Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hey, little hen


I am Serama-sitting, and two of them have obliged today.  Coincidentally, my next door neighbour kindly gave me some eggs from her hens.


The standard egg in the middle is 70g.  The Serama eggs achieve 18g and 15g.  The scary egg from the Godzilla chicken next door is 108g.

I wonder what they are feeding her on?

Conversation piece



In which fielding rules are determined by level of personal moisture

There’s an old tennis ball over here.


I wasn’t ready.

Are you looking?


Nice one.



 Snort, giggle, snort.

You can get that one, it’s coming your way.

No it’s not.  And you are wet already.

Good catch!

Look out …

I was pulling my trousers up.


I’ll get it, I’ve got shoes …

Thank you …

Splrgh flrgh pfft.

Just have a bit of a spit and get on.

Snort, giggle, snigger.


Yep, got it … no, it’s going to you.

In case you hadn’t noticed this is where it gets deep.

Snort, snigger.


Well take them off then…

Giggling …

Sorry, losing my aim.

You mean you’re being annoying accidentally as well as on purpose?

Snmthff …


Pretending to be a post


Painful extractions


I feel sad as one does at a missed opportunity.


I watched the film with hope, and it did indeed look very pretty.  The plot was ravaged, but one becomes accustomed to that.  The real problem is that the guilty parties don’t seem to know what the novel is about.   There are too many extractions.  Items removed entirely, or a pathetic mangled stub left behind:  anger; politics; social context; irony; feminism; religion; sex; jokes; symbolism; mysticism; morality; violence; half the significant characters …

The relations between Rochester and Jane Eyre lose their depth and significance without a context.  If it’s just about personal fulfilment it no longer matters whether they marry or Jane becomes Rochester’s mistress or takes up with St John Rivers. What difference would it make five minutes later?

And then there is the language, reduced to mush. Rochester sounds mildly grumpy, Jane deplorably meek.  WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??

I could go on, but I’m trying not to.

Toothless and bloodless; I’m going back to the novel to take the taste away.

Cook a thousand eggs



A delightful gift to receive:  excerpts from the first official Royal Navy cookery book, published in 1930.  The rules are an entertaining mix of the common-sense (‘scrupulous cleanliness is imperative’) and the now-forgotten-and-therefore-exotic (‘Mock Turtle Soup:  half tin calf’s head, 2 oz ham …’), mingling with a dash of frowning Authority (‘In the Hobart [mincing machine] … the hand is on no account to be inserted … any rating seen to insert his hand is to be reported to the Accountant Officer … Hurt Certificates will not be granted in case of accidents.’

The practical instructions for boiling a thousand eggs for breakfast so that each and every man could receive his personal two eggs soft boiled are impressive in a different way, but in spite of this consideration I guess they were none of them fat – 25 lb of sausages allowed for 100 men, for example.  At the same time the cooks received firm instructions  that ‘food should be presented in as attractive a manner as possible’, along with recommendations about garnishing with vegetables cut into little star shapes, and ‘cocoanut delicately tinted pink’, which come rather oddly from the mouths of Their Lordships of the Admiralty.

There is a chapter on Invalid Cooking too, though you might have to be a very sick matelot to receive these preparations.  I was pleased to see beef tea taking a prominent place, and there were careful instructions for preparing a single Invalid Chop to make it easy to consume.  Deep-fried brains sounded less digestible as well as less palatable, though I suppose you could pick off the fatty breadcrumb coating and eat the brain chunk within.  The Albumen Water sounds very odd, but was a kind of fortified lemonade.

And then there was the Egg Jelly, and yes of course I had to try it out. Basically it is jelly with eggs in (duh!) and the flocculent mixture lightly dressed with scum did look pretty bad (in fact, worse than the photo).


However: ‘Have faith!’ I cried, ‘Their Lordships would never tell you wrong!’ and I brought up the heat, whisking at intervals and watching intently for the first signs of movement on the surface to avoid it boiling.  The fluid strained off looked much better:


As invalid food it has much to recommend it.  The ingredients are nutritious; the jelly texture would slide into a very poorly patient’s mouth without any effort on their part; and the sharp flavour would be refreshing.  The finished product comes out with a texture between shop-bought jelly and lemon meringue pie filling, and you know what?  It is nicer than either of them.


Should you wish to try:  1 egg, 3 oz sugar, juice and very thinly peeled rind of 1 lemon plus enough cold water to make up the juice to half a pint, half an ounce of gelatine (perhaps a little less gelatine as we now all have fridges to help it set).  Whop it all up very thoroughly to break down the egg particles, heat gently until it is quite hot and slightly thicker, but ON NO ACCOUNT SHOULD IT BOIL. Strain into a bowl/mould to set.

The ten-colander challenge – 8, 9 and 10


And cantering down the home straight:

Colander 8:  The pouring colander, which can tip its contents into a saucepan or bowl without dribbling sideways over the edges of the receiving vessel.

colander 8

Colander 9:  The scoopy-outy colander, for removing small items from large volumes of water, for example a bucketful of crab apples being washed, or skimming floating stuff from the surface of large volumes of water (don’t ask).

colander 9

Colander 10:  The funnel colander, for straining fluid into narrow-necked vessels – for infusions, perhaps.  Or beef tea.

colander 10

So – now I’ve just some waiting time while they dry thoroughly, then into the kiln.  Then the glazing. And glazing colanders is a real challenge.

Ten-colander challenge – 6 and 7


Colander 6:  The flat colander.  This is for rinsing delicate things which would squash if not kept in a single layer (raspberries or flowers for example).

colander 6

Colander 7:  The teeny weeny holes colander for washing teeny weeny things (maybe things like elderberries or seeds).  This one feels beautifully balanced in my hand even as green ware – might be a challenge to glaze, to prevent all the teeny weeny holes bunging themselves up during firing 😦

colander 7