Archive for February, 2011

Books this month

It has been suggested that it’s hard to comment on individual books on my ‘Bookshelf’ page. So, as well as logging the books on their own page, I’ve decided to list the books I read each month in their own post, so if you want to comment, recommend other books or what have you, you can.

So here are January’s books:

Splendid by Julia Quinn
Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast by Charlie Connolly.
The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers
Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella
Minx by Julia Quinn
Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

And for February:

An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain by John O’Farrell
His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley
A View from the Foothills by Chris Mullin
Fatal Remedies by Donna Leon
My Dangerous Duke by Gaelen Foley.

Quite a lot of trashy romances to get me through winter, I note…

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New Weekword!

I was tagged this morning and I’m picking this week!

Perhaps my choice is influenced by my bad back, or maybe I wanted a little bit of a challenge, but this week’s word is


What makes you uncomfortable? What do you do about it? I’d love to see what you do with the word. Comment below if you’re playing!

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Sunday lunch

Well. Today I cooked Sunday lunch – and this one was different. Last summer, we hatched some chicks under our broody hens. They were very cute and fluffy. Sadly, of the nine, six were cockerels, and they got bigger… and bigger… and by January we realised that we had to do something. Six huge cockerels makes for a lot of noise. And very unhappy hens. So the cockerels were dispatched and today we had one for our lunch. I made coq au vin with garlic, onions, shallots, mushrooms, piles of fresh thyme and a whole bottle of red wine. We had new potatoes and broccoli with it, and very nice it was too.

I have to say, there was something very satisfying about eating meat from a bird we’d reared. I knew that the bird had had a happy life, I knew it had been well fed, and had been free to wander at will. And I knew that it had a quick, stress-free death. I’m not sure whether or not we’ll do this again, but I am glad I’ve had the experience. It’s impossible to be detached from the realities of eating meat when you’ve a pile of dead birds on your kitchen floor, and when the cooking process involves pulling tendons out of the legs!

As today was a birthday for one of our guests, I made a lemon drizzle cake. What a perfect cake for a spring lunchtime – especially when decorated with snowdrops and a silver candle!

I served it with creme fraiche, which I sweetened with a touch of icing sugar and a gurgle of limoncello – a wholly successful experiment which I shall be sure to repeat.

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Every silver lining has a cloud…

I planted lots of bulbs in the autumn, so I’d have some lovely spring flowers to cheer me up. I love hyacinths, the colour, the scent, so I grew lots of them. And they were gorgeous.

Just lovely. We had bowls of them all over the place, and the smell and the bursts of colour were wonderful. And really, we needed cheering up because we were a bit under the weather. We had headaches and sore throats, we were tired and felt generally rubbish. Eventually, we started to wonder if the hyacinths could be to blame. So we rounded them up into the back bathroom… and we were feeling better within the hour. So we gave them away to friends. Next year I shall remember that too much of this good thing is definitely too much, and resist special offers on prepared bulbs. And this lot are going into the garden.

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Spring green

Regular readers will know that I like taking pictures of water on plants. So, here’s one from yesterday. I spotted it as I was about to empty the mop bucket (oh, the glamour of my life) and had to get the camera. It’s mainly at that grey-and-brown-not-really-winter-but-not-quite-spring stage here – and this tiny burst of green was very cheering. And the water drop just sparkled like a diamond. Lovely.

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Here’s my list of things I have to do today. My life isn’t all rural idyll and baking, you know.

Did you post a list today? Leave a link in the comments!

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Weekword: Oh!

Elena chose this week’s word.

It’s an apt one. As I may have mentioned, it was my birthday this week.

Oh! A present left on the sink!

(It was some lovely sandalwood soap)

And Oh! What lovely flowers!

And Oh! Another present by the kettle!

(It was a new book).

In fact, Mr S&S had hidden little presents all over the place. I was still finding them the day after my birthday. There was a book of puzzles, an antique bracelet, some new DVDs, some chocolate spread (yum!) and some more books. It was very exciting.

Go and see Elena

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