Wednesday, February 07, 2007

OFF PISTE



Those of us who don't have to commute very excited this morning. We simply don't get snow like this in London any more. Instead of my morning run it was a stroll through the woods & onto island. As usual, my foot attacked by Simba the puppy & I growled at the owner.

I hope daughter's old school sees sense and lets the children out. When it snowed a couple of weeks ago (V. unusual to get two lots so close together too), her new school sent everybody onto the playing field for one enormous snowball fight. Her old primary school, however, kept the children IN at playtime because of Health and Safety. My friend's 6 year old was totally gutted. Especially as when they got let out in the afternoon the snow had melted away. I spoke to a teacher friend about it and she said it was because of insurance. BAH! That's why riding schools are closing down all over the country too. BRRR!

Lots of BRRs today. Independent journalist John Walsh begs us to please sign an online petition to save one of London's oldest markets, Borough Market, from over-development.

I said I wanted to start reading novels again. I haven't actually stopped reading novels, I just haven't been able to get completely absorbed and involved and in love in that unputdownable carrying book everywhere including the loo kind of reading. And I feel I may be able to do that again now. When I'm in the middle of writing and I'm reading a novel, I'm scanning for technique and homing in on individual words that I like, and thinking 'why didn't I think of that?' instead of getting lost in the story that's behind all that.

Last night it was Zoe Heller on armpits:

'Better the full body French woman's growth than that squalid sprinkling of iron filings.'

Miles Kington in How Many Books Are You Reading At The Moment? reckons we're all reading about 10 books at once these days, and challenges us to go and look at the tottering piles on our bedside tables. He has a point. He says:

'Go to your bedside table and honestly tell me what books are there. All of them. Not just the books you would like people to think you were reading'


As well as Zoe Heller I have:

WHAT DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK? by Richard P Feynman (finished)

KAFKA ON THE SHORE Haruki Marakumi (at p124, Milky Bar wrapper bookmark. fear I won't get any further)

TRADE SECRETS EVERYTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM COOKING TO CAMPING, DECORATING TO DOG BREEDING AND GARDENING TO GOLF Katherine Lapworth & Alexandra Fraser (showing that I do take my domestic goddessese journalismo status seriously enough to do some homework)

THE BIBLE

THE PHOTO BOOK Phiadon (This is how bad it got, when I couldn't read any words I'd stare at pictures instead. Lovely, actually, must do more.)

WOODLANDS Oliver Rackham (on p85, research for next novel, sheer joy)

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? Sophie Kinsella (on p288, bookmark a sheet of blank paper with
LURCH, ON EDGE, SLUMP, SHIFTILY, PANIC, LOOKS OFFENDED, STAGGER, STUMBLE, REEL, CAREEN, LURCH (AGAIN), SAVAGELY written on it)

DON'T SWEAT THE AUBERGINE by Nicholas Clee This is the cookbook that tells you what others leave out. FANTASTIC, this one I am carrying around with me. Last night I did a stir fry recipe which starts:

"Having ignored the instructions on your noodle packet, you need also disregard the many stir-fry recipes...." which is my kind of cook book. In case you're interested it goes on:

.... that tell you to heat the oil to smoking point before adding your ingredients. Why would you want to eat degraded oil? A wok will work better than a frying pan. Put it on a medium to high heat, wait for it to get very hot, pour in the oil (groundnut, sunflower or a vegetable oil that can withstand high temperatures are best), swirl it around, and immediately throw in the spring onions, garlic and ginger...."

Then you add your bits, I put in chargrilled chicken bits from Sainsbury, peas and sweetcorn, add the noodles (which you shld cook like pasta first for about 5 minutes, not soak in a cup of hot water as instructed) shwossh around, take off the heat add soy sauce, sesame if you have it, and you're done.

Have made lots of notes from this because it's a library book - another new one on me was not to add ground pepper to stocks or stews, it turns acrid after long simmering.

Now I seem to have steered way off piste even more. Anyone else want to fess up their bedside tottering towers?

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.


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