September on Instagram

I’ve rejoined instagram as brighterind, I’m a bit patchy on how often I’m using it at the moment but I think it’s good for the quick pictures I might not necessarily want to blog about. But when the pictures mount up, maybe I want to blog about them then, so I thought I’d start doing some monthly round up posts.

4th September

rude health

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apple tree

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8th September

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9th September

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27th September

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28th September

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The Illusionists

The Illusionists

It took me a good while to get into The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas but I’m glad I stuck with it because in the end I really enjoyed it. It’s an epic of sorts, set in Victorian London, it follows a group of theatre performers as they set up a theatre. Really three stories in one, there is the founding of the theatre, what happens to the socially awkward automaton maker and how the group handles the growth of the theatre and wound between those stories is a quite sweet love story (and I don’t normally like overly soppy stuff, so I think that’s a good sign that the love aspect of it was handled well). I always love stories where I can immerse myself in another time and place and step into someone else’s shoes for a while and this book definitely fitted the bill for that.

**** (out of 5)

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian

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So me and Boy Lacer have finally finished the Percy Jackson series, Girl Lacer, who started the series after us, finished ages ago and we have even got Mr. Lacer reading the books. Anyway, book 5 comes to a climatic end, with the massive battle the whole series had been leading up to. I thought it was good but not quite as exciting as book 4, which I had absolutely adored.

The end of book 5 provides some hefty clues as to what’s going to happen in the next series, Girl Lacer is already well into the first book; Heroes of Olympus – The Lost Hero and me and Boy Lacer will be joining her shortly.

**** (out of 5 stars)

#craft365 day 31-60

For most of the last 30 days the kids have been back at school, you’d think that would mean more time for crafting, ha ha ha *hollow laugh*. As usual after the summer holidays, I’m faced with a flat that’s even more of a wreck than normal and I have spent most of the time since the kids have been back at school either having a massive sort out, booting up my exercise and diet regime up to the notch it should have been all summer if I hadn’t been looking after the kids and running between various appointments, so crafting hasn’t had much of a look in.

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I have completed some things (the Cozy Blue embroideries and #spoonchallenge, both of which were blogged earlier this month) but other than those, it feels like a whole lot of stuff just standing still. Such as -

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*doing – duh me

I’m still practicing my Illustrator.

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which is why I’m posting it

And this one was for my sister.

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I’ve also been practicing in a more analogue way.

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I’ve managed to get a lot more cooking done to (as you may see from my ‘On the menus’) and that included some baking, which I counted as creative.

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I also managed to do a bit of work towards my professional goals, nowhere near as much as I would have liked though.

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On the menu – leek and potato soup, kale failure, ‘healthy’ crumble and a not that brill carbonara

Friday

I recently went through my cook books, trying to get rid of some (storage space is limited in my flat and unfortunately I need to use my bookcases to store more than just books). I tried to be ruthless and I was, even some Jamie books went but as I flicked through each book, sometimes all it would take was one recipe that looked good and the book would be reprieved.

One such book was Lisa Faulkner’s Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter, the book can thank the fact that I’ve been craving leek and potato soup recently because that’s what saved it. Although to be honest, leek and potato soup is such an easy recipe and there’s so many versions on the internet, this book may not be saved for long.

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But omg was the soup good, like a warm, comforting hug in a bowl, so thick, creamy and filling and only just under 350 calories to, so not bad! (I did substitute double cream for creme fraiche though). Will be making again!

Also made today

I also made the tarragon and mustard kale chips from A Modern Way to Eat, these were nowhere near as nice as last week’s Sesame Miso ones unfortunately and although they’re edible, I have a feeling most of it will be going into the food recycling bin of failure. I think the dressing this time was just not as nice and whereas I could have put more on my baking trays last time I made kale chips, this time I put too much, so they didn’t dry properly.

Saturday

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This was Saturday dinner dessert, poppy seed crisp from A Modern Way to Eat. It’s meant to have strawberries in but Girl Lacer can’t eat strawberries so I substituted a mixture of frozen blueberries and raspberries. Now from such a lovely cookbook, this recipe is a bit ummm, in that I think the proof reader must have skipped right on by this one. There is no oven temperature (I put it on at 200C, which seemed to work) and the instructions go on about polenta where in the ingredients list it’s almonds. There is a slightly better edited version of the recipe here, which answers the polenta mystery (there is none, use the almonds) but still no oven temperature or instructions about what to do with the 100g of sugar (I just left it out, it was fine). With such a dubiously written recipe, it made me question my assumption that the rest of the recipe was right, even if it did seem to make sense, for example, the recipe calls for 800g of strawberries, that’s a **** lot of strawberries and pricy to, I ended up using 400g of fruit and it was fine. As for the actual dish, the kids did not like this, Mr. Lacer ate it but complained it suffered from being too healthy and I went from initially unconvinced to “yum this is lovely”. The recipe gives the option to use coconut oil (you can substitute with butter if you can’t find any) and I loved the subtle coconutty taste but I know that’s what Girl Lacer didn’t like about the dish and I suspect it was probably the same for Boy Lacer, which is a shame, as Anna Jones is obviously a big fan of coconut oil and it’s in a lot of her baked dishes. Reading about the benefits of coconut oil (although as usual with all unusual’ superfoods’, the claims for and against can be pretty wide), I think I’d like to bake with it more, although it is pricy. So anyway, I’ve gone from “hmm, don’t think I’ll make this again” to “ooh I want more!”, but I won’t make it for my family again, I think just a bit of ground almonds, oats, coconut oil and poppy seeds, rubbed together and sprinkled on some fruit before being bunged in the oven, could work quite well for individual portions to. If you fancy making this, use the internet version of the recipe I’ve linked to above but even then it feels a bit like a technical challenge.

Tuesday

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Making the leek and potato soup from the Lisa Faulkner book made me look again at the other recipes in it. There was a recipe for a ‘carbonara’ that didn’t involve eggs (I don’t like making food with raw eggs or possibly not cooked ‘properly’ eggs), so even though it had cottage cheese in (which I hate), I thought I’d give it a go.

I wasn’t that convinced whilst making it but maybe that’s because I think cottage cheese is one of the most unattractive substances to prepare food with and as you may guess, yes the sauce was lumpy, for a while anyway. But it came sauce like in the end, so I served it up and although it was edible, I’ve had better ‘fake’ carbonaras (ones with creme fraiche are the best) and I’m including shop bought carbonara in that ranking. The cottage cheese just gave it a slightly sour taste I wasn’t that keen on, definitely not the creaminess you expect from carbonara.