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December 8th, 2013
crazycrone @ : Something Strange Going On...
R Next Door hasn't been seen all week, didn't respond to texts or notes through the door, but as she was obviously collecting her post, I didn't push it. She finally appeared in the dog park this morning, pale and limping very badly. She says she's been trying to get an appontment with her GP all week, but they won't give her one. She went on to rant about the uselessness of the NHS, and how it would be better if people had to pay, then there wouldn't be so many chavs clogging the surgeries up with their 'self-inflicted injuries', which, of course, includes obesity. No use in arguing, or pointing out that her crippiness originated in multiple falls from horses back in her show-jumping days...Anyway, she looks seriously frelled, but there's nothing I can do to help. She knows about walk-in centres, and all that. She's also getting regular 'threatening letters' from the council, who want to inspect her flat, since she's refused to have a new bathroom and kitchen installed. It certainly isn't up to 'a decent standard' so I can understand why she doesn'r want people to see it. *Sigh*
I took my leg for a walk down to the common and around the high street. There's an interesting 'pop-up shop' on North Street, full of nice retro stuff, glass Ricard bottles and all that sort of thing. Most of it is very dear, of course, and I'm resolved to avoid piling up more uselesss 'chatchkas'.
oursin @ : Culinary
Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple with maple syrup and cinnamon.
Today's lunch: lamb shanks (I seem to be on something of a red meat kick lately) slow-braised in white wine with onion and garlic (v good), with couscous with toasted pinenuts and raisins, leeks healthy-grilled in pumpkin seed oil and drizzled with wild pomegranate vinegar, and little gem lettuce quartered, dressed with lime-juice, avocado oil, salt and pepper.
This week's bread: made a Standen loaf: 2:2:1 wholemeal/strong white/buckwheat flour, half and half milk & water, with a little maple syrup and malt. Very nice.
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Tags: cooking, recipes
scottynola @ : The Twelve Days of Christmas
Last night I went to a Christmas party, and had a lovely time. Of course, in one of the back rooms the television was on so football games could be watched (Auburn wins the SEC! Coupled with an Ohio State loss, Auburn improbably is playing for the national championship! Wow!), amongst the imbibing of delicious red wine and snacking on amazing finger foods (one can never go wrong with roasted asparagus wrapped in grilled prosciutto, I find), and some also thoroughly amazing conversation about literature and history and so forth. Paul was unable to attend, so I stopped drinking around tennish and was able to drive home on a cold foggy night at around twelve thirty.
And, as you can see, I have added this years sexy Christmas icon. :)
I am taking a break from working on both the play (yes, I am writing a play) and the work-in-progress (yes, I am also writing yet another novel) and am about to make a late brunch. I've also discovered that the best way to deal with the chill of winter in my office here at the Lost Apartment is a heating pad. I've had one against my lower back pretty much this entire day thus far and it has done a most excellent job of warding off the cold, not to mention that it's keep the muscles of my lower back nice and warm and loose.
Bravo, heating pad! You will most likely become my bosom buddy during this chilly winter months.
I also have to finish proofing a pseudonymous novel, which I will probably do this evening during the Saints game.
I also need to start thinking about Christmas presents.
Anyway, back to brunch.
Have a lovely Sunday, Constant Reader!
pantryslut @ :
Field Trip Update
The kid actually lost four
teeth, all from his bottom jaw. But he returned to school the next day (!!!) as bouncy as ever. Also, the Tooth Fairy gave him six dollars
! (I don't understand the math here, but that's OK.) Cold Weather Update
I am officially a naturalized Californian: I have lost all my cold tolerance.
The kids have been introduced to hot chocolate with marshmallows. Winter Holidays Update
Lights are up. Tree is coming. Trying to figure out what to eat for Christmas dinner. Fielded the first "someone at school told me Santa isn't real!" conversation. These being my kids, they handled it on their own: "We told him yes he is!" I said nothing until we got to "I know because I saw him at the Oakland Zoo!" at which point I redirected to a discussion of Santa's Helpers. (As a reminder: My great-grandfather was a Santa's Helper, a.k.a. the Coca-Cola Santa. So it's official lore.)School Update
I am supposed to go to the kids' Kindergarten class in two weeks and talk about our family
and what makes us special.
oursin @ : By request: baking my own bread
Still open for requests if there's something you might like to hear me go on about.
The bread question came from ironed_orchid: 'Making your own bread. How did you get started? What is the process involved?'
This actually goes back to childhood, or at least adolescence, when very occasionally I would make bread at home - this required an excursion to a baker that would sell fresh yeast, and also bread flour, and it really was a fairly occasional endeavour.
It was not a thing in the Slow Motion Train Wreck Relationship, even though the other partner in this rather fancied themselves in the kitchen.
When I was living alone it didn't seem practicable somehow (producing more bread than I was likely to eat), though I must have had at least dried yeast around since my take-to-parties dish was home-made pizza from a recipe in, to the best of my recollection, Delia Smith, and it was certainly involved a yeasted dough base.
But when I moved in with partner it seemed like the opportunity to do what I had long wished to do, which was make my own bread.
At first this was really basic (the wholemeal version of the bread recipe in Margueritte Patten's Everyday Cookbook), but soon I was buying books on making bread (I think the first was possibly Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery) and getting more adventurous. (I now find David a bit prescriptivist and one-true-way, but still, it was an important work on the way.)
