lördag 31 maj 2008

Lucka 7

If you are a weaver of fine cloth,
weave as if the goods were to embrace
The limbs of your beloved.
If you are a blower of glass,
fashion the cup as if it were to be touched
by the lips of your beloved.
From the Hindi

Weave Anglo-Saxon wefan. Cf. Dutch weven, German weben, Old Nors vefa; cognate with Greek ύфοζ, web, and with Sanskrit ūrņavābhi, spider, literally wool-weaver.

tisdag 20 maj 2008

Hybrid brownies

Since I'm not very good at following recipes I never know how things will turn out — I've made cakes that looked scrumptious but wasn't edible... It can be rather embarrassing if you serve it when you have guests. To taste a cake before your guest arrive means that a piece will be missing when you put it on the table — not comme il faut. My solution is to make bars, cupcakes or muffins. I'm not quite sure to which group today’s hybrid belongs. I haven't forgot the flour — they are made without any!

165 g semi sweet chocolate

2 tbsp cocoa
50 g butter
2 eggs
2 tbsp. muscovado sugar

1½ tsp cardamom
80 g white chocolate, chopped (about ½ cup)
black currants — or any kind of berries or jam

Melt the chocolate add the butter and let melt, add the cocoa.
Beat sugar, cardamom and eggs well, add the chocolate and mix.
Add the white chocolate.
Fill 10 muffin cups with first 1 tablespoon of the batter then 1 teaspoon black currents and put the remaining batter on top of the berries.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes at 175°C.

söndag 18 maj 2008

Tea At Four O'clock

Tea At Four O'clock by Simon Thomas
Simon (at Stuck In A Book) has been kind enough to let me use his painting today. I'm having some friends over for tea at four o'clock tomorrow, so I thought it was most appropriate to put it up with the recipe for the shortbread I just made.

Almond Shortbread

400 ml flour
100 ml corn flour
100 g ground almonds (I toast the almonds first)
225 g butter
2 tbsp muscovado sugar

Mix all the ingredients and press into a 20 x 30 cm pan, bake at 170°C for 25 - 30 minutes

There are many excellent conversions calculators online - I use

It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon it says, "Work!" After beefsteak and porter, it says, "Sleep!" After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don't let it stand for more than three minutes), it says to the brain, "Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!
"Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927): Three Men in a Boat

lördag 17 maj 2008

Today's finds

Saturday mornings are slow and pleasant — I listen to one of my favorite radio programs while I check what new books Gutenberg has published.
Some of the books are a tad too edifying but I can't resist them if they have good pictures — like the one above from "Pretty Tales for the Nursery" by Isabel Thompson with illustrations by John Gilbert (1817-1897). It doesn't say when it was printed but as the illustrator died in 1897 and he was rather old then one can assume that it was printed well before the end of the century.

There were three books illustrated by Walter Crane which I of course could not pass.

It is still snowing but I think it soon will turn into rain — a perfect day to stay by the fire to read and listen to music. I've just started to read a book I found last Saturday: "Northern Travel Summer and Winter Pictures of Sweden, Denmark and Lapland" by Bayard Taylor. It was printed in 1857 so even if I've been to many of the places he picture I won't recognize them.


The poor flowers look so sad under the snow. Not to mention what Åskar the cat is — he was terribly upset when he saw the snow.

tisdag 13 maj 2008

Lucka 5

"O daughter, dear' her mother said, this blanket round you fold,
'Tis such a dreadful night abroad, you will catch your death of cold."
William Lorenzo Carter 1813-1860
Young (or For) Charlotte)
WARP: gray, brown, red & green schalgarn idun 3800m/kg (not available any longer).
WEFT: gray, brown, red & green schalgarn idun 3800m/kg.
REED: 40/10, gray yarn 1-1 and 2-2 for the colored stripes.

Blanket. Old French blanquete, from blanc, white. Originally a white woolen material; cf. Middle English whitel, Anglo Saxon hwītel, in similar sense. Wet blanket is figuratively from extinguishing a fire (cf. throw cold water on). To toss in a blanket is in Shakespeare (2 Henry IV, ii 4). Wrong side of the blanket is in Smollett (Humphrey Clinker). Blanketer (historical) was the name given to operatives who assembled (1817) in St Peter's Fields, Manchester, provided with blankets in order to march to London and demand redress of their grievances. The attack upon them by the military gave rise to the portmanteau word Peterloo (St Peter's Fields X Waterloo), a very early example of this formation and a curious parallel to Bakerloo.

söndag 11 maj 2008

Bloggers block?

Bloggers block?

No, I don't think so — rather a sever bout of energy deficiency. I should be used to it......
There are so many interesting challenges going on — I know better than get too involved in them but I can't avoid the process they start — they make me ponder over things and more often than not, send me to the book case. I don't mind that but using whatever small amout of energy I have looking up things mean that I neglect most of the musts.

