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Thursday I had a memory error on my computer (don't you just hate those things?). Then a couple of programs started acting strange, nothing serious, but not right. I'd been having problems with it freezing so I decided it was time for a little maintenance. It was time to reinstall the operating system. In my usual fashion I jumped right in, why bother with tedious stuff like back-ups? Let's just get the job done! By Friday night I conceded defeat. I couldn't convince my keyboard that it was a QWERTY not an AZERTY (which meant that when it asked me if I wanted to 'Quit' the reinstall I couldn't find the 'Q' to 'Quit' so, once again I reinstalled the OS) (Also remember that I don't have a computer so I can't look up AZERTY on the internet) None of my applications worked, no sound, rien!. Saturday morning I called the hospital to tell them we were coming in….except that it's August and the computer hospital was closed until the 16th. I had no choice but to fix the damn thing myself. So, I decided to do it the proper geek way instead of my usual 'take every shortcut possible' way. I started over with yet another reinstall of the OS (still couldn't find the damn 'Q'), this time I paid attention to the screens – actually read them. Slowly but surely I got it all back – starting with my QWERTY keyboard so I could 'Quit'. I reinstalled, uninstalled, reinstalled (for the geeks – all the registries went missing) everything. I must have rebooted a gazillion times! By Sunday night it was all back, cleaned-up and ready to roll – except my monitor went on the blink – literally: it was blinking. This morning I braved Boulanger in August and I now have a complete working system.
I did get to spend a little time in the kitchen – nothing like working with food for a little therapy. I have tons of basil. I have been chopping it and freezing it in ice cube trays with a bit of stock. Plus I made two big batches of pesto (without the cheese) and froze that in cubes as well. I just store them all in freezer bags. So far, in addition, I have thyme, lemon thyme, chives, garlic chives oregano and marjoram.
For all of you expat Americans I wanted to share this picture….our sweet corn is all ready at once – despite the staggered plantings. Wish you were here… (I know, to the French – and the Spanish, it's pig food…oink!)
As a bit of comfort food, after all was done, I decided a nice cup of tea with warm, Brown Bread and honey was in order. I make this lots.
It takes an hour from walking into the kitchen to taking it out of the oven. I cut it in two and freeze half. The original recipe calls for buttermilk but I can rarely find it – and you can't 'sour' long-life milk. Yogurt makes a great substitute, the bread actually gets a bit more height.
Irish Soda Bread
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 heaping tbs oatmeal
2 heaping tbs bran flakes
2 tbs butter
1 tsp sugar
1 heaping tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). I use an 8.5" (22cm) round baking pan with 2" (5cm) sides for this. Butter the pan, then 'flour' it: put about 1 tbs flour in the pan and tilt the pan so that the flour covers all of the buttered area. Any excess just tip into the sink. Mix the yogurt and the milk together and set aside. Put all dry ingredients into a deep bowl. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, fork or 2 knives. You want it to end up looking like small pebbles. Add the milk/yogurt and mix well. Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and tip out of pan. Cool on wire rack