kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
I mentioned the other week that my worst failure mode with respect to food waste is doing a big batch cook and then completely failing to have the executive function to put it in the fridge or freezer. I have also been thinking a lot about the One Third Of Food Is Wasted factoid, guiltily, every time I bin some food. Which isn't actually a healthy approach to take (especially as, on extremely cursory further reading, that's one third of food is lost or wasted, of which ~40% of losses happen at the retail and consumer levels).

So, okay, sitting down to write this post has already been useful in that it's calmed me the fuck down about how much consumer-level food waste even happens, but nevertheless I'm gonna talk a bit more about Things I Do At Home.

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kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
right, so, that pasta dough I was having a panic about the other day?

I'd intended to make 500g-of-flour's worth of pasta. I... ended up using the full kilo bag. (Next time I might try actually weighing the spinach, but also, I grew the spinach for the green pasta, I am very proud.)

Thus far I have made: ravioli for three on Sunday, tagiatelle for two plus... a lot... to dry... yesterday, and ravioli for two today. Along with 48 ravioli in the freezer to be future food, and... just over a quarter... of the dough... still left...

... along with some of the roast garlic/butternut squash/ricotta filling...

So tomorrow's food-job is to Finish Up Making The Damn Pasta

-- STOP PRESS THERE'S A NEW ERIN MORGENSTERN BOOK OUT IN NOVEMBER --

... probably some of which will be for dinner but most of which... will go into the freezer to be Yet More Future Food, hopefully thereby mostly finishing up the filling. (If not, that too can go in the freezer.) (If I do finish the filling and still have any dough left over then I... suppose... I make... lasagne...?)

I have tidied the kitchen... some. I had hoped to Finish The Pasta today so that the entire worksurface that is currently given over to the Pasta Production Line could be Emphatically Reclaimed but Alas I am Not There Yet and apparently I should go to sleep instead of just... pasta... forever.

(This is not the most exciting thing that happened today, honestly, but it's the easiest to write about, and comes with an accompaniment of "and yet SOMEHOW I have spent the past several days wretchedly anxious about how I am clearly An Indifferent Cook At Best and everyone is just humouring me", so, there you go, there is a vignette about my life that honestly probably gives you a better flavour -- see what I did there -- than the actual Events.)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Some of you have specifically mentioned being interested in seeing other people's responses to this week's [community profile] thefridayfive, and I'm sitting around nervously watching the mass spec run without the concentration to do anything more useful, so here you go.

Content note: this week's theme is grocery shopping and meal planning. My answers therefore involve mention of sensory issues with food, dietary restrictions, and disordered eating.

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Of course, what these questions don't touch on is HAVE I MENTIONED I HAVE AN ALLOTMENT. :D I make choices about what to grow (and where) for convenience; for example, I don't like buying cut herbs because (i) I feel vaguely guilty and (ii) they're never the right quantities, but I do like fresh herbs, so in pots on the verandah I've got mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, and bay. I'm on the verge of buying seeds for two kinds of basil; an honourable mention to the ancestral wild garlic, that springeth green. I also had tomatoes on the patio (... I still haven't decided what to call it; "decking" seems awfully USois, somehow, and isn't quite in my active vocabulary) this summer, which was convenient and enjoyable enough that I'm likely to do it again. (I might also try cucumbers on the patio, depending on how the weather goes and whether I actually buy a greenhouse.)

At the allotment I'm prioritising things it's ridiculously expensive to buy (poppy seed! caraway seed! hopefully, if I get my act together, asparagus! bay leaves! soft fruit! hopefully some saffron, thanks to [personal profile] ewt!), things that come in entirely the wrong amounts always and are awkward to store (spinach!), things I always wince over the cost of and can rarely be persuaded to indulge myself on (fennel! purple sprouting broccoli! pak choi! shallots! interesting salad leaves! hopefully passionfruit!), things that are Brightly Coloured (this season I'm going to be experimenting with Painted Mountain sweetcorn, rainbow quinoa and purple chillis, among others), things it's otherwise tricksy to find (root parsley! :D), and things that are Just Better when they're really ludicrously fresh (hiiiii peas). I'd already been trying to eat seasonally; I'm looking forward to spending more time paying attention to plants, and trying to remind myself that I'm not going to be starting everything off hideously too late even if I am only getting back from Belfast at the end of February.

