Saturday, 21 September 2013

a quiet Saturday afternoon

What a peaceful and pleasant day. I am sitting down on my favourite armchair facing the bay window, listening to an audio book: "14" by Peter Clines.
The kids are going about their own business: Sam and Alistair have gone for a walk, with some money to spend a the shops, James is at his friend Catrin's Birthday party, Annie is playing in her bedroom with her friend Isla. Earlier she was at art club whilst we were at Football. By "we" I do of course not include myself, just the wee ones. I sat in a nearby cafĂ© sipping a large cappuccino and sampling a slice of lemon and poppy cake, making two little crochet flowers to decorate Catrin's Birthday present. I had to use paper table cloth to wrap the present, all wrapping paper has magically disappeared.

In the kitchen, a Bolognese sauce is quietly bubbling away in the biggest saucepan we have. A shame smells can't be uploaded, it is divine. I like to use a bit of streaky bacon, some traditional pork sausage meat (very satisfactory to squeeze it out of the skins) and some mince. I also used plenty of onion and carrot and some left over pepper. I would usually also add some celery but there wasn't any. We haven't been for a proper shop for a long while. Tomorrow. Sigh. A large amount of red wine, a squeeze of tomato puree and 4 tins of tomatoes complete the sauce. This being Scotland, ripe juicy tomatoes are not easily available, the rare beautiful ones are too pricey to turn into sauce, and the standard ones hard and odourless. We have given up planting tomatoes , they just don't ripen outside.
Not a traditional Bolognese, I know (being half Italian), but it is delicious.


I also made some elderberry cordial. It is such a great year for berries and it seems a shame to leave all the elderberries to the birds. We had a good time picking a bag full.

I got the berries of the stalks with a fork, hands unstained. I added enough water to cover the berries and cooked them until they were squishy, strained the lot through a sieve and boiled the juice with half a kilo of sugar (there was 600 ml) for about 10 minutes. I also added a cinnamon stick because the boiling berries didn't smell all that pleasant. One and a half bottles for the larder (well, the kitchen cupboard).

I am not sure if I like the cordial. It is probably the unpleasant smell lingering in my nostrils, I'll try again tomorrow, with a fresh nose. Also, I think I would add some lemon juice or citric acid next time, a bit of acidity might be good.

The kitchen being a mess, I decided I might as well thaw the many blackberries I picked ten days ago and boil them to pulp to make jelly tomorrow. Can't wait.

All is not perfect in this house, of course. Fast forward a few hours. We had a dinner I am almost too embarrassed to write about. I was too lazy to provide a proper meal for my offspring. The wee ones didn't want food, tummies full of birthday food (Alistair tucked in hastily when we collected James). The big man was not back from his epic bike ride and I didn't feel like cooking. The big ones were sent to the local shops, and this is what they came back with: chips with curry sauce for Sam and me, a Subway for Annie. They thought is was the best thing ever... Worse still, we all ate on the living room floor, with the telly on. Bliss. Meanwhile the big man had returned from his bike ride (140 miles, mad). He put us all to shame by heating up a frozen lamb and spinach curry he had cooked some weeks ago. I was half expecting him to set the table, light a candle and enjoy a civilised meal....but he followed the trend of eating in the living room. 

Oh well, the Bolognese will be great tomorrow, too. Lasagne maybe?

Have a great weekend.






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