A sideline project for an IT guy who likes to cook

Honey and Gardening

It’s one of those moments, my mind goes blank,  where I sit down to write and pause for a moment and wonder what I’m going to say about this week.  What can I tell you about a week where I swear only 5 seconds ago it was last Sunday!  I’m determined to stick at a Weekend Coffee share as a constant in my writing routine.

The temperature has been erratic, one minute we have blasts of warmth the sun cutting through the grey clouds, lifting the mind and the soul.   The next a blast of hail and snow that cuts through to the bone.  It’s porridge on the menu this morning and I’m grateful for a teaspoon of honey that I drizzle over the top of the blueberries. Creating a lovely sweet and comforting start to the day as the rain bashes against the glass.

We made it to the Garden center last weekend which seems to have a knack of making you come out with more than what you went in for.  Was amazed to see some plug plants in full flow, so I needed some of them.  There was some primroses on the go, so I needed some of them.  I actually went in for some seeds. To my surprise they were half price so obviously I bought more of those than I intended.  Despite having a vast array of pots in the shed I thought I would also top up and make use of the 20% off all gardening equipment…..so yes I NEEDED some of them as well.  My wife also had some success with a wonderful range of plants call Hellebores which are known for giving at this time of year when nothing much does.

So yesterday I moved the plug plants on and then in the wind and the rain, we got the Hellebores into the ground, shuffling a couple of things around here and there along with a bit of a tidy up.  Needless to say I’ve found a couple of new muscles that a radox bath soak might help with.   Really though its another sign that sitting at my desk all day isn’t doing me any good and I really need to double down on that yoga practice.

Work has been really crazy we are heading into that weekend release that we’ve been planning since before Christmas.   It was a million miles away back then.  People are suddenly waking up with last minute issues and requests for changes, things that were urgent are suddenly not so urgent as they don’t have time to test. My development team are feeling the pain as code is being removed from the release build.  One thing is for sure with a strong head and air of keeping ones cool.  The weekend will come and go and what will be, will be. 

My tune of the week is Keep it Up by Rex Orange County.  Which feels a little apt given the demands.  It’s a nice little upbeat ditty and featured this week on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 show

Food,  I’ve been consolidating notes across my various digital attempts of documenting Grannies black box.  They are all in one place.  I get to the point they are 90% ready to put up on the blog, and then bottle it for some reason.  I’m struggling to take photo’s as I plate them up for the meal itself.

The menu this weekend, is pan fried salmon severed on a bed of green vegetables (Cavolo Nero, Fennel, Purple sprouting broccoli and some baby sprouts).  I plan to make up for the lack of carbs by following with a bowl of warm rice pudding in front of the book of boba with my son.

From Grannies box I’m going to tackle the Pork and Mushroom Sauté.  It calls for pork fillet, a lovely piece of meat that I hope I do justice and don’t dry out.

As my random recipe, I’ve picked up a new flap jack that I want to try out which uses agave nectar.  Similar in consistency to honey with a lower glycemic index than conventional sugar.

It’s possible I might make it into the office this week.  There is a big push to get folk back in and I’m contemplating facing the fear of the change into another routine.

The #WeekendCoffeeShare is an informal weekly link-up hosted by Natalie the Explorer that serves as weekly heart beat and sort of of a mind-dump. Helps me reflect on my week, with a list of achievements, thoughts and rambles normally whilst drinking a beverage probably listening to music.

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  1. Maria

    Naturally your garden photo at the top caught my eye, and I had to visit your blog first! Garden centers are so exciting. I am keeping the “gardening shopping reins” short though…I am going to try my best at not getting my balcony garden so crowded this year, instead giving the existing plants room to grow more. Can’t wait to hear more about the gardening endeavours later this season. Thanks for the coffee!

    • akeerie

      Thanks Maria, I aspire to have as green fingers as you this year! Feels like I’m starting too early considering how cold it is outside. Wanted to get a head start on the season, see if I have better luck this year.

