28 July 2008

the scoop

To say I like ice cream would be a tremendous understatement. And the allotment is a super source of ice cream flavorings. We've already finished off a batch of strawberry and are now working our way through a batch of lovely pale green gooseberry:

I invested in an ice cream maker eight years ago while living in America, so I could make one of my favorite (but hard-to-find) ice cream flavors: green tea. Since then, I've not only tried many different flavors but have upgraded to a proper professional machine. Because you can never have too much ice cream, particularly in the midst of a London heatwave!

The gooseberry recipe is from The Best of Modern British Cookery by Sarah Freeman, which I bought for 10p from the library sale cart a few weeks ago. First dibs on sale books: a definite perk of eating lunch in the library garden!

23 July 2008

cookie monster

Growing up, one of my favorite Sesame Street characters was Cookie Monster, which was perhaps an indication of things to come...

I find an empty cookie jar terribly distressing. Luckily, my favorite cookies are quick and easy to make: the Walnut Biscuits (Cookies) from Linda Collister's Baking Bible. They have a lovely depth of flavor from the combination of demerara and golden caster sugars and are equally good when made with pecans.

20 July 2008

aga saga (well, almost)

Here's my latest Virago Modern Classics book, which I finished while soaking up the warmth of the Rayburn in Aldeburgh:

I've read 84 Charing Cross Road before. But I enjoyed it even more this time around, especially as this edition (unlike the one I borrowed from the library a few years ago) includes the fabulous Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, in which Helene Hanff documents her eventual visit to London.

The cover features a textile designed by Marion Dorn for the ocean liner the Orcades. It coordinated beautifully with the cream Rayburn and blue tea towels:

17 July 2008

up the coast

On the last day of our holiday--with the sun finally shining!--we made our way up the coast to Thorpeness.

I was very keen to see the House in the Clouds, having spied it on a postcard in the newsagents in Aldeburgh. The house was constructed in 1923 to disguise the Thorpeness water tower. Completely mad, but absolutely brilliant! The water tank has since been removed, and it's now rented out as a holiday home.

Across the lane is the Thorpeness windmill. It was built in 1803 as a corn mill in nearby Aldringham. But it was purchased and moved to Thorpeness in 1923 to pump water for the water tower.

Here's G stretching his legs on the windmill's steep steps before our long drive back to London:

16 July 2008

fish and chips

Six years after moving to England, I've finally tucked into an order of fish and chips! The shop in the center of Aldeburgh had a comely mermaid:

But we'd been advised to go to the shop nearer our cottage. G very gallantly stood in line in the rain to collect our dinner, returning with soaked umbrella in one hand and paper bags in the other.

The fish was really quite nice, although I must admit I wasn't so keen on the mushy peas! I can definitely see this becoming a seaside holiday tradition (without the peas, that is).

around aldeburgh

Despite the preponderance of gray and drizzle on our holiday, there were moments of brilliant sunshine. So we did manage some bracing walks along the sea.

We also explored the town up and down and from one end to the other: amazingly colorful houses and gardens, fun independent shops, and lovely galleries.

And just look at what was across the street from our cottage:

It was one of only a few chain stores in town. But if one must have a chain store, what a super one to have. After all, there's no brand of clothing more 'jolly hockey sticks' than Joules!

15 July 2008

inside by the seaside

We've just returned from our first visit to Aldeburgh.

Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate until our very last day (when the picture below was taken), so we spent a good deal of time inside by the seaside.

Luckily our little cottage on the High Street was just as lovely inside as outside.

And while I might have struggled with browning the top of my fish pie, I've been wholly converted to the warming and cozifying properties of the Rayburn. Absolute bliss to pull up a chair and soak up its warmth (with a good book, of course) on a gray and chilly day by the sea.

07 July 2008

scandinavian sunday

G and I had a very Scandinavian Sunday. In the morning, we visited the Vilhelm Hammershøi exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lovely paintings of interiors in every shade of gray. So calm and elegant. Much nicer than the gray skies outside.

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior with Woman at Piano, Strandgade 30 (detail), 1901,
oil on canvas, private collection (image: Royal Academy)

Afterwards, we stopped at the Nordic Bakery for lunch:

G had one of their signature cinnamon buns. I had an egg and Swedish anchovy sandwich. It may sound odd, but trust me, it's delicious, particularly when served on a round of very thin dark rye bread. All this with good strong coffee--mmm. And yes, I did pilfer a bit of G's cinnamon bun for dessert, but how could I resist?

03 July 2008

hi ho! cherry-o*

We finally have a proper crop of sweet cherries:

The first year, the birds stripped our tree nearly bare. I think G and I managed to salvage one cherry each. The second year, only our sour cherry fruited.

But now we have loads of lovely sweet cherries, which I'm trying my best to eat in a lady-like manner (oh, those bothersome pits).

But I still can't resist draping linked pairs over my ears...so maybe not quite so lady-like after all!

* Hi Ho! Cherry-O was one of my favorite childhood games--almost as much fun as cherries over the ears: