Tuesday, 30 December 2008

visiting


Ant and I have really enjoying visiting with friends this week. We have been out to see Sonya and Kevin and play with Max and Claire. They are really good kids, the kind that make you want to have kids of your own (almost).

Sunday, 28 December 2008

vegetables


Paul gave me a new cookbook for Christmas--yay! That means more tasty ideas for meals are in my future! And I went out and bought two new kitchen gadgets; one was this new palm peeler. It slips onto one finger and then you hold it in your palm. Ant and I both tried it out and found that it worked well once we got the hang of it.


And we also bought a lovely mini mandoline--which has a very sharp double-sided blade in the centre. It makes perfect eighth of an inch slices, as seen in these photos.


On Christmas Eve Ant and I were out with Mum buying our vegetables for our special dinner. We were at Farmer Clem's and we saw this fantastic squash! I wish we had bought it but really, we would be eating squash for days.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

happy birthday to Matt!


Matt's birthday is on Monday and tonight we celebrated with this wonderful pi cake that Lucie made. Wow--impressive. Also very tasty.


In the background you can see Guitar Hero World Tour, which we bought for Matt, but the guitar is broken. :( I hope that he can get a replacement soon so Ant and Matt can play together (and maybe Lucie and I could occasionally try it as well).

Matt's 9*pi birthday is coming up in the spring, so we plan to celebrate that as well, of course!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Christmas preparations


Presents: for my tutor group (27 tubes of confectionery)


Shopping: at the German Christmas market on the South Bank near Waterloo


Shopping: at the South Bank book market


Church event: the Good Neighbours Christmas Party


Trying out my outfit for the staff party tomorrow evening (complete with domestic scene in the background)

Saturday, 6 December 2008

brief update

My friend Tawnya is staying with us again for a couple of weeks while she is here in London auditioning. On Wednesday this week we went out with my bookclub girls to a pub in Camden to hear some folk music. Although, it I'm honest, I really went for the international vegetarian tapas! It was delicious. The music was suitably folky--the band we saw had a guitar, a banjo, drums, other percussion (including donkey's teeth) and a small keyboard with a blow tube attached--which made it sound a bit like an accordion. It was very much foot tapping music.

I'm off to do some tutoring this morning and then Tawnya and I are going to head into the city for the Cologne Christmas Market near Waterloo. We also are hosting house group tonight and in between all this I hope to make some gifts and also mark a set of books. Here's hoping. Oh, and some cleaning, and relaxing, too.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

visit with Raye


My friend Raye was here over the weekend and we went into the city last night. We were walking along Regent Street and saw these amazing lights strung over the road. These are my kind of Christmas lights: simple, monochrome, and geometrical.

We turned onto Carnaby Steet and saw that it was hung with huge snowmen and snowflakes.


We got tickets to see Sound of Music at the London Palladium. (We got ripped off, though. I will happily give several useful tips to anyone hoping to buy cheap tickets for a show.) The show was really good and we both enjoyed it loads. We were sitting in the top row of the Upper Circle and actually had a decent view. We bought the theatre ice cream (£3 each!) at the interval.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

recycling and fashion

My friends and family will be forgiven for describing me as a recycling dictator. But really, what is not to like about recycling? It's good for the earth, and it feels good for me. It's not really that big a hassle. I am dedicated to recycling paper, bottles, cans, and plastic bags. I have a favourite type of recycling, though: buying second hand clothes! There's a brilliant second hand charity shop near me that I often pop into on the weekend. Hopefully I will take some more photos to show you what I have bought there, but let me try to describe some purchases. Three things stand out over the last year. I bought a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress there--I admit I pulled it out originally because of the label. I know that DVF was the inventor of the wrap dress but never thought I'd try one on, let alone own one because of the cost. I tried it on to find that it fit and actually looked quite good. It's a graphic print design, mostly black and white.... Really a picture would help so I'll get one soon.

Then a little while later I found a Jigsaw suit--it's an expensive high street brand that is above my usual level by a long way. It's a very smart brown suit that came with a skirt and trousers. The trousers were a a bit too tight and also much too short. But the straight, slim skirt was perfect and I love the jacket. I bought a light rose blouse at the same time that I tried on with it. It's been such a good purchase and I've worn it on parents' evenings a few times. I feel very professional wearing it.


