Friday, 30 October 2009


It's been a while, I know... been busy, tired.

The other day I cooked two squash that we picked up in a back-alley farmer's market in our local town. I had no idea what they were or what they tasted like, so it was a pretty fun experiment. I think one was a kabocha squash and the other was like an all-green carnival squash. Now I don't love butternut squash - cooked badly it tastes like sick, so I approached these tentatively. I halved and roasted them with olive oil and a bit of seasoning for about half an hour. Whilst that was going on, I sauteed onions, garlic and celery until soft, added bacon, mushrooms, thyme, black pepper, a tiny bit of dried chilli, then stirred in some long-grain rice and covered it all with water to cook the rice for about 20 minutes. Then I scooped out most of the squash flesh, keeping the two squashes separate so we could taste the difference, mixed it into the rice and stuffed it back into the squash shells. Then it went back in the oven for about 10 minutes just so the rice was starting to catch on top. Was it good? Oh yes. Especially the Kabocha type squash which was like a nutty, sweet pease-pudding textured thing - gorgeous. The saltiness of the bacon balanced the sweetness nicely. No photos I'm afraid. I was too busy stuffing my face.

Friday, 23 October 2009

it's been a while

Profuse and profound apologies for my absence. Things have been getting a bit too crazy for me lately to even think about things other than working, and then being asked to make changes to that work again and again... I don't mean to moan - the client comes first, right? I have had enough of working now, though. I could do with a week off, but no, it keeps pouring in.

Have I done anything interesting in the last week or so? Nope. Not a sausage. Most interesting thing? Uh... a man in a red top hat outside Beyond Retro in London - I love love love how you can do anything you like, be anyone you want to be in that city - if I'm going to wear the weird patterned Norwegian cardigan I picked up on eBay last week, London will be the city. Out here in the countryside people will think I'm the village idiot.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

hong kong curry

My dad used to make curry on Sundays for the take-away. The whole town was addicted to his curry - you could smell it cooking all the way down the main street and it was glorious. I have asked him for his recipe but, like most instinctively good cooks, he is vague vague vague. He goes to a cupboard and ferrets around, coming back to the table with a box full of spices that he doesn't know the English name for. He presents them to us to smell and we recognise them in this way - cloves, cassia bark, star anise we know, but there's something like fennel seeds in there, and a curious little pod like a shrivelled fruit. What it is called I have no idea - I guess a trip to the Chinese supermarket would probably enlighten us. As for quantities of everything, well, only he knows and he can't be arsed to tell me. One day I'll force him to cook some in front of me. I must know this. This is the one thing that I would kill small mammals to be able to cook and the stuff you get ready made to water down is simply not the same.

Curry and chips! Oh my god. I need to lie down.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

We ate our first pumpkin the other day, our tiniest one, roasted and added to a salad. The skin was thick and leathery, the flesh bright orange and delicious. It's the time of year now that I start dreaming of soup, cassoulet, lentils. Beef stew I made the other day was warming and just right for the weather. I just wish I had thought to make some herby dumplings to simmer to pillowy perfection in it too. Well, there's a portion left, so all is not lost.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Someone has too much time on their hands...

Thanks to Barry for this morning's link - The Brick Testament - Bible stories illustrated with Lego. It's quite funny, especially the nudey scenes... :-P

I'm sorry I've not had much to say recently. I'm so tired. This morning I woke up, then kind of had what I call a 'mini-dream' where I was ostensibly awake and communicating with the husband, but during a small lull I had a clear vision of Boris Johnson with his hair all wet and slicked back, which I thought made him look much older. And no, it wasn't a sex dream.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

this and that...

Urgh. I am swamped with work right now. I sound resentful, but really, it's amazing and I'm horribly, snivellingly grateful for it all - it keeps me from going mad, it gives me something to moan about, it could possibly be the best work I've ever done! Well... the last sentiment is only accurate when the brief drops like a shiny new penny into my inbox, but it rapidly fades into dull fantasy when I realize that I'm drawing a load of crap. I don't feel like that right now, but it happens quite a lot.

The cabbages are being attacked by slugs. The weather has finally broken and we have been deluged with miserable, drippy rain today, which means I really should go out and set some beer traps or something to keep the little bastards away from my veg before tonight. Can I be bothered?

I really haven't got much to say for myself this week. I think it's a seasonal disorder. Just when I want a break so I can curl up on the sofa in ugly knitwear, suddenly I have to sit at this machine and draw pictures of trees...

Friday, 2 October 2009


I'm having a slow and sorry week. Lots of unpaid work, lots of anxiety, poor sleep, no husband to cheer me up, bad diet... I'm all maudlin today and will be until the weekend when hopefully things will cheer up. I think I need to get out of the house more - things are a bit monotonous and grey indoors.

That said, happily I have new cabbage plants to shove into the ground for next spring. The thought of home-grown cabbage is all that's keeping me going. The potatoes I grew this year were honestly some of the best I've ever tasted.