Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Not All Sunshine and Daisies

So it turns out that house keeping is not all I thought it was going to be. None of this "ooh I think I'll bake me a pie" nonsense, and more like "I want to go out tonight but I can't because I have to come home and cook dinner and clean bathrooms and hang laundry and tidy up and be stressed out because I had a bad day."

I know it's not always going to be so stressful. I'll get into the swing of things and then it will be more fun and winter I can bake pies if I want to. But right now, I want my mummy back to run around after me. I didn't mind in the flat because it didn't REALLY matter if the place was a mess.

Deep breaths. And some sleep. And then up bright and early in the morning. Yay.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Creamy Chicken and Leeks with Hasselback Potatoes and Garlic Mushrooms

So, the big move was two days ago now and tonight was the first night I cooked properly! Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, which is a bit useless :( Especially since Hasselback potatoes are SO pretty!

I made chicken, leeks and bacon in a creamy sauce, and I did the potatoes and garlic mushrooms to go with. I really wish I could show you a photo. Bad Katie!!

Creamy Chicken and Leeks
adapted from Easycook Magazine (Spring '08)
3 rashers bacon (unsmoked), diced
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 leek, sliced
1tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
300ml (1/2pt) chicken stock (I used vegetable boullion)
3tsp creme fraiche

Fry the bacon in a medium-sized pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Then add the chicken strips and cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the leek, reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender.

Stir in the flour and then gradually add the stock, stirring continuously. Stir in the creme fraiche, season, and then simmer for 5 minutes until lightly thickened and creamy.

Serves 2, with potatoes and garlic mushrooms or green veg.

I found this recipe actually makes quite a lot of sauce so we moped up the extra with buttered bread, and I saved a little to throw over some rice or something for a quick lunch tomorrow.

I'll save posting the potato recipe for another time when I bothered to take a picture!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Second-Hand Book Shops

There's something that seems so romantic about a second-hand book shop. All those books that have gone through so many pairs of hands so many times before. They are the exact kind of place, along with old libraries, that I would love to spend more time in. I love the idea of literature, and I'm a big fan of words, and of comfortable old books. There's something about an old book that makes it feel like a long lost friend.

I was in some book shops today in fact, the second-hand kind of course, looking for some of the old classics on the list of books I'm planning to read and to share my opinions on. I love how haphazard they are, and how it's all a treasure hunt really. And although I don't have much experience of them there were a few things I noticed.

It seems, for example, that no shop's collection is complete with out brand-new-looking copy of Dan Brown's novels. A remnant of all that hype, I imagine. Alexander McCall Smith also seems to get around. Perhaps these are modern classics - the ones everyone reads to say they've read them, and then they pass them on. As this idea occurred to me I realised that I'm not reading this list because someone said they are the books I should read - I'm reading because I want to find more books to fall in love with. I already know I love Jane Austen - if I could go back in time I would meet her before Einstein or George Washington or Queen Victoria. That kind of society is where all my day dreams end up - where rich women do "work" which is really just making pretty things for the home, and people go riding, and walking is exercise and everyone has a horse. Obviously this was only for the upper classes, but that's what I've fallen in love with. Don't look down on me too much!

Anyway, today's foray into second-hand world did not see me empty-handed. I picked up a copy of War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy; Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens; and for some lighter reading, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (and yes, that is on the list!).

I started War and Peace on the bus on the way home, and it's the longest of the four, so it may be a week or so before my first review. I will be updating about other things as well though, so keep coming back for more!!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

I've Moved!

So now I no longer live in Newington! I'm back home at the parents and already struggling not to wind everyone up!

I went out last night and was going to come home on the last bus... but ended up sauntering in at 8 in the morning, not having slept yet. It's a long story. Parent's not so impressed that I had brought Marsailidh with me unannounced.

But everything seems calm again now. Phew!

I've been spending the last week or so packing and cleaning and getting stressed over whether or not our landlady will return our deposit and all sorts of things, but when I've had a little free time I've been recipe hunting on-line. I've got loads and loads of things I'm just itching to try!

Food blogs are my new favourite thing, I'm especially loving:

nom nom nom nom nom

Soon I shall be cooking and photographing. :D

I also found on-line a list of books that everyone should read before they're 30. I don't know that it's the most authoritative source in the world but I like the list, so I'm going to be collecting these titles from second-hand and charity book shops and reading them over the summer, and in my spare time during term as well. Hopefully I will be able to post my humble reviews of these in due course!