Stepping out of your comfort zone

Well, the Coronavirus has just catapulted pretty much every human being on the planet out of their comfort zone. It is becoming increasingly difficult to think about anything else. However, I feel we must try. To strike a balance I have started listening to classical music on the radio rather than constant news… much more relaxing.

In my recent post “15 (food-related) things to do rather than worrying about Coronavirus” I suggested we might try to push ourselves to try some slightly different foods outside of our usual buying pattern. For Tina, she has bought some tinned jackfruit and was talking about making a chilli with it. I have never tried jackfruit so am really looking forward to hearing about how she got on with this. I, on the other hand, purchased walnut halves, passion fruit and organic maca powder.

Firstly, the walnut halves, £1.50 for 100g in Tesco’s. I have never really liked nuts although I am not allergic to them or anything. I quite like salted peanuts and soft cashew nuts but that’s about it. I wanted to try walnuts again as they are really, really good for you. I can now confirm that I still do not like them very much; this is disappointing. They taste err, too nutty for me I suppose, and they dry your mouth out a bit but not in a nice way like rhubarb or spinach but in a sort of furry way. I have eaten a pathetic little morsel of one half of a walnut. I will try to eat one or two more, but I doubt if I will be buying these again.

Next came the organic maca powder. I had never even heard of this before I bought it. £4.00 for 125g in Tesco’s. Supposedly a Peruvian superfood high in riboflavin, iron, calcium, zinc and fibre. It sounded like it was going to give me a real energy boost. A google search revealed this comes from a root-like plant, a relative of the radish family. My search also revealed I had unknowingly just purchased a substance well known to increase your fertility, sex drive and may enhance your breast size!! Mmm, I may have got more than I bargained for here…

I tried a teaspoonful sprinkled on my breakfast cereal. It tasted nutty which was OK but also sweet, which after a while got a bit sickly. The powder in the milk also didn’t completely dissolve so the milk wasn’t a smooth texture any more and the more I ate the less I liked it. I would try this again, partly because I parted with a whole hard earned £4. for it, but maybe sprinkled in a cake or something like banana bread, I think that might work better.

Last but not least, the passion fruit. I am sure I have had passion fruit previously in desserts or cocktails but I had never bought it or prepared it myself. This cost £1.25 for 3 in Tesco’s. I prepared it as per the packet instructions to slice lengthways and to scoop out the seeds and orange flesh to eat. Passion fruit are highly rich in Vitamin C so worth a try when all the shops are sold out of effervescent Vitamin C at the moment. The juice was sweet but sharp, I thought it was very tasty. The seeds however were a bit too crunchy, exploding uncomfortably under my teeth, so I tried to pulverise them with my pestle and mortar but this was not very successful with all the squidgy juice around. I was a little miffed how little there is to actually eat inside this fruit, but what there is is flavoursome. I think tonight I will try to blitz in my mini chopping machine the last 2 passion fruits to try to make a sort of passion fruit sauce and will serve this with vanilla ice cream. Wish me luck, could be smiles or tears!

I did enjoy the experiment of the new food shopping although none of the results were a knockout for me. I aspire to keep an open mind about food and will do this again some time. My book club friends can attest that after 5 years I have almost eaten the entire menu of The White Hart in Holyport. Not in one sitting I might add, but each monthly meeting I try something different, which has been fun to do. I particularly enjoyed the chilli prawn linguine and the vegetable lasagne, but all the food in The White Hart is good.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

For today I have run out of time, but on the subject of stepping out of your comfort zone this has reminded me of a nice story I once wrote on this theme. I will share this with you in a separate post in the next couple of days and you can tell me if you like (or not) my “proper” writing as opposed to my blog-a-log chatting. Watch this space xx


I am still going on about trees….

Before we all start to relax for the weekend I thought you might like to see some tree photos I took in Windsor on my lunchtime walk today. I think we could probably all do with a bit of tree therapy in these challenging times. After I focused on the trees, I really started to notice the beautiful sky and clouds. I took a deep breath and felt so lucky to be healthy and out in nature. I hope you like my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. For my colleague Moya, sorry, the ginkgo tree wasn’t there any more so I’ll find another one to photograph next time for you!

(Doesn’t the castle look tiny? Like a little dolls’ house!)

For the love of trees

I apologise for not writing about food today, but I have fallen in love. With trees.

