Wednesday, 7 October 2009
The wind doth blow, and the rain does fall . . .
Oh, but the wind is blowing outside our little cottage right now and the rain is against the glass of the windows. It shall be a typical Autumn day here, much like what we have come to expect at this time of year, and Lord knows . . . the rain is needed. It rained all yesterday as well . . . and the day before.
Somehow the world doesn't seem the same when seen through the haze of rain and wind . . . it is hard to see the bright side it seems . . . it can get one a bit down, if you let it.
When the wind blows a gale, or the heavens descend upon us in a rainstorm, I try to remember the words of a poet and writer, John Ruskin. Having lived from 1819 to 1900, he had a wonderful vision and empathy with the world's changing climatic conditions. He was also a well known artist and often set himself to painting stormy scenes at his home in Coniston in the Lake District. He loved weather . . . even bad weather.
"I want you to know that sunshine is delicious and rain is refreshing," he wrote. "The wind braces up; snow is exhilarating. There is no such thing as bad weather; we just get different kinds of good weather."
What a wonderful way to look at it . . . come rain, or snow, or hail, or sleet . . . or sunshine. Each one does have it's own beauty, if we are willing to look for, it and they, each one of them, have their purposes . . . after all where would be the merit in a sunny day if . . . all we ever had was sunny days . . .
I did get a bit of time in for painting yesterday and did this delightful little girl.
Here's a glimpse of her. I'll be posting her in much closer detail over on my Blossom Times Art Blog later today. She'll be available as a Christmas card along with my others. I will be selling them in sets of 5, which you can get either all the same or mixed. I have quite a few different ones to choose from. As well, you can get a set of 5 all occasion ones with my other paintings on them, just perfect for gifts. Because they are blank inside, they make great notecards as well.
Did you know that there is a shortage of tinned pumpkin this year?? Apparently last year's pumpkin crop was a washout due to a very wet season and so there was not a lot of pumpkin to can. Normally we can buy it at our local Waitrose store, and I was looking for some recently and could find none. So then I went online to see if they had it at the American Grocery Supply site that I get certain things at. I got no joy there either. After that I did a general search on the net for it and came up with this little tidbit of news. There should be some a bit later on, but for now, it is in quite short supply, or non existant over here in the UK. Thankfully I have my little store cupboard and I have quite a few tins in there. Long about this time of year I have a craving for pumpkin things . . . like pie and cake.
Yesterday afternoon I baked this lovely pumpkin loaf. It is a recipe given to me by my ex mother in law about 32 years ago now. She always made hers plain, with no spice, but I think things are much nicer with a bit of spice added. This is lovely anyways, moist and stogged full of raisins, but with some added spice, it's even better!
*Mother In Law's Pumpkin Loaf*
Makes one loaf
This is my ex mother in law's recipe. It's deliciously moist and chock full of raisins. I added the spice, coz, well . . . I like things a bit spicy.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup tinned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup raisins
Pre-heat the oven to160*C/325*F. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.
Measure the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg into a bowl. Whisk together well. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until well combined. Beat in the oil and pumpkin. Add this mixture all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix together only to moisten all. Stir in the raisins. Spread into the prepared pan.
Bake in the heated oven for 1 1/4 hours, shielding with a bit of foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Remove when nicely risen, golden brown in colour and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in a tightly covered container.
This gets even better as the days go on. We like it sliced, toasted and spread with butter for a tasty breakfast treat!
For an extra special treat I made Todd some buttery and oaty flapjacks!! Check them out on The English Kitchen.