Monday, 18 October 2010

Bits and bobs (bookish and otherwise)

A bit of a rambly sort of post today I'm afraid. (Inspired perhaps by Elaine at Random Jottings, who does a wonderful line in the occasional off-topic random ramble). I don't feel hugely in the mood for writing anything particularly bookish but I still feel like writing. And first of all I want to say thank you very much to everyone for their kind messages on my 16th October post. It is always a sad occasion but I think everyone who knew Emily tries to make something positive out of the day - her Mum and sister went to see the Railway Children at Waterloo (something I'm keen to do), and another friend went to a firework display. We had a lovely day with John Rutter, who is an absolutely fantastic leader of singing workshops and a genuinely nice man. We spent the morning singing a variety of sacred anthems from across the centuries, interspersed with stories and anecdotes from John, and then spent the afternoon singing through his Requiem, and then his arrangement of spirituals called Feel the spirit. He has a new CD out, and I dropped some big hints about it for Christmas.

We the had an extremely relaxing Sunday, apart from the fact that I went to an exercise class! I haven't done any formal non swimming exercise in absolutely years (apart from my functional cycling and walking and running up and down stairs). But I am very bored of staring at the tiles on the bottom of the pool as I swim up and down, so when I heard about a new class at the swimming pool, I thought I would give it a go. This was Get Latin Fit, a latin dance inspired keep fit class. Apart from the fact that the instructor was petite and curvy, and I, am tall and skinny and felt like a spider, I quite enjoyed it and might even go again.

I read two books - Susan Hill's incredibly evocative and moving Service of clouds, which was quite unlike any of her mystery books, and then Grey skies, green waves, by Tom Anderson, which I spotted in the library and brought home for K. It is a book about surfing, which is proving somewhat of an obssesion for K at the moment, since he had a surfing lesson for his birthday, and he raced through the book but I also found it fascinating. I carried on with my cross-stitch, completing the second mini Christmas tree in four days; I'm trying to make some cross-stitch Christmas cards (more on this later), but I think I may get a little bored with trees soon. Might see if I can beat last night's time of 2 1/4 hours to complete one.

It was back to the grindstone today, but I managed to make some pastry before work in my Kenwood mixer (I realised when I went to sleep last night that if I wanted to make quiche for supper, then I'd have to do the pastry first thing, as it needs time to chill). I've never ever made pastry before, after all, I read Anthony Worrall Thompson saying that there was no point when readymade is so good, but, if I am ever to get on The Great British Bake-Off if there is another series, I'll need to be able to make pastry! Once I've finished writing this, it's off to see if I can get it to roll out, and then will fill it with smoked salmon and broccoli and the usual egg/milk mixture. It is National Baking Week here in the UK this week, not that I need any excuse.

Back to normal service tomorrow - I did have a non baking cooking post written, but in light of the aforementioned National Baking Week, I may postpone that until next week.


  1. I'll be interested in hearing more about the Susan Hill book! I'm getting ready to read the fifth(?) Simon Serrailler book, and her book The Magic Apple Tree is one of my favorite cozy often-reread books.

  2. I fully aplaud your pastry making, I've never quite managed it.
    Have you seen the book that goes with the series? Lots of lovely looking things to try out.

  3. ooh pastry. Do tell how it tastes. What filling have you chosen?

  4. I'm surprised that you've never made pastry before, Verity. Did you not have domestic science lessons at your school? I remember that we were taught to make, shortcrust, flaky, and ruff puff pastry, don't recall doing choux pastry at school but that surely should have been included.

    I must admit that I have been known to use shop brought pastry, and we have some Gluten Free shortcrust pastry tucked away in the bottom of our freezer.

    Glad to hear that you and others turned the anniversary of your friend's death into a positive occasion, what a brilliant thing to do.

  5. Wow! Pastry before work - that's very impressive! The singing workshop sounds wonderful and I too have put John Rutter's new CD onto my Christmas list. I adore Rutter. Enjoy your quiche!

  6. I am hoping for a new food processor for my birthday this week and the new Nigella book, really in the mood for cooking at the moment!

  7. Ah, to sing with John Rutter... As for pastry making, I must admit that I do the lazy thing and buy them these days. Somewhere in my recipe box, I have a pie crust recipe that my grandmother gave me when I got married. It makes a dozen pie crusts (because, as she said, you always need one ready for an emergency ;) ).

  8. I could swear i already commented on this post, think i must be going a bit dotty today... i put marmalade in my coffee earlier...
    sounds like the workshop was amazing - lucky you! John Rutter! Wonderful. And am super impressed with your pastry making (ad)ventures AND latin dance classes. marvellous!

  9. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone - yes, John Rutter was amazing! And I wrote a bit more about my pastry making on my latest blog post...


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