Saturday was calm and sunny. As I walked Ziggy in the afternoon under blue skies, admiring the catkins and magnolia buds, I thought what storm? By Sunday lunchtime though the roof sounded like it was about to take off and at one point the heavy rain being blown against the windows looked like someone was chucking buckets of water at the front of the house. Our dog walk that day was quick and businesslike, Ziggy strangely unwilling to linger, sniffing, over every blade of grass and lamp post as he usually does.
We battened down the hatches and stayed indoors. John had to work but, with the kids occupied and the dog asleep, I set to work in the kitchen, cooking so often my way of dealing with the weather. I turned sunshiney vegetables into soup, roasting squash, sweet potato, onion, peppers and garlic, and then blitzing them with chilli, coconut milk and vegetable stock.
I've been making a few forays into sourdough bread baking over the last few weeks, trying to get into the habit of baking it weekly, thereby saving us the small fortune we spend on nice bread each week. We are a family of sourdough lovers. and the children will choose it over any other type of bread. I love it because it doesn't go soggy when toasted, making it a perfect carrier for toasted cheese, beans, avocado, scrambled egg...
I've had this sourdough starter in the fridge for months and had forgotten about it and was going to throw it out, but you can apparently revive an old starter by throwing away all but a teaspoon full then starting again, feeding it with flour and water daily over a week. It worked, and a couple of weeks ago I made a white loaf.
The whole process worked a lot better for me if I mix the dough at tea time, stretch and fold it now and then over the course of an evening, and then put the dough into a floured banneton basket in the fridge overnight. I made a half white/half rye loaf last weekend and this is how it looked when I tipped it out of the banneton onto a baking tray, ready to be baked.
I am so happy with how it came out. It's huge - it's not even half finished now and we've all eaten loads of it for breakfast and lunch - and the deep, sour rye flavour is wonderful. It doesn't have the holey centre that many sourdough loaves do which suits me fine, as I find all the butter or jam falls through the holes.
The crust has softened over the last twenty four hours making it better for sandwiches.
Other nesting activities have been firmly centred around yarn. Progress on my sweater came to a sudden halt when Ziggy chewed my wooden crochet hook and of course I didn't have another one in the right size.
The front and back are almost finished. I just need to do the collar and arms then sew it all together. I love it but I think it's going to be very baggy when finished.
I found myself dipping into this book, Making Winter, last week. It's a real gem, with some gorgeous crochet patterns inside. I spotted this ball of yarn in my local yarn shop at the weekend and something about the variegated pattern made me think of feathers. The pinks, browns and greys are so wintry and are currently being turned into a cowl.
I have also started this Trio Blanket, using three Schepjees yarn cakes which I bought with birthday vouchers almost a year ago.
As you can see I haven't got very far. I'm at the stage where I need to have faith and persevere, remind myself what it was about the blanket which appealed so much in the first place.
I think it's going to be one of those projects that will be satisfying and relaxing when you've got into it a bit and can see the pattern start to grow and the colour changes pool. Right now it's just a tangled mess.
I hope you are all staying warm and dry in this weather. Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post - I am really happy that you enjoyed it and found it uplifting. There's a lot that's good about winter.