Monday, February 27

{ my february }

One more day of February to go.  A month of wonderful contradictions;  snow showers, spring flowers, gloomy days, rainbow days, happy days, not so happy days.  If January felt a quiet month, then the silence of February has been truly deadening, and at times I've felt, almost, hermit like in my contentment to stay home.  I'm sure this will change once Spring starts to show her face, if only to entice me out into the garden, to tidy away the Winter weeds and to make plans of flowers, fruit and vegetables to grow.  

But, that will not be for a little while yet, so back to the sweetly short month of February.

{ buying }
I can't resist the small bunches of tulips and daffodils on my local flower stall.  Not too expensive, they've become an affordable, weekly treat.  Buying the tightly budded daffodils and watching them bloom overnight, they never fail to make me smile as they greet me in my office each morning.  Their season may be short but sweet and I'll be making the most of it whilst it lasts.

{ baking }
Whilst there might be signs of Spring in those beautiful blooms, in reality the wind, rain, storms Doris & Ewan, are a reminder that it is still Winter.  And that has been reflected in this month's baking and cooking.  Soups are still my go-to lunch, particularly when there's a homemade loaf of bread in the pantry.  My favourite this month has been a Roasted Tomato Soup, Colm's Soup, from What Katie Ate.  Tomato's are roasted with slivers of garlic and a slight sheen of olive oil, for a couple of hours, filling the house with a wonderful aroma, and you will be tempted to skip the soup and just pile those tomato's on slices of toasted sourdough for a wonderfully simple bruschetta.  So, roast a few extra and enjoy that bruschetta whilst your soup slowly simmers for another hour or so, then enjoy your soup, topped, as Katie suggests, with { a few more } slices of sourdough, topped with slices of goat's cheese.  Comfort food, that also counts as a few of your five { or is it ten now ? } a day.

Speaking of comfort food, a surfeit of bread, left over from some meditative bread making, led me to make some mini bread & butter puddings for this month's Bumpkin Betty Baking Club.  Topped with a slice of blush orange, that caramelised wonderfully in the oven, they were then drowned in home made custard.  A proper pudding to make you feel all warm & fuzzy inside.  In balance to this mini indulgence, I'm still enjoying an equally comforting, and slightly healthier, bowl of porridge most mornings.  I think I will forever be grateful to whoever decided that porridge deserved to be pimped with a myriad of toppings.  Amongst my favourites this month, a seasonal baked pear, on top of cinnamon spiced oats, with a good dollop of greek yogurt and a scattering of chopped pistachios.

{ reading }
Continuing my reading of Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, whose marmalade making partly inspired the addition of oranges to my mini bread puddings, and whose virtuous stew of mushrooms and spelt made me feel I could justify the said mini bread pudding.  I've several more February recipes bookmarked to try as soon as I can, particularly his recipe for Butter Beans with Mustard & Tomato, eager to see if this can better my current go-to baked bean recipe.

I finished "Tony and Susan", though after a good start, I felt it floundered in the middle, and for the first time I preferred the film over the book.  Happily, I'm now reading "The Green Road" by Anne Enright, one of those books that you carry everywhere, hoping to find a quiet few minutes to read a little more.  The story of an Irish family, a fractured family, their individual  and collective stories, as they are scattered around the world, then brought back together by the selling of their family home. 

{ visiting }
Despite my hermit tendencies this month, there have been a couple of notable outings, both involving cake.  I think I have proven my love of cake, with the battling through Storm Doris, to make a return visit to H&F Vintage Tearooms in Chesterfield.  Luckily this gem of a tearoom is a convenient half way point between a friend and I, and has now become our regular meeting spot.  The fact that it has the most amazing cake selection is a wonderful added bonus.  You can read my review of the tearoom over on The Clandestine Cake Club, along with a few more tempting pictures of cake, afternoon tea, and all other sorts of loveliness.

And speaking of The Clandestine Cake Club, this was my other outing of the month.  My first as host of the Birmingham group, and held at the Creative Coffee Hub.  As with every other cake club event I've been to, it was a lovely couple of hours of cake, coffee, and lots of chit chat, and a general sense of putting the world to rights.  A medley of sweet inspired cakes saw a table heaving with Lemon Sherbet, Rhubarb and Custard, Cadbury Caramel, Crunchie, Jelly Baby and Liquorice cakes.  A lovely afternoon, but I'm thinking perhaps my March outings should be to something a little healthier, or at least something that feeds my soul, rather than my tummy.

Make the most of the last days of February.  I will be curled up on the sofa finishing my book and plotting those, slightly more healthy and soulful, March outings.

{ have a happy day }

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. thank you for taking the time to scribble down your thoughts . i lOve reading All your musings .