Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Archive for the category “Reflections”

I can sing a rainbow

Teal? Pink? Orange? Gold?

For some reason I thought that getting three rooms painted at the same time was going to be a good idea. Now there are just things everywhere.

Marie Kondo wouldn’t have to go through this. She would just say to the painter man, “There are my fully accessible walls. Knock yourself out.”

It is different for me.

Cascade? Mint Mist? True Blue?

The painter man was coming. The walls were going to need to be accessible. Husband moved a single wooden elephant ornament from the lounge into the kitchen and skipped off to work.

I emptied bookcases and moved them; I emptied chests of drawers and moved them; I moved beds; I took down paintings; I emptied the sideboard and moved it (with help – many thanks!).

Three rooms with things in the middle of each room. An overspill of stuff in the kitchen. Stacked stuff in the rooms not being painted. So much stuff. Marie Kondo would not be impressed. A trip to the tip, a trip to the charity shop and filling the car with ragbag donations has, once again, not made a blind bit of difference to the kipple situation.

Raspberry? Kinna Beigey?

I am not very good at picking colours. I am better to leave that to people with an opinion. We are three days into the painting and have yet to pick the final colour of the main room. My pitch for teal, pink, orange and gold was knocked back by the majority, which is a relief to everyone, including me. Instead, we are heading towards a colour scheme in tribute to my O-Grade History teacher.

It’ll be fine.

The daughters have picked most excellent colours for their walls. They looked at the paint chart and picked a colour they liked.

That’s the way to do it.

Hopefully when the walls are finished and I am returning the furniture to wherever I dragged it from, I can try my hardest not to re-stock it all with things we don’t need or want.

As long as we have the elephant in the room I’m sure we will be fine.

Adventures in Ratatouille

My diet has stalled.

Fortunately it hasn’t crashed and burned – just stalled. But it has stalled for three months, so I figured I needed to reboot it.

What better strategy could there be than to immerse oneself in weight loss shows? It has been an education. (Not that I need to go and see Dr Nowzaradan. (What a guy.)) I only want to lose a further 5lb  (but they are stubborn wee blighters).

After a Sunday afternoon of (faintly ironic) binge watching of “The Big Ward”, I went to Morrisons and bought some groceries and then started to mentally categorise them as we put them on the conveyer at the checkout.

Hot cross buns, bread, other bread, crackers, crisps, biscuits, carbs, carbs, chocolate covered carbs, other carbs…

When I got to the end of the trolley there were some proteins and veggies there – but my percentages were, I suspected, way off. So, we went to the cafe and googled the Eatwell Plate (which has since become the Eatwell guide) and yes, my shopping habits and subconscious meal planning is quite carb heavy. A bit.

If I was a real fit person, I would know all about macros. But I don’t.  If I was a real dieter, I would know all about calories. I just don’t like numbers. So, the Eatwell Guide should suit me, with its (faintly ironic) pie chart approach.

Which finally brings me around to ratatouille, and lentil soup.

I finally learned how to make lentil soup, having been under the misapprehension that one had to soak ones lentils for a considerable time before use. This meant I never used them as that would have involved knowing what I was going to eat before I ate it. But it was a myth. You just give them a wee rinse, and away you go. Half an hour and the lentils, which say “red” on the packet but are actually orange, go a warm and comforting golden colour and soup ahoy. This has been great. The children, well, two of the children are fans.

Then there’s the ratatouille. Mediterranean veg in a pan. Half an hour and boom. Ratatouille.

So, tonight, after a lunch of lentil soup, I was doing salmon and ratatouille for the dinner. One child came in the back door and said, “Is it ratatouille? Would you be offended if I went with friends to get take out?” while absolutely simultaneously, a smaller voice from the other room said, “Can you shut the door? It stinks.”

Not a very encouraging moment.

Anyway. I feel that it has been a good couple of days in starting to turn the carb tide as I work my way from plate to plate towards a normal BMI.

Nearly there.

Ish.

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This is a tiny tiny bit of the ratatouille. I forgot to take a picture of a proper portion before I ate it This is the tiny tiny bit I put on the plate of a reluctant child. It’s still there.

 

The Irony of Strength Training

Geughhhh….! Awyah!…… Mphoooff!

