facebook less. Another is to watch less TV – I’ve developed interests in a couple of new hobbies for the next year which will hopefully enable me to be more creative in 2010 than in recent years past, which the Husband finds quite amusing/endearing. All good.

Let’s see how much I get blogged up over the next couple of days. I’ve also half a mind to use the 2010 Lectionary as a basis for Bible reading this year, but this may be a little overambitious given my usual patchy discipline. This may prove to be a better option.

** The Husband insists that 2010 is the last year of the ‘Noughties’ (not that he uses that term) and 2011 signals the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. Radio 4 disagrees…

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Paper Anniversary weekend

We started Saturday with a nice bacon sandwich and then off to pick up J and C (the Vicar’s children) to take them to the Zoo. The first time we tried this we got caught in traffic and didn’t make it in time, so took them instead to the Natural History Museum (giving rise to the catchphrase “we’re going to see the DINO-SAWRES” repeated ad infinitum thereafter).
We then rearranged for last weekend, but ended up going to North Shields instead to visit family at short notice.
So, third time lucky (not that I believe in luck, of course) – off to London Zoo we went. The last time I went was about 7 or 8 years ago, when I was still living in North London. It looked much better this time (I remember the tigers looking very sad then, and elephants looking unhappy) and was a lot of fun (if a little tiring).
Back to the East End, stopping off at McDonalds where we bumped into the ever-wonderful Dorothy (from church) who also knows the kids well, and we had a good old chat.
We dropped the kids off and after a chat, headed back to the flat via B+Q to buy a sink plunger and other assorted plumbing instruments to tackle the standing water in the bathroom sink. By the time we’d finished trying to sort that out (The Husband was successful later that evening – clever boy!) we decided to ditch dinner out (and have Chinese takeaway instead) and head straight to the theatre to see Joseph + TATD which was quite entertaining (although I didn’t think Gareth Gates was particularly good – too much of a pop singer, not enough of a West End voice). The cast must have a phenomenal amount of energy!
Back home on the train (amused by overhearing a conversation about tracing family trees – “he was Jewish!, no he was Asian!”), getting off in Blackheath, due to a lineside fire near home, we ended up getting a bus back most of the way, and then wandering back home on foot when the bus took an unexpected turn.

"Chef has made French cakes"

… and they were marvellous indeed. We’d organised the usual pastries / biscuits to go with the workshop I was running this afternoon, and then facilities said “Chef has made French cakes”. They were quite delicious. I think that they were petits fours. In any case – they’ve just gone onto my ‘would like to make list’.

However, not this evening. This evening is prep for Hocus Pocus, tidying the flat and making ginger cake.

Just over a month to go until the trip to the States. Beginning to get excited.

And… I’m back

Thanks to a handy hint from my sister-in-law… whose musings on food, incidentally are available at http://www.teaflavouredgourmet.blogspot.com … (and mighty fine they are too)… I’m back here, having worked out how to access this blog with my new email address.

Posts which were made over at http://www.tea-and-ribena.blogspot.com as follows:

Kedgeree

Firstly, kedgeree. This is really T’s mother’s recipe, but I won’t remember it unless I write it down, and I’m likely to lose the piece of paper (the study is not sorted since T and I married some six weeks ago. But we do have two goldfish – so hey!).
Cook ½ pint Basmati rice as follows – rinse in several changes of cool water, then drain in a sieve. Melt a knob of butter in a heavy-based saucepan and turn the rice around in it for a couple of minutes.
When the rice is well coated, add ¾ teas salt and ¾ pint water. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a very low simmer for 20 mins, without removing the lid. Then it is ready to serve. You can turn the heat off and leave it in the pan for a little while if you are not quite ready for it.
Meanwhile, put about 350 g smoked white fish in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 mins, until the fish is just tender all the way through.
Remove fish to a plate. Skin and bone the fish and flake roughly.
Hard boil 3 eggs. Cool quickly and then peel.
Cut 2 eggs into quarters lengthways and chop the remaining egg.
Chop 1 medium onion and fry in a little butter and oil.
Add 2 heaped teas curry paste (I usually mix 2 different sorts of paste, perhaps 1 teas of ‘Garam Masala’ and 1 teas ‘Rogan Josh’ or ‘Madras’) to the onion.
Add a heaped teas flour, mix in and cook for a minute.
Then gradually add some milk, until you have a sauce that is the texture of double cream.
Add the flaked fish and the chopped egg.
Serve on top of the rice and decorate with the quartered eggs.

Family life

As you are short when one is young and the older you get the taller & bigger you get… (quoth my brother, aged 4) Drain (our brother-in-law, 6’4″) must be very old….