This is of course my first year with the allotment so I don't... entirely have a sense of how my shopping patterns will actually be affected, but I Am Excited To Find Out: I've already been enjoying working with the rhubarb and beetroot neighbours have desperately fobbed off on me, and with the things I've managed to get going already. So, you know, if compatible with your diet, should you visit me over the summer there's a very high chance that you'll be fed Things What I Grew (That Aren't The Sourdough), and should I visit you you might get brought A Tribute...
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Food: gosh but the sourdough was Excitable about having milk sugars to eat. Very tall, very soft, very close crumb, much less chewy than the water-based ones I've been making; also rather sweeter and rather less tangy. Definitely an interesting variation and I'm definitely going to use up the rest of the flagon of milk tomorrow to make another loaf.

Politics: I keep thinking to myself with grim hilarity that, hey, if this is actually about parliamentary sovereignty, well, the EU has never been found to be in contempt of Parliament, which means it's doing rather better than other party in these negotiations.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  1. Waking up to (mostly) clear streets, against a backdrop of snow on the hills.
  2. I have in the fridge my first ever tub of The Collective Dairy's passionfruit yoghurt. It... is my new favourite? It is very much my new favourite. (I was forever into the limited-edition raspberry trifle which is, alas, no more; the plum and honey is also Good; but I think passionfruit is My New Fave.)
  3. The ritual of sourdough continues soothing.
  4. Today I finally had a proper poke around the Professional Caterers' Shop in the centre of Belfast and successfully didn't buy anything, though honestly this was mostly because they only sell cheesecloth in 10m rolls and I thought A would be... Unimpressed... if he came home to find one.
  5. To my minor astonishment, I have actually managed to string words together today in the context of the PhD! More words than I have managed for the past week! It is a relief, and also things continue slotting into place.
  6. A & I have been having a bunch of Conversations that on the one hand have been hard work, in terms of leaky feelings and vulnerability, and on the other feel immensely productive and positive and affirming.
  7. Nice clothes today: the mostly-cotton definitely-peacock-blue V-neck sweater and the black-blue-purple-white striped herringbone shirt, both from a charity shop (and specifically the BHF). They're both new-to-me enough that I'm Wearing Them A Lot and being delighted.
  8. I have been playing... a lot... of Dominion Online, mostly against the bot but sometimes against friends, and (1) enjoying it (!) and (2) getting to try out a bunch of ridiculous okay-but-what-if-I-don't-buy-any-money decks (to go with the okay-but-what-if-I-do-endless-gardening ones).
  9. Problematic Aunt got me cheese for the new year, from the Snowdonia Cheese Company; the Little Black Bomber is always a win, but I hadn't had their vintage Red Leicester before and it is good.
  10. I am struggling somewhat with uncertainty around illness, but: I'm being kind to myself, and letting myself rest, and doing a bunch of self-soothing and self-care around No, Really, Love, You're Ill. I've got so much better at this specific skillset, and it's such a relief.
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
My starter is much happier when I feed it filtered water than when I feed it mains water; this is presumably because it is, fundamentally, A Culture, and mains water is deliberately treated to discourage that.

So: currently, after I've removed 100g of starter to make bread with, I'm feeding it equal masses of spelt flour and filtered water (in theory to approximately double the volume; in practice, I'm often doing ~50g of each), giving it a good stir, and popping it back in the fridge. (I did have it in a Kilner jar, with the seal ring removed; currently it's living in a Sistema soup mug, which most importantly means that if I drop it it won't shatter everywhere, but has the added bonuses that it's fairly light and that the lid clips on firmly and it can still be exposed to the outside environment and air and local cultures by dint of having the steam vent opened. In addition to which the pot is freezer-safe so I can Just Transfer It To The Freezer if I'm going to be neglecting it for longer than a week.)

The day before I want to make bread I'm removing the starter from the fridge and sitting it on the side to warm up overnight.

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kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
I'm a cliché, I know, but the fennel I have been growing on the plot ('Colossal') is genuinely the nicest I think I've ever had: it's sweet and aromatic and delicious and I am delighted by it, and in addition to the bulbs I'm eating I'm intending to leave some to go to seed so I can grow More next year.

