Autumn Dewdrops

This morning I decided to make Sour Dough Pancakes. Which rose the best yet 😋 Then I ‘fed’ the Sour Dough starter, which I call Fred, & took back down the garden to the fridge in the garage. This slows down the fermenting & I only use the ‘waste’ about once a week & top up again. Which is a perfect addition to pancakes, as they rise & are light – due to the yeast in the Sour Dough ‘waste’ being added to batter. On my way to the garage I spotted dewdrops on some plants & flowers. A good photograph opportunity as the sun obliged by come out from behind the clouds.

After taking the photographs I went to download them & my camera wouldn’t start. I always change the batteries when this happens. But today that didn’t work. So I checked they were loaded correctly, then read through some troubleshooters with Google. An array of ideas. I started with the easiest & cleaned the contact points with a cotton bud dipped in white vinegar. Still didn’t work. About to give up, as camera out of warranty, and my husband suggested changing the batteries for some recent new unused ones we’d bought. Yay! Camera worked. Well worth going through this process. The first batteries I used, that I thought were new, probably had been used for something else & inadvertently been returned to their packet 🙄🤪

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Celebratory send off

This morning’s breakfast was freshly baked croissants (the cheat frozen variety, but just as scrummy)

Croissants with grapes, banana, blueberries,dried dates & cranberries.

Breakfast was accompanied by a cappuccino & made for a good start to the day. We then drove into Leicester for Dean David’s last 10.30am service here, before a few more farewells and then he is onto Canterbury Cathedral, with his partner, for a new job as their Dean. We even saw a Peregrine Falcon, high up on the Cathedral spire, just before going into St Martin’s. St Martin’s was full for the service & was a great time of worship & fellowship, followed by coffee & a buffet.

Statue of Richard III
A watery sun at the top of Welford Road

We walked back to our parked car, up New Walk, catching a few remaining glimpses of a golden Autumn, with spectacular coloured leaves, so a couple of photograph opportunities presented themselves.

In total a 5912 steps walk & back home for some bubbly to celebrate.

My hyacinths just starting to grow.

Recent artwork

Just lately I have been cracking on with some Watercolours, inspired by the season with it’s array of colours & tones. It really does help too with regularly attending an art class, where Helen (the tutor) gives us a forty minute talk & demonstration.

The holly grows in my garden & the bush in the back garden is full of berries. The mushroom reference is from a recent photograph that I took, whilst on a walk. And although I haven’t made any Christmas cards this year, I wanted to have a go at a snow scene. Which strictly speaking isn’t a Christmas scene, but nevertheless is still a popular scene for Christmas cards.

Reflections

What beautiful weather it was today, for a walk with family at Foxton Locks. I wasn’t going to take my camera, as we usually enjoy a good chat & I sometimes get distracted when I’m taking photographs! But my husband suggested I take my camera, as the weather was so good, & I’m glad I did. With a blue sky & sun out, the reflections were very good. The moorhen was very relaxed, swimming towards us, & Mr Robin was sunning himself. Even the alpaca managed a pose for me.

The morning was rounded off with some good coffees & a drinking chocolate at a nearby tearoom. Then a drive to a lovely garden centre, not too far away for some hearty tomato & basil soup, with a variety of sandwiches & bread.

November in the City

Had a good walk today, 6466 steps. Into Leicester, via New Walk and back again. The good weather held & a few opportunities for a bit of photography presented themselves.

To be honest I nearly always want to take photographs in Leicester. There is a lot of interesting architecture, as well as new builds. And of course the ‘leafy lane’ that is New Walk, with it’s predominantly Victorian Architecture, street lamps and iron work ‘fencing’, plus beautiful trees.

After attending the Cathedral’s 10.30am service, & drinking one of their delicious coffees afterwards, we had a mooch round the shops. Then spotted a posing squirrel on the walk back to the car. A very enjoyable morning, some blue skies & sunshine.

Red Cabbage

This is especially a winter vegetable accompaniment to Christmas dinner at my home & it is easy to make early & freeze.

Some of the ingredients for spiced red cabbage

So today, I used :

  • a medium sized red cabbage
  • A small white onion
  • 2oz butter
  • One tablespoon of soft brown sugar
  • A medium sized cooking apple
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Dessert spoon of red wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper
  • Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • Handful of sultanas
  • 1 tsp Damson jelly
Small cooking apple windfalls, red cabbage & lime.

