Muddy boots

Muddy boots
Messy hands

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Turning a gloomy day orange

Phew, I have not had time to post for ages as I have been rather busy with work,  craft fairs and life in general. Family life as been tricky as Cheese is currently wading through a sea of tweenage hormones and causing arguments and rifts. There have been end of term activities such as sports days and dress up days and Sausage has had his starting school introductory sessions.

I have been feeling utterly exhausted due to a combination of the littlies' night time waking shenanigans and associated musical beds, plus a new episode of anaemia.  I have had some long, tiring days at work and I think, even though I only work part time, I really 'feel' the generalised increased irritability and fatigue that comes towards the end of term.  Having a husband who works in education seems to amplify the end of term feeling as he gets busier, then suddenly  there is a lovely lull.

Things have been feeling rather gloomy of late due to health niggles,  the things mentioned above and some awkward friendship moments. So, as ever, I am trying to be positive and appreciate life's simple pleasures.

Today I am thinking about orange!  Orange is a lovely bright colour and it was my favourite as a child. Orange is (sort of) the colour of my lovely dog Wobble and of foxes who have today received a temporary reprieve with the government's decision not to repeal the fox hunting ban (hooray - for now!).

It is a very drizzly, gloomy day here in Cornwall so I have raided the fridge and have turned a pile of slightly wobbly carrots into carrot and lentil soup and carrot and orange cake. Yum. I love soup and cake and they will both be ready soon to warm and cheer. Sausage helped to make the cake and that made him happy as we haven't baked for ages. In case you are interested here are my recipes:

Carrot and lentil soup:

I am not giving exact quantities here as I am a 'bung it all in' kind of soup maker but I used, approximately, 100g red lentils, 3 medium carrots,  one onion,  one clove of garlic,  a slice of ginger,  a teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin seed. This makes approximately 3 portions.

Cook the onion in a glug of olive oil until soft, add the spices, ginger and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add the rinsed lentils with enough hot stock to cover plus a bit more. Bring to the boil then simmer until soft, adding the carrots after about ten minutes. Add more stock as necessary.  When cooked allow to cool a little then puree, taste, reheat and season to your liking.  Serve as it is or with chunky bread and butter, cheese scones oe similar.  I like it with a topping of toasted sunflower seeds and some grated cheese.  You may want to experiment with more garlic or some chili.

Carrot and orange cake:

175g each of sugar (I use brown), selfraising flour and sunflower oil
3 eggs
140g carrots,  finely grated
Grated zest of one orange
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Whisk all ingredients except carrots together unit smooth and well mixed. Fold in the carrots.  Add a splash of orange juice to loosen if necessary.  Pour into a prepared tin (I make this in a 7" round tin but it works in a loaf tin). Bake for approximately 45 minutes until well risen,  golden and a skewer comes out clean. Top with a simple orange icing or buttercream. Enjoy with a cuppa whilst waiting for the sun to come back out.

Since starting this post I have prepared and eaten lunch with Sausage,  taken a phone call from the school nurse, been used as a ladder and resting place by a small kitten and taken the cake out of the oven. I was going to photograph the soup but, erm...I was too hungry.  I will try to photograph the cake in between icing and eating it!

It is still raining and grey outside but my tummy is full and warm and I am snuggling up with my littlest. I need to make the most of these times before he starts school. But that is another story.

What do you do to brighten up gloomy days? Until next time,

Green x