Thursday, October 30

About fifteen minutes until the oven timer goes off.

I am wearing socks that I knitted. Here is a picture of them.

This is so exciting! It was the last New Year's Resolution from this year that I hadn't fulfilled. Very soon I am going to visit some friends with whom I will go shopping for more sock yarn, and also spelt flour (because I can't find any down here, and because Hildegard's abbey in Rudesheim sells it in large quantities).

Speaking of flour, I have been doing quite a bit of baking. As expected, there have been several pies and quite a lot of muffins (not to mention a few well-timed batches of cookies to start the autumn-to-advent seasons) since I last wrote, and I have made several Experiments. Puff pastry, for example.

And here are some pictures of the pies. The first one is chicken pot Pi. In which I discovered that puff pastry is difficult to write or mark in because it expands and becomes flakier than regular shortcrust.

And a half-finished pie, using sausage and apples and a ceramic device that looks like a blackbird and actually helps steam escape from the pie filling. It would have worked better if I hadn't clogged up the steam holes with my messy pastry. Nevertheless, Tamasin Day-Lewis has certainly not disappointed me (she never does).

I should probably write more about the pies so that the pictures don't look so odd and scrunched up. Pies pies pies. Soon it will be Christmas and then I shall make mincemeat.

I also finished Chivalry by Maurice Keen, and have begun on Scivias, the visions of Hildegard of Bingen as well as The Cloude of Vnknowynge, which is by one of my favourite authors, Anonymous. In accord with the advice of C.S. Lewis, I am trying to read only one new book in between books that take part in the Great Conversation. The results so far have been a loss of my immediate delight in adventure novels (tho there seems to be no effect on my love of mystery novels--perhaps because so many of them are written by medievalists?) and a developing taste for histories. And visions.

The local delicacy at this time of year is the walnut. We have lots of them. I really must get to work cleaning, cracking, and toasting them. Then I shall introduce them to Mambrino (who, by the by, has yet to find a station in the kitchen because he seems to be always in use).

Oh, and also, about bread: keeping the sliced end of a loaf face-downwards on a wooden plate or board keeps the moisture content of the bread much better than if it is placed on plastic (soggy around the edges and devastating to my quest for the Ideal Piece of Toast) or paper (dries it out, likewise results for the Quest).