Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eggstra special

My ultimate fantasy in food is a perfectly cooked soft boiled egg. Simple as it is I just love them. It has taken me a very long time to do the egg justice, but after seeing the Julie and Julia movie I got out the Art of Mastering French Cooking by Julia Childs and first thing I learned was how to boil the most perfect egg. I thought after all my experience in the kitchen I should know this but did it her way just to see. It was perfection. We had bought some very large eggs from Amerton Farm,( near Salt) fresh as a daisy, we know this because we were looking at the hens that laid them across the courtyard. The timing is crucial apparently, no egg timers - just know the size of the egg and lower it into salted boiling water (the salt in the water was a tip my grandmother taught me, it stops them cracking) then time them. Six mins for very large, five and a half for standard and five for ordinary smallish ones. Then run them under cold water to set the whites. Well mine came out just like you see in the ads and the yolk was a wonderful deep golden yellow mmmmm' lovely stuff. I'm going to try some more of her ways of doing things. I was impressed and I may move on to the French stuff too. I won't be doing 365 recipes in one year though, like the girl in the movie, she must have been crazy. I'm not crazy?


Now everyone that knows us will understand when I say we got lost yet again, but NOT when I say on the way to Nuneaton. A small trip we planned would take twenty minutes took us two hours. We enjoyed seeing the red tractor in the cornfield the first couple of times but then we panicked - yes - lost in the countryside. No signs, no one to ask, here we were again! We carried on as you do and eventually found a Post office cum village store. Hope restored. "Where are we?" the reply "Not sure all the roads around here are very long but if you keep on the one straight out of the village and don't give up you'll be somewhere". O.k! I half expected her to have a meat cleaver behind her back and direct us to the mincing machine but we made it out o.k. Down the very, very long road to somewhere and found we were going to the Astley Farm Book Barn just where we wanted to be. WOW! We're getting much better at this lost and found stuff. However, next day we did get lost inside Dobbies.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Darling Buds of Summer

My teeny weeny little garden has produced flowers with all its might this year. Each geranium has nine glorious heads on them, the yellow begonias are non stop, my bucopa has spread everywhere, my wild purple geraniums have bloomed like never before, the coniasta is covered with tiny buds waiting to burst open into tiny pink flowers, our viola have the prettiest faces ever. My window boxes are spilling over, the honeysuckle is filling the air with perfume and I have just added, for a bit of whimsy, a black eyed susan to match our yellow door and to creep up the wall as my seven foot square garden seems to be running out of space. It may be pocket sized, but I do love it so.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Goosegogs Galore!

My arms are cut to ribbons today, but I don't care because I harvested 21 pound of gooseberries from my two tiny bushes yesterday and put them in my new found fruit collecting basket. It was well worth battling with the thorns. All of them are sound, big fat goosesgogs. My problem now is, what am I going to do with them all? We have shared with our neighbours half of them which still leaves 10 and a half pounds to make giant crumbles? enormous cobblers? invite everybody I know round for a gooseberry fool, plus strangers. or simply jam some, freeze some and cook some. What's a harvester/gatherer to do? What a lovely problem to have.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Quacking Afternoon

Since Sunday it has been all excitement over in Kenilworth. The duck brood behind the flower pot started hatching and within hours eight little ducklings had emerged ready to take their first dip. They waddled off much to Lesley and Angela's horror down to the brook and didn't come back. But, the next morning another duck arrived with nine ducklings headed straight to the other ducks nest and took it over. Since then she has stayed and we were invited over yesterday afternoon to see them. What a really, really wonderful sight to see them dipping in and out of all of John's pools and each one having a different personality. The brave one that run off, the one that hurled itself off the bank straight into the water, the shy one who waited until Mom went into the water and called it. It was a truly delightful summer afternoon in that garden watching their antics. Then, just before we left, Mom brought the whole brood up to the top of the garden to see what we were doing. Nobody over in Kenilworth has had any sleep this week though they have all been on duck watch.