Travel

After a mammoth drive (ending in rescue by the in-laws after the Land of Nod beckoned just a little too strongly somewhere after Donnington), T and I spent a lovely weekend away with his parents’ church. The venue: The Jonas Centre in North Yorkshire. Beautiful area, nice cosy cabins, and a caravan pitch for those who bring their accommodation with them. T’s sister S came down on Sunday afternoon, and we had a nice time catching up as a family, culminating in a bit of store cupboard magic, where T and S (predominantly S, he tells me) created what we shall henceforth call: S’s Store-cupboard Smoked Sausage Surprise Spectacular…. described as best I can below: * Fry off smoked sausage (Mattesons?) with butter and olive oil (slice the sausage). * Dip Camembert in egg and breadcrumbs, and fry off. * Boil asparagus * Combine on a plate. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

Flapjacks

4oz brown sugar 6oz butter 6oz porridge oats 1 dessertspoon of golden syrup. 150C for 40 minutes.

Winston and Laurie

Last day of ‘honeymoon-at-home’ today. The IKEA furniture is almost assembled. The flat is still quite untidy but we’re getting there. We decided to venture out to the cinema and chose ‘Fool’s Gold’ which was actually quite good (given the lead was Matthew McConaughey, it could have just been irritating) – well written, nice digs at popular culture – but featuring Ray Winstone with an awful American (we assume) accent.
Given that the subject of the film was treasure hunting in the Bahamas (and around)- it seems reasonable that Ray Winston couldn’t just be Ray Winstone (which was basically what he had been hired for, in much the same way as Al Pacino ‘does’ Al Pacino in every film etc.) – but the accent was quite distracting.
However, from Winston to Laurie – home to watch a few episodes of House (featuring a very good US accent from Hugh Laurie)while continuing to sort out the living room.

There are three ‘k’s in Habakkuk!

At home with the lurgy at the moment. Felt better this morning when I woke than yesterday, so hope that the tide is turning. Usually when I’m ill, I’m still fit to do minor household admin tasks – not so with this virus.
Generally feel OK if I am lying down. However, this morning’s improvement has meant that I have decided to try a bit of pootling about on t’internet to sort stuff for the wedding. This includes putting the Order of Service together …. which meant that when I was searching on Biblegateway.com for Habbakuk 3 …. I wasn’t finding anything. Anyhow – a more challenging target has come to light: being able to say my vows without sobbing after every other word. Really don’t want to be a crying bride. Not good. Even if you go down the route of dyeing your eyelashes rather than using mascara….
Ho hum! 46 days to go….

Long time, no blog

This planning-a-wedding malarkey does take up quite a lot of time. Anyhow – time for a quick recap of the weekend, and then I will backfill some of the weeks gone by (for the record).

This weekend:

Saturday – up early, but still overslept, tidying the flat for the two viewings which were booked in (no offers, sadly), and off to France to buy wine for the wedding. Very impressed – we left at 8.15am or thereabouts, were down at Folkestone at 9.25am, and crossed at 10.50am. Cite Europe is right next to the Tunnel, so didn’t have to go too far (good, as I’m not that good at driving on the right). Moules frites for lunch (my French is far too rusty) and then to Tesco Vin Plus (where I had checked via email that we could take advantage of the feb – sept 10% for wedding purchases even though the offer doesn’t officially start until 7 feb). Two shopping trolleys full of wine, cava and champagne, and a quick phone call to the bank (to confirm that my card hadn’t in fact been stolen) later, and we were heading back to London. We arrived almost 2 hours before our crossing time but were able to cross immediately, as they brought our booking forward.
A swift crossing meant that we were back for just gone 4.30 (in time to watch the rugby). Perhaps not such a good thing after all…. Lesley (Vainokolo) was great … as were Wales (oh dear, oh dear, oh dear).
Dad and TractorBoy arrived at about 8.30pm, having been on (as TB put it) a-train-and-a-bus-and-a-train-and-an-underground-train-and-a train – very excitable. Chinese, persuasion of TB that sleeping in a sleeping bag might be quite fun, and to bed. Dad didn’t get too much sleep as he was sharing a room with TB. He gave up at about 6am and got up to read his book. TB was sedated with a Tractor Tom DVD (well done T!) and then we had proper breakfast (well done T again). Off to church, Dad having noticed that my headlight bulb had blown, and parking noted that my tyre was going flat. TB off to Sunday school during church (what did you learn about, TB? ‘Don’t know’ – at least his answer is consistent with his answer about school) and a quick look at St. Andrews for purposes of reception planning afterwards, and then Dad changed my tyre, we drove to Halfords to get a new bulb and then set off for Paddington.
We left Stepney at 13.23, and were anticipating a 22min drive to Paddington. That was before the burst water main at Edgware Road. Suffice to say that it was just gone 4 before I got back home. Then had a quick bite to eat, packed three days worth of clothes into my shoulder bag (most impressed) and off to the station to head off to Birmingham for work. 9pm – arrive at hotel. Big bed. Great.