Wednesday, 19 September 2018

A bit of a catch-up

As Storm Ali turns my tree into a Whomping Willow, I'm hunkering down inside. The chimney and the window gaps are making spooky noises and the animals are jumpy so I'm banishing the eerie atmosphere with smells of spices and cooking vegetables. I have pans of pulses simmering, batch cooking underway. 
Next Week Me will be very grateful.

The younger two are back at school and thriving. Z is in Sixth Form and absolutely loves his courses. He's so full of enthusiasm, I do love to see that. He's also exhausted - lots of work! Miss B is about to go on one of the highlights of her secondary school experience - the Year 8 trip to Butlins Skegness with the whole year group. 300 kids taking over the place for a week, living in apartments with their friends and having an incredible range of activities and workshops put on for them. I know she'll love it and throw herself into everything.

Familial relations have broken down still further amongst our feline residents.  Ferris Mewller has ceased coming home entirely, even when his adopted family went away. I looked for him and called for him, but he refuses to enter the garden, never mind the house. He hisses at us when we try bring him inside and ignores offers of food. 
I miss my special lad, he was very much My Cat (or I was very much His Person) until I ruined things by bringing Gonzo to live with us.
Poor Isaac Mewton is suffering too. Gonzo's only 2 years old and he's ENORMOUS. He is the alpha cat now; eats all the food, fights with Isaac every time they are together. He's a thug - bites Isaac while he sleeps, claims every sleeping place Isaac prefers. This morning they were fighting on opposite sides of a glass door for heaven's sake - it's madness.  I have to chuck Gonzo outside and feed Isaac separately; they work the house on a timeshare system.
I'm definitely not the cause of any trouble
This autumn I can appreciate the advance planning of Winter and Spring Me, as all those events I booked tickets for are finally coming around. We have a lot of standup comedy to look forward to, some workshops, activism, Yarndale, theatre, music, a meal at a Michelin starred place we've been looking forward to, and of course the mighty Hamilton. It's lovely having all these things on the horizon. I start getting tense about the coming dark months around now, and having so many interesting things to focus on is such a help.

I've not done a great deal of crafting for a long while. This year I have been focusing on cooking new things, expanding our meal choices and overcoming my unease at cooking with meat. I don't eat meat myself much (pastrami and pancetta are my exceptions because they don't have the texture that puts me off) and I've always hated handling it. However, the point of a blog called Fearlessly Attempting is to have a go at stuff that made me nervous.
I've done pulled pork, poached chicken, pork loin steaks, cooking meals with mince, chicken curries, meatballs, fajitas.  I still hate the smell, especially of the fatty meats like the pulled pork, but the successes of getting B to try more food combined with how delighted Z is with the meals makes it worth it.

As well as the many Indian recipes from Meera Sodha's wonderful books, I've done more Mexican influenced food too. (OK, TexMex, and not remotely authentic, but tasty anyway!). There have been  refried beans with additional chillies, spicy tomato and paprika rice with onions and peppers, guacamoles and fresh salsas. Pulled jackfruit was pretty good, although at heart I do prefer a veggie chilli. Miss B and Z like tacos and wraps, Mark prefers a plate, and I don't care as long as I get to eat it.

Of course, having settled down to type what I've been up to,  I've completely lost track of time. I am dragged back to painful reality by the acrid smell of a pan burnt dry.
Aw hell.
That's going to take a lot of scrubbing to make it useable.
No refried beans today.