Today I stopped by on my way home to find a Zara black tweed suit (above) that I am so excited about! It's got a line of piping around the top of the skirt and the lapels of the jacket. The skirt has a little set of pleats at the back just above the hem. So cute and very much the business. It's great that someone decided to recycle such a lovely outfit. I also send donations there and I hope that others enjoy my clothes. (And in the process, the charity benefits, too.) Isn't recycling great?

Monday, 17 November 2008

learning

Pretty much my favourite thing to do: learn. New ideas for learning:

1. Download podcasts from iTunesU, a part of the iTunes store that has thousands of free lectures, audio files, and videos about loads of things.
2. TED talks. I have seen a few now and they are brilliant and so diverse.
3. Maths Ed connections. I went to a day conference on Saturday and started networking. I heard some interesting talks and plan to continue attending day conferences once per term. The next one is in Cambridge. I also plan to start attending seminars at King's College London as well.
4. The Cornell method of notetaking, that Paul told me about. I love listening to people teach me things. Why doesn't it happen more often?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

recent cooking


In my continued quest to find meat dishes I enjoy I have discovered this recipe for lamb kofte. My recipe books has it as "middle eastern meatloaf" and one of its variations is to grill it it in small cylinders to use in pittas. We like the taste better than the ones we buy at the kebab shop.
400g lamb mince
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground coriander
Mix and then shape into cylinders. Grill and serve in pitta pockets with tomatoes and parsley salad.
--From Simply in Season



I made Borscht, a Mennonite dish, for the first time yesterday (also from the Simply in Season cookbook). It is made with beetroot and so it comes out really pink in colour. It's really easy to make with chicken, carrots, potatoes, dill and parsley. Justin is staying with us for a while and we enjoyed it together last night with toasted pitta.

Monday, 10 November 2008

i <3 my washing machine


This is the first time I have seen the bottom of the laundry basket in months! Our new washing machine has a bigger drum and is so much quieter!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

tiring but profitable

This year I have had a little promotion to Gifted & Talented Coordinator in Maths. And this week was the first time I ticked off some of the things on my job description. On Monday we had an INSET day. In the morning there was a whole school session, half about More Able, Gifted, and Talented education and half about Learning to Learn (shortened to MAG&T and L2L respectively). In the afternoon I led a session in the maths department about how we wish to choose to identify our gifted students. We did a little card sort activity in pairs and used the results to agree as a group the criteria we felt most delineated which students we would consider gifted in maths. I wrote this up and added it to the MAG&T policy that my Head of Maths and I wrote while we were part of the G&T action group last year.

One provision we make for the more able and gifted students in maths is to enter them into the national Maths Challenges. The first of these was on Thursday, for students in years 11 to 13. I organised two lunch time training sessions and then the event on Thursday. It was really good to see that everything went smoothly and I sent the completed papers off to the University of Leeds on Thursday afternoon. The challenge was 90 minutes long and we had 35 students participating. I think one of the students may have out-scored me, which is indicative of his ability! I'm sure he'll get a certificate and be passed on to the more advanced rounds.

This was a really tiring week with all this extra stuff going on as well as teaching, prep work, reports, and marking. But it was profitable and I feel like I will be more ready for organising the next Maths Challenge. Working with gifted students is really what I love and I hope my career will continue in this sort of vein.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

kensington palace


I had a lovely day sightseeing at Kensington Palace. The Palace grounds have been made into a park and I saw some coloured leaves there today! I have been craving them. They seem to be very uncommon here in London. One day the leaves are green on the trees and the next day they are brown and lying on the ground. It makes me really sad and I feel homesick for the colourful leaves of Nova Scotia.


Kensington Palace was bought by King William and Queen Mary to be away from the centre of London. They had Christopher Wren fix it up into a palace and today half of it is open to the public (the other half is still used for residences for members of the extended Royal family.


I walked through William's and Mary's suites of rooms, a lot of which was original and other parts very well restored. Victoria lived there as a Princess and her rooms very very interesting (and smaller). This sculpture of Queen Victoria is outside the Palace and was made my her daughter, Princess Louise.


I went into the Orangery restaurant for lunch--a conscious decision to enjoy a more luxurious meal than usual for me when I'm out on my own. I have never eaten at a table for one at a restaurant, but I had a really enjoyable time, helped by the delicious food and the calm surroundings.


