Saturday 24 January 2015


It has been a very challenging week with my husband's long-anticipated (more than 3 years) surgery on Tuesday.  It was a major operation lasting 3 hours with two operation sites and as you see from the photograph, a below-knee cast.  We went through the trauma of a threatened second cancellation due to a bed shortage, followed by a five hour delay, but he finally went in at 1 pm.  

When he eventually reappeared some time after 5.30, he was in good spirits and he insisted on coming home on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after surgery.  Since then it has been a rollercoaster of a journey with two further trips to our local hospital Emergency department, the first on Thursday due to poor pain control and the second this morning due to a possible infection.

To say that it has been exhuasting is an understatement.  He is totally non-weight bearing for about three months.  He has a walker and crutches.  He was unable to transfer safely with the walker, so I had to go to the Red Cross to borrow a wheelchair.  The doorways in our home are too narrow for the chair and the corners too tight, so he is restricted in where he can go.  I don't know how he is going to cope when I return to work on Monday, but he insists that he can manage.

Our neighbours have been wonderful.  Yesterday dawned with an overnight snowfall of about 10 cm and by the time that I had cleared the snow off the deck and the two vehicles, a neighbour arrived to plough our driveway.  Another neighbour came round later to lift the wheelchair out of the van and into the house.  I was so appreciative of their kindness.  

The journey has just begun and the road to recovery is a long one (approximately 6 months), so I may not be around as much as I have been.  With total responsibility for everything at home and a full-time job, I think that I'm going to be very busy.

Sunday 18 January 2015

In The Kitchen

I spent this morning in the kitchen, baking French bread to accompany some homemade Leek and Potato Soup.  These days, I am craving warming soups and I much prefer homemade to anything out of a can.

Two loaves of bread can be baked with very little effort: I use the bread-maker to do the mixing and then remove the dough, form into two loaves and leave to prove before baking in the oven.

The finished soup with homemade bread and butter ~ delicious!
I had some blackberries earlier in the week, so I placed them in the freezer planning to try this recipe.  Blackberry and Apple Loaf is a new recipe to me and it has hints of nutmeg and mixed spice, filling the kitchen with a tempting aroma as it baked.

The finished loaf is a tasty treat and I will definitely make it again.  The only change that I made to this recipe was to substitute sunflower oil for light olive oil and it worked very well.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Gifts From The Kitchen

There was a lot of baking at our house around Christmas and New Year.  This included some new recipes from Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen, which were added to a Christmas hamper.  Chocolate bark with peppermint proved to be popular.  This book is filled with great gift ideas, both for the cook and for those who just enjoy tasty treats.  

Christmas Morning Muffins which are cranberry and clementine, were baked from another favourite book Nigella's Christmas.  

A recipe for Chocolate Ginger Cake came from a magazine.  I didn't get to try it as it was a gift, but I'm told that it was delicious!

Lastly, Cranberry Mince Pies baked with homemade mincemeat, which was another recipe from Nigella's Christmas.  I did get to eat some of these and I personally prefer a more traditional mincemeat, but I received high praise for them and lots of questions regarding their content.

I would definitely make hamper gifts again, but next time, I would try not to do all of the baking in one day, as it was quite time-consuming and exhausting.  The effort was worthwhile as handmade gifts are much appreciated.

Monday 5 January 2015

New Year

Better late than never, as in the case of our Christmas cake, which wasn't actually iced until after Christmas Day.  I didn't even find time to put the marzipan on it until Christmas Eve.

I couldn't resist adding some of my cake decorations for the photographs, even though I had to start removing them shortly after that for cutting the cake.  Incidentally, it is delicious and disappearing fast.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and very best wishes for 2015.