Of late, I have had the pleasure of more kit classes than seems usual; so much so that I am gazing through rose-tinted spectacles at HIIT and cardio. How weird is that?

A semi-static session on kit does carry some risks. When will someone’s resistance band get prematurely released and pjjjoyng into someone else? What is the likelihood that one of these times the point of failure will come swooping in just as you are attempting to hold kettlebell aloft, resulting in you klonging yourself in the head?

As for slamballs – they are so awkward. It’s such a bad shape to carry. You can hug it to your front and run along while having flashbacks to late pregnancy; you can hold it into your neck like an extra head…

One would think that the purpose of strength training would be to get stronger. Wikipedia tells me that the primary reason is actually “increased physical attractiveness”. Hilarious. Here’s hoping hirpling and wincing are this season’s indicators of attractiveness, then I’ll know it’s all been worthwhile.

Between the kettlebells, the bands and the balls it is fair to say that everything hurts. Pain in places you never knew you had places and all that.

It’s a “good pain” though; it’s the kind of pain that makes you sit on the couch fantasising about inflicting even more pain on yourself with your foam roller, when there’s not a chance you are getting off the couch to go and get the foam roller out as the rummage in the cupboard under the stairs would just exacerbate everything.

My strength benchmark for my arms is my capacity to play the violin. Strength and resistance training makes me imagine me with gorilla arms, knuckles dragging on the floor, unable to lift my arms to the required violin-holding position. It’s never quite that bad, although I do have an occasional point-of-failure moment, but I just act like I wasn’t planning to be playing at that part anyway, or encorporate my knee as an elbow prop…

The only cure for strength training is to do more training; it’s the only way to ease off the DOMS. If this type of training makes me crave more running and more cardio, that’s got to be a “good thing”, if INSANE.

And if I end up with physically attractive muscle definition, I’ll eat my hat – as long as I can lift it to my mouth.

We need to talk about Kipple. #konmarie #mariekondo #kipple

So, I have set about redeeming the Marie Kondo method for the Kingdom.

Some parts of the Kondo thing are either madness or incompatible with my worldview or both; instead of thanking my t-shirts, I thank God for my t-shirts and so on. I don’t talk to the house much either.

It turns out that moving all your possessions onto pastures new wasn’t in fact Marie Kondo’s idea; it was Jesus’. But you knew that:

“Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18 vs 22.

The thing is, getting rid of all your possessions isn’t as easy as you might think. And this isn’t because you want to keep the things.

The more things I bag up in the categories of “donate”, “rag bag” and “tip”, the more stuff seems to accumulate behind it.

Enter “kipple”, as described in the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”:

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.”

That’s a true fact. I emptied a child’s jacket pockets this week and the amount of kipple that came out was quite impressive. All very Captain Caveman.

I emptied half of the attic and tried to send it all to the tip/recycle, but some of it came back, claiming to be worth something or of sentimental value. (Don’t worry, I am not going Kondo and personifying my possessions – other people claimed these things should not be binned, having gone the length of driving to the tip…)

So now my hallway is an obstacle course of plastic boxes filled with dusty papers, photo frames and fifteen-year-old kipple. In the novel, Isidore explains his parallel situation:

“No one can win against kipple,” he said, “except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

I, however, will win against kippilization, at least, that’s my aim, although the unlikelihood of getting a camel through the eye of a needle seems to fit in with Dick’s dystopian vision of one’s attempt to distance oneself from one’s stuff.

As an experiment, today, I am not tidying, washing or categorizing anything for pastures new. It will be interesting to see how deep the kipple is this time tomorrow…

 

Sucking it up, Forgiveness and How to Cope with 2019

Sometimes, when things annoy you, you just have to suck it up. You need to think, “That’s just the way it is.” Then you need to move on. (Speed bumps just are on your road; parking spaces at ASDA just are too small with the daftest one-way-system, telephones, facebook thinking you are a robot having fleeced you for £14 before blocking your robotic self, events I’m not speaking at… you can make your own list.)

Sometimes, when people annoy you, the same thing applies. You box up the weirdo-irritating characteristic, accept that it’ll never change and then move on – working with the parts of the personality that you’re okay with. (I am not naming names – but don’t worry, I know I am more annoying than you; I annoy myself.)