Something I had failed to properly anticipate when sowing it, however, is that fennel fronds are... a thing. A big feathery... thing. On the plot at dusk they almost manage to resemble a tiny forest, and it would be ridiculous to just put all of that straight back in the compost, so I've... been eating it? I've been eating it and working out what on earth to do with it with a certain degree of perplexity.

I also brought a bulb down to Cornwall with me, having stopped off at the allotment to pick up the fabled Phormium tenax, and subsequently have been doing Further Cooking. Adventures in fennel thus far:
  • fronds (and some of the leggier bits of stalk) chopped up fine, in leek-and-potato soup
  • fronds in courgette fritters
  • fronds in potato salad
  • fronds in non-potato salad
  • bulb roasted, in any variety of useful roasted-veg contexts
  • bulb chopped up fine in risotto (yesssssss)
kaberett: A pomegranate, with eyes and mouth drawn onto masking tape and applied (pomegranate)
Adapted by A from the smitten kitchen essential raised waffles recipe; when we got a waffle maker and he was unimpressed by the recipes in its accompanying books, I just pointed him at the SK waffles tag.

After some experimentation, etc, I present his written instructions for himself verbatim under the cut; you will note he gives rather more detail and explanation than I typically do. ;) The key point is that the amount of liquid has been dropped by a third; this gives a better, more consistent rise, and a better-to-our-minds texture. We use the Allinson Easy Bake Yeast, which we get in tins for the breadmaker, which does a very good job of making everything taste of yeast friend; the Dried Active Yeast tastes less good. We do also have some fresh yeast in the freezer (Ocado imports it from Sweden for hipsters) but have not yet tried waffling with it.

This makes a big brunch for two, or a reasonable breakfast for four.

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Misc.

Oct. 22nd, 2018 07:31 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Today in doctors: I have bronchitis (I am forever amused that so many illnesses are just called [Greek for body part]+[Greek for "it's a bit cross"]) and an antibiotic prescription and stern instructions to spend some time steaming myself. Apparently I am to expect coughing for two weeks after the end of the antibiotic course, just Less Bad Than This. On the upside this has provided some helpful-for-my-brain calibration on "what's bad enough to bother a GP about" in this specific domain, so hopefully less time it'll involve less angst.

Today in cookbooks:
  • the copy of The Fat Duck Cookbook that I had espied in the window of a closed charity shop yesterday was... still there. So I popped in to make its acquaintance, having already told myself very firmly that it was probably going to be twenty quid and I wasn't to get it if it was more than a fiver and anyway it was probably offputtingly mostly meat... so I sat there leafing through it, increasingly absorbed, and finally grudgingly checked the price. Which was £6. So I got it, obviously.
  • while browsing the library shelves for more of the Leiths books, I came across an actual copy of smitten kitchen every day, found a sticky-toffee-pudding waffle recipe, and decided I needed to bring it home for A to poke at (his current favourite waffle recipe -- have I talked about the waffle iron here? -- is a lightly tweaked version of smitten kitchen's essential raised waffles, adapted to work better and more consistently with our set-up, and writing it up For The Old Blog is on my todo list), and then to my mild outrage found... a recipe... for porridge... I'm actually plausibly willing to eat, neatly solving at least some of my breakfast problems (provided I use non-calcium-fortified milk): caramelised pear baked oatmeal.
  • ... and also The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, which looks like a fascinating memoir of a year (two years?) of study at Le Cordon Bleu, so I intend to nestle into that good at proper.
  • finally in Today In Cookbooks, I continue getting on very well indeed with the Leiths How To books; I think this attempt at sourdough is going to be my best yet, possibly to the point that I get to tick "get competent at sourdough" off my culinary skill acquisition list for the year ("learn how to make neat pastry" is also tentatively in the running for getting ticked off, again thanks to Leiths). I will find out tomorrow.

This week in allotment: compost bin had cooled down a fair old way again due to running out of food while I was in the Peak District, but I gave it a big feed onnnn Saturday, and temperature was rising again by Sunday evening. (I'm about to have another big feed for it, because I'm using up the last of the frozen veg stock in tonight's stew and therefore boiling up a new batch from the scraps bag, which will then go to become More Vegetables.) The squash is recovering well from the powdery mildew; the damage is increasingly less miserable. I only have one large fruit ripening up, though, so I'm not convinced I'm going to get a whole heap of them this year even if I do let them just keep going in the unseasonable weather. The spinach, however! Is doing magnificently! So our future contains A Lot of spinach.

