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The last couple of months have been trying. Somebody or other sick constantly. Then we were burgled. I’ve always been perversely proud that we’ve never had anything anyone would want to steal. But then there was the laptop, so away it went, along with a few pieces of jewellery. Things of monetary value that I never considered as such. My grandmother’s engagement ring and enamel locket, the gold locket I got for my 21st birthday, and some gold earrings Mr. Foxy commissioned for me from a contemporary jeweller about 20 years ago. The loss of my grandmother’s pieces is hardest to bear.
Then, unexpectedly, we bought a house! Our own house, a proper one with a proper yard! Despite looking at properties on and off for the last three years, I had just begun to worry that I would never have my own home – anything suitable was unattainable, anything affordable was unsuitable. The elation of knowing that we don’t have to scour the real estate advertisements every week and spend weekends rushing to open inspections!
There’s one small hitch … we need to build on to it to make it big enough. The prospect is daunting, but exciting …
I don’t know why, but I have a deep-set conviction that the all tasks that need to be performed should be able to fit in to the time one has available. Of course reason tells me otherwise, but the expectation tends to cause feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration when I’m unable to get everything done. If I worked on what “should” be done every waking moment, there would be no time for what are really the important things, like spending time with the children and general enjoyment of life. Like the medieval Persian poem*, I crave to meet the needs of the soul as well as more prosaic ones.
So with the narking presence of a sink full of dirty dishes, a full dishwasher, baskets full of clean and dirty washing, general domestic mayhem and nothing planned for dinner, other things tend to get done. Like playing snakes and ladders, gazing at and chatting with chirpy little girls who love pointing at birds, and making souffles on a whim.
The recipe reproduced below is from Food in Vogue: From Boulestin to Boxer, Pyramid Books, 1988. I made half quantity in three individual ramekins, as with souffle leftovers just aren’t the same. These are so quick to make and not difficult, and it helps to think of them as a quick treat for instant scoffing rather than a fancy classic french dessert for a dinner party. Here is my method, updated from the 1934 version for a lazy person of 2010.
Lady Colefax’s Chocolate Souffle (for 3)
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp milk (or cream would be good)
- 70g dark chocolate (ok, I used 80g and divided the rest of the 100g block between the bases of the ramekins – this may have affected the rising a bit)
- butter for greasing ramekins
- cream for serving
Preheat oven to 180 degs. C
Beat egg yolks with sugar until combined and thick. Melt chocolate with milk (I used the microwave - it took a couple of 10 second goes, but go carefully) and add to egg yolks and sugar mixture. Beat egg whites until peaks form. With a metal spoon mix a spoonful into chocolate mixture to soften, then combine rest. (Do not over mix.)
Spoon into well buttered ramekins and bake until risen (about 5-10 minutes, but watch carefully). Eat at once with cream.
*If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And of thy simple store two loaves of bread alone are left
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
We’re in and mostly unpacked, and pretty happy with our new abode. After our rambling, wonky, eccentric Edwardian with a creative spirit, we were initially disappointed by this smaller and plainer California Bungalow. But the move forced us to shed a few belongings and organise everything a bit more, and now this house’s quiet charms are revealing themselves to us.
