23 Apr 2012

Hestia goes to the garden centre

In the back bedroom at Juno's, there are unlined curtains.  This means that in the summer months, the occupant rises at the same time as the sun.

Thus I found myself lying in bed staring at the ceiling at around 6am on Saturday morning.  Too much staring at the ceiling isn't good for you; you start to think of all the little niggles and bothers that you have in life and before you know it, you're in a foul mood and it's not even 8am.

And so it was on Saturday.

18 Apr 2012

Hestia learns the Gaelic

The purple area represents Gaelic speakers
If you look closely at the island where I live,
you will see a tiny, singular dot -
that's me and my cassette :-)
My father never had any time for Gaelic.  He regarded it, in the world's pool of languages, as one might regard something stuck to the sole of your shoe.  That came out of a dog.

As a result, I too loathe the Gaelic.  It's not a useful language.  No other country on earth uses it (unless there are massive grants from the government of course) and so there are about 7,000 souls that can speak it.

16 Apr 2012

Hestia wins a book token!

This will be me, down the library, getting my book token.
Maybe not in something strapless though.
Tartarus left on Thursday evening for his next six week stint aboard the ship in The Bahamas.  It's a hard life he leads, don't you think?

Sonshine and I are usually a couple of gloomy-boots for the next few days because it's odd to suddenly have your slave-driver removed.  The slaves can find themselves suddenly sitting on the sofa watching telly together for hours instead of painting a fence or weeding or washing the car.  Very disconcerting.

11 Apr 2012

Hestia and the Sponges of Doom

I know that it's been a while, dear reader, but I have not been idle.  No siree.  It's the Easter holibags here and not only have we been on holiday in Edinburgh for 5 days, but Tartarus and I also managed to factor in an overnight to Glasgow to attend a gig at the Comedy Festival.  More of both events in later posts.

Anyway, I want to tell you about yesterday - it was Tartarus's birthday.

On Monday I was suddenly seized with compassion for him - he hardly gets any cards or gifts, unlike myself who operates a campaign of such relentlessness regarding birthdays that my friends just get me cards and nice things to Make it Stop.

I decided to bake him a birthday cake.

I figured that I had sufficient flour and butter, but I invested in half a dozen eggs and took myself off to the kitchen to do battle with the Kitchen Aid.

Two Victoria Sponges - how hard could it be?  Well, quite hard actually.

First of all, despite having left it out, the butter was still hard enough to murder someone with.  I ploughed on regardless and set about turning tiny blobs of butter and ordinary sugar (turned out that I had no caster in the cupboard and Sonshine refused point blank to go out in the rain to get some) into sponge.

Well, that was the plan.

The mixture was supposed to make two sponges.  I don't know which universe that might be in, but certainly not in mine.  I made two lots of mixture.  I didn't have two 7" pans.  But I did have two 9" pans. They would just have to suffice.

And here is the result:

It was filled with raspberry jam and whipped cream.  To be perfectly frank, it is about the thickness of a  kitkat.

Several things went wrong:

1) the butter was too hard
2) I used granulated sugar instead of caster
3) I used the wrong sized pans
4) I beat the absolute shit out of it with the Kitchenaid because of 1)

The resulting sponges looked - and felt - like frisbees.  And probably tasted like that too.

'I don't think that we should eat it,' I said, looking forlornly at the newly iced cake.

'How not?' * queried Tartarus.

'Well, it's not so much a couple of sponges....more a couple of biscuits sandwiched together,'  I admitted. To illustrate I lifted the cake a few inches off the work surface and dropped it down.  The windows shook.

'Let's give it a bash this evening,' he said gamely.

And off we went to the oyster bar for a very lovely lunch......

Sonshine has two oysters....which marks progress in his culinary adventures.  He thinks that they look like phlegm.  Now at least he knows they taste like phlegm too.  Only joking - the oysters were grilled with garlic and breadcrumbs and were divine.  I had six.

I also had Bradan Rost (smoked salmon) with beetroot (cooked, not pickled) and sour cream.  This is all that was left before I remembered to take a picture.  It was beautifully tasty - sweet, sour, earthy, delicious.

Tartarus opted for haddock and chips.  Bloody gorgeous and not your standard chip-shop fare!

Then we drove home.  It's been sort of snowing.

Keep driving straight ahead and one day you will hit Glasgow.  Take the right hand road to hit the right part of Scotland for me :-)

Back home we undid our belts and lay around on sofas playing Tomb Raider and downloading a fine radio app for the ipad.

At 7pm, Sonshine could barely contain himself as I divvied the cake into slices.

Reader, there were involuntary sounds of stress and strain as they strove to cut through the cake with the side of their forks.  It was as dense and impenetrable as a play by Beckett.

'For God's sakes, don't drop it on your foot or you'll break a toe,' joked Tartarus.  I laughed.  It really was VERY BAD.

'Let's just put it in the bin,' I suggested.

Sonshine soldiered on through his slice bravely and then gave up as he reached 'the crust' as he put it.

Nigella Lawson can rest easy in her bed for another night.

Happy Birthday, Tartarus!

*How not - in Glaswegian this corresponds to the English language's 'why not'.

....and just in case I forget:  The Hairy Bikers were wearing, according to Sonshine 'hoderlesen' as they yodelled their way through Austria.

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