The garden needs a firm hand — actually many more hands than I have. Whatever I do in the garden I feel as I should be at three more places at the same time...

Things happens so fast this spring — if I turn around I can be sure I miss something behind my back.


I'm not very good at weeding — I like dandelions far too much and who can pull up the lovely violet from the gravel walk, not me!

The wooden anemones are almost over but this double one is always a week later than its cousins. It is hard to get a good picture of though.

The lilacs won't bloom for another week or two — which I'm grateful for as it gives me more time it enjoy the whole process from bud to flower.

tisdag 6 maj 2008

Lucka 4

Teatime by Itzchak Tarkay

For afternoon tea was quite a feature of Bertram's.
It was nothing less than splendid. Presiding over the ritual was Henry, a large and magnificent figure, a ripe fifty, avuncular, sympathetic, and with courtly manners of that long vanished species: the perfect butler. Slim youths preformed the actual work under Henrys's austere direction. There were large crested silver teapots. The china, if not actully Rockingham and Davenport, looked like it. The Blind Earl services were particulare favourites. The tea was the best Indian, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Lapsang, etc. As for eatables, you could ask for anything you liked — and get it!
On this particular day, November 17th Lady Selina Hazy, sixty-five, up from Leicestershire, was eating delicious well-buttered muffins with all an elderly lady's relish.
Her absorption with muffins, however, was not so great that she failed to look up sharply every time the inner pair of swing doors opened to admit a newcomer._ _ _

"Only place in London you still get muffins. Real muffins. Do you know when I went to America last year they had something called muffins on the breakfast menue. Not real muffins at all. Kind of teacake with raisins in them. I mean, why call them muffins?"

She pushed in the last buttery morsel and looked around vaguely. Henry materialized immediately. Not quickly or hurriedly. It seemed that, just suddenly, he was there.

"Anything further I can get you, my lady? Cake of any kind?"

"Cake?" Lady Selina thought about it, was doubtful.

"We are serving very good seed cake, my lady. I can recommend it."

"Seed cake? I haven't eaten seed cake for years. It is real seed cake?"

"Oh yes, my lady. The cook has had the receipt for years. You'll enjoy it, I'm sure.
Agatha Christie
"At Bertram's Hotel"

Cold Water Muffins
Sift a quart of flour, add to it a little salt, a large spoonful of yeast, beat the white of a fresh egg to a froth; after mixing the flour up with cold water into a soft dough, add the egg; set it in a moderately warm place. Next morning beat it well with a spoon, put it on the bake-iron in round cakes; when one side is nicely brown, turn them; keep them hot till sent to table, split and butter them. If you wish to have muffins for tea, they should be made up early in the Morning.
From Domestic Cookery, Useful receipts, and hints to young housekeepers, by Elizabeth E. Lea

fredag 2 maj 2008


From The Book of the Cat by Mabel Humphrey
Simon's (Stuck In A Book) cat talk the other day made me think of books I've read about cats. I'm sure I've read more than I can remember — without consulting my book cases I only can think of five:
Lilian Jackson Braun, "The Cat Who-books"
Sheila Burnford, "The Incredible Journey"
James Herriot has written several
Rudyard Kipling, "The Cat that walked by Himself"
Doris Lessing "On Cats"
I know that Gutenberg has some books about cats for children with lovely illustrations but wanted to know if they had other cat-books. I typed cat in the search box and got 421 matches! But I soon realized that most of the matches had nothing with cats to do. A computer mind doesn't distinguish between cat, catacomb, cathedral, Catullus or Catskills! Some of the titles I had to read twice before I found the cat in them, like: The advocate, The Mind and its Education or The Pit prop Syndicate. I'm sure some of those non-cat-books are interesting even if it wasn't what I was looking for. "Division of Words Rules for the Division of Words at the Ends of Lines, with Remarks on Spelling, Syllabication and Pronunciation" by Hamilton, Frederick W. for example — I probably could benefit from reading it..
I did find some books I haven't seen before that I'll look at when I have time.

The Rubáiyát of a Persian Kitten by Oliver Herford

torsdag 1 maj 2008

Lucka 3

"All well-regulated families set apart an hour every morning for tea and bread and butter."
Joseph Addison, 1711

To make Cambridge Almond Butter.
Take a Quart of Cream and sixteen Eggs well beaten, mix them together and strain them into a Posnet, set them on a soft fire, and stir them continually; when it is ready to boil, put in half a quarter of a Pint of Sack, and stir it till it run to a Curd, then strain the Whey from it as much as may be, then beat four Ounces of blanched Almonds with Rosewater, then put the Curd and beaten Almonds and half a pound of fine Sugar into a Mortar, and beat them well together, then put it into Glasses and eat it with bread, it will keep a Fortnight.
From "The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet" (1672) by Hannah Wolley