There is neither rant, nor a recipe in this post (unless you count the list of pizza toppings, in case I guess there is), because this is mostly a light-hearted update about my life over the past few months during this blog’s inactivity. But, if you feel like looking at some pretty photos and reading me blathering about life, plans, and Everything™, then read on!
This summer has turned out to be as busy as the preceding months, and I am not going to apologize for it, or for not posting anything. And then the school year and the associated deadlines hit, and we were both too busy to breathe for a while. On top of that, my back and shoulder have been acting up again, and at the moment, my Median and Ulnar nerves are somewhat compressed, which necessitates many silly stretches per day to get them to not be.
Now some of that is past, and we have a little bit of breathing space, so I would like to write an update about the new place (which I love-love-love!), the kitty (kitty!!!), and a bunch of food-related and -unrelated things. First of all, we’ve gotten a(n adorable) kitten whom we named Valkyria, because she has lightning marks on her paws, so what is she, if not the rider of the storm?
Second, we’ve moved house, and our new place is right in the city centre, and we have a gorgeous view of one of the two city parks from three of our windows, which is great!
Third, the new rental apartment is really nicely done up inside – according to the realtor who was showing us around, a bank executive used to stay there, and it was made nicer at that point – the door to the bedroom from hallway was removed, a giant wall closet was put into the bedroom, and instead, a wall between bedroom and living room was cut into a wide arch with two sliding doors which can be opened to create a much larger space.
The bedroom and living room both have balconies, which look out in opposite directions on the building, giving really great ventilation in the summer, and tons of natural light (the windows are full-wall width including the glass door, and extend from 50cm of the ceiling to about 70cm off the floor).
As a result, my plants are extremely happy – Vanda “Blue Magic” bloomed again – as always, magically so. Which brings me to the fact that I now have a kitchen with a real door that I can shut (keeping kitty out in case I am doing something which could get kitty hurt, such as baking in shrieking hot cast iron pot or such), and also a windowsill where I can grow actual herbs, which aren’t dying of being miserably light-deprived on the counter. Ladies and gentlemen, the kitchen:
When we moved in, my only woe was that the stove in the place (this is a rental) is a hot-plate electric, as I’ve gotten spoiled with IR and induction surfaces, but as it turned out, I shouldn’t have been upset, because while it is an electric hot-plate stove (ick), as those go, it’s a really nice hot-plate stove, which heats up reasonably fast and works well within the limitations of that design. What’s more, the oven is a really great oven, with tons of settings, and it goes all the way up to 300°C, compared to the 250-275°c maximum for a lot of ovens I’ve encountered recently – making it pretty incomparable for pizza in the field of household non-specialist ovens. And so there was homemade pizza baked in a cast iron pan, and there was much rejoycing.
The autumn this year has been extremely beautiful, with blue skies, golden shafts of sunlight falling in-between trees, and gorgeous weather, which is to say, not enough rain for mushrooms. It’d sadden me if I weren’t so damn happy about the weather being so beautiful, which actually makes me not mind. If I really want some wild mushrooms, there are some in the supermarket, cheaty as that is (which is where the funnel chanterelles on the pizza came from, actually).
So what have I been doing, in terms of the kitchen witchery? A few things, actually, and there will be several blog posts to discuss some of these things, but in short, I’ve mostly been baking sourdough bread, and preserving fruit, because for all the mushroom season may be terrible, the fruit this year has been absolutely gorgeous.
Like these nectarines, for example – these specific ones ended up on a cake, but their brethren have also been made into jam, along with quite a bit of black currants, Italian plums, some pineapple (I am working on a new recipe for pineapple and lime jam, and it’s going rather well), and a box of late-season apricots.
The sourdough is going very much better this year, since my starter, Herr Klegg, has finally reached proper maturity – aided by half a year’s nap in the refrigerator, after which he was grumpy a while. I had to feed him intensively for a few days, but after that he settled into a nice routine, and behaves well.
There will be a new recipe for easy overnight sourdough bread coming up – I think I just need one more test in a proper cast iron Dutch oven, and for that I am going to need a Dutch oven, which – squeee! – I am treating myself to next week, along with a mandolin cutter. The latter is something I’ve wanted for a while, and have finally decided to go ahead and invest in, because I suspect that I will eat a whole lot more vegetables if finely shredding and julienning root veg and cabbage into salads wasn’t such a huge undertaking when armed with just a knife and a cutting board.
So, this autumn and winter I will try to get my shoulder to finally heal, to lose a bit more weight (nothing drastic, just healthier eating), and to reduce both T’s and my stress levels, because we both need that. But, on the up side, we love our new place, we have an adorable critter who is great against stress (because cuddles and purrs!), and overall, life is treating us well – and I hope it is treating you well, too.