Friday, April 10, 2009

Got a book from the library

...called "The Gentle Art of Domesticity," by Jane Brocket, an English writer. I've picked this up a few times at the bookstore, so I was glad to see it at the library, where I can take it home, read it and decide whether I want to buy it. Her photographs are beautiful and she knits some things here and there (including some great tea cozies, but, no patterns, Jane? Just one?)
I've been enjoying the book. She is a fan of Kaffe Fassett quilts, as am I. I like his quilts better than his knitting patterns, to be honest.
She also gave a recipe for Battenberg cake, which figured in the plot of a Jasper Fforde novel I like quite a bit, and each time I came up against this, I wondered what kind of a cake it is. Now I know (sponge, in a checkerboard pattern, with apricot jam and marzipan on the outside).
Her baking recipes often include golden syrup, which is useful to me, because Edward gave me a tin of it as a Christmas present (apparently, there's a tin of treacle in his pantry with my name on it too) and I've been scrambling to figure out how to use this stuff. Edward informs me that you can use golden syrup to make treacle tart and that he will email his mom for his grandmother's recipe, the ne plus ultra of treacle tarts, apparently.

(Side note: Fun party game. Name foods that do not contain the ingredient implied by the title. Treacle tart, for example, does not contain treacle. Sweetbreads are neither sweet nor bread. Rocky Mountain oysters are not oysters ... you get the drift.)

Back to the golden syrup. I plan to test her book out by making flapjacks this afternoon. Which are not pancakes. They are a chewy oat bar, held together in part by golden syrup. (Add them to the list of foods that are not what the name implies.)

Anyway. I've been thinking about domestic life a bit since reading her book, as that is what mine has boiled down to. I call it "being a prisoner on my own area rug." The warden is cute and all, but Jamie has made my world smaller than it used to be. Some days, I'm fine with that, and other days, it rankles. I can't exactly spend my time embroidering pillowcases and baking tea breads, either, as Jamie wants to get in everything I'm doing and see what it's all about. So I've been knitting more garter stitch than I used to and have to save the more technical cabled patterns, or in fact, anything requiring me to refer to a pattern - Jamie likes to eat paper - for when he is asleep.

Where is this going? Not sure yet. But I'm still not embroidering.


LaurieM said...

I remember that. In the midst of it, it seems like this is the way your life will be forever. Now that it is long gone, I can see it as a sweet phase that is around for a few short years.

My solution was going to a playgroup 3 days of the week. Supposedly to socialize the baby, in reality to socialize me. I suppose your contra dances must be your chance to socialize, but perhaps you need something at a more regular interval.

=Tamar said...

Shoo-fly pie, Welsh rabbit, French toast...

Play dates are the salvation of the modern mother.

Edward Wallace said...

what kind of food, exactly, is implied by "flap jack?"

blogless grace said...

Golden syrup can be used like Karo. Love to hear about Battenburg cake. A fun read is "Mrs Beeton's book of cookery and houseold management".

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Um, found a can of something that appears to be a dessert/cake at the grocery. Perhaps it's baked in the can like Boston brown bread, I assume.

It's label says: Spotted Dick.

Not so tasty-sounding, if you ask me. It can be called spotted (blueberries or currants, perhaps), but let's hope the last bit is just plain wrong...

blogless grace said...

Spotted Dick is a lovely sponge cake with currants. Wonderful with a bit of real whipped cream or a custard sauce. Very old English cake. Many times made for sailors on long voyages.

MINItron said...

My favorite recipe using golden syrup is ANZAC Biscuits.

They are delicious, and if you make them with whole wheat flour and unsweetened coconut they aren't that bad for you. I should mention that I actually dislike coconut, but this is an acceptable use.