Trying to change things that can’t be changed and trying to change people that don’t want to change (why should they?) is a waste of time. People that live this way are like the protagonists of every high school novel ever taught – each with the fatal flaw of being unable to deal with reality being reality.

Reality is reality; we have to deal with it.

I was wondering whether forgiveness is, in fact, sucking it up. I hope, in a way, that it’s more profound. I had a superficial google, and it turns out that there is a difference:

suck it up: accept something unpleasant or difficult

forgive: stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

You don’t want to do laundry; it needs to be done. Suck it up. The lights are at red? Suck it up. They’ll go green in a mintue. The result of a vote annoys you? Suck it up. Find a way through. You want to pass an exam but can’t be bothered to study for it? Suck it up and start studying.

Forgiveness is for dealing with situations with people. It is like sucking it up – but without the anger. Sounds liberating!

So, the paper towels aren’t in the paper towel dispenser. Harumph! Someone hasn’t done a thing! Put the paper towels in the dispenser. Then they are in it. Drop the anger; move on; dry your hands.

Some people are moaners. Some people are contributors. Moaners don’t want to contribute; they want to moan. Contributors can moan too, about the proliferation of moaners and dearth of contributors. But hey – I’d rather be a moaning contributor than a moaning moaner. (Maybe the architects of CfE could have come up with more realistic “capacities” for the Scottish population to aspire to : moaning contributors; delusional learner; fickle/entrenched citizens; narcissistic individuals… ?)

So, we drop the anger, trade it for love and acceptance – and it’s all a bit like the “serenity prayer”:

“God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference”

This then presents me with a challenge – with all this accepting and forgiving going on – the prayer mentions “courage to change the things I can” – so maybe some things can be changed and should be changed … what things are they?

Me. My stuff. My time. My activities.

Perhaps people (Perhaps? Of course!) are boxing off the annoying and difficult parts of me and trying to ignore them when trying to deal with me. Perhaps there are systems I’m in charge of that irritate people and could be changed. I am awkward, thoughtless and many other things. I need forgiveness – forgiveness for every poorly executed social interaction, for my acceptance of my own foibles that I have cast in steel and present as optimal. And other stuff.

I have been binge-watching two tidying shows: “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and “Consumed” on Netflix. In the shows, people are overwhelmed with their stuff and then they chuck half of it out, tidy the rest and feel amazing. Most of the time. Sometimes they can’t change and the stuff wins. Then it’s not so good.

As a result, my socks are all rolled like sushi, packed in drawers like I am Mr Sleeping-with-the-Enemy; my t-shirts and leggings are stowed vertically; my kitchen all ready for a visit from a pre-children Bettina-and-Max …

Dealing with things in the house that annoyed me has been great – the sense that the house is filled with things that need dealt with is reducing day after day as the Netflix-inspired order that has been imposed seems to be holding… very exciting… I have been finding laundry fun for a whole week!

So, in 2019 there will be things that are annoying; there may even be a series of unfortunate events; there will be things that will have to be sucked up; there will be things that have to be forgiven; there will be tricky moments and feet put in it… Waaaa!

But there will be things that can be changed, built, developed, recycled, tidied; there will be opportunities to help people, to fill paper towel dispensers for the next person, to “be the change” and all that.

So, my top tips for this year: forgive people and chuck out half of your stuff.

“Casserole your gran; disembowel yourself with spears…” #cooking #slowcooker

You’ve caught me in a state of mid-late-November overwhelm. So I am procrastinating, avoiding my work and attending to my “next step” in my personal improvement plan: COOKING.

Great! I can turn this into a food blog….

Perhaps not.

The children put in a formal complaint that my food offerings were utterly repetitive. I think the meals are “balanced” insofar as there is a protein, a carb and some vegetable type thing – but they are, admittedly utterly monotonous. I go to Morrison’s, buy one of everything I ever buy, pay for it and then churn out the same things week on week.

So, I asked my facebook friends what foods are foods I have forgotten – and they were very generous with their helpings of advice and suggestions and three things are apparently the answer to my problem:

A slow cooker.

Here’s my beef with slow cookers: you need to be organized. Clearly, if you are going to be eating it hours and hours later, you need to know what it was going to be hours and hours in advance. Imagine that!

In addition, there is meat and veg prepping to do at unnatural times of the day or night. Sealing meat and all that. I don’t fancy handling raw meat at the best of times, let alone early or late. And then there seems to be a lot of messing up a pan then transferring it to the slow cooker. I think the “one pot” idea is perhaps a myth.

