1. Cooking and Eating Giant Cous Cous
I’m currently obsessed with giant cous cous, Ptitim, fregola, mograbiah, maftou – whatever you prefer to call it. It’s probably my ideal food – combining the lovely comforting carb-y goodness of pasta, with the ease of combining with lots of flavours as part of a salad. I bloody love salad – crunchy , herby, oniony, tasty salads, scattered with something that’s outrageously salty, feta, haloumi or olives. Yum!
I used to get my giant cous cous fix from the Dry Goods Store, but we’ve since moved, so I was very excited to find two packets for a pound in the brilliant Turkish shop at the end of our road. I started out cooking it very similarly to risotto – toasting it in the pan, and then adding stock slowly, absorbing until it’s cooked and topped with caramelised fried cherry tomatoes and garlic. As the sun has come out, every now and then, I’m using it more in salads. But, my current favourite recipe combines it with artichokes, salty olives, a splash of lemon, and parsley, and I love it. You can find the recipe here. I cooked it for friends on Thursday night, and for big sis yesterday for lunch, and I’ve made sure to keep my stocks topped up.
2. Eating and Drinking Outside
Saturday was a birthday picnic in Brockwell Park. My friend Nat put together an amazing spread, and we sat and ate and chatted for hours, in the not-quite-sun. We all had our swimming costumes stuffed into our bags, our eyes on the lido, but the weather failed to co-operate.
On Sunday, Mr Story and I moved our table outside to our concrete garden (or is it a yard-en?) to eat our lunch in the sun. I love eating outside. The smell of other peoples’ BBQs wafted over, and we took a chance to lie in a spot of sun, until the cloud moved back over. Perhaps the excitement of eating outside is the rarity, the taking of your chance, the unusualness – it happened on school trips, on holidays and for BBQs and beaches.
3. Laughing Until The Tears Rolled Down My Face
Ok, ok, so this is a bit of a cheat. I have already mentioned This American Life and told you to listen. But, I couldn’t not mention this particular edition of the podcast. Mr Story and I cried with laughter at the Fiascos reported. I really recommend it.
4. Waking Up With Hymns in My Head
I’ve been working on an Order Of Service this week. They are always exciting – imagining the processional, when the bride enters, the congregation all standing and singing along to Jerusalem. This week, I’ve been singing ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ and ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.’ Not being at all religious, these are stuck so firmly as my ear-worm because of having spent my mornings at school, stood in a row with a few hundred people, singing, giggling and playing with the pages of our hymn book.
5. Reading #ABookADay Thread
I haven’t been all that good this week at keeping up with my choices for this thread on Twitter, but I’ve been reading the lists and lists of recommended and loved books for ideas. They did well to start off with favourite books from childhood – there’s nothing more lovely than reading lists of books loved as children. I found it really difficult to remember what my favourite books were when I was young – there were far too many! I loved Roald Dahl, Janet and Alan Alhberg and Raymond Briggs. I think everyone should have to read His Dark Material’s by Philip Pullman, but I was too old on reading them to remember them as childhood favourites. I ended up remembering The Mennyms – about a family of rag dolls, who have to try and ‘pass’ in the real world. The fact it’s about dolls make it sound cute, but it’s not – it has it’s dark and strange moments, and the tensions within the family. Another book I really loved was Junk – about teenage runaways and drug-users in Bristol. It’s honest and brilliant and absorbing, and brilliantly written.