Thursday, 28 June 2007

When the diet goes out the window

I'd been very good for the past few weeks, trying to eat sensibly and hoping to lose a bit of weight. But I was tempted by the Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins I saw on Pink Purl's blog. My amazing daughter, now back from Romania, loves banana nut loaf, and so Sunday became a baking day.

Trying to multi-task I managed to make a mistake with the muffins - I omitted the egg and the first six were already in the oven before I realised (I only have one muffin tin). The recipe called for one egg, so I beat up an egg and put half of it into the remaining mixture. The two batches looked similar, but as it turned out I actually preferred the mixture without the egg - it was more like a scone, and you can't beat a good scone.

The banana nut loaf is always popular round here (I regret to say I like mine with butter on!). I've been using the same recipe, cut from the back of a flour bag, for many many years. Unlike most recipes, I've never seen any need to change it at all as it is easy, it works every time and I've never known it to go wrong (other than the time I didn't have any greaseproof paper to line the tin and couldn't get it out without breaking it).

So easy - if anyone actually reads this and would like the recipe I am happy to put it up - though I can't give credit to the originator as I can't remember which brand of flour I was using that long ago!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Be careful what you wish for

I've lived in the same house for over 15 years. All that time, there has been a copper beech tree growing in the garden next door. Although I adore trees, this particular tree has been a problem for my garden, casting very dark shade for half the day and shedding leaves everywhere. Our gardens are very small and not really suitable for trees that potentially can grow to over 100 feet. In the past 15 years it has been "pruned" by previous owners on 4 different occasions and but every time it has grown back even more vigorously. This spring I've been complaining bitterly about it and wishing it gone.

I came home from work on Thursday and was startled by the amount of daylight in my kitchen and discovered that the tree has been lopped off three feet from the ground. I should be happy - but sitting on the fence were the pair of wood pigeons who had been nesting in the tree. I've watched them building their nest for the past few weeks and now they sit forlornly wondering what has happened to their hard work and their babies. Laying on the path I found two broken eggs - I feel so sad for them. I hope there is enough of the summer left for them to find a new tree, build another nest and lay more eggs.

On a more selfish note, whoever cut down the tree trampled all over my garden and broke off my two sunflowers - and this all happened without my neighbours even mentioning they would be cutting down the tree and would need access to my garden. I imagine my poor rabbits were very stressed by the entire experience too!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Fathers Day

Remembering my lovely Dad, Ray, who died 27 May 1993.

Your three daughters are all thinking of you today.

Thanks for being a wonderful Dad, we all miss you.

Time away from the computer

I wish I could say that I had done something constructive in the past few weeks, but other than suffering from a cold that completely wiped me out, and then two migraines that each lasted several days, the past three weeks have not been very productive. I have done very little gardening (other than tending the few vegetable seeds I've sown), only read one book and my whole house is a bit of a disaster area.

My amazing daughter finished her exams on the last Friday in May and I drove up on the Sunday to collect her from university and empty her room in her shared house - she won't be returning to university for her third year as she has a placement in Cambridge. I should have taken a photo of my car filled with (almost) all her possessions (we had to leave her bike, a bookcase, and a few other bulky items in my mum's shed in Bristol for collection at a later date). It was a frightening sight!

AD had only two brief days to sort everything out, pack and get ready for her trip to Romania. On the Wednesday, I drove her to Luton Airport for her flight and then straight back to work for a tedious finance meeting. What an exciting life I lead.

I'm going to try to grow a few vegetables in the garden this year. Years ago (when my children were at school and I only worked part time) I used to have an allotment and would love to have one again, but know that I can't dedicate enough time at the moment. But I miss the satisfaction that comes from growing and harvesting your own food. I'm just going to grow tomatoes, courgettes, some salad vegetables and a couple of pumpkins (they make wonderful soup!).