Each table had a little orange plant. The whole restaurant was light and white; one can imagine rows of citrus trees growing here.


In order to keep spending down (a bit), I ordered two starters and a cup of tea. One was a delicious salad that I can definitely imagine making myself.
Items in my lunchtime salad:
rocket
curly endive (also called frisee)
goats cheese
plum poached with lots of cloves, skin on
walnuts
honey dressing
Served with not too sweet raisin bread

I had courgette and sweetcorn soup as well served with "artisan bread", one slice of which had garlic pieces baked into it. Yum, yum. I ordered tulsi mint tea to drink, which was a proper English pot of loose tea served with a cup and a strainer. I ate my lunch very slowly, enjoying each mouthful and the view out to the manicured gardens. I also was reading my book (the book club selection for November, The End of Mr Y).

I walked through the park and then nipped over to the V&A for an hour to complete a really relaxing day of culture and history in London.

inside out

I have started reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, a book which I always saw on my parents' bookshelf, but never picked up. Then when I saw it at a local second hand bookshop I thought it might be a good choice from which to learn. Here is what I am learning so far.

Change happens from the inside out. I know from experience that willing change is only partially effective. In our unguarded moments, what and who we really are becomes obvious. And Jesus says that our right living has to go beyond that of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:20)--and the way in which we go beyond their righteousness is by gaining internal righteousness, not just an outward control. Right living must be an "internal work of God upon the heart." In Ephesians (which I am reading at breakfast) it says that we need to "be made new in the attitude of your minds" (4:23).

Our--My--ingrained habits are not God-pleasing. "What You're after is truth from the inside out," says David in Psalm 51 (The Message), "Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life." God works in our hearts to change us, and as well as being changed, we can stop judging others as well. Reading the first chapter really inspired me. "Our world is hungry for genuinely changed people," Foster says, and I think, I could be that changed person. God, change me. "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."

And the Spiritual Disciplines are a way for us to get ready for change. They are a way of "sowing to the Spirit" (Galatians 6:8), a way to prepare the ground for the growth that God will bring. We do not produce our own right living, we only tend what God is doing there. "The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us." And so, Foster says, we are called to a "path of disciplined grace". It is called grace because it is a free gift of God and disciplined because it is a conscious action to follow this path.

"I want to drink God.... I'm thirsty for God-alive" (Psalm 42:2, The Message). I have now read the first, introductory chapter, and now I am on to the chapter on meditation. It has been odd to read about meditation while on the train or bus--I think this may become more difficult to continue. I was visiting St Martin in the Fields church yesterday and I read a bit there in the quiet sanctuary. I hope I can learn to practice the Spiritual Disciplines. Lord, change me.


Sunday, 26 October 2008

birthday


It has been a lovely birthday this year. Two close friends came over last night and helped me eat the Harvest Cake that I have been dreaming about for quite some time. Matt and Helen and Ant all agreed that it was very tasty--success! it is a recipe that really suits me; it starts off with grated beetroot, carrot, and courgette.



The batter is a mellow pink colour, not unlike the beetroot spice cake I made recently.



The icing is made with goat's cheese and cream cheese sweetened with maple syrup. So delicious. Although I chilled the icing as directed it was still a bit runny and so I tried to convince everyone that it was really a sauce. We served it with some Merlot, and enjoyed it heartily. (Nice photography, Helen!)


Ant gave me these lovely flowers for my birthday, along with the Wii Fit, which I am quite excited to try. (I was so tired from work on Friday that I opened the box but didn't set it up. I hope to use it most of this week, though.)


Other plans for my half term week: dentist, optometrist, new washing machine delivery, and a hopefully a trip to Liverpool next weekend with Ant to see his family. Also, a half day of marking, a book review to write, and some sightseeing to do!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

tate modern


Felicity, who is staying with us, came out with me tonight to visit the Tate Modern briefly. I just try to get out into the city as much as I can so even an hour at a museum makes me happy. It was lovely to be in the city at dusk on a crisp day. It was close to dark when we came out, as you can see by the picture of the Tate Modern above.

We walked over the Millennium bridge, enjoying the view of St Paul's. Felicity was taking a picture and I caught her at it with my shot.


