Sunday, May 19, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I stumbled across this postcard while researching my home town. It seems an appropriate way to announce I'm about to head away on a holiday, to Paris amongst other places.
This Saturday, my sister and I fly out to spend some time in Paris, before meeting up with Dad in Oslo. In a sense, we are retracing the steps of a longer trip we took many years ago and travelling with a listening ear, as Dad takes us to see places and people that shape his history.
My dearest is looking after the kids for the three weeks I am away. Any travel tips I should know? Secret haunts I should hunt out?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
It turns out both my husband and my mother grew up with a copy of the battered oxford one on the top. My latest addition is the Encyclopedia Britannica one at the bottom of the pile. It blow my mind to thin that people put together encyclopedia before the internet. This atlas, and accompaniment to the encyclopedia, lists the leaders and economic powerhouses of each country as well. How on earth did they keep track of all that? Was there a hotline to the embassy in every country to ask every time they went for an update?
While we think of geographies as being timeless, there is nothing like the Golden Press Geographic Encyclopedia (c1956) to tell you how much things have changed. For starters we have a nice pictorial of the world, to tell you what you will be doing on your trip. So now lets get going ..
Well, New Zealand is just logs and sheep. In fact it barely makes it onto the page. I'm sure my Australian readers will also be horrified to see how they are summed up.
So next, lets go on cruise to Antarctica for some .... whaling?
If you miss the whaling, you can always go and bludgeon a seal in Alaska.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Despite our own quince famine, I am always on the look out for new quince recipes. One of the simplest and truly decadent ways to eat quince is poached. It can be a little time consuming as quince stay wooden for the longest time and then turn to mush in the blink of an eye. The answer to this is two words - slow cooker.
The following recipe came about when I tried to adapt Julie Le Clerc's poached quince recipe and ran out of space in our tiny slow cooker. It turns out I like sugar. In fact, I like more sugar than any quince recipe I've come across. If you have recently given up sugar, read no further, just look as the pictures. The following recipe is for a 3.5l slow cooker
|Yep, it's that photo again.|
3-5 Quince (limited by appetite or the size of your slow cooker)
5 cups boiling water
3 cups of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Peel and core the quince. You will need a very sharp knife and pocket of patience for this step.
Pack the quince into the slow cooker
Dissolve sugar into the boiling water and pour over the quince.
Add the cinnamon, zest and juice and set to low heat for about 6 hour.
After about 2 hours, remove excess liquid from the slow cooker leaving just enough to keep the quince buoyant. This liquid makes a fragrantly squinty cordial if you are that way inclined.
After 6 hours, test the quince with a skewer. The quince should be dense but pierce able. Remove the quince from the liquid to a bowl and place lid or plate over to keep in the heat.
Pour the remaining syrup, which should be dark crimson, into a pot and bring to the simmer. Simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes until thickened.
Pour the syrup over the steaming hot quince and leave to cool.
Serve as desired - over ice cream, with yoghurt or sliced onto hot porridge.
The fruit takes on a very dense almost glace quality. As I read a little wider, I saw that glace fruit is made by reducing the syrup and letting fruit soak it in repeatedly. Perhaps I should have called this semi-glace quince.
If you are new to quince, consider a quince & apple crumble. It's quince with trainer wheels and my kids will even eat it.
This year I have preserved quince in light syrup to let us have crumble all year and tried to make quince-meat for Christmas pies. I've yet to taste the quince-meat, however the domestic goddess assures me this will be fantastic. I'm holding out another month before I open one of the jars to test it.
If you can point me in the direction of other favorite quince recipes, I still have bucket of other peoples fruit to use up.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I have an aunt who travels with this mantra of efficiency and excess. When Mum and I saw these casserole dishes, in a local vintage store, we just knew they were coming home. In the name of team work one went home with Mum and the other is currently in our fridge, holding the most retro fresh poached quince. They are a brilliant glowing crimson, so different from the pale yellow beginnings. I imagine myself to be a sophisticated cocktail swilling 1970's housewife as I slice these little jewels of fruit onto my sedate morning porridge.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Little E and I play it a lot. The box it came in was getting a little battered. When Nin sent me a lovely bundle of floral fabrics, I knew just what it was going to be. A little sewing and some time later, we now have a double sided bag for the board, which also fits the little marble bag inside. Brilliance! We are new ready to play on the go as well.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
We appear to be having a perfect storm of IT problems in our house. From rainy tablets to fried hard drives and folded providers. It's the kind of thing that would be almost funny if it was happening to someone else. Please bear with me while we get things sorted.