Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pancakes and collops

We all know about Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, but apparently yesterday was Collop Monday. This was the day when all the meat in the house was to be used up before the fasting began. So - a great reason to have good old Scottish mince and tatties for dinner. After almost 3 weeks of hospital food and takeaways, I was certainly ready to get back into the kitchen, tie on my Snoopy apron and get cooking. What an absolute joy it was to chop onions and watch them sizzle slowly in the butter, browning the steak mince - and the smell of it burbling away was fantastic. The spinach I craved (pictured on the gardening blog) was so fresh tasting and melted in the mouth, and the creamy mashed potato was perfect. Simple things, but much missed.
Then today - pancakes - nice thin crepes for everyone to help themselves and add their own trimmings. Kenneth opted for ice cream and banana, and of course, James had the same as his adored big brother. Husband went for traditional lemon and sugar, which I was going to do, but them I remembered the maple sugar brought home from Canada by my parents. It caused them quite a bit of trouble, because it was surprisingly hard to find - maple syrup - no problem, but sugar? Dad eventually tracked it down at a market stall in Ottawa, where my sister lives. He only managed to get a tiny packet, so it is very jealously guarded. After I sprinkled it lightly over my pancakes, I carefully wrapped the precious package back up, tucked it away in it's storage jar and put it to the back of the larder. I had a sudden image of Ma Ingalls doing the same with her little blue bag of white sugar, kept specially for visitors in the Little House in the Big Woods, whilst the maple sugar was used for everyday - it made me smile.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just in time.

When I worked for the Electricity Board in the 1980's, a new 'big idea' was being introduced called "Just in time" stock control. It meant that instead of keeping a huge stock of cable, cut-out boxes etc in our stores, we could keep enough for day to day requirements and order replacements as they were used. So... just in time for the winter snows, I finished my hat last night. Here I am wearing it with the matching handwarmers in a terribly scary photograph just as I am about to go outside and play with the boys. It is the free pattern on the SouleMama blog , which I have knitted three times now. The first one, at the beginning of Winter was in pink and purpley shades, and I was very pleased with it. Unfortunately it has disappeared from the face of this earth. I suspect it has found it's way into No.2 daughter's bedroom, which effectively means it has "ceased to be" - I cannot remember the last time I saw her actual bed there is so much stuff lying around. Ah well - it is her space I suppose (sighing deeply). The second hat, I knitted in the same wool that I am sporting today as a birthday present for one of my step-daughters - it is such a great and easy pattern. Off to knit something else now.