Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sprout it Out

When I was a child lentils were a staple. They thickened soups and stews, and often took the lead in a meal. My Anglo-Burman mother knew a lentil trick or two. But it wasn't until I was in my thirties that I realised lentils didn't have to be orange and split. My favourites now are the tiny slate coloured ones from Le Puy, in France, and I'm always delighted to find something new to do with them.

I'd eaten sprouted seeds on many occasions but had never tried to make them. Instructions regarding blotting paper covered trays and constant spraying to keep them from getting either too wet, or too dry, put me off. So I was thrilled when an hour's idle Pinterest browsing (no doubt when I should have been writing a lesson plan) led me to a simple jar method. Not only was it über easy, it looked pretty, and involved lentils which I had never thought of as seeds before. This is what I did:

I took a handful of Puy lentils and soaked them over night,

drained and transferred them to a jar. Within hours tiny white shoots appeared.

By the next day the shoots looked like this.

And on day three some tiny greens had appeared.

Day five: ready to eat and

bursting out the top of the jar.

They were delicious and are, apparently, scandalously healthy. If you want to do it you need to know that you must rinse them with cold water twice a day, and shake out as much of the water as you possibly can. I covered the jar in a piece of muslin which I then punched holes in with a sharp knife. This allowed me to do the rinsing and shaking without losing the lot down the sink, or faffing about with a colander. You can find the original and much more detailed recipe at Honest Fare, which is a rather nice site.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Crank, Crank

I started to write a new post on Saturday but abandoned it after I realized it was no more than a gutter full of cognitive puke. My blogese has gone rusty, so by way of rubbing it down with wire wool and a drop of oil, here are some day trip to the English Lakes photographs. We went yesterday, it was cold but mostly sunny. We had fish and chips in probably the most basic café in the non-Soviet world. No attempt whatever to make it anything other than it was: a place to sit down and fill up. Grey plastic everything. I find that quite admirable in these days of beaded tea-light holders on every surface; though once I'd swallowed my last chip I was glad to leave. Anyway, back to the snaps: you may notice not many of them contain lakes, it was too cold for me down by the water:

Lake Windermere, we didn't take the red, or any other colour, cruise.

Bowness town centre.

Modernisation: Back-street, Bowness.

Grasmere just after a shower.

Gorgeous thick green paint on the back window of a Ginger-bread shop in Grasmere.

Pretty rusted bench in the grounds of the lovely, but sadly concrete rendered, Norman church where Wordsworth and his clan are buried. I forget what it's called.

Detail from the Wordsworths' grave plot.

My book's coming on: I now have 57,510 words. I hope to get to sixty thousand tomorrow morning. So it's bed time for me now.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

How Long Now?

My Life Without Me

I haven't abandoned blogging, promise, I miss it. So I've resurfaced to say I will be back soon. Teaching two workshops and writing a book, as well as the usual husbandry duties (why is it called husbandry when it's nine out of ten times the wife who does it?), meant I had to drop either sleep or the blog. I thought I was more likely to recover to blog again if I kept up the sleep.

I have, sort of, been keeping up with you by reading some of your posts on my kindle in bed, last thing. But I can't leave comments that way. And in the morning it's back to it. Anyway the conference I mentioned in my last post was so inspiring I've managed twenty seven thousand words of my book since attending, so things aren't all bad. I should say that reading Stephen King's On Writing contributed too: he deals with some really practical details that helped me properly envision the production process. He, together with the speakers in Glasgow, lifted the final veil, I can't thank them enough. My wrists are killing me though. I'm hoping the first draft will be done by the end of this month, and both workshops come to an end then too. So I'll get a short break from the grind, and be back in full blogging swing. See you soon.

Meanwhile you can find me on short attention span sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

P.S. In July I'll have a guest blogger, how exciting is that?

P.P.S. Thank you for all the cheery comments on my last post. Pat: do apologise about the odd tiny print, it would not let me make it normal sized, I have no idea why!