Sunday, October 25, 2009

More chutney.

I've spent the whole day at home, didn't get out for my normal Sunday morning walk as I slept for nearly 12 hours last night and so wasn't awake until after 10 this morning. I bought loads of tomatoes yesterday - they're nearly finished for this year I think and I wanted to make a couple of more batches of chutney and some more ketchup. Before deciding whether to go out for a walk or not, I actually counted up all the time I would need considering a batch of chutney needs to cook for three or four hours and I knew if I went out I would probably not get both done so I just stayed in. I had to do the washing up that I had let pile up for the last couple of days first though. I hate it when I do that and yet every once in a while it still happens. Since I was doing that I also decided to scrub the sink with bicarb and lemon and since I was doing that I thought I might as well use the rest of the bicarb to give the cooker a good scrub. And then since I was doing that I gave the butcher's block type thing that the cooker is on top of a good scrub too.

And that is how the day has gone really. I've done a load of things I've meant to do for ages but not because I actually intended to do them but rather because something else I was doing made it make sense to then do the next thing.

Once I'd chopped the first lot of stuff for chutney making (this time round I used tomatoes, pumpkin, quince and apple) I set it to cooking and then sat and read my book for about twenty minutes. I have to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace before Tuesday. It's almost 1000 pages long (and that's only if you leave out the foreword and all the footnotes) but we chose such a long book because we didn't have any meeting in September and so had plenty of time to read it. I've actually had the book since the beginning of September but just cannot get into it. It took me about two weeks to finish the first chapter and today I've only managed to read about thirty pages.

Of course, the silver lining of this situation is that I now have a lovely clean apartment. I took down the tomato plant finally (and used what few tomatoes I had gotten, mostly still green, in the chutney), and moved the telephone table and frame that had been supporting it out into the hall. I was going to move it into the kitchen and put my herbs onto it but I realised that it will fit exactly into the space beside the door which currently has nothing but a stool which seems to accumulate piles of rubbish on it so I'm going to clear off that stuff tomorrow and put the telephone table in place there. I also put up a couple of nails to hang a picture and more securely hang up the notice board. And since I had the hammer out I put up a nail to hang the shoe horn on and another one in the kitchen to hang the dustpan and brush from. These are two things that I constantly feel like I'm tripping over and it feels good to finally have a place for them to go. Since the plant was moved from the window in the sitting room I swapped the small couch and armchair around again so the room feels more spacious again as well.

The first batch of chutney turned out really well I think. The second one has pumpkin, tomatoes and pears and apples. It was a bit runny when I put it into the jars and could probably have done with cooking for another while but I was just ready for the days cooking to be over. I still haven't made ketchup but might try to get that done tomorrow after work.

I could only work for two hours in the biogarten yesterday as I had to go to a friend's house in the afternoon and needed to catch a train. I started off picking up nasturtium seeds from the ground around where the plants are/were. Had to fill one bowl with the brown ones (already fully dried) and one with the green ones (not dried yet). Then I packed some weird root vegetable which had been harvested in sand. I've forgotten the name of it now, some South American plant I think. After that I packed a few buckets of jerusalem artichokes in sand as well. And then I pulled out the stakes and supporting cords from the tomato plants which had already been removed. Since I was leaving early I didn't expect to get to take anything home but H.M. the master gardener told me to make sure I got something. I took some jerusalem artichokes (called topinambur here), a small bunch of parsley and some chard. H.M. told me his favourite way to cook chard is in a pasta bake with sheeps cheese and some tomatoes so I decided to do that today. I cooked some pasta first and put it into an overproof dish. Then I sauteed the chopped up stems of the chard for a few minutes. I added an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and then the chopped up leaves as well and left the whole lot for a few minutes while I chopped up some tomatoes. I mixed the chard and onion into the pasta and added some feta on top of that. Then I left the tomatoes to cook down for about fifteen minutes after which I poured them on top of the pasta as well. Then the whole lot went into the oven while I did the dishes and tidied up for about the fifth time today. I had hoovered very thoroughly earlier but decided not to wash the floors until tomorrow but then everything else was so nice and clean I couldn't stand it and since the pasta wouldn't come to any harm if it was left it a bit longer I decided to wash all the floor as well and then had a shower myself as well so that when I sat down to dinner, although it was later than planned, I felt really good. It was delicious too.

So it was all in all a very nice weekend, even though I didn't get a walk in or manage to read my book. I don't even want to bother but I have to try and get a couple of hundred pages read before Tuesday if I possibly can. I love book club and it has meant that over the last year I've read lots of book I never would have otherwise but goodness gracious it is difficult sometimes to keep at it.

P.S. The Germans don't have a separate word for slugs, they're just called naked snails. How could you not love such a logical language?

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