The City of London was beautiful tonight, and wasn't even marred for me by the cranes and construction.

lunch salad


Another recipe, this time by request. :) I made this cauliflower and chicken salad at lunch today, from the Moosewood cookbook.

Roasted Red Pepper & Cauliflower Salad

1 roasted red pepper, sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large russet potato, sliced into rounds
2 T olive oil
dash of salt

4 c spinach or salad leaves
2 T chopped parsley
8 olives

Dressing
2 T vegetable oil
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t fennel seeds
1/4 t salt
pepper

Roast the cauliflower and potato slices, tossed with olive oil and salt (about 20 minutes). Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Arrange the salad leaves on plates or a platter. Mix the red pepper and roasted vegetables and place on the salad leaves. Drizzle the dressing on top, sprinkle with parsley and olives.


When I made this salad today I increased the quantities of cauliflower to a whole head and used several potatoes. I omitted the olives since Ant is not a big fan (and hence we never have any in the house). And I added grilled chicken on top to make this into a meal. I cooked the chicken on our new, bigger George Foreman grill.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

two recipes


I am so obsessed with food that I plan our week's meals in advance. I do this so that I can decide which recipes I want to cook and make sure I have all the ingredients on hand. Tonight I had planned two recipes to make from my new Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook.

The Tunisian pumpkin soup was delicious and came with a "spice swirl" (pictured below). The spice swirl is an essential part of the soup, I discovered. It was the tastiest little thing I have ever eaten! And I served the soup with a bulgur salad with artichoke hearts and a little feta. The steak on top is not part of the Moosewood recipe but is an addition to satisfy my carnivore husband.


My food obsession means that once I find a cookbook that fits my style I start working through it pretty regularly. I have been fortunate to get three new cookbooks in the last two months and I am using them to plan all our meals at the moment. On a quiet evening, I make a list of all the things currently in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. Then I pick recipes from my current favourite cookbooks that use up these ingredients. I add in a few more recipes and ingredients and order it all online. I keep the planning notes on the fridge so that when I get home from work I know can get to work without the dreadful feeling of having to think up what we are going to eat each night. We get to eat a lot of different things this way and I get to try out loads of new recipes.

Tunisian Pumpkin Soup

2 c chopped onions
2 T olive oil
1/2 c sliced carrots
1/2 c sliced parsnips
1 1/2 t salt
2 1/2 c water or stock
1 1/4 c apple juice
1/2 c tomato juice
1 t cumin
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t paprika
1 3/4 c cooked pumpkin (=15 oz can)

Spice Swirl
2 T olive oil
1 t minced garlic
4 t coriander
1 t ground caraway seeds
1/4 t cayenne
2 T lemon juice
2 T chopped cilantro
1/8 t salt

In a large soup pot, saute the onions, then add the vegetables. Saute for five minutes, then add stock, juices, and spices. Cover and bring to the boil, simmer until veg is soft. Add pumpkin and then puree the soup until smooth.

To make the spice swirl, heat the oil in a small skillet and briefly saute the garlic. Add the spices and cook, stirring constantly. Remove from heat after two minutes and add the lemon juice, cilantro, and salt.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with some spice swirl.

reasons

I use Google Reader to peruse lots of blogs and websites, more than I could ever visit individually. One of these is No Impact Man. His blog is self-described as being written by "a guilty liberal who finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut", etc, etc, "and generally turns into a tree-hugging lunatic". Some of his posts are very much too political for me and too extreme. A couple of days ago, though, he posted something that really resonated with me. Should we all commit suicide?, he asked. Why are we saving the planet? He mentioned a conversation he had with a friend about saving resources. If our aim is to use resources as sparingly as possible, surely it would just be better for the earth and for this aim if there were no humans. So the question emerges, is human life a positive? What could life be for that it would warrant the use of resources?
For what should we use our lives and our precious time here on this planet in order to justify the resources we use? For what should we use our lives to justify this precious gift?
Because if we're making waste of our lives and all the impact they cause, isn't that even worse than wasting the resources?

And I think this is a very important question, but one that the blogger does not answer. What purpose in life could be important enough for living on this beautiful earth and enjoying it? Getting to know God is the only thing that could be a high enough purpose. Loving and being loved by him is the fulfilment of our purpose here on earth.

