Storm approaching

Travelling back over the hill to Bucknell after a family lunch in Ludlow, we pulled in to a field gate to watch the storm, a dark curtain drawing across the sky, the ploughed earth still in bright sunshine, the wind warm on my face. 


Hoping for rain...

I still can't quite believe I am actually thinking this, but having planted out a lovely orchard and sown a new lawn the very parched ground is a worry.  It does make me feel somewhat schizophrenic, as wonderful walks and no mud are a joy and the picnic season is almost upon us.


"Mum's out"

Or how much mess can I make in the kitchen on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Incidentally the phrase "mum's out" refers to the long lost days of young childhood when mum nipped out to the shops and I would play at cooking in the kitchen I roped my brother in to be look out to warn when she was coming back down the drive at which point I would try and minimise the chaos before beating a hasty retreat as she walked through the door. 
Now in adulthood the phrase has come to mean any cooking which reaches into the realms of the totally unknown, with the added excitment of potential and imminent disaster.
Today after work in the garden was rained off I decided to makeTaralli with fennel seeds.  The are little salty biscuits from Southern Italy, which first you boil then you bake! Great fun.
This is how...
Mix together 250g plain white flour, sml tsp salt, same of fennel seeds, 50ml white wine, 50ml olive oil, 50ml water.  Either knead by hand or in bread maker, adding a little more water if necessary to make a smooth, elastic but firm dough.  Then tear off little pieces about 10-12g each, roll into ropes 10cm long and twist and form a ring pinching the ends to secure.  Drop about 10 pieces at once into a pot of boiling water, as they rise to the surface fish them out with a slotted spoon and let them dry on  kitchen paper.  Then bake in a hot oven 210° C for 30 mins.  The are glossy and crispy, but chewy in the middle, excellent with a glass of white wine.


My mad moments, never one to conform...

I can't blame it on the Mistral, Föhn, or even Sirocco, but this winter weather in April is certainly playing havoc with my calm ordered thoughts.
Yesterday as the clocks changed it was such a relief to have an extra hour's sunlight, I realised that we could have easily have changed the hour a good month ago and had all that extra evening light.  The thought suddenly occurred to me that next year in our house we should change the clocks at the end of February, there is easily enough light in the early morning to make this possible and the benefits of longer daylight at that time of year would easily outweigh the inconvenience of trying to remember GMT for events and appointments with the rest of the population.  Similarly in October I am planning to postpone that horrid Sunday when the clocks "go back" and have a couple of extra weeks when it isn't dark at 4.30pm .
I know a farmer here in Shropshire who never changes his clocks as he says it upsets his dairy herd, if he tries to monkey about with their milking times.  Seems to work for him. 
So forgive me if I mis-time things occasionally, just remember I'm on Lydbury North Time, not Greenwich Mean Time.