Right: ambassadorial things first -
The autumn issue is out now - go lookie! (and this isn't shameless self-promotion: I didn't contribute to this one.)
I love September: perhaps it's those years in education that always make it feel like the true start of the year. Usually, it's still warm but there's that crispness in the air, that freshness, the lazy low-slung sun casting long shadows through the stained glass leaves, the promise of woodsmoke and the need for cardigans.
It's also the time for cobweb bling...(sorry; this pic doesn't show it's full majesty thanks to the exuberant glare of the 7am sun, but you get the gist.)
This does also herald the migration of the spiders into the house, but all four of us are trained in the use of cup and postcard (or flattened cereal packet for the really big muthas) so it's not really a problem.
I've finally started on the task of sorting our house out, starting with the books. The issue of how I sort my books (and cd's, before we sent them on a sabbatical in the loft) has been a source of much amusement, wonder and fear to Mr Yump. I sorted them all into genres: all the fiction together (then alphabetised), all the art books together (ditto), all his animator-nerd books together, music, health, witchcraft etc etc. (ahhh bite me: I work in a bookshop- at least I didn't have face outs...or shelf talkers...or pyramid the books in the bathroom) Still, despite my sad efforts, only I could ever find anything. This time, however, after seeing these in the May 2010 edition of Livingetc
...and then reading about it on Huma Qureshi's blog, I thought I just had to give it a go:
(and, yes: I have put similarly coloured fripperies on each shelf)
The greens and blacks are on a freestanding Ikea Billy shelf (picture to follow), but the bigger black books are on the other side of the chimney breast:
ILM bibles: I guess I should have put the books in the traditional Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain order, but once I'd thwacked up the whites, I could not be arsed doing it again. I'm sad, but not that sad. They looked rather fab, waiting on the floor;
I have, however, refrained from colour-coding the dvds and games, much to the relief of Hubs. As a system, you may think it makes finding the right book tricky: not at all, as long as you remember what that book looked like! Sprogling #1, famous for not being able to find things gaffa taped to her nose, actually found the book she needed. Result!
Such is the need for colour order that I have matched my glasses to my current read thus:
this story: O'Brien paints a picture of rural Ireland that is simultaneously grim and beautiful, brutal yet warm. It is hopeless and optimistic and rather wonderful. It is also, I have decided, the perfect size for a work of fiction: you can take it anywhere without it impinging your slacks (slacks are best unpinged) I was surprised, and worried, because the delicious Bloomsbury Classic editions are still at large in the 2nd hand ether. (well, Amazon) Look at all the gorgeous covers!
What do you do when you have fruit that's a tad unappealling? Thwack it into Google and see what turns up! I found this delicious recipe on a wonderful blog called 'Reluctant Gourmet'. I have doctored it a tad: a little less sugar, using apples I happened to have (probably Braeburn) and used self raising flour with a touch of baking powder as I was bereft of plain. I also baked it for 15 mins less. However, it created a delicious cake: firm vanilla with soft, cinnamon-soused fruit. It's as if I've baked autumn. As are all my favourite recipes, it's stupid-easy: do it!
250ml sunflower (or veg) oil
4 eggs (free range and large)
260g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
460g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100ml orange juice
2 eating apples
4 tablespoons soft brown sugar (or caster)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas 4
- Grease and line a large tin (mine has a 9.5" diameter)
- In a large bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla until blended and a festival of creamy beige
- Bless the beigeness with a flurry of sieved flour, baking powder and salt and mix well until you are unaware where the dry stops and the moist begins
- Add the ornage juice into this confused state and mix gently together
- Now prepare for the fruity bit: in another bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon
- Peel, core and slice the fruit and pop into the spicy sugar: stir it gently so that every piece is coated
- Pour (or spoon, as you may find the cake mix has turned quite gelatinous) about a third of the mix into your prepared tin
- Top with half of the fruit in an even fashion
- Pop a third of the mix onto the fruity layer like a cakey duvet
- Pop the remaining fruit onto the duvet like scatter cushions
- Deciding that it looks like a cold night ahead, pop a final duvet layer of cake mix onto the sleeping cushions
- Bake for 1-1hr 15mins until it's firm, golden brown and produces a clean skewer when stabbed in the traditional baking fashion (rather than the rather strenuous 'Psycho' motion: unless you need to slice it quickly for a party or such is like.)
- Allow to cool for about 10 or so minutes before popping onto a cooling rack.