Gastronomy Economy

Cooking in this house has been a bit routine and dreary of late. I haven’t had any desire to write about anything for awhile hence the relative inactivity on this blog. I have been a bit depressed too due to “events” which admittedly did have the strange effect of making me feel that I needed to buy a cookbook (Falling Cloudberries:Tessa Kiros, in case you were wondering – I didn’t as I can’t justify even spending £1 at the moment let alone £10 (on offer)).

The slugs eating my basil followed by a solicitors letter killed my desire the other week to make cake. I have to make something this weekend as its Teenager’s birthday, and we have friends visiting in the evening and I have promised there will be leftover cake. My current plan is one culled from Caribbean Food:Levi Roots which from reading the recipe appears to a combination of Nigel’s double ginger cake combined with the icing from Nigella’s ginger cake but using lime instead of lemon – now this really did get my taste buds waking up.

The other thing that has pricked my culinary interest is that Allegra McEvedy (ex Leon) and Paul Merret (his book about his allotment and cooking from it is currently on my bedside table – I got it for my birthday, it is a slow read for me, his literary style is not doing it for me) have a series coming out next Wednesday called Gastronomy Economy, there is also, surprise surprise a cookbook... if it stops raining I may do a car boot sale and treat myself with the proceeds.

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What would Dorothy do ?

I am a believer that people are ultimately good. That if you are nice to people generally, then people will be nice to you and the world will treat you well. This is a perhaps a surprising attitude for a lawyer to have, because lets face it, people only come to lawyers when things have gone wrong, we see the bad situations, the problems, the holes that clients need help digging themselves out of.

Well life has been full of ups and downs this week, mostly downs. Last Friday not only did I discover that the Slugs had eaten my basil, but that the wicked witch of the west was suing us for £6k under the laws of trespass and my husbands car is on its last legs which means we need to sort a replacement out by the last week of august at the latest (we have no money so that will be a challenge).

It is amazing how reassured I felt on receiving a parcel earlier this week, reassured that I am right and that the being nice to people is worthwhile. No, this wasn’t another Random Act of Kindness but a prize from the nice people at the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester for Spider – apparently he was a winner in their spot the dinosaur competition – we had completely forgotten he’d entered it until the prize arrived (spot dinosaurs in shop windows – name them and then finish off the sentence “I like dinosaurs because” – to which he’d replied “you mean there are people who don’t like dinosaurs”). Anyway, seeing his happy face made me feel that perhaps I should write a more conciliatory letter to my neighbour’s solicitors.

What did Dorothy do? She ran away, she tapped her ruby slippers together and went home – well no, she didn’t run away, she didn’t leave until she had killed the witch and freed the Munchkins from tyranny. But throwing a bucket of water over my neighbour is not going to have any effect except to make a bad situation worse. So I am going to be nice….I’m going to be nice and reasonable and point out that we will still have to live next to each other and that aggressive legal action is not going to solve anything. Of course she may simply be one of these people who is bringing an action on point of principle, one of those “I know my rights” people (in my experience they are usually wrong and have misinterpreted the law beyond sensible recognition) – in which case I’ll have no choice but to fight my corner and mention the fact by way of counterclaim that she is obstructing a right of way and breaching the covenants in her deeds.

Does she actually have a case? I have no idea her solicitors managed to “forget” to include the evidence on which she is relying to prove that we have built on her land.

Do slugs eat basil ?

 I have a need for cake. I haven’t had this for awhile, I haven’t felt the overwhelming urge to make cake for weeks and I’m putting it down to the fact the weather is truly abysmal and there are far too many grey skies up in the sky.

I want a sunshine cake – something that shouts Mediterranean sunshine at me, of food from hot countries…it might be tropical…its definitely citrus based…lemons, maybe oranges…I can definitely see olive oil in this cake and rather bizarrely basil (maybe I’m actually thinking of a pasta dish !)

Maybe its just I’m thinking about what I know I have in the house at the moment – and basil is one of the few things I have grown this year – not sure how its doing in the garden at the moment. Do slugs eat basil? They eat everything else !

Where the Wild Things Are

Rumour has it that they are about to release a film/cartoon based on this story. You have no idea how excited I am about this book, it is one of my most favourite books ever. How much do I love this book ? Well I went out and bought a copy before Spider was 6 months old.

I know it so well I can quote it in my sleep “The night, Max wore his Wolf Suit and made mischief…of one kind…or another !

Happy Happy Happy.

Spag Bol

I made Spaghetti Bolognaise on Friday night, it’s the same recipe I’ve used for years (but these days without the mushrooms) I learned it from my Mum, probably one of the first more complicated things I made – the best bolognaise I ever tasted is the one from Kitchen Diaries:Nigel Slater but I wasn’t in the mood for following a recipe, I just wanted something comforting and routine.

I made it partly to make amends and partly to calm me down and get my head straight as I’d just thrown my toys out the pram. I behaved appallingly but I am not apologetic for it, sometimes I think it needs to be done. I don’t make a fuss as a rule and sometimes when you don’t make a fuss you can get overlooked.

Things had kinda come to a head on Friday evening. I was finally getting fed up of the neighbours treating our garden as a thoroughfare because we had no fences up, I’d shouted at one of the neighbours visiting children the previous day because he’d ignored me when I’d told him not to go in our garden to get his ball, and that he should be asking me if I could get it for him – can’t remember what I said aside from emphasising that the garden was dangerous.

Anyway I insisted to the family that this weekend that we were sorting out the backgarden. Not sure how the Student got involved as we hadn’t actually asked him to help out but he started getting arsey about the fact I wanted to do it this weekend and how it was messing up his arrangements as he had to be in Rugby tomorrow to “see his boss about holiday work” and then he phoned someone and started slagging us off on the phone whilst we were in earshot about how the “people here keep changing their plans, and the plans are changing by the minute etc etc”. So I sort of told him that as far as I was concerned he could go home now, this minute, that I didn’t want him here and that his “attitude stank” and I’d rather a willing volunteer than someone who felt pressganged.

I suspect that Student thinks his Stepmother has an irrational hatred of him, no I have a very rational dislike, based on the fact that he is an arrogant knowitall who hasn’t the human social skills to realise that talking about someone in front of them, implying that they were too stupid to plan ahead might perhaps annoy them a little ! A dislike which is intensified by the fact that the very thing he is accusing us of is one of his biggest character flaws – he doesn’t think ahead and he expects us to change our plans to fit in with him – well sorry Student, but you are 20 now, you are an adult, start using your brain, start planning and start realising that other people (parents and such like) have lives too !

Poor Husband I think is feeling a bit bruised as he probably had to put up with Student sounding off in the car as he was taken back to Rugby…and was then probably worring that I’d give him an earbashing when he got home – nope, just Spag Bol !

The Spag Bol made an appearance the next day too, mixed with veg and hidden under mashed potato as a cottage pie.

I’ve also tried to make amends concerning the current state of the house – its tidier than it has been for weeks – well since I went on strike following the mess the house got in when Husband and Student came back from Le Mans – and ruined the hard work I’d put in to finding a place for everything in the 6 days they were both out of the house.

Tomorrow I may even clean the goldfish out…