I haven't posted in a week or so. Instead I've been using my free time to wallow in Nigella books! Can't seem to put them down. Must be some kind of nesting, domestic goddessing instinct or something. Anyway, here's what you've missed...
- Baking highlights: Nigella's 'Individual Apple Pies' from Feast- I turned it into a whole apple pie, added a pear & cooking apple, spiced it as she said and it tasted of a childhood you never quite had but nostalgically imagine existed. Having said that, my mum is a bit of a pudding queen so my childhood wasn't far off! Best pastry I've ever made, but I'm not sure if that was because it was the first time I'd used a processor to make it, or because it used cream cheese (in either case, I can't take the credit). Interestingly the pre-fridged dough was wetter than how I would make it by hand, and when I make it it falls apart. Lesson there?
- Baking lowlights: The lovely husband has put a stop to the baking as we've been having too many sweet treats, apparently. Can a 39-weeks pregnant woman eat too many cakes? Unfortunately my Nigella 'Domestic Goddess' reading is stirring a strong baking itch and I think only a long-keeping, ground-almondy loaf cake is going to fix it.
- Spring: You should've seen it outside this week. Warmth that persuades you to remove not only coat but cardi too, like the parable predicts. Daffodils in lines as far as you can see. Birds singing like they'd had too much caffeine, laughing at the weather and dispatching their cares. Sitting in the play park for an hour longer than we intended, twice, chatting to friends, eating oranges and watching the Little One come out of himself (just like those daffodils). Invading the neighbour's garden in the evenings so the children could play together and clearly prefer that to coming in for dinner. Woozy bees, woken a little early and looking to burrow in amongst the grass. Sunshine and blue skies that could be summer, were it not for the leafless branches framing the view above. I have been in heaven.
- The nest: My lovely husband cleaned and vacuumed after the first week of the loft conversion! A lovely break for me, and a timely one as the number of Braxton Hicks I was having suggested any exertion would encourage an early baby. And the loft conversion (now two-weeks in and half-way or more) is going well- considerate, hard-working builders; glorious views from the veluxes; glitches fixed; mess/dust/noise not as bad as anticipated. Meanwhile I have been nesting with Nigella and trying to channel my easy-going mother who would let a loft-conversion, even in the last days of pregnancy (am I mad?!) slide over her like water on a duck's back.
- Sewing: None! I have had a little break, and my lovely husband has been photographing my recent crafting (more on that another time). But I shouldn't have had a break: the Big One told me his school bag was breaking and I needed to sew the straps back. I put it off. They have now broken and are beyond repair. Trip to the shops in the last week of pregnancy, joy.
- Cooking highlights: Jamie's ragu from 'Italy'- consistently yummy, several hours of putt-putting away with no effort from me, easy to make, and the double part of the quantity is now perched in the freezer awaiting post-baby-no.3 iron-rich comfort feeding. Nigella's 'Slow-cooked Lamb with Beans' from Feast- oh my, that meat fell off the bones and melted in our mouths, even the Little One could manage it, and the rest of us went back for more & more. It's in the Easter section. Go make!
- Cooking lowlights: Nigella's 'Sweetcorn Fritters', made as a treat for the boys and I, and nothing special. And I forgot to soak the beans for the bean & barley soup I was going to make. Something of a habit - should I be setting phone reminders for bean soaking do you think?
- Odds & ends: Lovely chats on the phone with friends and family. No visitors this weekend for a change (hooray!). Bought a caterpillar tunnel for the Toddler Group May Queen walking float (we are the Hungry Caterpillar!). And Nigella's 'Kitchen' arrived in the post. Which was the start of all this nesting and domesticating this week, the seed for my Nigella book-binge diet, and the reason for not posting here at all.