I missed Saturday altogether, although time seems almost like an optional construct at the moment, doesn’t it? I got stuck in to a work project and by the time I was finished, I was fit for nothing but slumping on the sofa with a burrito and a glass of red wine. I also did my longest session yet on the rowing machine and finished the work project. Balance, right?
First, lovely news from the Fountain Bookstore–they’re joining in my quarantine giveaway and offering a copy of A MURDEROUS RELATION as well; that’s TWO chances to win! Just respond to this post when I tweet it with your own suggestions/links for quarantine activities and you’ll be entered.
*Reader Carol recommends the “Footloose in…” series of videos on YouTube. She says they’re soothing and, GOODNESS ME, if that isn’t just what we want now. (That link will take you to the Amalfi series. You can navigate from there to the others; if you just go search it, you’ll end up with a LOT of Kenny Loggins. But maybe that’s what you want and I’m not here to judge your choices.)
*Today’s adventure in comfort reading for me is cookbooks. I seldom actually make anything, but I adore reading Nigella Lawson, Elizabeth David, M. F. K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin. The newest addition to this list is Peg Bracken. After years of hearing raves about THE I HATE TO COOK COOKBOOK, I finally broke down and read it, and it’s charming. It’s full of utterly deranged recipes that have not aged well and that’s some of my favorite food reading. (Why does everything require canned cream of mushroom soup? According to “Grace Under Fire”, it’s because sometimes things struggle in the pan and cream of mushroom soup subdues them…) If you’d rather have beautiful pictures, try Tessa Kiros. Her cookbooks are ART. I also have a load of Julia Reed books on order and can’t wait until they arrive.
*From my Misfits Market box, I had some celery, carrots, green pepper, and broccoli that were hanging around and thinking about wilting. So, everything is diced up and ready to join some frozen fried rice for a sheet pan supper. It’s dead easy–just line a sheet pan with foil and preheat the oven to 425. Spread frozen fried rice on the pan, add diced veg. Toss everything with sesame oil, soy, ginger. (Fresh ginger and garlic are best, but if you’re cooking out of the pantry, throw something from the tins around. It’s better than nothing.) Bung it in the oven for 12 minutes. Serve with sesame seeds on top, some chopped scallions if you’re fancy, and hot mustard and soy. A side of egg rolls or dumplings are perfect with this.
*Another “bowl” meal I had several times this week: roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with sweet peppers and red onion. I roasted them up on a sheet pan after cubing them and tossing with olive oil, salt, pepper. It made MASSES, so I stowed it all in the fridge. When I wanted to eat, I threw a helping into a small frying pan with olive oil and heated it up. It went into a bowl and got topped with sliced avocado and hummus. If you want to go Mexican flavors, add salsa. If you’re feeling Asian, throw some kimchi on it. It sounds revolting but it’s DELICIOUS. And pretty healthy too. I’m trying to cram in loads of veg right now–all the immune support we can get from every direction.
*The Fountain Bookstore and The Ripped Bodice are offering grab bags for sale–check your favorite indie and see if they are too! It’s a great way to support a small business and get a surprise in the post. (Many bookstores are doing online chats as well, so have a look and see if there are ways your favorite shop is building community right now.)
*Reader Kathryn recommends Stardew Valley for a farming game.
*Struggling to keep moving in quarantine? The Body Coach, Joe Wicks, has you covered. We first heard of Joe when we were in England a few years ago and he was just beginning to break out as a huge fitness expert. He’s an engaging, kind soul and we’ve very much enjoyed his content–videos, books, tutorials. He gives away a lot of freebies including some Instagram cooking shorts that are hilarious but very easy to follow. Since the virus hit Britain, he’s seen his revenue explode as homebound folks are signing up for his fitness plans; because he’s a quality human, he’s donating that money to the NHS to help fight the pandemic.
New entries: Kathryn, Frederick, Carol.