Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Little Felt Slippers

These little Tirol felt slippers were the only ones my boy has ever worn. Many pairs have gathered dust in a corner of his room since. Now my little girl can wear them too and they are already proving popular! Bought on a whim by my husband in Lidl before the boy was even born and never to be seen for sale there again. I will keep looking, but for now these ones are dancing and jumping about my house!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

A great Laurie Colwin recipe- I had to try it as we had our honeymoon in New England and spent some time in Nantucket. It is a really, really easy recipe and seems to adapt well to any tinkerings you make it it.  I used Scottish Blackcurrants as no Cranberries were available, I cut the sugar right down in both the nutty base and the cake part.  And as I don't use butter I substituted a small amount of dairy free marg melted with a little organic rapeseed oil.  It was surprisingly yummy and eaten by all on our regular Tuesday night family dinner that comes with pudding!  If you don't have almond extract do buy it for this recipe- the frangipane taste it gives the light cake topping is what makes it for me. Here is the recipe (slightly adapted by me) from my copy of More Home Cooking- A Writer Returns to the Kitchen.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie
1. Place two cups of cranberries or whatever soft fruit you have available (redcurrants, blackcurrants etc) in the bottom of a springform cake tin, sprinkle on chopped walnuts and 1/2 a cup of sugar.
2. Mix 2 eggs. 3/4 cup of melted butter (or equivalent alternative margarine or oil), 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour and a pinch of salt with 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Stir together till smooth.
3. Pour over the cranberry walnut mixture and bake for 40 minutes in a moderate oven.

Jo xx

(Here is a link to the original recipe and text as published in Gourmet Magazine in 1993)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Wee One's Room'

Some pictures of the wee ones room. We did some moving around and put up some new pictures. I loved the Carlotta Edwards ballet prints when I was little- I had my Mum's one up in my childhood bedroom. Unfortunately its frame fell apart and it got thrown out. I sourced a few from charity shops for my daughter.

Happy Friday everyone- lets make it a sunny, happy weekend, Jo xx

Ps- Yes I am a bit obsessed with the Russian Dolls mobile!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Random Selection of Dinner Plates

So my husband looking in the cupboard asked 'are we acquiring a random selection of dinner plates now....'.
Yes was the only answer. Who could say no to these two beauties and under a pound each.  Not me that's for sure!

Isn't the first one quite 'Biba' esque?

Top one is 'Westbury Denbyware' and the bottom one is 'Kilncraft'.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Despite the weather

So here I am back in the virtual world. My poor laptop died and was away for a rebuild. It hurt and I lost a bit so its back up files all the way now.

While I have been absent it has also been the wettest time here in Glasgow. The wee one is forever in her little pink apples mac- pictured here during a rare dry spell in the woods. The tree canopy is quite dense at points so you can go for an almost bearable walk even when its raining! My kiddos need to get outside (after being cooped up for too long) and we often be just brave it!

I hope you are all well- I tried to keep up with a lot of you via my phone but its not the same as my big screen!

Here is to better weather and a bright happy week to everyone that visits me here, Jo xx

Monday, 16 July 2012

No offence meant

So my laptop is away getting worked on hence the absence of photos. But I have been thinking more about my last post and I was worried that my words perhaps upset or alienated people. My sentence about Simple Abundance where I said that not everyone is fulfilled by gardening cooking etc could do with more explanation. I am all for reclaiming the home and indeed take great pleasure in much of the domestic activity that goes on therein. It's just that I am all about reclaiming the workplace, the streets, Westminster as well (and many more unequal areas of women's lives). It is still an unequal world and our complex modern lives consist of seeking fulfilment, but also the struggle to get there, reconciling work and home. My own place in the world is a foot in both the domestic and the world of work. The book is also, though well intentioned not one for all women and it's solutions and activities are predominantly middle class I feel. I hope this explains more of what I meant and that I didn't make you feel diminished or offended. Sorry if that happened. It's all just my personal interpretation and yours will differ- for that I am sure. And that difference, the words it inspires is what brings me back to your blogs, just as much as the similarities.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Laurie Colwin

