A Forgotten Memory

 

I have been experimenting with dairy free cake recipes.  Some have been successful and some not so.

My biggest problem is that I do not take note of ingredients I use, telling myself I will remember the next time.  Yes, you may laugh.  As I have a head like a sieve it is most unlikely I would remember a recipe accurately.

During the night when sleep once more eluded me I decided to read through some old recipes which I have collected over the years.  Some go back to the 1970’s some even further back.

Would you believe there in front of me, decorated with many spillages was a recipe for Sultana Loaf which uses neither dairy nor eggs.

It was given to me by my boss in my first “office ” job. She had had major surgery. Subsequently she had to adhere to a very strict non dairy diet. This was in 1975 when the alternatives to dairy was very limited. I remember her saying that her sister would send her the oil as she could not purchase it in Ireland.

I had totally forgotten about that job and the people who worked there.

 

Sultana Loaf

225g/8oz Self Raising Flour

75g/3oz Castor Sugar

125ml/4fluid ounces Coconut Milk

4 tablespoons of Orange Juice

100g/4oz Sultanas

50g/2oz desiccated Coconut

150ml/5fluid ounces Olive Oil or whatever oil you prefer to use

 

Set oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Grease and line a 900g/2lb Loaf Tin

 

Mix sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl.

Beat in milk, followed by orange juice until combined.

Beat in oil.

Fold in sultanas and coconut.  Mixture should fall off a wooden spoon easily however if the mixture is too moist add in more coconut.

Pour into loaf tin.

Bake for 45 minutes in oven until loaf is golden in colour.

Leave to cool in tin then turn out onto cooling rack. 

Enjoy warm or cold

 

Enjoy warm or cold.

Fountain Pen + Notebook =

Have you ever realised that having a pen and paper can be very rewarding?

It is amazing what is to be seen or heard and having that pen just enables me to remember those moments.   I have always thought of writing as being very solitary but I have learnt otherwise.

I was sitting recently in a restaurant waiting for my order to be served, took out a lovely small brown leather-bound notebook.  A great present from my son, as it holds my new fountain pen snugly in the spine and they both fit into my pocket.  Christl thanks for the fountain pen which goes everywhere with me.

My coffee arrived in a large bulbous mug.   The mug was so apt for a coffee.   It invited me just to wrap my hands around it and to savour that little moment.   And yes, the coffee lived up to expectations.

I drew my notebook to me and started to write just snippets, random thoughts.   I was soon lost to my writing and the thoughts which had been buzzing around my head.   I like to use word pictures as a quick way to get my ideas down before I totally forget.   Forgetting ideas seems to be happening more and more.

The coffee shop had got busier while I had been occupied and soon I was joined by two young ladies who turned out to be from Michigan in the USA.   After a brief conversation I returned to my scribblings but felt I was being watched.   It’s a feeling I don’t like so I quickly looked up to find one of these ladies staring intently at my fountain pen.  IMAG0940[1]

It turned out this young lady, had never seen a fountain pen.  She had heard about them but had never actually seen one.   Talk about being amazed.   I mean I know I was born in the last century but not to have seen a fountain pen!  Soon there was an engaging conversation on ordinary useful objects which had become obsolete or if not obsolete very seldom used.

To see their faces when they googled fax machines, 1970 computers, early mobile phones, telex,  their faces were a picture of total astonishment.   As for the Teas Maid the shrieks of laughter drew glances from a few other customers.

One never knows just where a pen, paper and a mug can lead one and what stories emerge never mind the memories which can be created or rekindled.  A simple fountain pen brought different generations together for a short while amidst much lughter.

Umbrella

 

Today is National Umbrella Day.

When I read this I was delighted.  I really enjoy using an umbrella.  I own a number of them.  Why I hear you ask?  Surely I only need one?

Rain Umbrellas

No not really.  I have a silver one which I purchased in Oxford while on holiday and the inside depicts the constellations of the northern night skies. I would never have chosen it myself but my husband found it and re introduced me to the night sky.

I have a red polka dot umbrella given to me as a birthday present and whenever I use it, which is often if you are living in Ireland, I always find myself twirling the umbrella and singing to myself.  On any grey wet windy day beside the sea it is a splash of colour.  The only draw back to this umbrella is that it doesn’t fold up.

So that meant that I had to keep an eye out for a fold up umbrella for my bag.  There are the basic ones which will do the job but…..A few years ago while on a visit to the National Art Gallery in Dublin, I came out to a down power.  The Gallery shop had umbrellas, books, more books so many items that by the time I had chosen and purchased the umbrella the sun was shinning when I came out.

The umbrella is based on a Monet design and I have to tell you that nine times out of ten when I have that umbrella in my bag it does not rain, but then again there is that one time when it is invaluable.

