Author Archives: wordsfromanneli

About wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

Easy Plum Squares

List of ingredients is at the end of the post.

Don’t be fooled by this butter picture. I tried to use less than the recipe called for and it didn’t work. You need the full cup of butter for the crumble to stick together.

So! Put one full cup of butter into the food processor. Then add the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Give it a few pulses until the butter is finely mixed with the flour mixture. THEN add the sugar and rolled oats and give it a couple more very short pulses – just enough to mix it all in.

Why not put it all in together? If you put the sugar in sooner, it makes the butter smear a little, and if you put the rolled oats in right away, the blades will cut the flakes up into a fine oat mixture. I like to see the flakes and keep them coarser, but if you want them to be smooth, you know what to do.

Pour about two-thirds of the mixture into an ungreased pan and press it flat with gentle pressure using your hands.

Now for the plums. I have plum trees in my backyard so in the fall, I wash, cut and freeze the plums, 24 to a bag because that’s how many it takes to make a cake. They thaw easily in warm water  for use in this recipe. If you have plums available in the store you can buy them to make this cake. If not, you may want to substitute some other fruit at this point. Apples, pears, apricots, and dates should work well for this dish. I wouldn’t try it with berries as they would make too much liquid, but most other fruit is very forgiving as a substitute.

I’ve tried it with apples and pears and they work very well. With pears, I’ve used powdered ginger instead of cinnamon.

Notice that the plums are placed skin side down, so the juice doesn’t soak into the bottom layer of crumble.

Sprinkle the last third of the crumble mixture over top of the plums (or whatever fruit you use).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Usually when the fruit starts to bubble, it’s time to take the cake out of the oven.

When the cake is cool, cut it into squares and top with ice cream, whipped cream, or have it just plain. It’s good no matter how you serve it.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup butter

2/3 cup brown sugar (I cut this down from 1 cup)

1 and 3/4 cups rolled oats (large flakes)

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon (or ginger if using pears)

24 plums (or enough of whatever other fruit you use to make one layer)

Bake 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

One Misty, Moisty Morning

One misty, moisty morning,

When cloudy was the weather,

There I met an old man,

Clothed all in leather.

Clothed all in leather,

With a cap under his chin.

How do you do?

And how do you do?

And how do you do again?

 

Montucky posted such beautiful photos of the mist in the mountains in this post: https://montucky.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/in-between/

that I felt inspired to run out onto the deck to take some misty photos of my own. They are nowhere as beautiful as Montucky’s, and nowhere near as remote, but it’s what we have here close to town.

Looking at the mist hanging in the trees took me back to a childhood nursery rhyme. Do any of you remember it? I think nursery rhymes are becoming a forgotten treasure of our childhood. I’d hate for them to disappear like these mists will do in an hour or so.

The Monster Sink

After 27 years, the taps and faucet in our bathroom sink needed to be replaced. Not only was the calcium residue winning the battle I waged with it all those years, but the material in the collar around the base of the taps was breaking down. It was time for a change.

The Captain bought a new faucet and taps and set to work. Ruby was very interested in what was happening to the sink, but Emma, at the bottom of the photo, was not at all sure where that gray monster as big as herself, had come from or what it was doing there. She kept well away from it.  Who knew what it could do, especially with those metal feelers reaching out towards her?

She tried barking at it, but it stayed there, apparently unmoved, so Emma stayed in the corner near the door so she could beat a quick retreat if necessary.

Eventually, and not without a lot of extra problems, the Captain finished the job. The O-ring that came with the new set was the wrong size. Then the plastic of the drain pipe under the sink broke and had to be replaced with a new piece. That new piece had threading that was a different size from the old one (we thought it might be the change from the standard measurements to metric, but no, the supplier told the Captain it was just that different brands have different specs). Can you imagine trying to plumb a house with those inconsistencies?

At last, the new faucet set was installed and everyone was relieved that the job was done, especially Emma.


I made a short video clip of Emma’s interaction with the monster sink. The Captain growled, mean of him, and Emma looked for safety.

 

A Flicker of Light

Sitting in the dark in my living room at about 6:30 this morning, I was surprised by the contrasting colour of the two levels of clouds — one layer of light gray and one of very dark gray. It gave me the shivers to think of the wind and rain that were coming our way.

I was not disappointed. It blew and dumped rain on us. Once the moisture had been thrown into our faces, the clouds lifted (that’s not the same as going away) and the sky brightened up.

The flicker looked up from his perch in the black walnut tree and called to his buddy who had just flown away, “What do you think, Dear? Is this it for today, or is there more coming? Should we find a more sheltered tree to peck on?”

 

Flicker eyes the roiling sky

Shakes himself and gives a cry,

Shudders at the force of storm,

Sodden feathers, not the norm.

Hoping sun comes shining through,

Flicker asks, “What will I do?

If the next storm is as wild

While I’m wishing it were mild.

Friends will fly away from here, 

I’ll be left alone, I fear.

Wait! I see a glimpse of sun.

Surely I’m the happy one.”

Lunacy

The moon was full just a couple of days ago, on November 22.

Somehow, by brightening the night sky, the moon helps take away the gloom of the dull, cloudy days we’ve been having.

I took this picture from my back door, quick, quick, before the moon disappeared behind a cloud.

The moon is associated with magical and mythical things: omens, spells, fictitious creatures (vampires) and of course, with love.

Some moon expressions I have found:

Mooning around — to pine or grieve about something.

Moon someone — to show someone one’s nude posterior.

