Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning

I love Saturday mornings - the whole weekend seems to stretch in front of me. John and I had curry last night (surprise, surprise), and then went to Blockbuster. We rented 'Cars,' which I'd been dying to see - I'd seen parts of it on New Year's Day, but it had made me queasy (or I was queasy anyway). I thought it was great, even though I find Owen Wilson (and his voice) incredibly annoying. I loved the cameo appearance from the Car Talk boys (Click & Clack!) as the announcers for Lightning's sponsors. And then they had Jeremy Clarkson as his smarmy British agent (only in the UK version).

I thought it was really great casting, and I was amazed at the tiny subset of people (expats, all) who would recognize those three voices. If anybody else did or knows who they all are, let me know. I'm sure I'm not alone, but it's got to be a small group.

AGES ago, Rebeka asked me for the lamb/tomato/zucchini recipe that I've found. As I was typing it out for her, I figured she might not be the only one who might like it!

Lamb Steaks with Tomato and Courgette Crush (adapted from BBC Good Food - June 07)
Serves 2
Prep 10 mins
Cook time 10 mins

* 2 courgettes
* herbes de provence
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
* handful chopped parsley or corriander
* 2 lamb leg steaks

1. Chop the courgettes into large chunks, then boil or steam until tender, about 5 mins. Tip into a colander and lightly press out as much liquid as possible using a potato masher or fork, then chop the courgettes into smaller pieces (or not, I don't bother with this)
2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and tomatoes, then fry briefly until the tomatoes are just softening. Stir in the courgettes and heat through, then add the chopped parsley or coriander and stir through. Keep warm.
3. Season the lamb steaks, and cover with h.d.p. and olive oil, and grill for 3-4 mins each side. Serve with the tomato & courgette crush on the side.

We serve this with crusty bread for dipping (and make extra garlic/tomato/o.o. sauce to drizzle over). Yum!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Final Box

Well, we're official. The LAST moving box is unpacked. It was a box of miscellaneous stuff from the front hall in the flat - hats, scarves, maps and other stuff. And it's all put away and the box is broken down! Woohoo!

I just turned on the BBC to watch a documentary on Paris, and the introducer said, 'If you're feeling adventurous or especially French, push the red button on your tv'. And off it went, in french. Amazing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weather, Wheels and Steam

We went off to the Wings Wheels and Steam festival at Rougham Airfield today - it veered back and forth between sunny and hot and pouring with rain. During the first sunny interlude, John took this picture:

In the second one, he took this (it's not every day you get to ride in a tank...notice James in the gunner spot):

We came home and then I went out to run some errands - I stopped at our favourite butcher's in Needham Market and got six GLORIOUS sausages and then went to the farm shop (again) for some strawbs and some blackberry-raspberry hybrids that I've forgotten the name of. I also went to the hardware store. You know the one - it's FULL of stuff and the only way to find something is to ask the storekeeper, who immediately nods and leads you into a dark corner to find the hybrid-double-ended-miniature-extendible whatever that you were there after. How these places have all the stuff they have AND ever manage to find any of it is beyond me. I got a washing line for the backyard, some eye-screws and green wire for the honeysuckle, a paper towel roll holder (to go under the cabinets), and a 1-amp fuse. Lucky me. I also got some screws for a broken Ikea nightstand - somehow all the screws from one side got lost in the move (how, I don't know - we didn't disassemble it...) and now it's all held together happily again.

Because I bought, assembled, and hung the washing line, and then did a load of laundry, we had this:

Hail. The size of marbles. Then it turned to rain and thunder...our backyard looked like a swimming pool. As it's clay-y soil (which we discovered when we tried to dig in it), it's all been absorbed and is fine again. Lovely.

Oh, and having read all the reviews for Ratatouille and getting all excited about it, its UK release is not until October 5th. OCTOBER. 5th. Where are we, the MOON? At least I have Harry Potter (a movie AND the Deathly Hallows) to tide me over part of the way until then.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Land of the 10pm Sun

OK, so it's not the midnight sun, but it'll have to do. Unless you live under a rock, you'll know that yesterday was solstice/the first day of summer/etc. Which never seemed like a big deal in NY, but here in northern Europe I find I really notice it. Last night we were zonked and went to bed at 10pm, and it was still light out. Dusky, but light. Glorious.

James is using his new Mets towel tonight (thanks, M & D) - he requested it specially and is v. psyched about it. 'Uncle Ed' had one when he was about the same age - Grandma bought us two - Mets and Yankees. It's a venerable tradition.

I'm feeling like I've turned a corner at work (which I'm always reluctant to blog about). I'm starting to really get a solid handle on my new job, although it's still crazy busy. Hopefully it'll calm down some more once I get grease on some more wheels.

I'm 'between books' again - I've started 19 Minutes (Jodi Picoult) but I can't seem to get in to it. I enjoyed Bill Bryson's Walk In The Woods, a few weeks ago, and I have Dorothy Sayers' Nine Tailors (Mom's recommendation) waiting for me at the library tomorrow.

I also splurged and ordered TWO craft books on Amazon (eek!) - I got an email that they've shipped today so they should be at the office on Monday. The books, if you're interested, are Simple Sewing and Bend The Rules Sewing. I can't wait!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mom & Dad

Blogging has been a little light lately - my parents arrived on Wednesday evening and it's been pretty much non-stop since then. We had a pub dinner in Bury on Wednesday night, and then they came to Stowmarket to see the house. It's been given the seal of approval!