The cabbage, onion, & apple are chopped finely. First melt the butter & add the sugar, then the onion. Whilst cooking (on a low heat) in a large pan on the hob, chop & add the apple. Then add the chopped cabbage & stir well. Add the vinegar, salt, pepper, spices, lime juice, Damson jelly & sultanas. Stir well & simmer for about an hour. Remember to test the flavour (can add more spices, salt & pepper to taste) & stir occasionally. If more liquid is needed a small amount of apple juice could be added, but if you simmer with the pan’s lid on, there should be sufficient moisture.

Vegetable Soup

Soup is good all year round, but especially in colder months, served piping hot, with a good chunk of bread, or maybe a savory scone.

These stew ingredients can easily be used for soup (with the exception of the suet)

Today’s soup is all of the above – except the suet – with red onion, some pre soaked pulses mix and celeriac.

Pearl barley grain, yellow split peas, green split peas, red lentils, green lentils, pearl barley flakes.

I roasted the root vegetables, after chopping into small pieces & drizzling with olive oil. Takes about 30 mins in a 180° C fan oven. Meanwhile, chop the onion/shallots & add to a small pan, fry in olive oil & butter. Make about 1/2 a pint of vegetable stock.

When the onions/shallots have softened & slightly browned, add the soaked pulses & their water to the pan with small potato pieces. About 4 small potatoes is plenty for a soup serving for two people. I use about 4 dessert spoons of dried pulses with barley to soak. I soak mine in the morning, before using in the evening, of the same day. Cook all these until the potatoes have softened. You may need to add some of the prepared gravy, if the liquid in the pan reduces too much.

When the root vegetables have cooked add to the pan with all the oil they were cooked in, salt pepper & a good sprinkle of mixed herbs. Let all this rest for half an hour, with the pan lid on. Then blitz & serve.

Vegetable Soup with Ciabatta

Arnesby

Today being Remembrance Sunday, we watched a Remembrance service on YouTube. We also wrote out some Christmas cards & had a sherry & shared a mincepie.

Then off for a lovely country walk. The foggy mists were clearing & the sun was peeping out of some clouds.

The Autumn colours were still very predominant & a plentiful supply of ripe berries, sloes, hips & haws, were in the hedgerows.

Dave & I had a good chat, about this & that, including a discussion on the latest (part 5) of the Crown, viewed on Netflix, which has been very compulsive viewing.

Foxton Locks

It was a lovely blustery day yesterday, on the mild side, for this time of year, but nevertheless, a good day for a walk & photography.

We walked along towpaths, muddy in places, but it was fun to walk along the raised concrete edges, to escape the muddy patches. There were plenty of blackbirds about, a heron flying and the call of birds, who’s identity I didn’t know.

A few people were out & it was lovely to greet & be greeted with a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’. The peacefulness by the waterways is relaxing & so enjoyable.

Then on the way back, I indulged myself in exploring part of a route I used to ride on horseback (in quieter days, when there was less traffic on the roads, too & from the locks). It was wonderful to see that the track was still quiet & the field had a few livestock in. A field with many memories of horses raring to go & a good canter (or gallop if you were lucky!) to the end of the field.

So after fond memories revisited, a walk back up the locks to the car park. Then a short drive to a local pub for sourdough baguettes with bacon for Dave, Brie & Cranberry for me, with a little basket of fries ( in their skins) with half a pint of San Miguel for me & a pint of Wainwright for himself.

Art Class

For many years now I have been going to regular art classes, with other like minded people. From these groups I have made a few friends & this adds to the enjoyment of belonging to these groups.

During covid lockdown I joined a local Facebook group called Leicester Urban Sketchers. Both groups have been good resources for sharing art work, ideas & skills.

As well as painting, sketching & chatting, Helen (my art tutor) gives us a tutorial in painting techniques & painting demonstrations. Helen is a keen enthusiast in natural habitats too. She brings in examples of hedgerow leaves, berries & flowers. Flowers & leaves from her garden. At this time of year, Helen brings Mushrooms, which are fascinating to discover & paint, amongst an assortment of other things to study, paint & draw, over the year. Helen also has a good supply of painting books. So a truly inspiring group.

And if that’s not enough, we have a hot drink & chocolate bar too, whilst painting. What’s not to like? I was doing some emergency gardening this morning, wearing a gilet I sometimes wear to art class, & found a chocolate bar wrapper!