Do we trust the slow cooker, in the way that “we trust the fridge”? What other appliance would you leave on, cooking, when you are out? Can you ever relax? Is it not like thinking “Did I leave the straighteners on?”, but knowing full well you did?

 A good casserole dish.

I thought casseroles were just a dramatic convention in Australian soaps of the 1980s, used to justify unjustifiable visits to the eponymous neighbours. But it seems that some of you, in fact, everyone except me, would use a casserole dish once in a while.

(Confession: I do have a casserole dish. It is very small and very cute. I use it to make nachos when I am having a party-for-one. I layer up cooked chicken, salsa and cheese; I repeat to fade, then heat, douse with sour cream and inhale.)

So, it looks as if I will have to go and get a casserole dish and put some things in it. Then it will be stew and tagine city round here.

Vegetables in a box, delivered.

Some say: “Don’t get sucked into the vegetable delivery thing; it is a scam.”

However, a good many people argue that having surprise ingredients turn up on your doorstep is liberating and life enhancing. I am wary of new vegetables. I mean, they might send me an artichoke and I won’t know what to do with it; they might send a beetroot and give me traumatic childhood flashbacks to gagging on vinegary veg; they might send me fennel; they might send me kohl rabi…

We eat broccoli, corn, peas, green beans. That might be it. Might that be it? Onions, I suppose. And occasionally soup with more random vegetables.

So, I am supposed to be branching out into uncharted culinary territory on Tuesday, but what with one thing and another, I think I might struggle. I would love to blog about a triumphant stew moment on Tuesday night, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

I am very appreciative of all the tips and advice and look forward to widening my repertoire in due course.

In the meantime, we can continue to enjoy our haggis, potatoes and baked beans; our chicken tikka with rice and green beans; our spaghetti carbonara…… repeat to actual fade….

A Missing Grace? #ananiasandsapphira

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Let me tell you the story of Ananias and Sapphira.

The early church were living in God’s grace. Everyone was being selfless and generous. It was all going swimmingly.

Ananias and Sapphira didn’t really get it, though. They figured they could look the part; they could appear to be selfless and generous in their community – but they didn’t have it in them to go the whole hog and keep up with the Joneses, or the Josephs, as it was.

They conspired to compromise. They figured they would give over a big wodge of cash, and give the impression it was everything they had received for a particular sale of property. Ananias came and presented it to the Apostles.

Peter pointed out that this was a deception – an unnecessary deception. If God is omniscient, he would be able to see through this false display of generosity.

Ananias fell down dead when faced with his hypocrisy.

Then, with dramatic irony hanging heavily over the gathering, Sapphira, his wife turns up and compounds the lie. She claimed that the donated money was the price paid for the land. They told her that her husband had died and that she was about to die too.

“At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.”

So, the question for the modern Christian is, eh…. where’s the grace in that?

This story reminds me of Genesis, where we have the first couple, Adam and Eve, who bring about a curse.

They too were living in a time of grace:

“You are free to eat of any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die.”

They too conspire and attempt to cover up the truth.

However, instead of the immediate conclusion of the death curse – “when you eat of it you will certainly die” – Adam and Eve are shown grace. They are removed from the garden so that there is no possibility of them eating from the tree of life and living forever; they are mortal – and their earthly life is grace.

Both our couples were living in a time of grace, but did not live as if they lived in a time of grace. Both couples were sinful – and “the wages of sin is death”.

So, is grace missing from the story of Ananias and Sapphira?

They sinned and they died. This should not surprise us. But it does. Surely they should have had a chance to repent of their hypocrisy and to live in grace?

That was the opportunity they had already had – and that they missed.

It was all going so well: devotion to the apostles teaching, prayer, signs and wonders, sharing. The people had “glad and sincere” hearts. “and God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them”.

This glad sincerity was lacking in our unfortunate couple. They must have felt inadequate, unable to give, unable to live up to the generosity on all sides. What they missed was the grace. They didn’t have to give their money away:

“Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”

Ananias and Sapphira could have lived freely – they could have received from others if they were in need; they could have given freely if they had wanted to.

There was grace there – but they decided to spurn the grace offered and construct their own safety net – keeping a little back for themselves and kidding on they were better people than they were.

