Friday, February 12, 2010

Reading, filters and yet more baking!

It was lovely to read all your comments and your own posts inspired by my piles of books the other day - thanks so much for your interest and your own fascinating views on reading! (And also on toys, whey and the other varied posts recently - it is great to hear from you, especially as I'm still a little too ill to get out and about). But of course, my post was about the books, not their contents, so I thought I'd show you a selection of what's actually been on my bedside table recently. The snow is outdoors, not in the bedroom, you'll be glad to hear. The thing about recommending books to other people is that I don't always know how they'll respond - for example, I do a lot of my reading with a sort of 'filter' which I don't even think about much. I aim to get what I can from the book and kind of filter out any bits that seem irritating, pointless or just plain wrong. But I know if I recommend a book to a certain person who has the opposite bedside table, he will often be so annoyed by the irritating, pointless or possibly wrong bits that he gives up the book. It seems a shame to me - there is so much good in many books that we may as well read them to gain the 'gold', and just ignore the 'dross'; sift the 'wheat' from the 'chaff'... I wonder if you read the same way?
I made Lululiz's friend's muffins using more whey! This proves MummyMad's theory that the whey can be substitued for buttermilk, at least in some recipes. Thanks for all your other suggestions too - I found a good ricotta recipe on the net thanks to your advice. Look at the pretty preparations! Thrifted sillicon cases, used for the first time, and a Sarah Smith cleaning cloth sent to me by the great and generous Liz herself.
They made a lovely addition to our tea yesterday - very healthy, very orangey. I substitued loads of things, because we didn't have all the ingredients in our cupboards, and it all worked - farine de blé noir (buckwheat) for wholemeal flour, and raisins and dates for the blueberries. Fresh blueberry season at the farm down the lane will trigger another round of this recipe, I hope.
This funny little photo shows you some of the cheeses from Ben's work canteen - he found they (and other foods) were frequently thrown out so he and several others salvage various bits and pieces at the end of the day! It's not exactly how we would buy cheese but it's free and it's better than seeing it chucked out. I can't eat it because of my low salt requirements, so I carry on with the home-made stuff.
And finally a lovely local bread, pain d'epis. Epis are the grains of wheat - can you see how each section is like a grain? A very popular loaf in our family, when we splash out for it.


marigold jam said...

Lovely post Floss and sorry to hear you are still not able to get out and about yet.

I am with Ben (I presume it is he who is next to you in bed!!) and if a book annoys me or has bits I really don't take to then I don't read it on the principle that life is too short to spend it reading stuff you don't enjoy. Good job we aren't all the same though of course.

Looks as if you had a lovely tea time there and we too used to be able to buy that bread in our boulangerie - it's lovely and crusty isn't it?


Kali said...

Oh goodness, I'm loving the look of your muffins and all the goodies in the photos! yum. That bread looks so good and with a lovely crust.
If a book doesn't grab me totally I won't continue with it..and I'm sad about the fact that I don't read nearly as much as I used to, and would love to again.
♥ K.
p.s. I've just seen the Ankle update on your sidebar and wasn't aware that there was an you I presume...hope you're getting better day by day!

Anonymous said...

I's really sorry that you are still so unwell. Thanks for still taking the time to blog, though. I look forward to your posts (always so positive) you are an inspiration!xx

bad penny said...

Catching up with your recent posts.

I love passing on books but I know the next reader will react differently to me. I love giving my mum books I've enjoyed and then she passes them to neighbours telling them Penny sent it.

A friend of mine ( who I pass books to ) works at Waitrose on the Deli counter and as well as getting her generous staff discount she can get the ends from meats & cheeses in the staff shop. She makes a huge saving on food this way.

Have a good week end Floss - hope you are out & about soon

The Hausfrau said...

Beautiful bread loaves! Hope you're feeling better soon.

summerfete said...

mmm I cant wait to visit France this summer!

claire said...

I too am with your husband!!!!
I read VERY quickly...if I find a book tedious but I have warmed to the characters I will carry on, but otherwise it thwarts my speed reading!!!!
If I really love a book it always gets a second fact mum and I classify our books as a 'one reader' or a 'read againer' .
I have big stone gap on my shelf to was thrifted a while ago but not read yet...I am reading Larkrise to Candleford - I am reading this one slowly as I am savouring the beautiful descriptive writing.
Get well soon xxx

RosieP said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. The muffins look delicious.

Hugs RosieP x

Kissed by an Angel said...

I really hope you reel better soon!! I recieved some of the silcone muffin cases for Christmas - not used them yet though!! The muffins look really good!! So does that bread!! Yum!!

Six in One Hand said...

I like to enjoy and observe the whole book. Foreshadowing, conflicts, character development...the whole kit and kaboodle.
Those muffins look amazing!!!

I'm sorry that you are not well.
If you ever want to talk, just email me with your number and I would be happy to call and chat sometime!!!

