Archive of October 2012

October 27
### A Good Start in the kitchen There cannot be much more evocative than smells in the kitchen, and I hope for some readers this picture will evoke special smells. The cafetiere and butter dish in the background are smells one might readily recognise, but in the foreground is another. Just this morning I unpacked a carrier bag of quince which a friend kindly gave me a week or two ago, gathered from a discovered quince tree in their garden. The subtle aroma released was most pleasant and quite intense in the first moments of releasing the fruits from their carrier. My intention is to make a paste now which I hope will last through to be enjoyed over the festive season and, if successful, shared with the friends that gave me the quinces! The size of the fruits could make this a slight challenge, but we shall see...
09:06 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , ,
October 22

Nice sweet starter

### "Whole Buttered" Onion Soup Here's a radical new way to make onion soup. There's no slicing, dicing, or stirring. Instead, whole buttered onion bake for 4 hours, oozing luscious juices that caramelize like toffee. Ingredients 3 pounds medium yellow onions, about 10 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced thin 3 tablespoons Madeira 1-1/2 tablespoons wild-flower honey or truffle honey sprigs of fresh chervil for garnish Instructions Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Peel the onions. Place in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Top with the butter. Cover and bake 4 hours, until very soft, turning the onions after 2 hours. Transfer to a large bowl. Pour 4 cups water into the casserole and scrape up the browned bits. Add to the onions. In 2 batches if necessary, purée the onion mixture in a food processor until very smooth. Pour through a sieve placed over a medium saucepan. Mash down to extract all the juices. Save the pulp. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the Madeira and honey. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of onion pulp and chervil. Serves 4
05:18 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
October 14
Hitting the wall? ================= Recently I've found myself first approaching a fifteen or sixteen percent climb I knew was a mild challenge to see how it felt on my Dawes, then when that went well I came across a sixteen or eighteen percent, and managed that which felt really good - but on my last ride I found one like the picture, a twenty percent (one in five for the old school) drop, and have to admit I baulked at first then again you have to realise the scene - it was pre-dawn darkness, I was on a new route with just one low lumens continuous light and a stronger strobe to see my way by, and the one in five was clearly a descent.... I think I probably made the right decision. I shall head back on a sunny day after taking a look at the map and working out how I place myself at the BOTTOM of that climb, which is how I should like to approach it. I actually do not expect to make the climb if it is of any significant length - but boy will I feel satisfied if I do! I recently came across [this link]( "a witty prose decription of "hills"") after a series of clicks away from the audax site - and had to smile at [the image of the 25 percent climb with the grim reaper]( "picture as text describes it") in the midst of the road! Today, some two weeks after I wrote this entry, I was out for a fifty or so mile run in the morning and with the conditions just the damp side of dry and some leaves and iron work on the climbs I encountered I had the "interesting" experience of my back wheel spinning for lack of grip intermittently on some of the steepest climbs. At no point did I lose control, but it was definitely NOT the right time to take on that one in five climb!
06:39 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
October 09
Chains and teething pains ------------------------- Had a rather wonderful weekend, and much of it relates to cycling, but not in an exclusive way (I hope!). Finally got around to washing both Derek and Voyager, which was well overdue. Derek had also worn his chain through, and a replacement KMC 99, per the picture, had been bought and was fitted on the Sunday. Probably the nicest thing was Aero taking back to the saddle and getting the new dog acclimatised, as well as her own legs! That all seemed to go well, though I do want to check the tandem chain for wear also, and the rear pads need changing soon. Managed to set a scary new top speed on DG also - just over 47 mph, or what one could definitely call, quite fast enough, thank you! The real achievement was not that though, it was making the sixteen percent gradient climb back up - that felt _GOOD_! Today what feels really BAD though is that on Voyager, with the new chain, there was slipping over the cogs, or at least that is what it felt like to me, when there was a lot of torque, especially in the higher end (on the smaller rings at the back). I am seriously worried this means I have to change the rings as well as the chain. Last night I spoke with a couple of fellow cyclists from the choir though, and they think dérailleur adjustment might resolve the matter - so a visit to the bike shop beckons, and I'm really hoping they are right. On a separate but telling note, and to end with a smile: It was with a wry grin that my analyst observed I came to her to repair myself, but spent much of the time talking about what was broken, mended, or improved with my various bicycles! Gives a whole new meaning to the term "headset"!
07:14 AM | 1 Comment | Tags: , , , ,
October 02

Feel what I feel

I cannot help thinking it is a fundamental striving of humankind to try and communicate to another how one feels. And to be told and to acknowledge the impossibility of this - therein lies suffering - this is where Sartre was when he said "Hell is other people" surely? Perhaps I make too much of it, but I'm not sure. I want to think about this more....
12:30 AM | 1 Comment