Monday, 26 November 2012

View from a bridge

Our river is several lakes linked by fast flowing water: all very exciting so long as your house is safe and you're not trying to go anywhere! The village and his wife were all out to look.
I'm heading east to visit friends in Abbotts Ann and then Hove. I shall be away overnight and am hoping for kind weather. Husband and Youngest were making "how will we cope", "what will we eat", "who's making the sandwiches" mutterings as they left for school this morning.

Friday, 16 November 2012

It's good to talk - and walk

Last Saturday I went up to London to meet up with five other ‘girls’ from my year, my house, and other ‘old girls’, for lunch at Quaglino’s. I had met all 'my lot' in the last five years, but one of our number hadn’t seen any of the others since 1977. We had such a good time catching up and reminiscing.

Practicenurse and I met in 1969 when I went to the school (I still hate that she’d been boarding there since she was 5); GP joined us in 1970 which was also when Earlyyearsteacher came to school. Schoolfriend (and Youngest’s Godmother, owner of one of my chairs) came in 1973 and we’ve kept in close touch ever since. And Ladyflautist came in 1974. I left for sixth form in a boys’ school, the others stayed. That we went from four to eleven over a longish period, but at a formative time, seems to have resulted in very strong bonds despite years of not meeting up. We were all remarkably like ourselves, both in character and appearance. We didn’t stop talking, and I think we only managed to break up because no one was leaving alone.
I stayed with Schoolfriend overnight. We had a girly evening in front of the TV, did some useful work sorting her bedroom now the carpet’s been laid – I’m a dab hand at hanging curtains as you might expect – and took a walk in her local park before I returned home to cook a roast dinner. (No one had starved in my absence.)
This Sunday we will take a walk and a pub lunch with a gang of Husband’s Gunner friends, made at Staff College when in their early thirties – a different sort of bond, but just as strong!

Friday, 9 November 2012


Just so you know I'm still here, look what I've finished!
I shall show it to it's owner next week so I hope she approves. Personally I don't like the sensation of sitting on it (it tips too far back) and it's not really my cup of tea, but I'm pleased with my work.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Recipe for success

We've been in Dorset.
It was a bit damp but a welcome break despite the lack of Eldest. We walked, pub lunched, ate fish and chips, entertained friends for the day, went to the seaside, did a spot of gardening, looked at Daniel Craig, let Husband win at Scrabble, fought over the puzzles in The Times, and enjoyed the view from the top of the ridge.
Meanwhile I've been asked to post the recipe for Prize Pumpkin. So, in the hope that it's not too late (and pumpkins might be on offer now of course), here it is:

7cm fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Seeds extracted from 8 cardamom pods, ground
1-2 fresh green chillies finely chopped
8 skinless chicken breasts cut into 1cm slices
125g butter
625-750g onions, thinly sliced
6-8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
125g button mushrooms
50g plain flour
450ml milk
1 large pumpkin (3.25- 3.50kg)
Sunflower oil
Melt ¾ of the butter in a large pan, add onions and cook over a low heat until soft. Add the ginger, cardamom, chillies and garlic then stir. Add the remaining butter and then the chicken and mushrooms once it’s melted and stir to coat. Stir in the flour then gradually add the milk and season with salt. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time until very thick. Remove from the heat.
Cut a circular hole in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and all the stringy interior leaving only the firm flesh.
Spoon the chicken mixture into the pumpkin and replace the ‘lid’. Smear the outside with sunflower oil and place in a roasting tin. Place in oven at 240°C for 25-30 minutes. Now turn it down to 180°C for about 1 ¼ hours.
To serve, scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin with the chicken mixture. Serves 8.

Josceline Dimbleby tells you to move the cooked pumpkin onto a serving dish. In my experience you need to be able to serve it in whatever you cooked it in! Also, it tends to ‘leak’ pumpkin juices so don’t use anything too shallow! Any leftovers make really flavoursome soup.