It has firmly, with great force, been driven home in our hearts…
Restoring an old stone house is not at all the same as building a wood frame house from scratch.
Mon mari did the latter and is now attempting the former.
Building the wood frame house from scratch was much, much faster and easier.
Little things, like not having to drill trenches in stone walls for wiring… If you don't want the cables on the outside of the walls, that is.
Or the plumbing pipes. There is no wood frame to hide all that messiness in.
Challenging things, like learning how to repoint the walls.
I'm telling you all this because obvious progress has been slow this week.
Although new skills learned has been high… Along with an increase in vocabulary, both for polite company and not.
First, the big improvement… We have an indoor toilet. That jug next to it holds the water to flush. It's a nice toilet… Right?
Even though it's somewhat lacking in privacy it is still greatly appreciated on these cold, rainy days. The walls will come. But, notice how level that floor is!
On the other hand, my office has improved considerably.
And the level floor project has now expanded into the kitchen. Those big stone blocks you see in the back of the fireplace are the main wall dividing the rooms. That is where the stove will go, and that is where we are learning the fine art of repointing. Apparently, they just cut the fireplace out of the wall.
We did the full circle with the floor level tools today, from the starting point in the doorway by the bathroom, down the hall, through the new door into the kitchen and through the other kitchen door back to the entry room/bathroom.
Look familiar? I do love Escher!
And I love this soup. At least, the soup always turns out right…. I mean, who wouldn't love meatball soup?
Tomato Meatball Soup
This is a quick soup (as soups go). Use any small pasta: orzo, small elbow, vermicelli; or break spaghetti into 3" (7cm) lengths. Add more chili powder or hot sauce if you like. Best of all it has meatballs… We love meatballs! This serves 4 – 5 and freezes well.
16oz ground beef (500gr mince)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cups (32oz / 900ml) beef stock
2 cups (16oz / 450ml) tomato juice
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
1 tbs soy sauce
3 bay leaves
1 tbs basil
1 tsp chili powder
3 ribs celery
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup vermicelli or other small pasta optional – if you like thick soup add it
In large Dutch Oven (soup kettle) heat the beef stock and tomato juice over medium-high heat. Mix egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, basil and Worcestershire. Add ground beef and mix well. Form into small meatballs, 1" (2.5cm) in diameter. When stock/juice is boiling slowly add meatballs, keeping them separate until they start to cook. Cut carrots in half the long way then slice into thin half-circles. Slice celery. Chop onion.
Shred cabbage: cutting a thick slice off of the side of the head, lay the slice cut side down and cut into 4ths, then, cutting across, slice 1/8" (.6cm) thick. Do not use the core of the cabbage – you'll recognize it when you see, it appears solid. (Save the rest of the head and any shredded cabbage, wrapped in film in the fridge.) Chop the tomatoes, reserving the liquid.
When soup is boiling again (after addition of meatballs) you can start adding the rest of the ingredients as they are ready. Add all remaining ingredients, except pasta but including reserved tomato juice stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until all vegetables are done. If using pasta, add after 15 minutes, and stir every 5 minutes until done. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Try not to pick all the meatballs out of the leftover soup….