Here in the UK we have been asked not to go shopping more than once a week, which is understandable given the incredible circumstances that we face regarding the corona virus. People like to be prepared, I understand that but the hoarding has meant that some items with a long shelf life are in short supply, this includes Oat milk.
Shops limit the purchase of Oat Milk to only two 1 ltr cartons, which for someone like me with a milk allergy, (yes an allergy not a health choice) unfairly discriminated against. There is no limit on Milk, you can buy 6 pint cartons as many as you like, but oat milk is limited and this has been restricted on the tills.
Hence the decision to make my own – it is pretty easy to make! I like mine creamy, so I add ground almonds but you can leave that out. Simply take one cup of oats with 1/4 cup of ground almonds and leave to soak in water overnight.
In the morning, drain the oat mixture and then add approximately 1 pint, (500ml) of water. Our tap water is drinkable – safe from bugs and disease in this country. You can use mineral water if you wish.
Whizz or blend the oats and the water together and then allow to drain through a nut bag. I decant it into a bottle (passata bottles are great!) which keeps it cold.
This pandemic is worrying, but it has made me appreciate how amazing it is to live in a country where food is plentiful, our homes are warm. It also allows us to think more creatively about meeting our needs.
It has been a tough six months -moving home and starting a new job, but it seems that things are getting easier – the worst is behind me – a bit like Spring things are starting to bloom. Although right now, I have woken up to a lovely covering of snow!
I have been struggling health wise – back in January I decided to try a wheat free diet – I bought two books Radiant and Green Kitchen travels. I think this decision has added to my misery- Green Travels has a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake that looks delicious but the steps to make it are very complicated – you have to use hazelnut flour that you grind yourself! I have taken the trouble to make it twice now – but my palate has not caught up – it just tasted rubbery and bland! (I do feel a rant coming on but I will save it for another post!)
However these little biscuits have been a life saver! My friend, P came over yesterday and I showed her how to make these – they were hot out of the oven in 10 minutes and they are gluten free.
Put 200g of peanut butter in a bowl, add 100 – 175 grams of sugar, ( I use 100g the recipe calls for 175 but I cut down all sugar in recipes) add an egg and mix. Put small balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press with the back of a fork (tip if you want them crisp flatten them down – if you like them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle leave them a bit thicker. Also use dark muscovado sugar) Bake at 180 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.
It has been a week where I have needed comforting – I’ve had 9 days of constant migraine so I have focussed on home comforts to soothe myself. I love baking – it is such a nurturing comforting activity. So on Monday I made a lemon drizzle cake and a dark ginger cake. The ginger was wrapped in one of my wax cloths (you can read how they are made on my other blog) – it helped the flavour develop for a couple of days and kept it very moist.
I have also been reaching for comfort food in other ways – this Mac cheese was delicious – why should it be that carbs are demonised recently? I think food is so much more than the elements it is made from. I think this week has seen me rebel because despite cutting down on wheat – I am still getting horrendous migraines!
My new tree arrived this week – we have a large alcove above the fireplace and I decided to buy an artificial tree to decorate as a way of celebrating the seasons. So I have been gathering items together to decorate it for Ostara which falls on the 20th of March – and Easter just after. I am not a pagan, but I love the story behind Ostara and it seems to be more Germanic – either way, Spring is a welcome guest.
I have been collecting egg shells – as well as polystyrene eggs to decorate – E and I will sit down together to paint them today which should be great fun. I will also save a few for little ones when they visit – we have little chicks too.
I am relishing the glorious bright sunny daffodils in abundance outside as well as in. They are so unashamedly vibrant – which is just what is needed after the dark months of January and February.
I have been loving slow sewing – this little Moon Gazing Hare embroidery was a delight to do – you can catch up with it on my made for mi blog. I am really enjoying hand embroidery – it is similar to colouring – there is no counting just following the lines one stitch at a time. It can be done easily while watching listening to the Television.
I am using up all old vintage linens, (I found these pieces in a charity shop) to create mini quilts that I will be posting on made for mi soon. I think the sentiment sums up my week!
Oh! Isn’t waking up on a Sunday morning delightful? No rushing around, no alarm clock or to do list. You can simply slip back into bed with a cup of tea and cosy between the sheets while the soft grey light of February invites hibernation. I’ve been using the wonderful iPad app to catch up with bloggers, it seems to be easier to find and discover new blogs and much nicer to read than the News,- it is well after 11 when I finally emerge, with no raised blood pressure .. and blissful ignorance of politics and economics.
I am wallowing in sensuality this year- mostly guided by Sarah Brethenach’s Romancing the Ordinary – A year of every day indulgences – I can’t recommend it enough. In our busy lives it is so easy to lose sight of the amazing every day experiences -all it requires is a little focus and attention.
