Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Above the River

Now that we are on our Easter break, all home schooling has been pushed to one side for the time being and along with it so has any semblance of structure we had to our days. With no real sense of purpose our mornings have turned into very lazy affairs. Usually busy, I'm finding this slower pace of life is taking quite a bit of getting used to and this last week I have been undeniably feeling the effects from a lack of daily routine.
It's not surprising, therefore, that the one thing I am so very grateful for during this time is my daily exercise. I feel so blessed that each afternoon I am able to leave the house to take a walk in the local area. Such a treasured part of the day where, for a short while at least, everything is as it should be, nature is doing what she does best, and I am reassured by the sights of springtime all around us. There are several walks which we can access easily from home. One of my favourite routes at this time takes us up the hill, through the village and along the lane, finally crossing a bridge before dropping down towards the river.

Here beneath the trees lies an abundance of wild garlic. Usually, I walk straight through along the main path but on Monday I took a slight detour, up a small track which led me to some fresh, new green shoots. I didn't  hang around long, just enough to grab a few handfuls which I carefully tucked  away in my bag, with plans to turn them into a delicious pesto later in the day.

The track skirts along the edge of the fields, above the river, the once muddy footpath, now hard, cracked and dusty following the recent dry, sunny weather. Lambs are scattered about the fields, some old enough now to wander independently now. They are curious ,but soon scatter as we approach. There are younger ones in the field on the opposite bank, and many more still to be born.

We take another brief pause, closer to the water. Just long enough to rest our legs and catch our breath, before the path leads us away from the river, through fields and along the lane, to return home once again.

Following a quick rinse, the wild garlic leaves are blended with olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan and pine nuts to create this delightfully green paste, which tastes delicious stirred into fresh cooked pasta.
Although, at the moment, we are repeating the same walks over and over, I'm finding great comfort in that.  The constancy and familiarity  is reassuring in what are very uncertain times, and the opportunity to experience the beautiful countryside right here on my doorstep will never again be overlooked.  
J. X

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Weetabix Fruit Loaf Cake

For those of you who were curious about the Weetabix cake I made. There are various recipes available online, but this is one which was passed to me years ago and that I have always used for making mine.
It's really delicious and so very simple to make, you don't even need to weigh out any of the ingredients.

You will need:

2 Weetabix
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of sultanas
1 cup of milk
1 cup of self raising flour
1 egg
1 cup = 250mls. I use a little less than a full cupful of sugar and don't notice any difference to the taste.

Place the Weetabix, sugar, sultanas and milk into a large mixing bowl and mix together. Cover and leave for at least an hour or overnight. Next stir in the egg and flour and mix well. Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake at 150°C for around 45 - 50 minutes.

I enjoy mine thickly sliced and spread with butter.

J. X

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Staying Home

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post. More than ever I appreciate the connection with everyone in this wonderful blogging community. Long may it continue.
With work and the usual school day on hold for the time being, life has taken a very different turn. I have been trying to keep to some sort of a routine, although this isn't always adhered to when I don't have any time constraints. It's a very strange feeling.

Most mornings we've completed around two hours of school work. This includes spelling practice, reading, writing and maths, followed by some topic work. It's surprising how much can be covered in a short space of time and it leaves our afternoons free to play in the garden and to go for a walk.

Now that the weather has improved, the garden is looking so much better. The grass has had it's first proper cut of the year and the soil has been dug over. Unfortunately, there's only so much work I can do until I can get to a garden centre, but Lily and I have managed to sow some sweet peas, spinach, tomatoes and sunflowers. There is still carrot and beetroot to go in, but this really should wait until I can get hold of some more netting to keep any cats off. I've also weeded and swept the driveway, no longer having the excuse of not having enough time. Until this last week I never knew how much I would come to value this outdoor space and, although it's lacking in colour at the moment, I'm just so grateful that Lily is able to play out, enjoy her swing and even ride her bike along the driveway.

The supermarket now appears to have most things in stock and on my last visit I was able to get everything we needed, even flour! The staff there are doing an amazing job and manage to keep smiling, even while working in very difficult circumstances, so I'm very grateful for  them. It's been a great comfort to me being able to bake once again and even more comfort in being able to eat the results. I've made Weetabix cake and some bread so far. 😁 There's a new cake recipe I want to have a try at baking this week but I need some oranges which I don't have in at the moment, so it will just have to wait until my next shop. I'm taking care to be more organised with my shopping lists and I know to add an extra carton of milk to the list in future, so that I can avoid having to go any more often than is absolutely necessary.

Most afternoons we've enjoyed a walk along the riverbank and not surprisingly it's a little busier than usual down there. Still, there is plenty of space for people to pass each other at a safe distance, although, with Lily often waving a stick around, we're usually given a wide berth anyway.
Stay well.
J. X