It was the Chinese who developed the waxed leather umbrella for use by the nobility to protect from the rain in the 11th century B.C.   While parasols were used in Egyptian and Roman empires the custom fell into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire.  I was amazed to find out that the umbrella dated so far back.

 

25 de octubre de 2014

 

This painting by Des Brophy is one of my favourite paintings.

 

History Through Taste

I have been reading recently about food fusion and hearing about it on food programmes.  Surely this concept has been around since Adam was a boy.

Perhaps we use the style of cooking which we are used to, then move to a new location where ingredients are different but we use the cooking techniques we know, to cook with the new ingredients.  Surely people have been doing this for hundreds of years.

There are cook books abounding with the fusion concept.  The concept is not new but if it draws people into cooking for themselves I for one am all for it.

I really enjoy reading cook books especially second-hand ones.  I like to imagine those other food lovers who have read and used the recipes within.  However, it is the books which have been both loved and used which I cherish the most.

Some of my reading memories are to do with cook books and tonight not being able to sleep I started to read a cook book which had belonged to my mother-in-law Sheila and which was recently given to me.

The book is only 9 inches long by 5 inches wide with less than a hundred pages.    The cover is intact but the spine will need repairing and it is obvious that this book was used over and over again.    It is called “the Tricity cookery book”.    It is a very straight forward cook book with only 4 colour plates.    There are a few sketches but this book is all about the recipes.   Some pages were used more often than others and I love the fact that it isn’t in pristine condition.   It was a book which was used.

Right beside it on my cookery shelf, I found “A taste of Ireland in food and pictures” by Theodora Fitzgibbon.  A friend of mine Rhona, who knows how much I love cookery books, gave it to me prior to moving to Charlton near Banbury in the United Kingdom to run The Rose and Crown.  If you get a chance to visit just try the superb food there.

Again, this is a small cookery book but it has a wealth of history together with the recipes.  The edition I have ,was published by Pan in 1971.   One odd thing about the recipes is that the quantities are not only given in imperial measurement as was used in Ireland at the time but also in U.S.  cup measurements.   However, on the back of the book there is an endorsement by the Irish Tourist Board. Perhaps this book was intended for the tourist industry mainly and that would explain the use of U.S. measurements.

The black and white photographs which accompany each recipe give more information on the times and evoke a sense of times past. The recipes cover everything from toffee to cruibíns. If you ever come across this book it is well worth a read especially if you are interested in social history or cookery.

Gladden the Heart

 

I remember when I was quite young I heard the expression “to gladden the heart”.  It was years before I actually understood what it meant.  The first time I read this poem I was reminded of that expression.  When I came across the poem again this morng  it lightened my spirit once more.

 

 

Smiling is infectious

You catch it like the flu

When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too

 

I walked around a corner

And someone saw me grin

When he smiled I realised

I had passed it onto him

 

I thought about a smile

And realised its worth

A single smile like mine

Could travel round the earth

 

So if you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected

Start an epidemic and get the world infected.

Spike Milligan

Pebbles On A Beach

This morning on a craft group which I follow on social media a member made the suggestion of drilling holes into flat beach pebbles to use as unusual buttons.

I immediately recalled my grandniece, 3 years of age after a walk along our pebbled beach.  We had thrown pebbles in the sea, chosen many pebbles which she had entrusted to her older cousin to mind.  But when we came to the end of our walk she insisted that all the pebbles had to be returned so that other children could throw pebbles in the sea.

Out of the mouths of babe….

Sometimes it is the pebbles on the beach which make that particular beach so beautiful.  Those pebbles are needed to soothe the souls: to make the unique sound of the sea washing over them: to provide that feeling one gets no matter what age when throwing them back into the sea.

So perhaps if you contemplate taking pebbles from the beach as a memory, or for use in an art project perhaps pause and ask yourself if you really need it?

New Year Resolutions

via Daily Prompt: Confess

 

I confess that I am not a fan of making resolutions at a particular time of the year. I do like to set challenges for myself which are achievable. Life may intervene and these challenges can sometimes be deferred. However I prefer to set these challenges at a time which has been determined by me and not foisted on me.

In the northern hemisphere generally academic years begin in September and October so for me starting something new in Autumn feels right. Starting something new or setting new targets at Easter for some reason also sits well with me.

I like winter but starting something new just seems to jibe with me. Starting something new in January just seems a little forced or is it perhaps that I am not ready for these resolutions?

No I just don’t like all the hype about new year resolutions. So no I won’t be making any new year resolutions. I will not be looking back on 2017 to see what I have not accomplished. I will remember and toast family and friends and be exceedingly thankful to have them in my life. However New Year Resolutions will not be part of the start of 2018 for me.