Saturday, 29 January 2011

Number 3.1: onion bhajis

Not on the list, but I made them for the first time today. This can be summarised as easy, cheap, and a great success!

Another Jamie Oliver success too, even though I never even opened a book. I didn't have any gram flour for them, which seemed pretty essential, so I googled until I found this recipe in his forum. It uses plain flour rather than gram, something I am far more likely to have in the cupboard.

It has made everything in the house smells of curried onions though. I almost fed the cat mango chutney for breakfast. And T has just been musing that he is looking forward to bhaji sandwiches. Hmmm!

Number 4, by the way, is done, but needs some finishing touches before it can be blogged. Watch this space.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Number 3: sing a song of sixpence

I don't have a picture of this one, which I am a bit sad about as it would have been nice to record the moment. Particularly as it was the hardest yet. Only 3 in, I realise this isn't much of a statement, but still, a picture would have been nice.

This week I went to a lunchtime choir group. I haven't sung with any serious intent since school, more years ago than I care to remember. And as Rock Band has shown, I will never be any kind of vocalist. But I think there is a lot of fun in singing, particularly as part of a group, where you can play a small part in making a big noise.

Knowing I'll be more enthusiastic than skilled, I was not keen on joining a choir with heavy performance or rehearsal schedules. A bit of googling later I found the Norwich Community Choir, which has handy Thursday lunchtime meetings on my side of the city (meaning I can walk rather than drive), focusses on the fun rather than the refinement and seems to have a pretty good following.

So, having found the church hall venue, I crept in, failing the first test by opening the door and letting the choir labradoodle out into the foyer. Having encouraged him back in, I joined the queue, identified myelf as a 'somewhere in the middle' singer and was given a place with the Altos.

Beginning with a few vocal exercises, the group went on the sing a number of rounds and a few songs split into harmonies. The last one was 'Accentuate the Positive' which was also the hardest in some ways, as I know the melody so it was hard to sing a harmony to it. It's all learned by demonstration rather than sheet music and thankfully there seems to be a good mix of people who have been enough times to know how to hold it all together.

It was really good fun and I will definitely be going back next week. There were about 30 people there and I was sitting next to a lady who was only on her third session herself which made me feel a bit more comfortable. She had a dictaphone so she could practice later - I might get one if I really struggle, but I do quite like the idea of it being unpressured enough for practice to be unnecessary.

It seemed a bit rude to wander in as a newcomer and start taking pictures, but I might brave one over the next few weeks if I keep going and edit one into this post.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Number 2: pins and freebies

Why does the phrase 'number 2' always make me chuckle? Should I be reassured or alarmed that the inner child in me clings on to toilet humour?

My firsts this week were really based on luck rather than good planning. The one I originally had planned, when it came down to it, seemed highly inappropriate on the day it was planned. It was one of those days when someone close to you does something so huge, so honourable and dignified, that to trivialise their moment in any way just seemed wrong. The story of that day was not mine to tell, so I was happy to postpone my small achievement.

In its place I rustled up two littlies.

Firstly, I finally managed to actually get something free through Freegle. I have given away copious amounts of things through
our local network, as the fall-out of combining two houses into one worked its way out (six years and counting). But on the few occasions I have seen things I might like, I have been far too late to stand a chance. This week however, I was checking for mail when an offer for a stash of dressmaking patterns popped up. I wasn't first to reply, but I did get the pile of patterns that the first lady decided that she didn't want. Now I just need to find a use for selection of red indian costume patterns. Anyone...?

Secondly, I made us a pinboard. This project is well overdue, but a combination of factors combined to make it possible. A delivery of lovely fabric, the discovery that we have a staple gun and the theft of a picture frame from T who has come to the realisation that I never will allow a Kandinsky print to be hung in a house I live in, no matter how long it sits looking forlorn in the garage. Tra-la! Pin board.

And I am delighted to say that I didn't add a third first and avoided staplegunning the pin board to the dining table.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Number 1: homemade pasta

Jamie Oliver promises this isn't complicated, so I was hoping for a simple start to the 52.

I got a pasta machine two birthdays ago and, bar one attempt that ended in a sticky mess, it has been sitting in the box, in the cupboard, unappreciated.

We rarely eat pasta, which is nothing against Italian food (we eat far more than our fair share of pizza and gnocchi). We just find it too heavy and stodgy, probably because we have used it mainly as a 'quick and easy' tea on the nights we don't have time to eat and enjoy.

So, this is an attempt to see if we can put pasta back on the menu... And here is the result:

Jamie was right!

This is fresh egg pasta rolled to the thinnest setting on the machine, cooked, then mixed with pesto, garlic and peppers, veggie bacon and fresh basil on top. I know, fake bacon doesn't ever sound appealing, even to vegetarians, but sometimes it does the trick.

We both really enjoyed it and even got to the end of the bowl which is unheard of with packet pasta. It's safe to say that the machine will be getting much more use from now on.

And it has been a great way to get started. One down, fifty one to go!

Happy New Year!

So, it begins...
I have lots of plans and am looking forward to getting on with them!