Real Pleasures

During the weekend I made my own baked beans. I used borlotti beans rather than haricot. I love borlotti beans; they are meaty and nutty and large and succulent and delicious, and they feel decadent. My method was simple and imprecise:

1. Soak beans and boil in unsalted water until soft and buttery. Put by in colander.

2. Sterilise jars.

3. In a pan mix the following ingredients to taste: tomato puree, water, salt, bay leaves, cinammon, apple balsamic vinegar, honey, paprika, cumin, chilli and onion.

4. Add the beans to the sauce and boil together until the onions in the mix have all turned clear.

5. Spoon the mix into the jars and close them.

6. Tidy up the kitchen carnage and wait for the sucking POP noise as the jars cool, and a little vacuum is created in each one.

7. Eat whatever is left in the pan and marvel at the deliciousness.

I also made bread. This recipe is infallible, but I do think the fresh yeast makes a difference. I am experimenting now with yeast; I have put by a small ammount with some flour, water and honey and I will use this as the starter for my next loaf. I will always put by a ball of dough from each loaf, mix in some flour, water and sugar and in this way – hopefully – keep my own little yeast supply alive.

While beans and bread were taking shape, I blocked my 2 new hats. You can see them on the radiator here, along with my beloved green Headigan which got severely re-blocked too.

One humbug-mint-style Headigan in the leftover yarn from mine and Emmylou’s Hourglass Sweaters, and one large, red Felicity – from Knitology – made as a stashbuster, using up random balls of red yarn I had lying around.

Felicity Hat ravelled here.

This phase in my life is all about the quick, easily assembled, instantly gratifying knits. I want to cultivate simple pleasures and try out many new styles. A restless period of reinvention is afoot, underpinned by the sanity-giving principles of grains and pulses and walking. I am in danger of spending my whole life at home, so it is good that I got out on Sunday to enjoy London and to delight in the wearing of my new accessory.

I did enjoy wearing my new red hat in London on Sunday, eating salt-beef bagels on Brick Lane in it and marvelling at the ridiculously OTT marketing campaign of new frozen yogurt bar in Soho: SNOG.

Mmm… salt-beef bagel.

SNOG in Soho. (Frozen Yogurt bar; amazing lighting.)

Although the low-calorie joy of SNOG was quite tasty and delicious, very few things compare to the loveliness of a scribble-cake (my name) AKA Mont Blanc taken with tea at the inimitable Maison Bertaux.

On the other hand, I did start pinging off the walls with happiness when I called in to the lovely Rachael and the sight of her delectable little pencil; perhaps it was the memory of this that prompted me to desire the ‘scribble’ cake…

I hope you all get lots of Real Pleasures this week.

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