Thursday night we met them for dinner at the Ravenwood Hall Hotel near Bury, where we'd last been nearly 20 years ago in a blizzard. When I was a kid we used to go to Holland at school vacations - my dad had an office there. We always took the ferry over from Felixstowe to Zeebrugge, and one night we stopped in for dinner on our way to the night ferry. We remembered the food as being really good, and I've been meaning to go for ages. Mom suggested it and off we went. The food was gorgeous- dad and I split some mouthwatering beef (rare, of course), and then I had the world's best rhubarb fool for dessert. YUM.

Friday I took the day off work and we went to Ickworth (where I had to PAY - the new girl in reception was not responding to ANY amount of name dropping or mentioning of the fact that I was a full-time volunteer for a year), walked around for a bit, and then headed cross-country on teeny-tiny back roads to Lavenham. I'd only been there once for the choir concert in December, so it was really nice to see it in the daylight! It's such a funny little town - it's so old and there are no right angles to speak of.

Saturday we had John's parents over for lunch and then Mom and Freda and I went to the garden centre and bought some plants for our garden. There are bunch of begonias, expertly planted by Mom and James, and a bay tree, a honeysuckle bush, and something else that I can't remember. I'm preparing for a pitched battle against the honeysuckle - apparently they're

Sunday was a train-fest - we drove up to Peterborough to ride on the Nene Valley Railway and the miniature railway at Thorpe Hall. The boys took lots of pictures (and videos - to appear soon). Here we are on the mini trains:


I'm taking another half day tomorrow to see Mom & Dad and we're going round F & T's for dinner - it should be fun. Then I'm going to sleep - I'm totally zonked lately and I can't tell if it's general in-law wear and tear or what.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Mac is Back

My mac came back today - they mailed it to me in a HUGE box with lots of padding (yay!) After much gnashing of teeth (by John), it is now connected to the internet, although it doesn't THINK that it's connected. Despite the fact that I'm merrily tippy-tapping away on Blogger. Hmmmm.

The BBC concert went pretty well on Saturday night - there were a few rocky patches but otherwise it was pretty good. This particular choir is much better at loud, exciting stuff than they are with the more subtle stuff.

Oh, and we were in town on Saturday morning, getting haircuts, and we stopped in to the flooring place to say hi to the owner and rave about our carpets. Teehee. Somehow we started talking about things going on in the town, and apparently the evil part of the bike ride in to town is soon to be no more- they're building a new bridge over the railway tracks. There's a random road to nowhere in our development (right near where we almost bought a different house, but not too close to where we are now, and it's apparently the first part of the bridge. And the plans have FINALLY all gone through so they're starting on it soon! Not that it's going to open any time soon, but it's coming!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

We live in the country!

Firstly, the Bury Bach Choir is performing in St Edmundsbury Cathedral tomorrow night - we're singing Rossini's Messe Solenelle and it's going to be great. There are still tickets available - the details are here.

There's been a bit of delay in importing pictures - my mac is still at the mac-spital (they've ordered the airport card and I should have it back soon...)

When C was here last weekend, we made strawberry rhubarb crumble. We kind of invented a recipe - we put the rhubarb, strawbs, some sugar and lime juice, and a few tablespoons of water and covered it with some crumble mix that I bought (lazy StowmarKate). This is what the fruit looked like:

And here it is all bubbly and glorious:

Silly roomies!

Then this past weekend, we took James to the sheep-shearing day at Baylham House Farm, and had a great time. All the animals had great personality and were quite happy to be fed and talked to. Here are a few sheep:

And here's a very intrepid piglet:

A lazy goat...

And my ploughmans' lunch (homemade everything, including the cheese - yum!

We're having some furniture delivered this weekend, which includes 2 wardrobes. I'm hopeful that one of them will lead to Narnia...I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

not newlyweds anymore

John and I have been married for a year. A whole year. Sometimes it feels like it's been about 10 minutes, other times I can't even imagine that there was a time before I knew him.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rural Suffolk...

Today was the first real glorious summer day - James and I puttered around this morning and rode in to town on our bicycles. It's kind of a tricky ride- the bike paths up in the housing estate are really good and well-laid out,and then you suddenly get dumped on to a main road with a really narrow sidewalk with lots of overhanging branches. And then there are intermittent bike paths in the town, none of which lead anywhere. I'm not quite confident enough of James' riding to let him ride in the road with cars - people go REALLY fast and he can be kind of oblivious and wobbly some times. Mostly he's fine, but he randomly swerves. Edward and I basically grew up on our bikes, especially in Holland and when we lived in Peterborough, so I don't think mom and dad ever really worried about us wobbling too much.

Anyway, in the afternoon we went to the Alder Carr Farm in Needham Market. I suggested that we take the back way there - it was this gloriously winding country lane that went through two towns - Creeting St. Peter and Creeting St. Mary. I love the names...and the houses along the road were SO pretty.

It's also the perfect distance to go on a bike ride - it's about 3 miles each way and a little hilly but not too bad. We're going to save our pennies and see about getting some bikes - my parents have Gazelle bikes from Holland that are beautiful and run forever but they're WAAAAY out of our price range. They have some really funny tandem ones, although I think I'm too much of a control freak to let John steer...we'd crash before we made it to the end of our street.

Anyway, the farm was incredible- they had homemade ice cream (YUM!), strawberries (PYO and in baskets) that smelled amazing, and various other little shops. One of them was an earthy-crunchy eco-friendly shop (that sells mooncups!), so we bought some enviro-friendly laundry soap and toilet cleaner. The laundry soap is cool - we can take the empty jug back and they'll refill it at a discount. Oh, the thrill.