This week in HOUSE: A has indulged me A Great Deal on the topic of DIY, including an IKEA trip to acquire (1) a blackout blind and (2) a curtain rail. The idea is to make the living room both more lightproof (for when we have guests staying) and warmer (because A has pre-existing Big Velvet Curtains that will cover the French window nicely, in addition to the current slightly flimsy blind); he put up the blind last night while (heteronormativity!) I was making pasta sauce (using tomatoes from the patio and courgettes from the allotment...).
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Food: I am now within hailing distance of Usefully Achieving The Effect I Want with both profiteroles and sourdough. All hail Leiths How To books, which include explanations of why the various steps are important, in terms of what they actually do. (I suspect I am also, therefore, going to achieve Actually Neat Shortcrust Pastry Cases, which has been a vague goal for a while now, which will make me feel very smug about culinary skill acquisition this year.)

Unwise purchase decisions: the Waitrose bargain bin contained... quince. At two-thirds off. And A enabled me. Which is why the fruit bowl now contains seventeen quince, which with I am going to have to do Something. (Yes, yes, quince jelly and membrillo, I know -- but I've already got some of each made by my mother, so really I'm going to have to poach them or make sorbet or something.)

Allotment: bin continues merrily creeping its way back up to 50degC and making space for me to put more things in the top, thank goodness, and I've got some of the first Actually Nice compost out of it (while dragging out some more of the undigested first base layer) in order to repot the lavender A bought for 50p from an unmanned stall on the seafront on the south coast, the day we went down to pick up a friend's wheelchair. (Dear friend: he didn't have 50p in change so actually put in a quid... which is going to support the local gang show. In a delightful moment of serendipity.) Additionally and furthermore, the squash look no worse (and tentatively a little better); more of the spinach are showing true leaves; and I'm making more substantive new progress on weeding again (i.e. clearing more beds, rather than "just" doing maintenance weeding).

Movement: as of tomorrow I am going to be at three sets of six reps each on gym stuff, and I'm up to five minutes of stationary bike at both beginning and end (and get to up the resistance another notch, I think). [personal profile] cesy is also very kindly physio-buddying with me via the magic of IM, so I'm getting a bit more dopamine out of doing various exercises (because they are Seen and Recognised, etc etc etc).
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
  1. A combination of Terrible Bus Journeys and Piccadilly Line Strikes meant that I ended up in Ikea on Wednesday afternoon, where I made a friend, because, um, I don't believe anyone who has ever met me expects me to meet a small round white glowy hedgehog and not bring it home to cuddle.
  2. We have been very much enjoying the cherry tomatoes off the plants I bought from a charity shop with zero identification; when they're full-sized but haven't started ripening up yet they do this fantastic two-tone thing with dark green tops and light green bottoms and a sort of striped or streaky fade between the two. They're great (and also pretty tasty); I've tentatively identified them as maybe being Gardener's Delight, but I've also saved a bunch of seeds from them so we get to have more next year regardless.
  3. I have spent a lot of the last few days curled up in the evenings with the Guilt Knitting and fic or advice columns or the Watergate Documentary (thanks to [personal profile] rydra_wong, who was sufficiently enthusiastic that I subdued my intense suspicion of unfamiliar audiovisual media and watched the full four hours), and it has been very pleasant and soothing and I am making great progress.
  4. First actually-all-my-fault food from the allotment as part of last night's dinner (and today's lunch, and today's dinner)!!! The pak choi I planted out directly into one bed (and then mulched, and then mulched some more) recovered from the slugs after the second mulching and are now sufficiently productive that I can start pulling bits off them without endangering their life. All the other allotment-food we've eaten has been pre-existing stuff that I wasn't Directly Responsible For All Stages Of, so I am proper delighted about this.
  5. I finally have confirmation from my wheelchair dealership about pricing and part numbers various, and to my very great relief they're happy for me to fit the parts myself rather than needing to slog down to Farnborough to see them, so with any luck by this time next month I will have two fewer wheelchairs in the house (well -- net one fewer, because one of mine is currently on loan to the person whose chair I currently have here waiting for me to finish tuning it up, but hush).
  6. I stumbled upon some of the small Leiths How To cookbooks in a shop last week, skimmed all of them, learned a lot, promptly acquired one of them that had an ex-library copy going cheap on eBay (which turned out to be from the Dublin public library system, ha), and very tentatively managed a slightly more convincing (in some respects) sourdough than I have previously, in a way I sort of feel I understand. I am looking into getting myself an oval banneton, and am feeling a lot more confident about maybe meeting this year's culinary goal of "maybe??? learn to make a convincing sourdough???" So I'm excited about that!
  7. Other allotment news about which I am excited: the fennel (even the ones I rudely transplanted and did not expect to survive, but which I couldn't quite bear to just thin out and dump directly in the compost) are looking increasingly like a recognisable vegetable! My three rows of spinach have come up and are starting to produce recognisable spinach leaves in addition to their seedling leaves!
  8. Orchestra has started up again and I'm doing much less badly than I expected for not reaaaaaaally having played much in about six months. My tone isn't great but I've mostly actually got enough stamina to play for a rehearsal? I can roughly remember where the notes are? I have yet to manage to take the horn out of its case between rehearsals to practice at home, but I have Secret Plans And Clever Tricks aimed at making that more manageable (to do with having rearranged space inside the house).
  9. I keep remembering the Elementary season 6 finale and having More Feelings. People who love each other.
  10. Cough-suppressant drugs I can safely take, which are enabling me to get to sleep at all, are Really Good and I am Very Grateful.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Eating: dinner last night involved the first tomatoes off the plants on the patio. Lunch today was soup & houmous I found reduced in the shop on the way home from the gym, the latter topped with smoked paprika hurrah, plus a pitta. I am now feeling somewhat less grouchy.

