Into The Woods

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A couple of times last week we had open house, with the kids inviting various friends around. Thursday was one of those days. I got out quite late and had another short zig-zag around a few local spots. The aim had been to arrive at or near the Lots in time to see the sunset, and although I did just about make it, I could really have done with being there about 15 minutes sooner. Whilst I was still in the woods, I caught glimpses of the western sky through the trees, which suggested that the sun was suffusing it with a warm glow of oranges, yellows, pinks and purples. By the time I had a clear view I felt that I was only seeing the final fling of the show.

Not to worry: any disappointment I might have felt was more than compensated by the fact that I bumped into two of the most talented and creative people I know*: the Painter and the Glass Artist and it was lovely to catch up with them both.

(*Not that I keep a league table of talented and creative acquaintances and friends. That would be weird.)

You’ll have noticed that I’ve skirted around Wednesday: on Wednesday we had Our Grand Day Out – a trip to Lancaster. Ta-dah! Not that there is anything wrong with Lancaster, in fact, it’s really worth a visit, but it’s our local town, so not much of a departure for us. However, we took a tour of the castle which was excellent: highly recommended. In the past, lots of castles have featured on this blog – they’re one of the things we all really enjoy – but Lancaster will have to wait; next time I shall take my camera. Whilst we were there, I bumped into another old friend and colleague, now working at the castle, and discovered that he also ranks highly in the ‘talented and creative’ stakes, what with having become a playwright.

After a very pleasant lunch at Molly’s, we went to the cinema to see ‘Into The Woods’. Did I ought to offer a review? I’ll give it 4 out of 5, because 4 (out of 5) of the family enjoyed it. My appreciation was somewhat marred by the fact that A kept elbowing me awake. That’s a couple of hours of my life I shall never get back.

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We had one errand to run in Lancaster too: a trip to the draper and haberdasher. Little S had hit upon the notion that he wanted to make himself a Teddy Bear. As you can see – he has. Well, it was a joint effort really, in which everybody had a hand (except me – I was out with my camera, but that’s another story). I suppose this means that TBH and the kids all get promotions into the top tier of the creativity league too. A and S have jumped on the bandwagon and both have materials for their own Teddy Bears.

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I mentioned the possibility of branching out into recipes: here’s a very simple soup one (to go with the bread from earlier in the week). It’s so simple, I think the only reason it works is because it’s based on homemade stock. None of the quantities are precise, because they don’t need to be.

Into a big stock pan chuck:

  • A chicken carcass, stripped of any useable meat.
  • A carrot
  • An onion, halved. Don’t bother to remove the skin it gives the stock a nice colour.
  • The leafy bits from a bunch of celery.
  • Half a dozen peppercorns.
  • Any other tired vegetables from the fridge, or vegetable trimmings, parings etc.
  • Enough water to cover that lot.

Put it on a low heat and leave it for an age. (You want it to simmer gently for a few hours).

For the soup:

  • on a low heat, sweat some veg – I used onions, leeks and carrots – in your fat of choice (mine’s currently ghee, but I think I might have used rapeseed oil this time). For soups or stews I put the lid on the pan and leave the veg until it’s properly softened (stirring it now and again).
  • Add enough stock to give the sort of consistency of soup you fancy. Chuck in some left-over cooked chicken if you have some. Simmer for say 20 minutes. (But 10 would do I think.

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How did it go down? I’ll give it 3 out of 5, because B and TBH and I all liked it. S and A weren’t so unreservedly enthusiastic, but then they’re fussy.

Into The Woods