When Nobody’s Right

Very thought proking

The Catbox

Throughout our lives, we’re constantly trying to find our Selves. Who We Are.

There’s entire industries making money from that quest. Advice comes from every angle, how to transform your mind, body and spirit to become… what? Your ‘Truest Self?’

I’ve come to believe that this is actually the journey that is our lifetime – and even then, some folks don’t get there. That’s what Reincarnation is for 😉

However, it’s always confused me why some people seem to invest so much of their energy in telling others that they’re wrong.

Sometimes this is well-intentioned. Children are taught what is socially right or wrong, for example, and so society is maintained.

But what if those guiding hands are themselves wrong? Or at least misguided.

We learn early on that we have to trust in order to find out what’s acceptable (or not). Ideally, we also learn who to trust. Or…

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Bread

Warm bread, fresh from the oven, cool butter and for my personal bit of heaven a smear of Bovril.  A simple childhood treat from my Granny’s kitchen which I still love today.  Most  days I keep carbs to a minimum but occasionally I crack out the loaf pans and revel in the real thing

Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1kilo Wholegrain Spelt Flour
4tsp Dried active yeast
1tsp salt
700 ml warm water
30ml maple syrup

In a large bowl weigh out the flour
Add the yeast to one side and the salt to the other
In a jug weigh out the water (1 part hot : 2 parts cold) and the maple syrup
Using a hand mixer with dough hooks, mix for 4 mins
Or if your feeling traditional, knead for 10 mins until smooth and pliable.
Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size
Knock back, divide into two then shape into loaves
Pop into the loaf pans and allow a second rise (I do this on top of the oven as it comes up to temperature)
Preheat the oven to 230°
Reduce heat to 200°
Bake for 35 mins
Loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the underside

Marmalade Cake

RECIPE: Marmalade Cake

Goes well as elevensies or afternoon tea. Will give 10 – 12 slices depending on generosity


Ingredients

Dry:
1 cup Wholegrain Spelt Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice
½ cup Ground Almonds
Wet:
65g Melted Butter
60g Natural Greek Yogurt
125g Marmalade
1 Large Egg


Method

  • Set oven to preheat at 180c
  • In bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together until evenly distributed throughout
  • In a 2nd bowl, beat together all the wet ingredients
  • Fold together wet and dry ingredients
  • Pour into a loaf pan and smooth out
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until golden, pulling away from the edges and when inserted a skewer comes out clean
  • Cool in the pan before turning out

Notes

  • I use spelt for the additional nutrition but ordinary Self Raising flour would be fine, the baking powder can then be omitted.
  • Ground Almonds could be replaced with finely chopped pecans.
  • I use a rich dark marmalade like Dundee or Seville.
  • I use a silicon loaf pan as it doesn’t need greasing or lining.
  • Could be enhanced with ¼ cup of mixed peel for extra zestiness.

Hard Baked Eggs

When the Hairy Darling expressed a liking for pickled eggs I realized that hard boiling eggs was something I’d never done.

Living with CFS means standing over a boiling pan waiting for just the right moment isn’t an option and counting on a timer to wake me up if I doze off seems like a burnt pan waiting to happen so I poked the Internet to see what would fall out on the subject and found a recipe where whole eggs were baked in the oven by resting them in a muffin tin.

Why make extra work thought I and after a bit if trial and error here we are.


Recipe: Hard Baked Eggs


Ingredients:

Eggs – I use free range mixed weight ones


Method:

  • Place your eggs directly on to the rack in your halogen oven
  • Bake at 150° for 10 minutes

If eating immediately, I find them easiest to peal while still warm

If cooking for later use, transfer to a bowl of iced water to rapid cool, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and refrigerate within 2 hours.

Store unpeeled, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week

IF

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on a white wooly rug getting toasty warm in front of the fire having been out for a walk on a wild autumn day, while my grandfather read aloud from the Just So Stories.  Here I share another of Kipling’s famous works in memory of EBC


 

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Desiderata

I came across a quote from this yesterday and it brought this poem back to the forefront of my mind.  It’s been a favourite of mine for many years and here, I share it with you


Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann

Crumble

Is there anyone who doesn’t love crumble? Apple, plum, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, grape (yes, I said grape) and, of course, the legendary rhubarb, crumble is a delight and a comfort as well of a useful tool to get fruit fruit into people where it wouldn’t be their first choice.

This crumble comes out well balanced in the stodgy v crunchy equation and also doubles up as a fantastic base for cheesecake.

The last question: Cream, custard or ice cream?


RECIPE: Crumble

Makes 4 piggy portions or 6 moderate


Ingredients:

150g Spelt Flour

100g Oats or chopped pecan nuts (or both if you want to bulk your crumble up)

100g Demerara Sugar

100g Unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon ground spice


Method:

  • Weigh all the ingredients into a bowl
  • Cut the butter into cubes about 1/2 inch or so
  • Rub together
  • Chill for 20 mins or until required
  • Preheat oven to 200c
  • Pile on top of the fruit of your choice
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and bubbly around the edges

Variations:

I use spelt but if you don’t have it, use what you have.  A mix of white & wholemeal will work and substituting some rye also gives a nice effect.

Pecans are a favourite in my family but slivered almonds or any chopped nuts are also a good fit.

I haven’t specified the spice because I tend to change it depending on what fruit I’m using: cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom or good old mixed if you’re not sure.