Usually when I'm home alone I like to have the radio on in the background. It makes me feel as though I have a link to the outside world as I get through the day. Today, however, I've gone for the silent treatment. There's a lot going through my head - sewing for the weekend's market, organising for a market taking place in a couple of weeks, digesting the content of the parenting course I'm undertaking and contemplating the green smoothie challenge I [foolishly] put myself up for. Then there are the pressures of family life, what's for dinner and where are the kitty cats right now (this morning we found one of top of the bathroom door).
So I'm typing, and listening to the ticking of the clock - a reminder of how quiet the house is, and how little time I have left before the school/music lesson/swimming lesson/dinner/next swimming lesson routine that is Thursday begins.
The weather has been a bit cool lately. It's been an easy choice to stay indoors and knit. After a school holiday trip to Bendigo Woollen Mills (yep, the kidlets were overjoyed, I tell you) I've been stocking up on toddler mitts, and trying out some new projects too.
Yes alright I know I said it was something I wouldn't do. But I've gone and done it. Squirt Baby is on Facebook. And right now I feel as though I don't have the brain space to take it on. But I have. And now I have to learn. Now I love me a bit of learning, but sometimes it's annoyingly time consuming. I know I'll get the hang of it. But right I now I need a personal facebook trainer. Any takers??
Is it just me, or does everyone have a supply of perfectly-good-but-not-used items littering their pantry? There are foods that we eat seasonally, even though they are not seasonal foods. Like dried apricots. I was digging around in the fruit and nut section this morning, looking for something to cobble together as a snack for lunchboxes, when I came across a substantial quantity of dried apricots. We eat them a fair bit during summer, as part of grazing plates when the weather is too hot to eat a proper meal. But come winter, and we to forget all about them. So those packets bought towards the end of summer are languishing in the dark recesses of the pantry. When I rediscovered them this morning, my mind immediately went to cake.
Apricot & Carrot Loaf
110g (2/3 cup) chopped dried apricots
150g (1 cup) self raising flour
115 g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1 tspn mixed spice
200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
250g carrots, grated
65g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
125g butter, melted
Preheat oven to 170 deg Celsius.
Grease and line the base of a 10.5 x 21 cm loaf pan.
Place the apricots in a medium heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for 10 minutes, then drain well.
Sift together the flours and spice into a bowl. Stir in the apricots, brown sugar, carrots and walnuts. Add the butter and eggs and use a large metal spoon to combine.
Spoon into the prepared pan and bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour* or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
*I find this loaf takes up to another fifteen minutes cooking time. I check every five minutes once the hour is up.
It's rather moist and heavy and is supposed to keep for four days in an airtight container. Cake doesn't last that long in this house. Oh dear.
Last week I reconnected with my sewing mojo and whipped myself into a frenzy of making and finishing off for The Design Exchange in Ballarat. It was a great day (thank you Ballarat!) and now I'm regrouping for the gorgeous Yarraville Markets this Saturday. Setting up shop in the quaint Masonic Hall with what is left of my new stock, plus a few things I'll be working on this week. So there's lots of fresh new goodness on offer.
My blogging is a bit like a love affair. It started with passion and commitment and I couldn't leave it alone. Then I got all comfortable with it and thought we'd achieved a state of equilibrium. And now, the love affair has faded. There's no zing, no quickening of the heartbeat. There's neglect, a touch of staleness and regret. I want it to be different. I really do. But I have a new lover. Instagram is it's name. But I've popped back here so the old love doesn't feel completely forgotten. And I'm sensitive like that!
Here's a bit of my life (in Instagram pics of course) of late -
...at first glance, as though our year has been one long holiday punctuated with the occasional market.
It's been a busy term one. My baby started prep and my big boy headed to secondary school. There have been illnesses, a broken wrist, extra curricula activities and - most importantly - a visit from my big sister and her family. They live in the UK and it's been two years since we last saw each other. This visit has been much anticipated. To see them, hold them, smell them. We kept ourselves exclusive for the time they were out here and feasted on their presence. And now, they're back home. Over too soon.