Tuesday, 28 January 2014
After a miserable sleepless night (bad reaction to new stronger painkillers, which affected my asthma), I felt in need of something to cheer me up today. Whilst my OH was checking out the auction, I had a wander round town and treated myself to Baking Heaven magazine - the savoury issue this time. It has some fabulous recipes in it which I want to try out and I think at the weekend I will make a Beef in Guinness Pie (got the Guinness today). This is like buying a cheap cookery book, as far as I'm concerned, and I will keep it for years and even then probably pass it on to one or other of my daughters. We all cook from scratch, though I am probably more the baker and they are more main meals at this stage of their lives.
I have come a long LONG way from the first time I remember cooking something for a boyfriend - Mince with Herbs. Oh dear Lord, it was truly AWFUL, grey fatty mince with green dots of "herbs" in it, no thickening agent, no colour and worst of all, no TASTE! I am glad to say I was a quick learner. I was not a food purist to start with - I was happy to buy ready meals, instant pizzas, burgers and what have you when I was first married to my first husband, but when you start cooking properly from scratch, and buying ingredients instead of meals, on the occasion when you grab a pizza to go from the chill shelf, because of time constraints or illness, it is always SUCH a disappointment. The same goes for just about every ready-made thing I have bought hastily in recent years. Your palate becomes used to proper fusions of flavours from fresh ingredients and all the MSG in the world isn't going to replicate that. Baking has always been my favourite section of cooking though, and that I AM good at (says she modestly!)
My passions in life began in my pre-teenage years and have never left me. I was given my first wild flower book aged 6 (an Observer book of course) and still love wild flowers, fungi, wild birds, nature and couldn't live anywhere except the countryside. I began collecting Antiquarian horse books when I started my first job as an office junior, aged 16. I still have pretty well all those books plus a whole lot more . . .
Books probably serve to reflect my deepest passions and indeed, I just LIVE for books too. Archaeology has been another major interest, and although I am gradually going through my bookshelves to cull out the ones I will no longer realistically use, it is a difficult choice . . .
Amongst those staying . . . this is one end of my Scottish shelf. The blue books right are 16 volumes of the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (of which I am a lapsed Fellow, purely on monetary grounds . . .)
These books I can bear to part with and they're going to be sold.
I also collect the pre- and post-2nd World War Batsford books on aspects of Britain - historic houses, churches, towns, villages, countryside etc. Below, another interest has always been Folk Lore and Legends, Folk Customs etc. How the Medieval mind lives on!
Some of my countryside books.
One or two self-sufficiency type booklets nuzzle against my beloved Jeanine McMullen books, and the Building of the Green Valley. I grew up backwards-looking, always living in the past. This much was clear by the time I was 9 or 10 and my friends remarked on it.
Crafting has always been important to me, especially making things by hand. Here are some of the bigger material oddments (patchwork cottons are in storage boxes) and a few of my sewing magazines.
Sometimes I will be driven to sew and sew, or knit, or crochet, or embroider, and then the sun comes out and the lure of the garden is too strong, but it is ever a balancing act, and the underlieing loves never change - just get added to sometimes!
Fleamarkets and antiques fairs!!! Whooppee!!!!