This really is an eclectic offering …..

My week has been exceedingly varied. With a few suitably peculiar things thrown into the mix. It seems appropriate to blog in a similar vein.

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Last Saturday pumpkin carving began in our house. We are so ahead of the game it’s not funny. The pumpkin was the first of four which were bought by someone else and left in my kitchen, and they are very large pumpkins. I can therefore advise you on some pumpkin based recipes well in advance of Halloween, 5th November or Thanksgiving. 

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Top choices: Thai Pumpkin soup and Pumpkin Pie

The best discovery however, was that pumpkin pie filling, when warm but not yet cooked, is the most delicious autumnal drink EVER.  Don’t waste your money on pumpkin spice lattes from coffee shops. They only smell good – the taste is not in any way exciting or impressive. Homemade pumpkin pie filling, on the other hand, is sublime. Trust me.  All you need to do is blend cooked pumpkin (boil for 15 minutes), sugar, cream, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a food processor. Try it. 

We ate our meals by pumpkin light, and are considering an advent pumpkin instead of an advent wreath with candles this year. IMG_7050

I did a bit of travelling and came across some interesting and bizarre things. I think my favourite was this sign in a shop window 

IMG_7144Yes, you read it correctly. For only £32.97 you can have a life-size cardboard celebrity. Two questions. ‘Why?’ and, ‘Only £32.97?’ Bargain. If anyone is taking note and needs a Christmas present for me it’s really kind of you, but not Louis Walsh or Alan Carr please. Thanks. 

Another sign of how the world has moved on in the past ten years, was  the hair of this little girl I spotted on a train platform. 

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I am of course referring to her orange plaits. These are not her natural hair, but were attached to a hair band on the top of her head. Why am I telling you this? Ten years ago my little girl wanted orange plaits. More than anything. I spent an evening creating orange plaits from bright orange wool, and she wore them, held on by means of a hat on her head. I saw two children with orange hair band plaits last week. It is clearly ‘a thing’ among the under 5’s . I wish I’d been the person to patent the plaits and hair band combo. 

Of course amidst the crazy there is always the beautiful, and Chelmsford Cathedral, after the rain was looking rather gorgeous. 

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Back to the crazy. Londoners help me out. Why is there an elephant head at the top of the Jubilee Line escalator at Waterloo? It’s cool, but …unexpected. 

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I fulfilled a dream ( not long held, only about two weeks old in fact) to make my own peanut butter layer cake this week. I tasted one in a coffee shop about a month ago, and a few kind friends helped me to taste test another to work out the content of each layer. I have good friends. One also just googled ‘peanut butter stacks’ and found me a recipe. 

IMG_7186It was a serious endeavour to make, and took two of us approximately 12 man hours to complete. 

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There were a total of 10 layers in the end, plus a chocolate ganache to finish. We said ‘ganache’ a lot, and felt rather GBBO until we had to put it all together. The bottom layers of cake and two different types of frosting and meringue all worked ok, but getting the final ( quite thin) layer of cake from board to top, looked impossible. We opted for a flipping method. 

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It was, an awesome cake. Hench was my friends’ name for it. Urban Dictionary provides the definition ‘strong, fit with well developed muscles.’ Indeed. 

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It went down well with this – my new favourite coffee. 

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I am now trading in baked goods. I brought fairy cakes to work in an attempt to make my desk mates like me, and today a dad at the tennis courts swapped me his home baked mince pies for a piece of banana cake and a gooey lump of peanut butter layer cake. Baking is clearly good for community. 

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Which brings me beautifully to the book I’m reading at the moment. Sara Miles ‘Take this Bread’ . A story all about food, faith and community. 3 things that I am fairly passionate about. A great read. 

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And finally …. my favourite, favourite news story of the week. This made me laugh out loud, and question all kinds of things and people. A truly brilliant example of the crazy out there. This week, Toys R Us in North America had to withdraw a toy. Not that unusual, sometimes there are problems with faulty parts. The faulty parts on this toy were the bags of cash and bags of drugs the doll came with 🙂  Yes, these were ‘Breaking Bad’ dolls. For those unfamiliar with this series it’s about a chemistry teacher who turns drug producer/ dealer.  I can’t even begin to imagine the conversations that led to the decision to make dolls from that series. Amazing…. 

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