For quite some time, there were special shopping trips to wholefood shops where I could find the right sorts of flour, and fresh yeast (I am still a bit of a fresh yeast fundamentalist, though I will use the kind of dried that has to be activated first if I really have to), but now these things are pretty much available during ordinary supermarket shopping (except for fresh yeast), and the wholefood shop in Kentish Town is on my usual route, and has lots of unusual flours.
While I am disdainful of bread machines, I will cop to using the food processor to do the heavy work of mixing up the dough.
I usually bake on a Sunday (unless the bread runs out or develops mould midweek), which, if I am essaying sourdough means remembering to feed the starter on Friday night. I also (if I'm not going to be working or otherwise out on Saturdays) make rolls on Friday night for breakfast - the Four Seasons Cookery Book had the very useful tip about slow-rising rolls overnight in the fridge in connection with the very adaptable soft rolls recipe, and taking them out an hour or so before they need to be baked, and even that isn't absolutely necessary, experience has proved.
I also, besides the quotidien bread, have some party pieces: I occasionally make foccacia as a show-off thing to take to parties, and there is the family tradition of my making blinis for Boxing Day dinner.
What is nice about bread making is that it does so much of the job for one (Laurie Colwin has a good essay on this in one of her Home Cooking books) - you just have to leave it to work. Providing the yeast hasn't expired, and that one has not, by mistake, used unsuitable flour, you're pretty much bound to end up with some delicious-smelling, tasty, bread, even if it mightn't make a particularly marvellous photo.
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December 7th, 2013
auntysocial @ : the Winning Design
After posting my last entry, I was startled to learn that I hadn't posted anything about the meeting where the winning design was presented. There were three proposals, and each one came with scale models and photographic looking drawings and power point presentations by the architects. This was in September 2012. No one had heard anything about the bridge replacement in three years. The meeting was very well attended, standing room only, and people seemed happy. I took pictures of all the scale models. This was by far the most interesting one, and I'm glad it won.
There have been a few changes to the design because of geological issues. I didn't see what they were because I was late. The location was listed as Boyle Heights City Hall and the street number was given. However, Boyle Heights is a neighborhood rather than a city, and doesn't have a city hall. Furthermore, the street number was nowhere to be seen on the outside of the building, which is actually a city councilman's field office. Sure, I should have left earlier, but I might have been on time if I hadn't spent so much time trying to figure out which building it was and where to park.Tags: sixthstreetbridge
auntysocial @ : I went to another meeting
I went to another meeting regarding the 6th Street Viaduct Replacement. I first learned that the bridge had to be replaced in 2007, and decided to follow the progress from then until the new bridge will be opened. There had already been a few community meetings by then, but I did my best to attend all the subsequent ones. In 2007, the focus was convincing the public the replacement was really needed. There was an opportunity to vote on various bridge designs. Most of the residents of Boyle Heights, the neighborhood on the east side of the river, wanted a re-creation of the existing bridge. The downtown arts district is on the west side of the bridge, and its residents voted for the more modern of the new designs. Time went by, then another meeting. The city came up with a design that no one liked. More time went by. There was a call for entries in a design competition. Finally, there was another big meeting, and the three top entries were presented in scale models, photographs and talks by the architects. We had a chance to voice our opinions, but it was really the city officials who chose the design. I was happy, because it was the one I liked best.
Well, demolition is supposed to begin in 2014, and more meetings are coming along. Unfortunately, I missed the architect's presentation because I got lost. I was only there for the public comment session. The other photographer had a tripod, but I bet he can't do anything this wild with photoshop. The meetings are boring and interesting at the same time. Most people ask questions about how the project will impact their businesses, studios and lives. There is one woman who has been to every meeting since the beginning. She is a resident of Boyle Heights and will never forgive the city for not trying to re-create the original bridge.Tags: sixthstreetbridge
randomdreams @ :
Wowie is it cold. I have SO much to do, so I figured I'd just stand in front of the little space heater while I ran some stuff through the CNC mill. That little space heater doesn't do anything against -20C. I need to get a real heating system for the workshop some day, coz shivering uncontrollably while working with semi-autonomous machine tools is a terrible idea. I was a little surprised that the computer worked. LCD's have almost no contrast at this temp. I'm surprised they work, as well. I remember my childhood watch going all black when it got this cold.
I heard all this thumping from the other room.manintheboat
was just talking about how she needed to work on her knife skills as regards cooking.
(a second glance makes me realize this may require explanation: there's a huge cleaver embedded in that gourd/pumpkin thing and she's working it the rest of the way through.)
This AM I went over to a woodyard and bought a bunch of solid birch and cherry wood. Again, awfully cold, but at least then the sun was shining. The wood looks beautiful. I wish it were warm enough to actually work on it. I have a project (not wood-based) that needs to run through two chemical washes, each at roughly 85C. That's just not going to happen until maybe next weekend.
I split some wood for a fire. It's from a maple that died in the neighbor's yard. It was horrible to split two weeks ago, when it was warm: it would split in multiple lines, that would hang together across the split accordion-like. Today it split like, well, ice. Much nicer. Until the hatchet handle shattered. I wasn't even hatcheting: I'd set it in the wood and then hammer it through with a blacksmith hammer. Halfway through, the handle just exploded, so now it's a wedge.
crazycrone @ : Weak And Feeble Woman...
I am just SO TIRED all the time. So sodding frustrating.
Walked to Clapham Junction to'use' my leg, and was going to succumb to my latest mad urge-bright red spec rims...It's only two months until my next checkup is due, though. (Maybe I'll have come to my senses by then.) I do think they kinda suit me, though.
Kept dozing off watching BORGEN,even though it was interesting. Poor ol' Torben.
More MCR scribbles...