Drinking: a lot of angry water + some simple syrup + some lime wedges + some mint + some cold squares.

Reading: ybeb, again, and it is immensely soothing.

Listening: Soldiers - Matt Fishel, on repeat, content note: reference to suicide & discussion of death. I keep remembering it on the bus and crying some more. (Though it seems we're living in easier times/there are still soldiers out on the front lines...)

Growing: tomatoes!!! Pak choi and calabrese are sprouting. Fennel about to go in the ground, and onions for overwintering in another fortnight or so.

Post: thank you to [personal profile] vass and [personal profile] divulge, not that I'm managing to e-mail you -- Vass, I suddenly understand the point of washi tape, THANK YOU for the stegosaurs, and at the point that I scraped together the brain to actually open it I spent fifteen minutes spreading the stickers around on the sofa (and picking them up from where they'd ...exploded) and giggling. divulge, I am drawing plans of the allotment and working out crop rotations in the DINOSAURS BOOK and I am inevitably delighted by the 'osaurs + the succulents. Thank you <333

Grumpy e-mails: this morning's highlight boiled down to "so is this Compulsory Active Bystander Training actually compulsory given I'm on interruption and also I'm an activist of over a decade's standing, PS why EXACTLY did college end up picking an overpaid white man to deliver this material".
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
  1. A couple of weeks ago, The Indelicates' latest project: Paradise Lost, reimagined as a rock musical set in a racist 1950s US holiday resort. I was lucky enough to be part of one of the initial readthroughs several years ago now, in the top room of a Brighton pub, and was absolutely delighted to see how it had changed and developed. It contains the Indelicates' first (I think) proper love-song-to-rock-music, which is a subgenre I have a very deep fondness for.
  2. Yesterday I went to see Fun Home at the Young Vic, with the usual suspects (i.e. [personal profile] me_and, [personal profile] shortcipher, and [personal profile] sebastienne), having booked it when its run was first announced sometime... last year; it's been something in the far far future that I've been vaguely looking forward to for a long time. (P got me the book while I was living in the Coniston Coppermines youth hostel lo these many years ago for my third-year mapping project; I read Are You My Mother? earlier this year, from the library.) I started crying when Baby Alison stood up on stage and sang a song about Seeing Her First Butch: here, here is this kid, who can stand on stage and sing that song and it's okay and it gets better and, yeah, I... did not stop crying until sometime after the end. I loved loved loved so many of the things they did with it. I... might try to write a proper review? But I loved it, and I'm so glad I went, and it's not just because the way Bechdel draws herself looks eerily similar to my therapist so I've mentally amalgamated the two of them into Queer Elder Who Gets It And Wants Me To Be Okay.
  3. Following that we wandered along the Thames a little and I ended up being approached by an older Irish woman and asked for mobility aid recommendations on the strength of being out and about with power-assist wheels. I eventually persuaded her to try them. She is a convert, she is the latest person to insist that I should be getting commission on them, and she has my phone number so she can text me if she has questions.
  4. This morning I actually froze the probably-jostaberry sorbet made up with allotment fruit according to the Ruby Violet recipe (give or take my intense suspicion that 15g of lemon zest was a good idea). It is beautifully coloured and a bit more cronch than intended because we went off for board games in the middle, but basically AAAAAAH SKILL ACQUISITION. (It took me an embarrassingly long time, on Friday, to realise that given that it was for blackcurrant sorbet it really didn't matter if I couldn't find glucose powder without added vitamin C.)
