27 March 2006

cooking with Karma

When my daughter was a young girl, she was always picking up unique little dishes in glass, porcelain, metal and wood. Karma said she was saving them for when she had her own cooking show. I have never been able to look at a tiny dish without considering whether Karma might like to have it. As a working mom, Karma doesn’t have as much time for cooking shows, or even cooking for that matter. Fortunately her husband is a dab hand in the kitchen and they are able to share some of the fun of that process together.

In recent years with both of us working, Jimmy and I shared the load (I cooked, he did the washing up) and we found ourselves going for easily cooked simple but tasty menus. Concern for health meant meals were based around boneless, skinless cuts of poultry and fish with the occasional bit of lean beef. These added flavour and texture to our rotating schedule of pasta, rice and potatoes cooked in their skins and lots of fresh fruit and veg. It has been ten months since I have been able to work. At first I didn’t feel well enough to be creative in the kitchen, but when my sick leave finally ran out, I had to reconsider food purchases in light of my hugely reduced budget. Last year we had to replace our rusted out cooker (with no working oven or grill) with a ceramic topped halogen stove. This meant replacing old pots and pans and learning to cook in new ways. Formerly depending heavily on a wok, two saucepans and a microwave steamer, now I was beginning to find uses for baking sheets, Pyrex casseroles and a better array of pots and pans.

Karma and Greg recently sent us a new food processor—a terrific addition to the kitchen and what a saver of personal energy! I have been enjoying the process of re-engineering recipes to make most effective use of the food processor. My latest accomplishment was a shortcrust pastry for an apple pie. I measured all of the ingredients by weight right into the main container of my food processor after zeroing out its own weight on my kitchen scale. In just a few pulses the fat was thoroughly cut in without melting. I added the ice water drop by drop until I had a perfectly blended ball of pie dough with nothing left on the sides or blades. This can be wrapped in cling film and stored in the refrigerator.

This crust ended up as four individual lattice crust pies filled with sliced bramley apples sautéed in a bit of butter, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a handful of golden brown sugar and a couple of spoonfuls of honey. I hardly ever use recipes unless proportions are critical. Yum.

13 March 2006

c:\echo on

The name of this blog is a subtle reference to my involvement with computers. Echo is a DOS command that defines whether or not the actions defined will be displayed onscreen as they are executed. Use of the ‘on’ parameter will result in each separate instruction showing on screen. If echo is used with the ‘off’ parameter, then the commands will be executed without being displayed to the user. C:\ represents my mind’s boot directory and echo on means that readers will get a glimpse at the process, even if they may never understand the reason for the journey.

I love learning things almost as much as I hate forgetting things. How well I feel has a definite correlation to the ratio of things learned to things forgotten. Things forgotten can more accurately described as things stored away in places I have forgotten. Now and then I stumble upon one of these dust-covered stores and am amazed at the volume of things that no longer have a useful place in this world/my mind. These discoveries are often nostalgic, sometimes sad, sometimes inspiring. In my physical space I am occasionally forced to rearrange things and engage in a clear out, an activity that will bring equal quantities of catharsis and frustration (you never know when a new use for these obsolete things will present itself).

Here is an interesting word: backronym

10 March 2006


I can't believe I have been so stupid. I just figured out that I haven't had my wlan button turned on which is why I haven't been able to access a wi-fi network. I have been using this laptop for a over a year now, mostly unconnected, using a memory stick to transfer data back and forth between my pc and laptop. I was looking at the manual for something else. Oh, well. Better late than never.

06 March 2006

Heil Hercule!

This is my cockatiel, B.B. (Birdy Birdy) Poirot, who is quite the vocalist. I sometimes tape his songs on a handheld recorder then transfer them to the computer while he and my husband share boy time in his office. If I try to do this when Jim isn’t around to distract him, Birdy sings back to his recorded voice and messes up the session. Last night, Jim decided to bring Poirot into my office while I was transferring the sounds. (Up until recently he wouldn’t come into my office unless he was in his cage. I must admit it can be a scary place at the best of times.) Surprisingly, Birdy was silent while the tape played out. He sat on the arm of my copyholder and looked all around the room for the other bird. I gathered from his posture, he felt he was still top bird since the other wasn’t showing himself.