I first read about Laurie Colwin in Sarah Ban Breanach’s book, Simple Abundance, given to me by my insightful mother one Christmas a few years ago. I was in the midst of post natal depression and deeper than that I had lost my way a bit.  As a whole piece the book is kind of hackneyed, a wee bit patronising and well dull- not everyone is fulfilled by gardening, cooking and becoming a ‘domestic sensualist’. It does however have tiny sparkling moments of brilliance, mainly around faith, making your own happiness and its literary references.  One of these perfect entries (365, one for every day of the year) is the entry on Laurie Colwin.

I love cookbooks and in particular those where the preamble is more than the recipe. I sought out Laurie’s two cookbooks and took them away on holiday with me. At first I thought is this it? They were slim volumes and a bit dated in some ways I suppose to the post Nigella, Nigel generation. Although the distinctive voice and odd way of recounting recipes intrigued me. It started to speak to me. So gradually and without warning Laurie just crept up on me and hugged me big style. Suddenly I felt like I had a new friend. There was now so much in these slim volumes that they have hardly been away from my side for three weeks. A brief moment of quiet (wee one asleep- boy watching DVD and there I am re-reading an entry). Already I have cooked several things.

When we were in Wigtown, the book town (think Scotland's Hay on Wye) David and I went to Reading Lasses. A nothing short of brilliant bookshop which sells exclusively women author’s, (the only one left in the UK) specialising in women's fiction, gender studies, sexuality and wait for it whole shelves full of Virago, Women's Press and other late great women’s press publishers from back in the day. Oh and it also has an amazing coffee shop- so over black coffee and freshly made buckwheat pancakes (that were very tasty) I found one of Laurie’s novels- I secretly knew Reading Lasses would have some of her work. It was Goodbye Without Leaving. It has been a fab read and so much more to me. I already knew that Laurie was a very autobiographical novelist but if she was anything like the main character lets just say we would have gotten on (she sadly died early, just 48). Certainly some of my own internal musing are in this novel- and if anything it has made me see I am not totally out of step from everyone else (well not all the time!). I do have kindred spirits out there!

Hands down the best thing I have made from her books hardly needs a recipe. Simple tomato, sweet onion, olive oil and cheese sandwiches. Probably even better without the cheese to my taste. The trick is those sweet onions. The recipe is a reminder that the simple things taste the best.

So seek Laurie out- you will love her too.

Happy Sunday everyone, Jx

Monday, 9 July 2012

Book towns, art towns and beach walks

Have you ever been to Galloway? Its quite undiscovered and one of our holiday staples since we have been together. David's uncle runs a small business in Wigtown, Scotland's book town. Family is what took us down there originally and we have watched the book festival grow and flourish, we have made friends and grown to love the area very much- one day we will have some more roots there we hope. But shhhhhh that's  a pipe dream for now.

So much to do, if the printed word isn't your thing then Kirkcudbright is the artists town. A haven for artists in one of the key points in Scottish art history and one of my favourites, Jessie M. King lived and worked there with her family. Follow the link, have a read its fascinating. Its a beautiful town, the kiddos loved the wee closes leading to backland property, hide and seek in the rain- glorious Scottish weather and for once I cannot blame the west coast.

A few miles of forest and then a breathtaking pebbly beach revealed itself. The baby spent most of the walk in my arms or on my shoulders but it gave us a glimpse of all the fun we will have together when the kids are up a bit.

So Monday is over and it wasn't so bad, have a lovely week everyone who is reading.

1. Wigtown signs.
2. Wallpaper in D's Uncle's office (timewarp I'm not kidding you!)
3. Kirkcudbright mosaic
4. A close.
5. Lots of stones.
6. Result of carrying- a sore neck!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Home from the holiday

A bit grainy, but my favourite iphone snap from the holiday. The boy and I about to blow out my birthday candles. More of the holiday to follow- but lets get Monday (and back to work) over first.....

Missed you all, Jx