Moonshine — high-proof distilled spirits, usually produced illicitly.

Moonlight — work at two jobs.

Reach for the moon — aim for a high goal.

Over the moon — to be extremely happy.

The man in the moon — the shadowy shape on the moonscape that looks like a man’s face.

Promise the moon — make a promise that is impossible to keep.

Go between the moon and the milkman — take flight between dark and dawn.

Moonraker — a light square sail set above the sky sail.

Once in a blue moon — seldom (as when a full moon occurs twice in one month).

Shoot the moon — to take a great risk for great rewards.

Bay at the moon —  make appeals in vain.

The moon is made of green cheese – not really the colour green, but referring to the pale yellow colour of “green” (unripe) cheese.

Moon over —  waste time pining or grieving.

Moon-blindness (mooneye) – recurrent inflammation of a horse’s eye, often resulting in eventual blindness.

Lunatic – unstable person.

Loony – crazy.

Honeymoon – holiday immediately after getting married.

Moonface — a round face.

Moonstruck — very much in love.

Moondog (Mock moon) — a relatively rare bright circular spot on a lunar halo, caused by the refraction of light from ice crystals in cirrus clouds.

The Moonies — a religious cult that had a strong hold on (usually) young people they recruited. Named for its Korean founder Sun Myung Moon.

Blood moon — the reddish colour of the moon when it is in eclipse between the earth and the sun.

And then there is our Canadian dollar – the loonie. I suppose it was meant to be named after that beautiful bird, the loon, but to me is seemed like lunacy to downgrade our currency by making our dollar into a piece a small change.

*****

Do you know of some moon expressions?  How about moon boots? The list seems to be endless.

 

Scones

Some people call these tasty biscuits “scones,” to rhyme with “bones.” I prefer to call them scones to rhyme with “prawns.”

I found out today why they are called scones (my way). It must be because as soon as they are out of the oven, someone “absconds” with them.

They are very easy to make if you have a food processor to mix the butter with the flour. The old pastry blender method is just too much work.

I did a post about scones two years ago, which you can visit if you like: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/10/31/scones/

Since then I have made many batches of scones and have stopped looking at the recipe.

Some changes?

I only use the baking soda if I add a squeeze of lemon.

I use two eggs if I have them to spare, rather than only one. One time I completely forgot to put the eggs in and they still turned out okay. The biscuit is very forgiving that way.

You can add grated cheese instead of currants. Probably there are a lot of things you could add if you wanted (chopped nuts, dried cranberries, raisins), but preferably not all in one batch.

One thing you don’t want to do is handle the dough too much. It makes the biscuits tougher if you do.

I will repeat the recipe here, but you can substitute and change things without fear of doing too much damage. One change I like is to use a lot of sour cream and less milk, but it depends what’s in the fridge that day.

Scones

All the dry ingredients go into the food processor:

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda (if using a squeeze of lemon for flavour)

3 Tbsp. sugar (optional)

Then add about 3/4 cup of butter and pulse the food processor until the butter is cut into the flour mixture evenly.

In a measuring cup, stir an egg  with a fork, or use two eggs, but reserve some of the egg white to mix with a drop of milk for a wash on top of the batter before putting it in the oven. Add enough milk to make a cup. At this point I also add, as part of that one cup of liquid, whatever I have on hand – yogurt, sour cream, or a squeeze of lemon or lime – just to get the baking soda working well. You may have to add a drop more liquid if you use sour cream or yogurt.

Pour in the liquid and give it a few pulses, add a handful of currants (or whatever you’ve decided on), and pulse again. You don’t want to mash the dried fruit so this goes in last and is just barely mixed in.

Pat the dough together and flatten it on a buttered cookie sheet. More directions are given in my previous post (use the link given earlier in the post).

Today’s scones baked at 400 degrees for about 26 minutes.

But I still wonder … who absconded with that scone that is missing in the photo?

 

 

 

The Wild Winds Weep

The wild winds weep

And the night is a-cold

Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs unfold.

I wish I could claim this poem as my own creation, but I can’t. It is from a poem called “Mad Song,” by William Blake.

I was quite taken by this poem when I wrote my first novel of a coastal drama in which the wild weather played a significant role. That is why I used “The Wind Weeps” as my title.

I’m not trying to persuade you to click on the book cover image at the side for the free download of that book, but if you do, remember book two, “Reckoning Tide.”

It’s just that today the weather is so wild. The wind is crying out there,  whipping up the waves, just as it is in parts of my book.

Driving past Point Holmes on my way home from shopping, I stopped to take a few pictures. I had to hang onto the car door tightly so it wouldn’t rip off. A torn rotator cuff on a person is painful, but on a car door it would be  expensive  – so, also painful in a way.

It takes  a good stiff wind to give these waves foaming, frothy tops. In the photo below you can see a smooth line near the bottom of the picture. That is the paved boat launch ramp. No one is using it today for obvious reasons. No way I’d want to be tossing around in a small boat out there.

Even the little songbirds were looking for shelter. They swarmed in small clouds to and from the beach. Some flew in to land on the rocks and logs, but my photo doesn’t show the tiny birds well. I enlarged the photo to have a look (as you may be able to do by clicking on it), and I counted at least twelve small birds. It’s a tough time for them.

Those mountains in the distance should be clear and sharp. It is only around noon, but the sky is dark and full of raindrops flying sideways so the far shore is fuzzy and the mountains just a haze.

It’s too stormy out there for me. I think Emma has the right idea.

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