It’s been busy – with packing, bouts of gastro throughout the family, moving, unpacking and ongoing organising – amidst the normal chaos of a family with young children. But now that things are getting a little less out-of-control, there are at least some quiet moments to be stolen from child tending, household chores and unpacking. There has even been knitting …
As started by Pip, earlier in the week …
- Making : my Ravelry Bendigo Woollen Mills Group swap project
- Cooking : kid-friendly chili con carne
- Drinking : filtered water, and interested in this new product
- Reading: my new copy of Handmade Home, just arrived
- Wanting: more consecutive hours of sleep
- Looking: at nice magazines, like Selvedge (thanks Michelle) and Inside Out
- Playing: an audiobook from the library, England’s Mistress
- Wasting: too much time browsing Ravelry
- Sewing: only things knitting/crochet-related of late, but would like to get a sewing nook set up one day (or like this one)
- Wishing: for more time and energy
- Enjoying: sunshine and signs of spring, amongst the high winds
- Waiting: for a too slow internet connection to load pages
- Liking: browsing Etsy for gifts, now that the exchange rate isn’t too bad
- Wondering: how long the babies will sleep and if a routine is possible
- Loving: my vintage granny-square blanket on my bed, the gift of a friend and found in a Darwin op-shop, rediscovered in the linen cupboard
- Hoping: a large-enough house in a reasonable location could become ours before too long
- Marvelling: at the beauty and cleverness of my three babies
- Needing: a good old tidy up around the house
- Smelling: (until recently) jonquils
- Wearing: my February Lady (if you’re a Raveller, here’s mine here)
- Following: the Uniform Project - inspirational accessorising, for a good cause
- Noticing: that clutter is quick to collect
- Knowing: that my moments of peaceful pottering will end soon as the kinder run is nigh
- Thinking: that the characters populating everyday life in 18th century Britain and Europe was actually much younger than we imagine – people started working independently as young as 10 or 12, heads of state and politcians could be in their teens or 20′s.
- Feeling: lucky that I don’t live in 18th century England
- Bookmarking: recipes and activities in The River Cottage Family Cookbook
Opening: my parcel from Fishpond
Giggling: at babies blowing raspberries, in unison and at length
Feeling: tired but generally content
It’s difficult for me to differentiate the ‘weekend’ from any other pair of days, the result of living in baby-world and having a husband who works weekends, but these are snippets of what’s caught my attention in the past couple of days …
- the surprise of a late birthday gift in the post, so time has been spent assembling lego fire-engines and the like. They never had those teeny tiny fiddly bits when I was a child!
- loving this idea! (Thanks Michelle!)
- like Di, enjoying Cast On‘s Make Do and Mend series. Worried about becoming the person described on one of the earlier episodes who was mocked by her removalists for having boxes and boxes of materials for re-purposing! I already have a large bag of hand-screen-printed t-shirts from Aboriginal Communities collected when we lived in Darwin – to be transformed one day into children’s clothes, or cushions, or ? Not to mention a pile of op-shop clothes made of fabric I liked …
- one of my attempts at thrift: using up alot of yarn left-overs and making a granny-square scarf. All sewn up and now deliberating on a border …
- reading this, recommended by Amy
- cleaning out the fridge (of food that is – no extreme housework going on here) and making and eating easy vegetable lasagne, recipe courtesy of another mother of twin babies
- watching babies on the move! Unfortunately they have developed a taste for the local newspaper, eaten straight from the magazine rack …
I’ve been thinking about the similarities between blogging (or at least the blogs I tend to look at) and 19th century scrapbooks. Women would use these albums to collect existing and self-created images they liked, record prose or verse and keep mementos of their lives. This was generally done in an aesthetic manner pleasing to the maker.
Some of the blog posts of others that I enjoy most are those that offer a glimpse into the aesthetics of their lives, their own photographs or illustrations, or those that inspire them, and stories about their daily lives.
So here are clippings from my weekend scrapbook (maybe not so inspiring and aesthetic as some, but very pleasant none-the-less!) :
- realising that winter is really here
- baking cakes with Rex and cooking braised dishes for warming dinners
- listening to the rain, and enjoying it
- watching old videos with Rex and eating chocolate biscuits
- adding a layer to the babies’ daily uniform
- adding scraps to my album blogging with a cuddly wriggly baby on my knee
- listening to Nina Simone and Dawn Upshaw
- loving knitting with Bendigo’s new yarn
- reading aloud new library books and also three lovely books (signed by the author!), the gift of a dear friend from far away.
- admiring the roses in the front garden
- starting to plan a 4th birthday party for later this month
- hoping your weekend is full of lovely experiences