  5. When [personal profile] jack posted about the boardgame Photosynthesis earlier this week I looked at his review, thought "ooh that maybe sounds like [personal profile] me_and's kind of thing? maybe I should get it for him?", and then dithered a lot over how thoroughly to check with him before buying it as, potentially, a Surprise Present. So I was mightily amused when we rocked up at a boardgame social organised by a friend this afternoon that... it was out on the table waiting to be played as our host's first pick. I screwed up the final two moves through misunderstanding and vagueness (and, frankly, the pineapple/raspberry margharita) so lost instead of winning, but, like, I played a new game? Without reading the rules through thoroughly and obsessively first? In semi-public? So I continue deeply impressed with myself, and A is in fact interested in getting a present of Trees Are Mean And Also Bullies. I, meanwile, was just very amused by Growing A Plant. (Also played Dixit for the first time, with people I don't know terribly well, and didn't lose abjectly and did mostly enjoy myself! So that's a thing.)
  6. Pottered off to the allotment this evening, confirmed that the gooseberry is spiky and a gooseberry, checked on the squash that didn't really need watering and watered them anyway, constructed a scaffold for the grape (which has actual proto-grapes on, what even is this), and picked A Lot of blackberries.


A cone of bamboo tied together with grass, with a grape enthusiastically attaching itself with great haste.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
  1. I wandered up behind [personal profile] me_and while we were getting dressed this morning -- or, at least, while I was getting dressed -- to discover that he'd got distracted by entering the search query "how to attract bats", presumably inspired by our having see A Bat over the back garden at dusk the past few nights. "We could get a bat box," he said, slightly defensively, "and put a camera in it." "... and stream it to the big TV?" I asked. "..." said A, to whom this had not occurred, and who had suddenly discovered a potential New Best Friend. Don't get me wrong -- I am utterly delighted by getting to sit on my sofa and watch the bats for half an hour or so; even down in Cornwall you've usually got to wander down the lane a little to get to where they hang out. I am just, also, utterly charmed by A. Which is convenient, really.
  2. Speaking of which, he continues An Actual Hero in re mortgage applications. Meanwhile, I am sublimating my anxiety about Whether We Get To Keep The House into Welp I'm Just Going To Act Like I Get To Keep The Allotment, so despite no actual paperwork having arrived for me U & I have decided that probably the council is just being slow... so when I went over yesterday evening I took some proto-compost over and fairly thoroughly weeded the smallest raised bed. During which process I found the BRAVEST of tiny carrots, which U has carefully planted in their just-dug-out bed along with some nasturtium seeds, on the grounds that the poor thing deserves a fighting chance.
  3. I am reading Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor (released in the UK as Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi) and am consequently, as usual, craving jollof rice and plantain. I have put together tomato stew based on three online recipes, and I've got two ripe plantain plus some bonus cauliflower to cook it all up with for dinner.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
... which I only made for him for the first time earlier this week when he came home at lunchtime to hold my hand through a phonecall, and which we've had about three times since. It falls into my broad category of "comfort food, not Company Food", not least because it takes Approximately Ten Minutes, which means it just... doesn't occur to me that anyone else might like it? But hey, A might want to make it himself at some point when I'm not around, so.

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Reference recipe, tweaked & reordered for my workflow & to make it more like the specific tofu dish from this one restaurant. (I hang making this off "cheap Thai basil at the supermarket", and also living in London really works for me in terms of ingredient availability.) Serves about four.