      • Maria

        LOL. An early start is good 🙂

  2. Natalie

    Garden centres surely test our resistance to temptations. Hellebores are hardy plants with beautiful flowers. As usual, your menu plan sounds delicious. I hope you have a kinder work week ahead. Thank you for your #weekendcoffeeshare. Keep it up 🙂

  3. Gary A Wilson

    Hi Alex.

    Fun stuff this week, well, except for you new release. These things are always a running trauma of regressions and unpleasant surprises. I hope yours is an exception to the rule.

    You mention porridge above and I’m not sure how generic this term is for you because we have something here which has to be at least similar that we just call oatmeal or mush.

    My wife can’t stomach it and says it’s a texture thing.

    Fine. I love oatmeal but my favorite is prepared a certain way that I’ve come to love and make for myself and kids (when they’re about) and have made it for scout trips and folks who aren’t fond of oatmeal, love mine. As I read your post, I decided I had to share my method with you for your consideration.

    With my normal limited attention to exact quantities, here goes.

    Boil the water and add regular raisins.
    Let this boil until the raisins plump up and the water turns light brown. It will take 3-4 minutes. Keep them moving and not stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    Add just the first half of the oats and any other grains you like to use.
    I use a mix that includes some rye.
    Drop the stove temp from boil to a strong simmer and start the timer for 5 minutes.
    Stir almost constantly to prevent clumping and stuff from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
    Somewhere around the 3 minute time, add some butter, about a tbsp per person.
    Right after the butter, also around the 3 minute remaining time, add the rest of your oats.
    This results in a cereal with both very boiled down oats and very less boiled oats and is a very pleasant multiple textured grain in each bite.
    Around the 1:30 time frame do a final check on the amount of water yet to be absorbed. If you need more water, add it now. If you need less, you can add some more oats this late, but will need to let the final product sit for an extra 1-2 minutes for these late arrivals to soften up.
    when the timer expires, take the pot off the fire and stir in some real maple syrup (hm, can you get the real thing there? If not, fake maple syrup will do, just not as good). Use about 2-3 tbsps per person.
    The result should be thick and clumpy, and can pile up on one’s spoon, like thin mash potatoes.

    If you’ve not added late oats, it’s ready to serve. Cover and let it sit for those 2-3 minutes if you did.

    If your consumers are used to the cook adding the milk – then do that, but go easy. Too much mild will chill the cereal and dilute the sweetener. They can always add more to taste at the table.

    If your consumers like less sweet, back off the syrup but add some corn meal (1 tbsp per person) with the first round of oats so it has plenty of time to swell up. Sometimes I do this anyway just because I like the taste of this sweeter grain.

    If some favorite berry is in season, add them with the syrup and milk.

    You might have to remind your consumers that the cereal is already sweetened with boiled raisins and syrup so no sugar is required.

    Everyone, except my wife, who has tried this recipe loves it. I hope it works for you too.

    Okay, please tell me if this qualifies to be called porridge.

    And now I know what I’m having for breakfast today.

    Blessings my friend.

    • akeerie

      Hi Gary, definitely something I’ll give a try and feels like porridge. Another word might gruel 🙂 something like this was all I craved after a week India just to calm my stomach. There are various ways to make it. Some with water, some with milk. Some half and half. We’ve grown accustomed to milk in this house….but definitely helps us keep the cereal bill down!

  4. Thistles and Kiwis

    Funny how we always ‘need’ things when we go to the garden centre isn’t it? Hope work goes OK this coming week.

  5. Susanne

    Porridge with honey on top, how lovely is that?! I used agave nectar a lot in the past, now I’ve sort of forgotten about it but I don’t worry so much about the GI and buy local honey instead.
    Hellebores are wonderful plants. I received one as a gift when we lived in Sweden but it didn’t bloom until the 3rd (I think) year, we discovered it when we had sold our house and went back to collect the last batch of stuff, I was a bit disappointed to see it in bloom when it never did while we lived there.

  6. Kirstin

    Ohhhh look at all those baby plants. Looks like fun! My daughter has been hinting to wanting to do a garden with me this year at our house, but I just don’t know how that is going to happen. Pork and mushroom saute sounds yummy.

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