Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Braided Bread And Just Being

Yesterday I wrote that the winter is around the corner. And it is. Though it seems to be running a little late this year as by this time during the past years we've already had at least some snow on the ground. Now, its just the frost on the puddles and car windows in the mornings. The picture on the left was taken three weeks ago and already the colors are all gone from the trees. I do have winter tyres on the car though by now, and the engine heater cable is curling on the back seat like a rubber snake announcing the cold moths ahead. The Daughter is kitted against every possible weather in gore-tex boots and a winter overall that cost more than any single piece of clothing I've ever bought for myself. Sometimes one has to wonder what on earth they make those kids winter outfits from. Gold?? Oh well, at least she will be warm and dry come blizzards or deep freeze.

And me? Well. I've transferred from thin stockings to granny style woollen ones. Dug out the wool coats from the attic. Am wearing thicker skirts. Oh. By the way, just realised the other day that I have not worn  jeans, trousers, call them whatever you want, for more than six months now. Did wear exercise pants once, though. Not for exercising, however, but for wild raspberry picking. Those bushes are murder for the legs. 

So. What on earth have I been wearing then, would be a valid question as naturism is hardly an option I would see myself embracing any time soon. And what I have been wearing is skirts and dresses. How this happened I am not entirely sure, though I must say that after trying in vain for years to find a pair of jeans that would fit and generally just not liking trousers, I have finally given up. Dresses and skirts are just so darn comfortable. And naturally, dressing more and more thoroughly vintage also has something to do with it. Or maybe I'm just strange.

Not quite there yet, but
I can see me and Nora Batty
having a lot in common in the years to come...

Anyhow. As the winter approaches I've also noticed myself turning more and more inwards. Towards the home. Whereas the spring all but calls you out to spend as much of your time as you can outside, autumn seems to invite you to light candles, make a cup of tea and sit comfortably inside while the rain beats the windows and the leaves fly. And to make the scenario perfect, add the scent of freshly baked bread.

I might have said this before, but my Mom is a professional baker and the scent of freshly baked goodies has always been a part of home for me. Now, as I am for various reasons choosing and having to choose life on the slow lane, I happily bake bread myself at least a couple of times a week myself and recently purchased this crafty little piece of equipment...

It's a baguette tray.
those nifty little 
holes in the bottom 
make for
nicely crisp crust.

Already I've been making ordinary baguettes on it, as well as little breakfast buns. And one rainy afternoon I started fiddling around with the dough and came up with these...

Golden Baguette Braids.

To make just prepare your basic white bread dough, 
which I do like so:

Take about 5 dl/2 cups of warm water. Dissolve
two packets of dry yeast in it, or alternatively one
cube of live yest. Dribble in some ( half a teaspoon)
sugar and let stand for about ten minutes.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix.
Start mixing in the flour in small parts using a 
wooden spoon. And listen now, m'dear, I am not being
some sort of kitchen snob with the wooden-spoon-business,
it just seems to work best for me. 
So, mix in around 12 dl/5 cups of flour, and in the
end, scrap the spoon and pour the dough on 
a floured table and start kneading. Do not
make it too solid, but rather very
moist but still so that you can handle it.
At this point I tend to add a generous
helping of olive oil into the dough
and work it into it, but you can add the oil, or butter
earlier when you're still working with your spoon.

either let the dough rise for about half an hour
or do like I do, make it into buns, baguettes, braids
or whatever and lift on baking tray, cover with
tea towel and let rise in a warm place.
Mix one egg with a splosh of milk and
brush the surface with the mixture.
Stick in the oven at around
200C until golden. And if you want even
crispier crust, place a little bowl or plate filled
with water in the bottom of the oven.

And should you want some variety, try adding some honey
into the dough while you are mixing it
with the spoon.

Now it's time to head outside. I've been sick again for the past couple of days, no news there, I'm afraid, but I promised myself a trip to the bookstore today. The Daughter gets to pick some books for herself and me, weeeellll, I don't think explanations are needed here.

Take care, light some candles, hug your loved ones and read a book or two. I will.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Words of...err...wisdom??

That there on the left is our new kittycat. All of three months old now. And as you can see he is wanting to paint with the Daughter. No. Not really. What he wants to do is eat the paintbrushes. But he's cute anyway and we love him to bits.

And I think I have started this post about four times by now. And deleted it. For no other reason than that I did not think it was what I wanted it to be. Yes. Those three extremely crucial sentences were not up to my dubious standards. World peace would never be if I did not get them right. Mountains would fall. Volcanoes would erupt and we would all be covered in ash. 



Time for a reality check, Mama.

Time to cut yourself some slack. Heck, make that a lot of slack.

Time to stop. To look at yourself in the mirror, at peace. At ease.

To let yourself be loved. To be taken care of. To for once give in.

You do not have to take care of it all.

If you stop, your world will not fall apart.

Trust those who love you.

Let them be there for you.

Have faith.

Because right now you need that far more than

perfect words on your computer. 

Or anywhere.

I believe I have mentioned earlier that my Daughter is at a Waldorf-Steiner kindergarten. Last week was a fall holiday at schools and kindergartens here, and during the Fall Fair at the Steiner School the week before I took some pictures of the kindergarten simply because I want to share with you too the difference there is to any major, one-hundred-kids-in-a-concrete-building sorta childcare center. Mind you, I am not saying that it is not possible to get first class care in a bigger and differently oriented kindergarten than the one my Daughter is in now, but every time I go in to pick her up I just love seeing how the kids thrive in there. I am also aware that maybe this is not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it. She loves it. We're staying.

doubles as
place for
lunch and snack.

For play
are cleared away
and out 
come the baskets
of fabric and other


Daughter at
the fair,
riding the
''tournament horse''.

And because the winter is knocking on the door here, I am going to spend a moment saying goodbye to summer and autumn by this picture of my little one with her friend, playing at being fairies on one long, hot summer day. Bring on the snow. Bring on the frost. We'll live. 

Bye bye summer.
Bye to you too,
Hello again,
May you bring
warm hearths
and hearts.