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
The Graun is just wrong, on so many levels, and it's sort of endearing. They're correct about the Bird's, of course, but I absolutely categorically disagree with many of the conclusions they come to.

All else aside, they don't even mention pears, and they go for almonds as an addition to the crumble rather than the much-more-obvious hazelnuts.

(They do also give a shout-out to a recipe for gluten-free crumble topping, in case you're interested, but it does contain eggs and nuts.)
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. GREEN PASTA. (~100g spinach, cooked and blended, mixed in with the egg.) Excitingly, at least for me, I actually got the amount of egg right first time, rather than ending up miserably adding more (and more and more) with increasingly sticky hands. (Also, I am very much enjoying the ridiculous pasta drying rack I acquired.)

2. RAVIOLI. I found a cut-price ravioli stamp, decided to experiment, and Was Successful. Fillings: the rest of the spinach, and some Experimental Cheese.

3. Turns out, and I had totally failed to realise this due to not thinking things through, that it is sort of important that you use hetero milk for rennet-based cheeses. Whoops. So next on my agenda is sourcing some Hetero Milk (yes, yes, bi erasure, I know) and having another go at that. (Context: back when I was a very baby queer -- this was the trip of Accidentally My First Pride, Thank You Vancouver -- we made a trip to Canada to visit relatives. I was thus introduced to Homo Milk, i.e. what appears to be standard Canadian marketing of homogenised milk. I was delighted. I remain delighted. I am frequently easily pleased.)

4. One of A's local friends was having a Rhubarb Problem with their allotment, so we have over the past couple of weeks eaten a lot of rhubarb-and-pear crumble, during which I have learned that (i) you really do have to stew the rhubarb first, (ii) this means you achieve Lumps Of Pear as a textural contrast, and (iii) putting hazelnuts in the topping along with the oats is excellent. Which I did not previously know, having previously been intensely suspicious of rhubarb, but I rather suspect this marks the completion of its rehabilitation. (School dinner rhubarb crumble was Bad Textures.)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
A. very kindly indulged me today, to the tune of driving me down to New Malden to pick up a folding ramp for using with the Tramper, which I got on eBay for the princely sum of £83.20 as opposed to its price of £605 ex-VAT new. (Which is most of a week's PIP, but given that this sort of thing is Exactly What It's For I will somehow cope.)

So given that we were in Malden with a car, we headed over to Kew via Richmond Park and a mildly fascinating public house Experience. Whereupon A. accompanied me around the orchid festival, and also Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death. Orchid festival: I was less impressed than I have been in previous years, which might be because I've acclimatised to this specific spectacle or might be because this iteration was in memoriam of the previous organiser. Or because it was hideously crowded and moving around was difficult, WHO KNOWS, but I was excited at A about various Crassula and lithops, and showed him the turtle, and nonetheless I enjoyed a bunch of the flowers.

Life in Death was very much My Kind Of Nonsense; here's TimeOut compiling a bunch of Instagram photos and utterly failing to give image descriptions, and here's House and Garden giving slightly more description. To my intense frustration the path was narrow enough to be strictly single file, so you were forced through at a sufficiently rapid pace to not feel guilty about holding up the people behind you; it was beautiful and intricate and I'd like to go back at a point when there's fewer people and just sit and inhabit it for a bit. I was getting glimpses of things organised by... cultivation? colour? -- but I wasn't managing to put any of it together. Some of the garlands were soliflore; I particularly enjoyed the star anise and the agapanthus for their colours and density, and the enormous structural soliflore garlands for their beautiful architectural use of space. I adored the Short Garlands hung above the path, but kept forgetting to look up. I loved the mixed garlands that evoked the edges of fields in spring.

Highly recommended, price of entry is included in entry to the gardens, if it sounds like your kind of thing and you want to organise a trip with me (before it closes in mid-March...) I'd be happy to take you in for free. Offer is good for up to two people at once.

Also, there was pineapple-and-lemongrass upside-down pandan-coconut cake, and I was very pleased.

(When we got in, A very reasonably curled up on the sofa under a blanket and went thoroughly to sleep, whereupon I periodically patted him gently on the head while getting the vacuuming done. All round excellent day, would recommend.)

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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