Recently Reading: Jasper Fford

Several years ago my mums friend read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford, she passed the book on to my mum who in turn passed it on to me. Its a very odd but intriguing book wherein Jane Eyre gets kidnapped from her own novel completely messing up the plot. The stories continue as the Thursday Next novels (literary detective), of which i’ve not yet finished the series.

In summer I got some rather belated christmas money which I proceeded to spend most of on second hand books. Part of this meant reading the Nursery Crime Division books; The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear. Humpty Dumpty, well-known nursery favourite, large egg, ex-convict and former millionaire philanthropist is found shattered beneath a wall in a shabby area of town and detective Jack Spratt is on the case. Add in a number of ‘persons of dubious reality’, the Guild of Detectives who are more interested in the literary worth of a case for publications, rival foot care businesses, nothing in Reading is as it seems. The sequel continues the exploits when journalist Goldilocks goes missing and the department are trying to crack down on illegal porridge and honey trading. Oh and did I mention there’s Ashley who is an alien.

Ive also started Shades of Grey (no not the rude one). Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour. Its not really a book I can explain very well but i’m enjoying it so far

image source


Christmas crafting with the WI

I wrote a post in September listing some goals for autumn, while not completing all of them i have knitted stripy scarfs for my nephews (more on that later), learned how to use my sewing machine (although not used it since and unfortunately my embroidery class had to be cancelled due to a flood) and joined the Women’s Institute.

I dont know why but i’ve always rather wanted to join the WI and when some new friends told me they were members and directed me to the webpage i went to the very next meeting I could, which turned out to be the AGM but also a talk on foraging. The next meeting was a canopies and cocktails demo (with some hands on) and tasty samples.

Theres loads of things that go on outside the meetings and I signed up for a christmas crafting evening. This unfortunately however meant me having to get a bus at 6:45 last thursday, JUST AS THE STORM WAS OVERHEAD, and despite waterproof coat, PVC skirt and waterproof trousers I still got a bit soggy on the shoulder, elbows and toes – I really dont think ive EVER been out in rain that bad, i needed windscreen wipers for my glasses though they probably wouldnt have helped it was that bad.

Anyway I made it and the crafting began. The class was run by a lady who’s business card i have totally lost so unfortunately can’t credit (whoops), and we made cinnamon and orange bundles, clove baubles and cute little flower (holly) arrangements. They really were very simple to make, although the cloves do take a very long time, but once youre all chatting away it doesnt really matter 🙂

The floods at dawn

As you will know the UK has been suffering from quite a series of floods. This was Friday morning after the river burst, the lake is usually a car park, the river bank is just behind the centre lamp post. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the flooding, and if you know people affected please lend a hand (safely) and please take care out there.

My sister’s lemon drizzle cake

image source bbc food

Last weekend I had family visiting and at 8:15am on Sunday morning, the instant I get up my sister is there saying “can we make bread and cake now”. Last time I visited her we made ginger cake but this time i’d run out of ginger (must remember to go to the shop for more) so a quick search for ingredients resulted in a lemon, so drizzle cake was on the menu for breakfast.

The basis to this is my basic sponge I use for a base for most recipes:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg (from happy hens)
  • 125g self raising flour
  • half tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and mix, add the flour and baking powder and mix till light and fluffy

  • Then grate in the zest of 1 lemon

Pour the mixture into a 2lb loaf tin lined with buttered grease proof paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 deg C for around 40 mins, when a knife comes out of the centre clean the cake is ready

Then came the topping, “no you done use icing sugar” says my sister and starts searching youtube for a recipe she’s used before. Ive not really bothered with lemon drizzle cake before because i couldn’t be bothered to heat up and make the sugar syrup but my sisters method is so much easier.

Put the juice of 1 lemon and 75g caster sugar in a mug and mix till mostly dissolved (and leave for a bit for it to dissolve more) then poke holes in the top of the cake and pour over the mixture so that it seeps in. Leave the cake to cool then eat.