When I finally came here to France in March I came with a baggage of old business ventures, ideas, some creative like writing – eight stories in draft and a huge A4 file packed with notes and ideas to complete them – and illustrating the stories too – I hadn’t picked up a paint brush for over twenty years and the white sheet of paper is daunting.
Blogging was new and I had neglected it as I wasn’t sure what I had to write would interest anyone. I don’t know if it happens to other bloggers, but when I comment, I seem to write what I want to say, but when I blog, I feel too formal, like I have my old Scottish be-spectacled English teacher is waiting with her red pen to correct me – I feel a little tight and find it hard to relax.
Over the last few months I have tried to blog on a regular basis and am enjoying it and adding in the photos too. But this week the financial crisis has hit and once again I have to put time and effort into resurrecting my old accountancy work, something I really am not happy about – but the bills need paying.
So I need to try and free up, blog in a more shorter, freer way or even just photos some days and juggle this earnings work with my creative work – which is looking as if it could fall by the wayside if I don’t muster some energy and stop telling myself I am failing again to move on with my dream. My husband says the account work should be seen as a supporting mechanism for my other work. I just feel stressed and want to cry and feel sorry for myself.
I am going to London mid-December for a month. I wasn’t homesick, but I miss London and knowing I will not be returning for a couple of years, I wanted one last red bus ride, one last peer at Selfridges Christmas windows and one more delicious takeaway curry from Whole Foods in Kensington High Street. [The shop is a great mix of food to buy and food to eat and has a real buzz of people enjoying the gastronomic]. Whilst there I will have to drum up some client work and hopefully when I return to France it will cover the outgoings.
Maybe it’s the November cold weather hitting me, or the lack of a comfortable home is starting to bite home [it will be another year before we can actually sit in an armchair and cook in a proper kitchen]. I am writing this snuggled next to our wood burner [saviour in this cold], and stopped for a moment, mid tax-return filing, to blog my thoughts as it helps. Apologies for humour failure in this post, its lacking a bit this week.
What I want to say is thank you for reading my blog and giving encouragement. I really want to continue to write and develop this into something worth reading. I know its early days and sometimes nothing much happens in life worth reporting, but I want to stick at it.
One good thing though this week – gluten free tea-bread. It tastes delicious. I was wondering if I should develop this project. Over the last five years, after finding gluten affected my thyroid, I started making my own bread, biscuits and cakes. The shop one were awful, tasteless, like eating cardboard and so full of salt and sugar. I would love to write a book of recipes one day – one that didn’t list tomato soup as gluten free [well obviously it’s gluten free – it’s a tomato] or made a cake that needed enough baking powder to make it rise, well like, a rocket ship.
So I may start posting some recipes. I don’t want to make this a cookery blog, but once that kitchen is ready I will be doing a lot of cooking, food photography and the gluten recipes can be developed and added.
So the direction of this blog hasn’t quite been resolved yet. Maybe the visit to London will give me some breathing space and I will get clarity. One thing for sure, I have to try and get out more. Just down the road from us at Lussat, not far from a huge lake, is a lovely outdoor wine bar. In Summer it is heaven, to spend a few hours with a glass or two of local wine and a note book to jot down thoughts. Its run by a Dutch couple and they have rooms too for guests and tents to go glamping. The renovation work was getting me down a bit and it was good to socialize.
Well its getting dark here . I better see what Tony is doing and will put the kettle on. My shoulders are very tense and I need to do more tax returns.
Here is the recipe for the tea bread
250 grams of gluten free flour – I use Doves Farm – potato, rice and tapioca mix – but see what your local store has. The three flours have different qualities and this cake will not work with just rice flour. In France it is hard to find anything mixed like this, so on-line might be the best solution to source gluten free flours.
25 grams of coconut flour for sweetness – optional – I just had this in the pantry
Half a teaspoon of baking soda – for a little lift
2 large eggs – helps with texture
One tablespoon of fruit jam – I used apricot
Half a mug of cold tea – with milk
One tablespoon brown sugar
A good handful of fruit – sultana, dates, prunes – de-stoned and chopped
You can also add nuts if you wish, or orange peel, whatever you fancy.
Everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add milk [full of semi-skimmed] until the mix drops easily off the spoon. Beat well to get air into the mix. It shouldn’t be runny like batter, nor so thick you have to push the mix off the spoon. Spread into large grease-proof papered and buttered tray and into pre-heated oven – gas mark 3 or 220 degrees. I baked mine for just 20 minutes till a cocktail stick prodded into the cake, came out clean.
Cool and eat. I like mine with prune jam on top.
The cake won’t rise much, but that’s not what you’re aiming for. In gluten cooking you want taste and texture. Height just is not a priority. If you want to make it into a cake, simply make two and layer with jam, or cream, and drizzle the top with a fruit icing. Or as here – put into paper cases to make individual buns. These had apple pieces instead of prunes.
Time for tea!