The difference between Adam and Eve and Ananias and Sapphira is the delay or otherwise between the sinful act and physical death. Ananias and Sapphira are cast out of the place of grace as they had not accepted it, as Adam and Eve did not accept the grace afforded to them in Eden.

The truth is, sin brings death – be that immediate physical death, metaphorical death, spiritual death, death of relationships, death of what is right…

We just get so used to living in grace that we don’t appreciate it – we forget that we live on a gift of time. We try to concoct our own plans to ensure that our futures and those of our children are secure in our own strength – be that by affiliating ourselves with churches and charities, getting good jobs and pensions, protecting our own resources, our own reputations – our egoism has no bounds.

Ananias and Sapphira are a very familiar couple, trying to appear well meaning – and actually being well meaning in some respects – but they were ultimately self-serving.

Their fundamental problem was that they missed the grace that was theirs.

You don’t have to do anything to appear great in front of God.

You can’t, in fact.

You are not great, in front of God.

You can do things to appear great in front of people. God sees straight through that.

We need to accept his grace and live in it.

(I should do a line by line on Romans 6 now as that is where all the answers are to this one. Another time perhaps.)

… in which I shed my shed…

“I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones…”

It was countdown to Armasheddon. The Leaning Shed of Eaglesham had been getting squintier by the day. If only I had set up a time lapse, back when the shed was first erected; we could have watched the slow twist and slope as gravity gradually took hold, when what went up would start to come down of its own accord.

Built in a hurry, to store a pile of junk we didn’t need, want or use for the following decade, the shed originally did well. It kept our half empty paint pots, leftover tiles, redundant gardening tools and ill-considered amazon purchases beautifully protected from the elements.

Then the door started to stick; then it started to refuse to shut; then it definitely started to go a bit squint and the Leaning Shed of Eaglesham became a thing.

Meanwhile, I dreamed a dream of a summerhouse, a she-shed, a little timber haven that would have nothing in it but a silent seat for one and a view of my view.

“Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry…”

The day finally came when I couldn’t give the shed garden-room any more. I took the aforementioned carefully stored items to the tip, got a crowbar and started the demolition.

It was very satisfying at first, kicking out the tongue and groove slatty things, taking care to dash away if the shed threatened to lurch or topple too far in my direction.

The weird thing was, it turned out that the whole shed was being kept “up” by a solitary paint can, that was maintaining as close to a right angle as it could, on a shelf by the door. Dislodging that was a scary moment. A bit like playing kerplunk.

The other tricky part was getting the roof off. It was so robust compared to the rest it, what with its waterproof roofing and the fact that it was made of two massive sheets of actual wood and not the daft slatty things that the walls were made of.

Once the shed was fully skeletal, and the structural-integrity paint can was gone, the weight of the roof started to slowly, slowly crush and twist what was left of it. I got a bit panicky that I might be rumbled in the act of demolition by someone tall, strong or competent before I got it down.

So I went a bit crazed with my hammer and crowbar and battered and pulled at the roof until it was finally flat and inert and looking as if it had never thought twice about knocking my garden wall down at all. Phew.

The quoted parable doesn’t work out well for the man in the story. He dies before he can get his bigger barn up.  I haven’t got my summerhouse yet. I just have the space for it, which has turned out to be a very useful place to dry clothes.

Here’s hoping I can earn enough peanuts to buy a summerhouse next spring. I also hope that it’s vertical.

…in which I buy a lot of dresses in charity shops…

If you know me in real life, you’ll know that I am generally wearing fitness kit and am covered in grass and mud, unless you know me from my other real life, where I still dress like a teenager with converses, jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie. At work, though, I wear dresses, so as to appear like an adult. (I still can’t do the tights thing though, unless I am wearing my game-changer heels – and that’s only for special occasions when I need to look tall as well as old. Although I am old at work, which is weird, so maybe I don’t need to dress up as if I am in my mid-forties which is what I am.)

The Year of the Dress began in August 2008, when I thought I would wear dresses to work for a year. Ten years in, and I have never looked back. Why leave oneself open to the possibility of mis-matched separates, when you can simply put on a dress?