TheMadHouse said...

Floss, I am so sorry that you are not totally back up on your feet, virus' can be really hard to get sully over. The baking looks great. I have just made heart shpaed cookies with mini and peanut cookies too!

I just can not find the time to read books ATM, too much going on in my life

The Curious Cat said...

ooo that bread looks divine - I'd love a hunk of that torn off with a tomato and onion salad right now...rather than my lame diet coke and cadbury's cream egg from the office canteen...I'm killing myself with this stuff...

As for reading, I haven't seen your post on books but I'll be reading it next. I hear what you say - everyone has their own filter and knows what they like/dislike. I love some of the classics like the Bronte's for instance because of the old fashioned language and values and the slow way the story unfolds but someone else might prefer something a bit more modern and fast paced. I enjoy the ingenious plots of Agatha Christie and the way she writes but I also appreciate her simplicity of language and formula that makes her so accessible to others. She is one clever lady who got the mix just right I think... I guess that is the question when you are a writer. How do I get the perfect mix so that this book will be accessible to as many people as possible but still retain its literary value and wisdom and - still remain true to me, its creator, in someway. Difficult thing to

The Curious Cat said...

PS Oh I am stupid I did read your entry on books - I even posted a comment doh!

Carole said...

Oh the muffins are really tempting ! and I love the display on the tiered cakestand.
I had to laugh at the pic of the cheese, I also bring some from the canteen and the girls love it. And Epis are also among our favorites here !

We're on holiday here, which is a good thing because it would have been a PAIN to go to work in this snow !!! This year zone B is the first to be off, 5 weeks after the Christmas holidays - such a relief...
Hope you'll be feeling your best soon. Now I'm off to my comfy chair to read my magazine !

Pomona said...

The bread looks wonderful - I feel very peckish now! Simple Abundance looks interesting - I am off to see if I can get it from the library.

Pomona x

Elizabethd said...

Lovely muffins...I've made them too as they are low sugar.
I am a huge Adriana Trigiani fan...make sure you read the Big Stone Gap series in the right order!

Elise said...

loving the look of that local bread.

Have a lovely weekend

Lorrie said...

Good morning, Floss,

I noticed Eco's "The Name of the Rose" in your pile of reading material. I read that last summer and still think about it. It's one that's worth a re-read.
I'm glad you are finding ways to accommodate your low-salt requirements. Cheese is a staple for me - I admire your cheesemaking efforts in a land where cheese reigns. I guess the French don't make low-salt cheeses?
The epi is gorgeous. I was just reading about how to form the loaves in a book on artisan breadbaking. The shape is a real nod to the origins of the bread, isn't it?
Your magazine parcel should take about 2 weeks to arrive, so one more week to go. But the Canadian postal system is highly unpredictable, so it might arrive today! We won't even think about the other option!

Have a great day - hope you feel better soon.

Cottage Garden said...

I'm sorry to hear you are still feeling unwell Floss - hope you manage to get out and about soon. I loved your post on old books and the Cicero quote!

My mouth is watering at the thought of those lovely muffins and tarts and in my humble opinion there is nothing in the world as good as French bread!

Take care and get better soon. Jeanne x

Serenata said...

What a lovely selection of interest in this post, food, books, books, food, what more could one ask for?! I'm hoping to do a post on some of my books tomorrow, if the light is good enough for photos.

You look like you have a good selection to read.

Hope you feel better soon Floss, this virus has really been dragging its feet. We could all do with some nice warm weather I think.

Lululiz said...

I was just talking to JJ when I saw your post and your mention of her recipe! I am so chuffed you used her recipe. I love her muffins, but she is very stingy with them, lolol, doesn't like handing them out, scoffs them all herself!!!
And she had to lie down, she was so gobsmacked that she had inspired you!

Lalabibaby said...

Ooh Mr Kipling eat your heart out .... he could never match that lovely spread. Floss you are a marvel .... it never occurred to me that I could upcycle those hankies into a patchwork quilt ... thanks for the inspiration x

magsmcc said...

Oh the Name of the Rose will be forever in my top ten! Strong and visceral stuff... I'm packing for half-term break and sipping tea in this momentary "break", alas not the same level of tempting goodie by my side! Love the bread- hope you'll have all your portion of daily bread in these days of getting stronger, like the first shoots of Spring! (Word verification noste- very Latinate after Eco!) said...

Oh Floss, you are having a poorly time, I really hope you will feel so much better soon. I love all this food though, it is so scrummy yummy! suzie xxx

bellaboo said...

I read books in the same way...thought I was the only one! Somehow thought it was 'cheating' to gloss over the bits you found boring.
The cakes and that bread look amazing!

Bellaboo :)

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling, Wishing you a lovely weekend and a loved filled Valentine’s Day.

Love & Hugs