Etched Behind Eyelids | December 2020
A lovely letter and surprise gift – a journal for keeping track of houseplants with a really well designed layout – from a good friend of mine. The journal has been designed by an artist – Tyler Thrasher – and there are spaces to sketch your plants. I have made a start with an entry for my Christmas cactus, and look forward to adding my other plants to the journal too.
H&M take vanity sizing to the next level with their lumberjack shirts. I originally bought Ed a shirt in a size M as he wanted it a bit baggy, but had to take it back and exchange it for an XS which is still big enough to fasten with Minou tucked inside.
I had Shiro tuned early in the month, and have decided to keep a blanket over him for the cold months to try and maintain the tuning for as long as possible. We’ve had a cold snap this month and most nights the temperature gets down to or below freezing. Our building is only fifteen years old and it’s pretty well insulated, but the couple who lived below us have recently moved out and left their apartment empty for the time being so ours is 2 or 3 degrees colder than it usually is in winter. It’s amazing what a difference their heating made to the warmth of our home, our floors are always cold now, even when our heating is on.
A batch of lemon and rose petal shortbread for a friend’s birthday. I followed this recipe but left out the corn starch, replaced 50g of wheat flour with rice flour, and added a handful of edible rose petals and a teaspoon of rose water to the batter. Rather than wrapping the dough in single use cling film, I rolled it in my silicone pastry mat and put it in the freezer for an hour or so before cutting and baking the rounds. This is inspired by another lemon shortbread recipe in Sabrina Ghayour’s ‘Persiana’ cookbook.
I made pain au chocolat, and actually took the time to prepare the dough in advance so that it could rise overnight. I laminated the dough, too, using vitalite (vegan margarine) rather than butter. These are the closest to the ‘real’ thing I’ve had in years. For the dough I followed Linda Lomelino’s dough recipe for cinnamon buns, but left out the cardamom. The chocolate I used in the middle is a sweet, plain chocolate I found in the Co-op. If I make them again I might adjust the recipe to leave some of the margarine out of the dough recipe so that I can use more to laminate, but I’ve eaten too many sticky buns recently and won’t be testing that theory by baking for a while, especially now that my swimming pool has closed – for a third time – with the latest pandemic restrictions.
At the end of the month, we had our first snow of the season. It didn’t really settle in the city centre, but it was beautiful to watch.
Keeping Minou warm by wrapping her in a blanket when she’s fast asleep.
On New Year’s Eve we woke up to the new Tier 4 restrictions and went to the botanical gardens. Tier 4 is the equivalent of the November ‘lockdown’ we had in England during the month of November. Supermarkets, garden centres, parks and gardens are pretty much the only places that are allowed to open. The glasshouses at BBG have been closed since late October, so standing in the doorway is the closest I can get to the tropical house at the moment.