Sunday, June 26, 2011

heat wave

As the heat strikes The Family goes Hindu:

A real honey mango and a tika made of dal.

Friday, June 24, 2011

picture of rain

It is the second day I've been trying to take a picture of rain.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

the birthday boy

The Birthday Boy requires a Birthday Cake. Unfortunately some boys want a Spiderman Cake (not chocolate not strawberries but Spiderman, right?).
To avoid commercial icing (sugar) and food colourings (poison) I tried my best to make it healthy and resembling the above. So there you go: Nigel Slater carrot cake under mascarpone and lime frosting with strawberry, almond and chocolate Spiderman. Sounds like a joke. There you are:

Still not to my aesthetics though...
Anyway, it was enjoyed and cherished, until the next time then. Can't wait for another challenge.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

French Saturday

The Bath  Boules Championship (we supported Dad's team):

...followed by The Great Escargot Evening:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Indian mood

I love British-Indian women writers! It all started with Arundhati Roy, whom now I am finding a bit too fancy and overdone. But then I discovered more, each of them truly brilliant. Kiran Desai and her mother Anita Desai - a treat. You read the books and you smell the mango, feel the heat and taste the curry.
Then following the bookshelf theme in the library I have read Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Chitrita Banerji both on food - felt like getting up from bed to cook (or just eat) after one chapter.

Then I tried to read  V.S. Naipaul - but man writing loses all that freshness, tastes and smells of female literature. The only male exception would be this book, but it is neither Indian nor British (but hold on it is one of my favorites for ever and ever).
I am glad there is plenty more there waiting for me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

mid week feast

As the weather persists my cooking went far into December Christmasy menu: Wellington (for main)

and Chocolate Pudding (for pudding).

 The Wellington looked a bit like Starowieyski's poster as I didn't roll dough wide enough. Now, I can't sleep after stuffing myself with the above followed by shot of espresso.
Hope to watch the moon eclipse then. The sky is clear.

Monday, June 13, 2011

cherubs scattering flowers

Olaf took this picture on a gloomy Sunday evening:

Out of the darkness and chaos of everyday life (do not touch the lens!) looms out an unspoiled beauty of cherubs body, levitating in the air and scattering flowers. The bleakness of the place and surrounding creatures doesn't affect the godly baby. There is a better place in its mind and within the boundaries of its own body.

Friday, June 10, 2011

food for the soul

It is so bad, so, so bad today that I made a comfort dinner. And if the misery persists I will have to cook more and eat more just to stay more or less content. So the recipe for success and kind of relaxed state is:

cornish pasty
- this is a local thing and a recipe is my 
own interpretation of what you can buy in bakeries.

2 onions
4 potatoes
2 carrots
some green leaf cabbage
(if you have some turnip - yes! 
any British veg would work here) 
2 quorn burgers 
(as a substitute for beef)
1 tbs english mustard
butter (a lot)

- made with lots of butter, flour, nutmeg, pepper and milk  

- ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry

Fry the whole lot (chopped obviously) in a covered pan until done, add mustard at the end. Make the bechamel. Roll the pastry. Assemble. No need to pre-bake pastry as long as you roll your pastry really thinly. Bake 25 min in 200 degrees.
Eat not too soon as it can be runny when scorching hot. Serve with leaves and loads of coriander.

For gods sake this is a winter food! It is June and pissing rain.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


This is whats on in our house at the moment (sorry for giving into self-pity):

When all the cows were sleeping,
And the sun had gone to bed,
Up jumped the scarecrow,
And this is what he said:

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow,
With a flippy floppy hat,
I can shake my hands like this,
And shake my feet like that!

When all the hens were roosting,
And the moon behind the cloud,
Up jumped the scarecrow,
And shouted very loud:

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow,
With a flippy floppy hat,
I can shake my hands like this,
And shake my feet like that!

When the dogs were in the kennels,
And the doves were in the loft,
Up jumped the scarecrow,
And whispered very soft:

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow,
With a flippy floppy hat,
I can shake my hands like this,
And shake my feet like that!

Does it help with the birds: NO.

Monday, June 6, 2011

spiritual journey

They are not easy and so was this one
Not easy to get there. 
Not easy to be there. 
Not easy to understand what you were told.

Kids? Uncontrolled mass of destruction.


It is on the other side and in fact it is a different world.

Florian didn't like it at all. He doesn't like hippies in BMW 4x4s, well that's what he said. I would love to live there, the country side feeling in the middle of city centre is what I actually need. And the hippies.

Earthship wall under construction

 The Yard

Communal open space

Saturday, June 4, 2011

that's my kill

Our yellow peppers are under attack by earwigs. They come out at night and eat the youngest leaves and flowers. I found out last night when I noticed four of them feasting on young shoots. As a real farmer my eyes got bloodshot and mercilessly I killed three, one was lucky enough to escape. I'll get him (and his mates and his family and his friends) - tonight.

How could that happen? Despite the fact that we decided to keep the plants indoors as the others planted outside were eaten by birds or something. Who for Gods sake would do this? Bloody bastards. Sometimes it is more than I can take.

Friday, June 3, 2011

salads war

After two months we can feed ourselves on leaves every day. It was a battle, but we won.

Seeds planted at the beginning of April. That was a tough period as the kids were inspecting first soil filled pots and later new seedlings. Some died after being pulled out too many times. Also - the mess, you can imagine. Even though we have a large sill with a perfect south facing aspect at the peak point, it was not enough.

Plants were moved outside and replanted to "made by Florian boxes" in early May. This was the toughest time. Two slugs patrols at night weren't enough. Green flies attacks were suppressed by my special garlic infusion and hand squashed twice daily. Many of the plants died and we were sadly learning our lesson. As soon as they were established, there is not much need for any of that. Snails and slugs are collected every evening but that's it. (We are NOT killing them if you are concerned. They got free transport to the front of the house and into the ditch they go. Although I DO kill flies... By the way this great book advices to pour boiling water on them!)

There is quite a bit of diversity in the boxes. I was trying to mix them so that they all couldn't be eaten by a pest. There are more popular leaves with snails. They love round and sweet lettuces while they are avoiding mustard and rocket. I planted some garlic cloves to repel green flies and they surprisingly grow reaching about 15cm now. There are leeks here and there, red onions and one dwarf bean which is doing very poorly. All my swiss chards were killed by some magic. They got brown and then translucent spots after which I pulled them out. It is a tough game for tough people. I am telling you if your heart is weak do not get into gardening.

Lollo Rossa, All Year Round, Webbs Wonderful, Rocket, Another Rocket,  Red Mustard..

Lesson learned: you can have plenty of salads but you won't get a plant from each seed.  I didn't know that they can be so tasty either. Rocket doesn't resemble shop bought at all. The leaves are thicker and much bigger.
Now every two weeks I am seeding to trays about 10-14 different plants just to get a constant supply.
And I'll tell you all about the tomato war next time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Olaf brought this today from the nursery (we are not saying crèche any more). I couldn't believe my eyes: look at this handwriting.