Friday, 17 October 2008

apple tea


We have a visitor here who is staying for a couple of nights who has just come back from a long trip travelling in Europe and Turkey. She brought back this amazing apple tea from Turkey that is served in this tiny glass cup. (The cup is about the same size as a shot glass.) It was delicious--exactly the kind of "hippy" drink that I like.

Monday, 13 October 2008

happy thanksgiving

I remembered (Canadian) Thanksgiving this year! And I also managed to cook my first real big meal. And we had a few friends round and we used my Canada maple leaf napkins. Sadly there are no pictures but it was a really good time--quite relaxing as well since I paced the cooking better than usual. Everything was ready in time and the kitchen was also mostly clean when everyone arrived--that contributes a lot to my enjoyment. We had some lovely rose wine (thanks, Matt and Lucie) and everyone seemed to have a really good time. Lucie and Dave had a vegetarian nut roast (which may or may not have been pre-prepared). Others had lovely turkey breast (which may or may not have come without the rest of the turkey). We had loads of food, but I completely failed to remember to make gravy, so the stuffing was a bit dry. Oh, well. The pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream made up for this! You know a big meal, so the saying goes, by the number of vegetable side dishes. Well, we had brussel sprouts (with garlic--actually very nice); roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips; carrot and fennel salad; and mushroom stuffing. Afterwards we sat around in the living room, chatting, watching TED talks, and yawning at each other. Mmmm. A lovely evening.

Oh, and aren't real turkey sandwiches a wonderful thing for lunch the next day?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

outings

Recently we have done a few things that show why living in London is so great. Last week we unexpectedly got invited with one of Ant's colleagues to see John le Carre speak at the Southbank Centre. Ant has read two of his spy books and I have read one--next I think I would like to read The Constant Gardener. He was talking about his life and the places and experiences that led him to write. He is now 80 (I think) and still not describing his current book as his last. It was fascinating to listen to him and hear his answers to questions from the audience. We liked his voice and his new book is available as an audiobook (read by him), so Ant thinks he would like to get that.

Yesterday I went with my colleagues to the dog races in Wimbledon. I am not really sure that I would go back again, but it was fun to do something different with my work friends and we did have a good time. My friend Sarah who has moved on from the school was visiting and I took this very dodgy picture of us while we were outside watching a race. It was really cold out there and Sarah lent me her hat.


Our group went in and out to the trackside and then back in to the lounge area between races to eat, drink, and chat.

Today Sarah and I went out for lunch (with a few more of our work friends) and then I took the train with her into the city so she could catch her train home. I left her at Paddington station and popped out to look around in that area because I don't think I have ever been there before. I really like the look of the Georgian houses that are around there.


I love that there are these varied things to do in London. We don't really take advantage of them enough.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

more maths

Adding to yesterdays post, I found an amazing video today about dimensions (Dimensions by Jos Leys - √Čtienne Ghys - Aur√©lien Alvarez). The animations are stunning. I have only watched the first chapter so far, but I was impressed by how the beauty of mathematics was easy to see. The Creative Commons license means it can be used quite freely and it comes in more than a handful of languages.

I am also planning to watch a history of maths show on BBC four tomorrow, hosted by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. Wow-ee!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

some maths links and ideas

Today I just saw this brilliant YouTube video about a chef making very thin noodles. The video illustrated the powers of two really well.

Owen reminded me of the video of James Blunt singing about his love for a triangle.

I also read this article today about how to help your child learn the times tables and a book that explores patterns in the times tables. I have decided that both of my year seven classes are going to get frequent times table tests this year because it's an obstacle that must be overcome to feel confident in maths in later years. I'm also planning on doing a lot more mental maths methods teaching this year. We have been talking about the strategies we use when adding or subtracting in our heads. The questions we have been doing started with 14 - 6, for example, and we worked up to 67 - 38. The first part of the scheme of work emphasises written methods, but I think they are less useful in the long run. Students have to be able to calculate in their head, and know when to calculate mentally and when to use a written method (or a calculator).

Monday, 29 September 2008

slow release energy

Anybody tired of cooking posts yet? Just say and I will stop. I am really trying to stop my 3:30 space-out time at work. I find that at the end of the day I am exhausted and also swamped with work to do that I have a hard time motivating myself to keep going. The pile that builds up just seems so insurmountable by the end of the day but everything is also so urgent. I feel defeated and I have grown accustomed to eating mindlessly at this time. I am also in need of perking up, though, so it is hard to stop myself. So I am trying to substitute better foods at this time of day.


