Bananagrams is a daily routine for the Troubadour and me, usually after breakfast. If you like Scrabble, you’ll like Bananagrams even better, or at least you will if you prefer creating good words to thrashing your opponents! Some of my friends (she knows who she is!) find the whole competitiveness thing utterly alluring. Getting a two-letter word onto a triple words score is all that matters even if you have no idea what that word means … not me, my friends, I’m rubbish at Scrabble. But cast your eye on this picture – such fun!
Not enough Cs in the pack though – I wanted to add avocado, garlic, coriander and Mexican (we allow ourselves one proper name each per game! So adaptable). C’est la vie. I got round ‘rocket’ by going francaise. Pretentious? Moi? Will try and remember to take some photos of the finished dishes and post them on here. It’s dinner for twelve hungry potters so let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Here’s a cautionary tale however:
Before you promise chocolate pistachio fudge (an old Nigella recipe, very easy and good), check you have a shop where you can buy ready-shelled nuts. I didn’t. I searched around and eventually had to buy pistachios in shells. My recipe called for 150g nuts and each of my packs had 200g (I bought two as I had no idea how much weight would be lost in the shelling). But now I do. Let me tell you, dear friends, that 200g of pistachios in shells amounts to 103g shelled nuts, a vast pile of debris for your compost heap, and two shredded thumbs. I have half a pack left but can’t face them. The troubadour can have them with his beer as a reward for going out, uncomplaining, to the shed to fetch the ladder for my aerial view photographs!
Have had a couple of frustrating days with Internet connections. Crossing fingers this connection lasts long enough for post to go out … anyway I have two things to say to you all:
- Happy Solstice! There’s a walk in the woods this afternoon in North Annsmuir Forest near Ladybank, and we all have to take something edible-by-wildlife to hang on a tree. It’s being led by a bone fide Person of the Cloth – Church of Scotland no less – and if that isn’t cause for celebration and hope for the year to come, I don’t know what is. In case I’m being obscure, I’m talking about formal religion embracing the numinous …
- And as with the title of this post, rest in peace Lionel Blue. I’ve loved him for decades. It’s the way he expresses (sorry, expressed) his desire to do the right thing, and over and over again his disappointment and self-forgiveness at not quite managing it. Especially on the food front! So the night he died I thought about making a pot of lentil soup, and ended up making Rocky Road instead … 20,000 calories in every mouthful (depending on the size of your mouth of course). In the lovely obituaries that have appeared in the last couple of days I have learned that Rabbi Blue used to address God as ‘Fred’ – and would sit with Him on the sofa, having a cuddle and a laugh. I’ve decided to call Her ‘Geraldine’, and let her rummage round the kitchen cupboards while I footer about with the flour and eggs and sugar. The link I’ve given for Lionel Blue is an interview in the Guardian, written a couple of years ago, and it’s brilliant, so do have a read if you want to be cheered up.
For further cheer-enhancement, try:
250g dark chocolate, melted with 150g milk chocolate, 175g butter and a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup; add half a big bag of mini-marshmallows, 100g crushed tea biscuits, 50g glace cherries and 50g chopped nuts (hazelnuts are excellent, but use what you have). Stir it all together and pour into a lined tin about 12″ by 9″. Let it chill. Slices like a dream, makes about 24 portions but again, that depends on the size of your portion/mouth … This is based on a Nigella Lawson recipe so you will know that it breaks all bounds of restraint. And a good thing too, at this time of year. From now on, the days are getting longer!
But we’ve only just had Hallowe’en!
Well, some things need a bit of planning ahead. So I got my four Christmas recipe books out tonight (Delia, Nigella, Elizabeth David and Good Housekeeping ‘Christmas Made Easy’) to have a bit of a forage. The link I’ve given takes you to a good article in the Telegraph by Leah Hyslop about this dreadful habit of acquiring cookbooks that might not get used very often … remind you of anyone? I’m pleased to see my favourites are nearly all listed. There’s also a listing of a Scandinavian one I’ve never seen – Hahnemann – and I started thinking about adding to my groaning shelf.
Then I remembered I’d been intending to follow up an ad I saw in the local paper. FareShare Scotland is recruiting volunteers to collect food donations from customers at supermarkets across the UK, to complement their work in recycling fresh food which would otherwise be wasted.
Waste food? Can’t have that. So I’ve signed up. The dates in question are 1st, 2nd and 3rd December. My mother died on 2nd December 1977 so I chose that date – she was a dinner lady, and took great pleasure in offering 2nd, 3rd, 7th helpings to all us hungry kids. Then when nobody could take any more, if there was still anything left it got brought home … throughout my childhood I had at least two school dinners a day! That’s probably why I’ve got such a good grip of Scotland (spot the euphemism).
So now I can go back to my recipe books and my daydreams about all the nice festive things I might conjure up. And be eternally grateful that I’m not going hungry anytime soon.
If anybody of you fancy joining in the FareShare initiative, it’s only a 3 hour stint at participating Tesco stores – do think about it. It’ll give your turkey and plum pudding, or your festive Smorgasbord, that extra Je ne sais quoi …
OK I am responding to an invitation to link my blog with another Hallowe’en one, entitled ‘Pumpkins and Togetherness’, by an American blogging lady who calls her blog ‘Recipe in a Bottle’. She has a great way of embracing the season and its little people, I might try it sometime. I hope the link works … sometimes I’m a bit witless about how to make this thing work at its best.
It’s been nice reading about other people’s Hallowe’ens but now it’s more or less over so I’ll leave you with a picture of yet another batch of apples which came my way on Monday; I’ve spent part of this morning turning them into chutney. Won’t know for a month whether it’s any good, but hey, what’s not to like? Apples, dates, sultanas, onions, root ginger, mustard seeds, cider vinegar, sugar … boil and simmer … I’m sure it’ll be just fine.
For those of you across the pond who might not know, the photo on the left features the Troubadour and his companion Maw Broon, famous matriarch of the Sunday Post. I’d really quite like to cook like Nigella Lawson (only, obviously, without the pouting) but sad to say, I think I probably cook more like Maw Broon …
Dave with Maw Broon