Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Famous Photographers, iconic pics

This post on is kind of cool. Real people, real stories, and some great images - most of which we've seen and know well. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bedroom building

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When people hurt..

It feels like a lot of our family and friends are going through really testing times. Of pain, and sickness and that sort of real soul-ripping sorrow. For some just seasons of helplesness. And it's really hard to know know what to say. And do. To empathise, and not just sympathise. To do more than whisper desperate, flying prayers.

But maybe that's all the Father wants us to do. Pray and Trust. Really trust. And weep, like Nehemiah did - that's ok too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dinner diary

I tried to do a food diary of our evening meals last here goes.

Monday - Thai green curry with prawns (we're trying to eat more fish and prawns in the hope it'll make us clever-er)
The verdict: Always a favourite, just cos we love prawns!

Tuesday - We were staying at home for date night and I cooked duck for the first time, marinated in honey and soya, with roasted parsnip ribbons and broccoli and rosti. (Hurrah for IKEA)
The verdict: We liked it but didn't love it - I think chicken is just more tender and tasty.

Wednesday: I was having momo cravings. For those who don't know - momos are Tibetan dumplings, quite like Japanese gyoza or Chinese jiaozi. My mum makes them and I thought they would be easy peasy. To be honest I've probably never made dough before so got fed up pretty quickly. It took ages and I've got miles to go in perfecting good momo wrappers, or chapatti's for that matter. The pork filling was yummy though and as I'd had it by about 20 momos, there was loads left! 
The verdict: We enjoyed it, even though we woke up quite thirsty in the night from the vast amounts of salty soy sauce dip. Definitely one to try again, this time maybe with ready-made wrappers from the Chinese supermarket.

Thursday: I made my leftover mince into meatballs and stir-fried with a black bean sauce and some greens. 
The verdict: Yum yum - made millions of meatballs so had a good few packed lunches out of that as well. I'm very impressed with how far that pack of mince stretched. Excellent kitchen economy there.

Friday: Pizza, garlic-bread and chicken nuggets with youth group! The boys went out and played crazy golf and the girls stayed in and watched a chick-flick.
And Saturday was biryani and chicken curry courtesy Uncle Tesco rather than yours truly!

Hmmm......there are a lot of orientally - skewed meals there, probably because I've always loved Chinese and other Asian food more than any other. And probably to the disappointment of my poor husband, who's very patient and says he enjoys it all. Yikes. 
*Note to self: Must cook more lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise.* 
He's less patient however with my photo-taking of every meal before I allow it to be eaten, which I find quite funny. Ahh, it's all a good laugh!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitchen loving I

I think I've said before that one of the best parts of living away from home/ cooking for yourself is you've only got to eat things you love, or at least like!
I really enjoying cooking. Even more for others and especially for two. 
I thought it would be quite fun to keep track of the things we're making up in the kitchen and especially those we really like, and maybe those we definitely won't do again. 
A favourite for the last couple of years has been from Nigella Lawson's 'Kitchen' and is a great dish to cook for friends and family especially if you're looking for something you can bung in the oven and not think about. It's called Spanish chicken with Chorizo and New potatoes and is simple, tasty and you don't need anything else to eat with it, apart from maybe a salad. I often do a nice rocket salad which goes great.

Will remember to take a picture next time. This one from here
All you need to do is put your main bits in an oven tray together -  
chicken (big pieces,on the bone)
small chunks of chorizo (preferably the cooking kind, rather than the dried - but both taste great) 
Loads of halved new potatoes 
a couple of red onions chopped large-ish bits

Sprinkle the zest of an orange and maybe some fresh orange juice over the lot, season well and garnish with oregano (or mixed herbs) and put in the oven (200 deg C) for an hour and bingo! 
Note: I advise you drain all the fatty juices at the end before you serve - very tasty but not so great for your heart.

Completely unrelated but yesterday we put our tree out for the bin-men and it made me quite sad. It was a great tree and had a good few weeks left in it and didn't even drop lots of needles. I enjoyed having it in our front room. Oh well - until next year!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why we do the things we do..

It's funny how having a home and family makes you look back and un-pick memories of your own family and childhood home, even the ones you didn't put in a box and label in your head as being important memories . And chances are the routines and habits you start to build will be very much based on what you've always known!

We make sure the kitchen is spic-and-span each night because we always did when I was growing up, and we NEVER fall asleep with any cupboard doors open (but that's just a mother Alexander special :)). We had stockings full of  presents for Christmas because Steve's had one his whole life and I think we started going on date nights when we were going out because that's what my parents did.
It's really fun to add to those and build your own little habits as well, and we're enjoying doing that! Bagel mornings are one of those.
Are there things you do just like your family used to do them when you were growing up?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Small joys..

...when you reach in your very big, very full, very messy handbag and the first thing you pull out are the keys you need!
I was thinking just that yesterday and typically ended up standing at the front door in the dark and the wind and rain for absolutely ages looking for the house keys. *Must sort bag*

P.s. Yes I thought Katy Perry illustrated that nicely. Picture from here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Murder at Albion House

A load of shady characters!  

For New years eve we went to a murder mystery at our friends Christine and Nathan's house in Chippenham. The murder was set in a big country house in the 1930's. I played Regina Khan, crime novelist and Steve was Alan Trode, who ran a failing motorcycle business and turned out to be the murderer! *shock*
It was a really fun evening and Nathan cooked an absolutely exquisite six course meal!

Just after midnight we went outside for some sparkler fun which was great even though it was drizzling a bit.


We drove back after and went to church in the morning and spent the day with family. It was Steve's dad's last Sunday as pastor at our church - where he's been for 24 years. Their farewell and thanksgiving Service is this Saturday and it's going to be a busy week with various family members coming for that.

In the meantime, we're enjoying one last day off before we start work for 2012. Have a joyful new year!