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Saturday was a good day for baking. I dug out the bread maker, the bread machine cook book a friend gave me as a gift a couple of years ago, and we started looking through recipes. we have been wanting to make our own bread regularly for a long time now, and perhaps this time we will stick with it. Our plan is to try as many as we can of the recipes in the book, and find those we ‘d like to make our staple.

The book is The bread lover’s bread machine book, a very thorough and easy to read / follow recipes book. My only deviation from the recipes is that it suggests you add baker’s gluten in pretty much every recipe, which makes the bread rise etc. better. In the beginning I used to add it, but after I stopped I can’t say I have seen much difference, so I just stopped. Neither of us is allergic to gluten, but why add more if you don’t need it? I am not sure how ethical / legal it is to post recipes from a published book, even though it may count as advertising. So, lets say that as I go through the various recipes, I will reproduce only the ones I really really like, or ones that I will modify considerably.
We started our exploration through the book with a whole wheat flaxseed bread, which I would rate as a 3 out of 5 for my personal liking. It came out dense and moist, the flaxseed gave it a nice texture, but the honey made it a little too sweet for my taste. Would I make it again? Probably not – too sweet.


Apart from the bread, I also made some tilapia filets, which came out very good. Since I made this from memory, and it is a classic where I come from, I can share without reservations:

  • Slice 1 onion in thin rings or sticks, and a lemon in thin slices
  • Lay the fish filets on a baking dish of your choice, and spread the onion and lemon over them
  • Sprinkle with olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, fresh dill, salt & pepper, and dried oregano
  • Bake for 20 min. on 400F

Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed or baked vegetables, and use any left overs for fish sandwiches the next day.


Going left on the sparkling path, we found a swamp! Who knew! … well, okay, pretty much everyone in town knows, except for myself. Because walking there would have taken hours. And although I work with maps, I haven’t yet bothered to consult one for the area. But now, with my new bike to take me places, my life has already improved!

Following the boys, who always like to push themselves, meant we drove past it very fast. Good exercise, but not much time to stop and take photos leisurely. Next time I ‘ll go by myself, and stop as much as I want.

In book-related news, I have been reading the delightful 44 Scotland Street, by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoy the language and the characters as much as I enjoy the fact that it takes place in Edinburgh, which I know and love so much. I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series, and the traces of a smile that I am left with when I think of them.

The (3-day) weekend is half way through, and I am already having so much fun. The train ride yesterday was beautiful, despite delays. Winter landscapes are very impressive, especially when they include frozen ponds and dead marshes, stark tree silhouettes and a hazy sunset… The camera was out of reach, but I doubt I could have captured the beauty anyway.

At home (northern headquarters), there was in-progress mess: the kind of mess created before it is all better. I played with L’s books. In the beginning, setting in order the books that came from his childhood-to-now book case felt a little too close to what I do at work, until I decided to turn it into a “how well do you know your loved one?” game.

Taking more of an archival than a library approach, I started by making piles of similar things. Easy – it is second nature to me. As I held each book, I found myself thinking of how it got to come to his possession, when, why, based on what interests at a certain time in his life. We do this for work processing anyway, but rarely have a way of confirming our guesses. It is the dream of any archivist to be able to have access to the life behind a collection, but in general I believe we are trained to zoom quite well into such details.

After a while, I started telling him what my guess was. Most of the books, he had acquired before we knew each other, and that was the challenge. I was happy to discover I nailed each and every one of them! 🙂 Even the one that made me think “What the hell is this doing here. It doesn’t fit him at all. I bet someone just gave it to him and he keeps it for sentimental reasons, with no intention of ever reading it.” Bull’s eye!

Skid was there helping, and gave her very definite node of approval to a book with a very cute story behind it:

Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur was a public library book, and L’s favorite book at 9th grade. After taking it out so many times when no one else cared for it, the librarian decided to de-accession the book and gave it to him. What a lovely gesture!

In the end, it all got into three major subject piles, and then arranged by size. Not a recommended classification system, but it certainly looks tidy!

It is fall, and as always all my thoughts revolve around red, orange and yellow things: leaves (of course), and food, and the warmth of fire, suddenly appealing again.

A couple of weeks ago, I had 2 hours to kill at a mall. I was with my nephew, and neither of us had any desire for window shopping or spending money. So we invested in 2 steaming cups of mint tea and a pile of books at Borders, and had a lovely time of silence. I managed to go through all this pile, and learned many interesting things in the process, like how hoods are knit into a cardigan, and how to make certain quilt patches that seem hard but are made in an ingenious way.


I also had a lot of root vegetables to play with, and came up with a meal of 3 side dishes, all complementing each other (no main dish). I found an excellent recipe for Garlicky baked butternut squash from All recipes. We made it without cheese (because we didn’t have any), and it was still very tasty. I also mashed sweet potatoes and yellow potatoes, with their skins on and lots of grated garlic. It was a very yummy meal, perfect for showcasing our new square dishes.


Even the buns looked orange.


Last Monday (which I had off from work) we went up Bear Bare Mountain. It was a lovely walk, and we were rewarded with soothing views from the top.


I walked along with a very nice woman I had just met, and we had a nice, easy hike talking about this and that. I liked looking at the familiar images through her eyes. She is an artist, and made visual comments I had never thought of, such as the fact that this little fern looks like a forest seen from above:


I also took a walk down the bike path, which was more yellow than red, but still beautifully dressed in its fall look.


Looking out the window, my view is now all shades of grey and not much else. It is nice to think of all the color from the previous weekends.


Hurrah! I just discovered this book (click on image for link). It seems like an answer to my searches and plans for the summer.

I am by no means an impulsive buyer, but this time I knew I had to have it, so I took a detour to amazon before you could say “Κύμινο”. I threw in a couple of other cheap books in the order, got my free shipping fix, and now all I have to do is wait for its arrival. Plenty of time to say κύμινο (=cumin), then.

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