The charity shop thing was gradual at first. I sometimes had half an hour to kill before collecting my daughters from a thing, and would have a rummage in charity shops, picking up random things that would do for various events that I was only half-heartedly going to; I would head to the charity shops for dress up, when I was going to be Velma, or Where’s Wally?

Then the dress thing started to happen in earnest. My favourite full-price shops for work-dresses are Oasis and Wallis, with a hint of Next. Dresses there are usually about £45-£70. The trouble is, I am paid in actual peanuts, so one resents spending one’s hard earned peanuts on dresses to wear to earn the said peanuts in the first place.

It turns out that the charity shops are stuffed full of the dresses I would have paid £65 for, except they are all, pretty much, £7.99. They even do three-for-a-tenner deals sometimes. And they are all in great condition.

I know what you are thinking; you are thinking  – eh, are they not a bit fusty and come with an air of “someone else”? Well, I find that a run through the machine and an afternoon on the line brings them out as good as new. I also figure that the people that donate the dresses are just people like me who donate dresses; it’s just that the dress has served its purpose; it maybe doesn’t sit right on its original owner; it is now too small or too big depending on how their diet is going; they’ve worn it out with all their various groups of friends and they want to give it a new lease of life.

The unexpected thing that has happened is that shopping in full-price shops is something I now look at through spectacles of a different colour. I see people scouring the sale lines of random sizes and colours, looking for a bargain, and it looks no different to a charity shop rail – but the prices are daft. Honestly, they would be better off doing a lap of a charity-shop-rich area. It is now, I think, perhaps impossible for me to pay full price for a dress. That part of me is perhaps broken. Buying a new new dress is, in fact, throwing money away.

The quality of the stock that you see is generally excellent. If you can get over the fust question and the second-hand thing, I highly recommend it.

The other motivation that has sidled up to me while my charity shop habit was going exponential is my eco-niece @lesswastelaura. By buying things that have already had a life, and donating them back again, it keeps the thrift economy ticking over and reduces the demand for more new stuff, so that’s good too.

Happy shopping, everyone. I’ll race you to the bargains!

… in which I make flapjacks… #gbbo #flapjacks

I am very excited these days. Every morning I wake up buzzing for the day ahead. It’s weird. I must be riding an exercise-induced-endorphin high.

Of course, yesterday I had good reason to be excited. The Great British Bake Off is back on air – giving me a perfect example of plot structure, which always comes in handy, I find.

This year I have two aims for the Bake Off season: I plan to bake something every Tuesday to eat during Bake Off; I also plan to lose 1 to 2 lbs every week, meaning I have a normal BMI by Christmas or thereabouts. So, I’m using all my powers of doublethink.

You may know that baking is not my area of gifting; my adventures in making pancakes are well documented.

I thought that, for an easy signature bake, I would follow the flapjack recipe from the back of my porridge oats packet (despite the fact that the apostrophe and the spelling of ‘porage’ make me feel uneasy (even although both are in fact perfectly justifiable, but one does have to go through the loop of thinking about them every time you see the packet) not to mention the gender and national stereotyping on the box… unless he is the eponymous Scott, of course.)

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I went to Morrison’s for the specified 20cm sandwich tin and some demerara sugar. All set.

Now, my oven is famous for burning food. Bad workman’s tools and all that. So, I figured that the 190 degrees thing was likely to end in charred oats, so I went for 175 degrees.

Recipe followed, sandwich tin in oven, 20 minutes on the timer.

So…. what do you think happened? Do you think:

Paul: It’s underbaked.

Pru: It’s a bit dry.

Or neither of the above?

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Well, true to form, it was kind of a bit burnt around the edges. When I scored it into 8 wedges, as instructed, after cooling it for 15 minutes, the middle was totally squashed. Maybe I was a bit heavy handed with the pizza cutter. The syrup kind of sank to the bottom. The middle may have been totally squishy, but I had to saw the crust off, because the edges were in fact inedible.

If I was making them again, I would leave out the ground ginger. And I might add some seeds to make them a bit more protein-tastic. Not that I have any right to tinker at the edges of a recipe that probably works fine for the rest of the population. However, I don’t see how I can get them right. If I had stuck to the recipe and baked them at the 190 degrees, they would have been actual charcoal.

Maybe I need to cover them with foil for the bake or something.

Anyway, I shall forgo the title of Star Baker for this week.

Maybe next time.

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