Yesterday was busy: preparing, cooking, eating, drinking, playing games, walking, crashing out. Not much time for creativity. Stretching the point, though, I suppose I tried a few new things in the kitchen.

The red cabbage recipe was a new one for me. I usually do Nigella Lawson’s red cabbage cooked in pomegranate juice. This year I tried her red cabbage cooked in apple juice with cranberries. Both are easy to follow fail-safe recipes and the new treatment was indeed good and, as an added bonus, incorporated cranberries and so eradicated the need to put cranberry sauce on the table.

I tried a new method for the turkey gravy too. Very easy. We had a boned and rolled turkey which I roasted, covered for most of the three hours, on a bed of red onion, with some white and red wine in the roasting dish. The result was just under a litre of delicious liquid with which to make the gravy. Earlier I had made a roux using 45g of flour and 45g of butter. I melted the butter, added the flour and cooked it for about 5-7 minutes, until it turned a light brown colour. When the time came to make the gravy, I skimmed the fat off the meat juices, reheated the roux and slowly added the juices, whisking like bejaysus. I then let the resulting pan of deliciousness bubble languidly for about 15 minutes, giving it the odd whisk.

My roux

I also made the stuffing and pigs in blankets but I’ve made them before so nothing new there.

Today, then, there was a fish made from bamboo (Jan’s idea). It’s as I envisaged it but I think I’ll do it again and continue the outside string to the end of the tail. I bought a Dremel tool recently. It’s a small hand held power tool with which one can do all sorts of interesting things such as drilling tiny holes in bamboo! Combined with my new vice, things that would have been problematic previously, are now quite easy to do, although there was one ‘Jaysus’ moment when I dropped the tool on the desk.

Earlier, I had a thought about bringing a few of my activities together by whittling egg cups in which to display my egg shell paintings. Ambitious but I’ll give it a go. But I then thought that I’d probably have to paint the outside of the shells too to give them a bit of lift. So I eggsperimented with some metallic colours …

The copper and pink ones look well although the others look better in real life than in this photo.

Also, I messed about with paints …

I discovered the other day that you can use masking tape on your paper in order to create a number of separate canvasses. It creates a nice effect on the page, as you can see.

Closer …

A familiar theme
Still working on trees
Painting with string! (string dipped in white paint and dragged across paper previously painted black)
A string print (bundled string painted black and pressed onto the paper)

Finally, we have dozens of sticks of bamboo in the back garden. I’m going to use some of them in different ways. Obviously, the fish above is one way. These aren’t quite dry yet but I’m going to do interesting things to them when they are!

That’s it for today.

St Stephen’s Day