Cold, grey, wet, muddy mornings make the shortest month seem the longest. But lingering afternoons and pink sunsets hold out promise. Like matters of the heart, February is full of surprise, contradiction and the spell of the sensuous. Cherish your romantic impulses. Succumb to cabin fever. Indulge in armchair adventures, unusual sleuths, film noir. Become your own courtesan. Light your own fire. Have a clandestine affair with contentment. Play with your own food, hide under the covers. Rediscover, red lips, nails and shoes. Slip on bangles or slip into silk. Trade the treadmill for the Tango. Chocolate becomes you, so show off your curves. Remember flirting is good for the soul. Make peace with your past. Lose your heart to Life.
Doesn’t it make you want to snuggle deep, savour every moment of what February has to offer? The other wonderful delight at this time of year is the chance to see the sunrise at a normal waking hour. There is nothing quite so beautiful as seeing a day unfold while the kettle gently boils, watch it for 10 minutes before returning to a warm bed.
Sunday morning breakfasts are also something to savour, there is no hurry to be out the door, no phone calls that require our attention, no bags to pack or sandwiches to make… just time to relish – conversation over the breakfast table – fluffy omelettes and dark black tea. These soufflé omelettes need a little more time so they are perfect for a Sunday breakfast.
Place a pan on the heat to warm, while you separate three eggs. Whip the egg whites until they will stay in the bowl when you turn it upside down! Then quickly fold in the yolks carefully so as not to knock out all the air.
Shuffle a knob of butter around the pan and then add the egg. Turn on the grill to high. while you grate a small amount of parmesan and sprinkle generously, if you like your eggs cheesy. Then place under the grill to cook the top.
Turn out onto a plate and eat while they are still warm and fluffy. They really do taste delightful and airy -a good start to the day.. or maybe as a brunch…
We are enjoying a wonderful warm summer here in Southern England: as soon as the sun comes out we head out to make the most of it. The beaches are busy, but the garden is quiet the balmy sun warming and browning my pale skin while a lazy breeze rustles the Roses in full bloom their delicate sent drifting along in waves while the dog rolls blissfully in the grass.
The riper the tomatoes the deeper the colour
There is so much to treasure at this time of the year but in particular the appearance of seasonal fruits and vegetables; their freshness and piquancy is at its height. I received some delicious vine ripened tomatoes and a flavoursome cucumber this week – just perfect for gazpacho soup.
To enjoy your own all you need is:
6 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 cucumber peeled
I large red pepper
1 large red onion
1 clove of garlic
100ml olive oil
A splash of Red wine vinegar
A couple of teaspoons of sun dried tomato puree
A large handful of mint fresh from the garden
(I have some sensual lemon mint that just adds a delicate note to the soup)
Just blitz it all up in a liquidiser or blender until you have a smooth consistency
Pass through the sieve to remove the seeds and skin of the peppers and tomatoes
Leave to cool in the fridge for at least an hour or if you don’t want to wait add ice and blitz again
Best enjoyed out in the garden – relaxing with a good book or the Sunday papers,
a nice cool glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a pitcher of Pimms at your side.
Saturday mornings are a pleasure all of their own, it is waking up with that feeling you don’t have to rush anywhere. Weekend breakfasts are lengthy, tea in a tea pot, tea cups and the Guardian Quiz. (Only three correct this week!) I love scotch pancakes (or dropped scones if you prefer), these are extra good for you because they are from my low GI cookbook, I also make them with a little fruit sugar rather than normal sugar. They are filling and mean I can often last out to lunch.
You simply put two heaped tablespoons of SR flour, Wholemeal Flour and one table spoon of porridge oats and Fruit sugar into a bowl. Add half a teaspoon of baking powder and mix well. Then add two large eggs to the centre, gradually bringing in the dry ingredients, add milk gradually until you have a thick batter.
Heat a griddle or frying pan, and brush with a mixture of oil and butter. (Butter creates a lovely buttery flavour to the pancakes, but you have to turn the heat down a little otherwise it smokes). Put a tablespoons of the mixture on the griddle – keeping them slightly apart. Watch the mixture turn from glossy to dull, then turn over to cook the other side. Leave on a kitchen towel to soak any excess oil, delicious to eat while warm.
I have almost finished curtain wrestling, – I can’t call it sewing there was simply too much material! Double width, 90″ drop and lined with black out lining! I had to sew on the dining room table in order to have support for all the fabric! I shall let them hang for a while and then finish the bottoms. As you can see my beloved Bernina is back in action!
One tip I learned from Maria from Clothkits is that she keeps a little pin cushion on her machine, it is an ideal place! This little lovely was bought at a craft fair quite a few years ago, it sits perfectly on that spot! It might be my imagination but I did not have quite so many pins on the floor afterwards!
Cake is also the perfect pick me up – the rain might have been pounding on the windows, but you can’t beat a nice home made Victoria Sponge, cuddled up on the sofa, yet another pot of tea close at hand, watching a good film.
I used cocktail sticks to create a little design on the top.
It looks like a firework! I used the plum jam I made a few weeks ago, it was nice and tart and a great contrast to the sweet icing.
The weather outside might be frightful, but home is so delightful!