Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve

Still in hospital. All my results are back and seem to confirm what we'd originally thought. It looks like our baby will be born in the next day or two as they are keen to induce me. Here's a picture of what seem to be my constant companions here. They keep the foetal monitor in place on my tummy while it records the baby's heart rate. It is an extremely annoying machine cos according to what it does, the baby is either too sleepy (not enough activity) or too active (causing lack of contact and a blank trace). Until you get a satisfactory trace, you could be stuck to the machine for hours. I have one done twice a day. So far they show a happy active baby, which is the important thing.

This photo was taken during a walk along the Shannon with Lee. I had absconded from hospital again. I thought it was funny as it seems as though the swans are joining in the January sales fever, although like a lot of people at the moment, they don't seem to have bought much.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Winter sun

Well here is another picture of a tree. Quite different from the last one. I can see this one from my window here in the hospital. I'm standing next to it at the moment trying to absorb some of the winter's sunshine that we've been blessed with today. Some acrobatic birds are playing in the bushes. The baby and me are in for tests as i've been showing symptoms of a liver problem that can be very dangerous for the baby.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I'll make mincemeat for ya

Bear and I made some mincemeat today. I checked all my books, but the recipes were so different that I decided to take a bit from them all and make my own! It does seem like the kind of thing you can make up as you go along and the flavour varies so much between ones you buy.
Yesterday for example, on our annual Christmas trip to Cork, we compared mince pies from Heaven’s Cake (who made our wedding cake) and the Alternative Bread Company in the English Market. As you should expect from a little pie that costs €1.50 (!) the Heaven’s mince pie was far superior: good (not soggy) pastry, mincemeat not too sweet, with a lovely cinnamony taste and an unusual crumble topping. Think I might try and recreate it.

Here’s the rundown.... on the off-chance that it turns out nicely and I can’t remember how much of anything I used! Thank you Darina, Nigella & Tamasin for your suggestions! Hee hee....

2 Bramley apples
1 tsp Orange blossom honey from the back of the cupboard (so I could use the jar for the mincemeat)
125g dark muscovado sugar
80 ml port
100g organic mixed peel
100g organic sultanas
125g currants
100g organic raisins
pinch of ginger, mace, ground nutmeg
1tsp or more cinnamon
zest & juice of 1 organic lemon
50g chopped blanched almonds
100g vegetable suet

First, I put the apples in the oven at 180ºC for about 45 minutes (we have a fan oven, so after about 20 minutes, I turned the heat down and cooked them for a bit less time). Then I dissolved the sugar and honey in the port over a low heat. Then, off the heat, added the mixed peel to try and soften it up a bit.
Then I put in the sultanas, currants and raisins and mixed them all together. Next I added the apples after allowing them to cool and taking the skins off.
Then I poured all the fruit from the saucepan into a big bowl and added the almonds and suet. Ta da!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

So many projects, so little time left before Christmas

I am going to turn off the computer now as I keep finding lovely things to make, even though I haven't a clue where I will find the time, considering I already have a couple of works in progress that must be finished in time for Christmas.

Purl Bee have a beautiful scarf and adorable bird-shaped tree ornaments, while Made Marian has a gorgeous little Christmas tree.

It's pressie time... ho ho ho!

Green and gold and white... how did I manage to be so colour co-ordinated? And there's even a chance that it will get to its recipient in time for Christmas. Sheer fluke, probably aided by the angels!
I have a very high standard to try and match though. The friend it's intended for sends pressies that are almost too beautiful to open. This one doesn't come close to the lovely packages she sends.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Book binge!

I've been meaning to post for a while now about something lovely that happened last week. We had been asked to get two books for a client of Lee's as the author was signing them in town that day. A few days later, I gave them to the man who wanted them: one of them was for him as he had given his original copy to someone else to read. He had mentioned the book to Lee a couple of times and had asked me if I had read it. I have a lot of faith in my angels, but to be completely honest the book didn't really appeal to me.
I was curious though, as this man, an elderly bachelor farmer and traditional Catholic was so evangelical about it, but as money is short and we'd only just made a monster Christmas order with Amazon, I had a vague plan to get it in the library at some stage.
Later that same day, Wee and I were surprised to see the little man's car pull into our driveway (he usually parks across the road to check on his sheep). I was on the phone to Lee at the time and we both thought, 'he's probably going to give me the book!'. Sure enough, there it was, wrapped in Christmas paper with a card inside. Roo opened it: 'Boor' he said. So the angels made sure I got the book anyway.
A very sweet present from a gentle little man. I'm going to give him a hat for Christmas. He needs it, and a scarf too. But I wouldn't have them both made in time. Now I have finished the angels book, which I found so comforting and uplifting, I am going to send one to my kindred spirit on the other side of the world. The house has a couple of boxes full of fabulous books, courtesy of Amazon (and pretty steep delivery charges, but I s'pose it still works out much cheaper than buying from a real book shop). Most of them are Christmas presies for other people, but these ones aren't. This one (above) is for my little tummy angel, to help us work together to gently ease him/her into the world.And this cheekily titled one is for my inner domestic angel, to help me learn crochet. I could stay in bed all day reading them. Except I can't, obviously.