Tonight I made some oatcakes to try to insert into this snack attack. I think they are a bit bigger than they were supposed to be according to the recipe, since I made 12 and I was meant to make 16. But I am hoping that one will be substantial enough for me to get the energy to make it through my day. I need to have the energy to cycle home, too.

I think I will also need to take another snack food--maybe some fruit to nibble on because the act of snacking also seems to be a motivator (and it has been for me since uni days when I snacked my way through exam time). Either that or my brain needs reprogramming. It's quite bad news when there are chocolates of something left over from my tutor group and I end up mindlessly eating my way through the ten that remain in the box (after all, ten does not split between 28 students very well). Then I end up feeling ill and disappointed in myself.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

inspiration

Tonight I went out to Uxbridge to visit Naomi and Andrew and attend church with them. It was nice to be back at the old church and it was good to have some extra teaching today. God's vision is so inspiring--to think that I can be a part of what he is doing here on earth. I also took the opportunity to read while sitting on the tube for quite a long time. Every time I get inspired, I think, I really must read more. Today I feel inspired to live authentically and excellently--thinking back to Rich's motto: "Excellence is a habit. We are what we repeatedly do" (Aristotle). In my day-to-day life I can be more excellent by consistently making small choices to use my time wisely (which has been plaguing me lately) and to keep in step with the Spirit. As we sang tonight, "Fill my gaze with things as yet unseen."

My tube reading today was The Conflict of Visions, which I have now finished, and Adapting and Extending Secondary Mathematics Activities. Both of these books have made a real impression on me, although in different ways (haha!). There are so many things to think about. I have so many more things I want to ponder and try to express and build on. But now, to bed.

Friday, 26 September 2008

greens

Mum and Dad gave me a new cookbook while we were visiting with them in August: Simply in Season. It's a companion cookbook to the Mennonite classic More with Less, which I have loved and used for years. Today I used it to make a variation of spanikopita called Chard Utopia (!) for our church harvest lunch tomorrow. It was my first time working with filo (or phyllo) pastry and very exciting it was too. First I chopped up mounds of greens, including chard, rocket, and the one that Sainsbury's simply labels "greens".


I added feta cheese, and garlic.


Then I layered the greens mixture with the pastry sheets, each one brushed with olive oil. It came out a lovely golden brown colour, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if it tastes good.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

the week ahead

Tonight I did something I have never done before in preparation for the week of work. Perhaps it is the healthy living magazine (Zest) I have been reading. Or perhaps that my mother told me she is totally eating low GI now (what an inspiration!). I prepared a soup tonight to eat over the week and I made the first two days of salad to go with it.

I made Caribbean Sweet Potato Coconut Soup from my new Moosewood cookbook (page 29 for the one reader who may be interested!). Here I am defrosting 2 cups of stock that I had frozen in cup measures, then popped out into a freezer bag. (Hey--I forgot to tell you that I roasted my first chicken two Saturdays ago and then I made my first stock the next day with the bones. All with the help of Mr Bittman.)


And the soup is made with lots of lovely sweet vegetables and coconut milk and orange juice. I had a small bowl tonight and I have a flask I will use to take it to school this week.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

British party

I had such a great time last night celebrating my citizenship with some friends who came over. It was really nice to have my friends mix as well--not something that happens very much. I had some colleagues, some church friends, some new friends, and some of Ant's friends there. I wish I had taken more pictures! I guess I was too busy pulling things out of the oven and topping up (or was it emptying?) the Pimm's pitcher.

Dave was pressed into service when he arrived and he constructed this amazing cheese and pineapple hedgehog. Ant told me that this was a food he always ate in Liverpool when he was young, and my British guests confirmed that they remembered it from their childhoods.


Ant made the cucumber sandwiches and they were snapped up. I managed to get a photo just before they were all devoured. Very British with the crusts removed.


I ordered most of the other food from Sainsbury's: toad-in-the-hole, steak and kidney pies, cocktail sausages, onion bhajis, vegetable spring rolls and samosas, quiches. I did make the puddings, though, chocolate trifle and cream scones. I am so pleased with the scones (from my new Bittman cookbook), which we ate with clotted cream and Grammie's strawberry and raspberry jams. Yummm--it was delicious.