I have always liked them yet over the past few years I have gone a bit crazy for them and I fear this is only going to get worse. Give me a bit of heavily textured peeling bark or the glossy shine of a holly leaf, a magnolia tree covered in buds ready to break forth into bloom, and I go a bit weak at the knees.

My sister really is not helping in this situation. Last April for my birthday she bought me this book:

We planned a day out in London and in May went to track down all these grand trees of the city. Considering my sister lives in the Cotswolds (I never tire of saying that!) where there are obviously lots of trees locally, and I live in Windsor where we have all the majestic oaks of Windsor Great Park neither of us were actually tree deprived. So it seemed like a true pilgrimage to visit and appreciate these special trees of London in their perhaps more challenging urban environment. Do you know what? They were doing just fine. The heading photo is one of the London planes on the Embankment; so glorious. I believe this row of planes was planted by the Victorians when they made the London sewerage system. The flaky bark of the London plane makes it especially good at dealing with pollution. Aren’t trees so clever? I love the way they are super strong but also that they are so flexible. It seems in nature as well as in life, (think of buildings designed for use in earthquake zones etc) strength and flexibility are a winning combination. I must aspire to this in my personal life!

Some of the trees were a little hard to find and we had a lot of queried discussions such as “This must be tree no.2”… “No, it must be this one”….“No, it’s not you’ve gone and photographed the wrong one!”…”Well you’re right but I like this one anyway”… followed by …“Is it time for lunch yet?”(me)…“No, we have to do at least another 2 trees to hit our morning target”(my sister). All in all we had a lot of fun and this is my sister at The Brunswick Plane, tree no. 4 in the book:

As my husband and I were walking in The Great Park last weekend (the inspiration for this post), I reflected that even an ugly tree can be beautiful, all gnarled and nobbly. And a dead tree struck by lightning can be even more stunningly photogenic than a live one.. how is that? Strange but true. I particularly liked this trunk:

Ancient trees are wonderful, the older and fatter the better. They have a grandeur and wisdom that makes me want to touch them for them to impart some of their magical knowledge to me. I like to think of our ancestors in times gone by taking shelter from the rain under the same canopy we do so now. One of the oldest trees local to us is the Ankerwycke yew (great oldy worldy name). It is 2,500 years old, try to get your head around that. It is rumoured that Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn under this tree. It is near Runnymede where the Magna Carta was sealed.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/runnymede/features/ankerwycke

I always consider myself super lucky to pass a beautiful old cedar tree on my way to work. It is in St Leonard’s Road in Windsor opposite The Trooper pub and dates from the 1800s. I love the way it defies convention and emerges up out of the pavement. In 2011 I proudly joined local residents in a protest to save this tree from being cut down and we were successful. I particularly objected to the Council’s wording on their notice: “this tree is an actionable nuisance”. I always give this tree a little stroke as I go by and think of how many continued years of life it has had partly because of me. You can read more about this tree and it’s fascinating history here. It even starred in a Carry on film, “Carry on Cabbie” in 1963.

I really could waffle on about trees all day and I haven’t even mentioned rustic autumn leaves, the awesome prettiness of blossom or the many amazing trees I have come across on my holidays around the world.

Oh, alright then, I’ll show you just one more…an exotic cousin of our friends above.. a palm tree taken in St Croix in the US Virgin Islands..now someone please get me a margarita!

Local stuff: Wonderful Windsor

Photo by Kris Schulze on Pexels.com

Just a quick post to let you know I have added a page of “local stuff” in the Windsor area.

Need a good restaurant in Windsor? A new book to read by local author? Help with your computer/tablet/phone? It’s all there under the Local stuff button at the bottom of the page. I will be updating this page regularly. I hope you find it useful.

15 (food related) things to do instead of worrying about Coronavirus

This isn’t the post I was going to write for you today. I was going to tell you all about immune boosting food and recipes to keep healthy in the current times. Then it dawned on me that you probably all already know in theory how to eat healthily and to look yourselves; we are all just struggling at times to execute this in our busy lives. I will repeat what you know: get enough sleep, be kind to yourselves and others, eat regular meals with loads of fruit and veg, find nutritious foods that you actually enjoy eating, try not to drink too much alcohol bla bla bla. Yet being stressed and worried is also a BIG factor in weakening our immune systems. So, let’s not beat ourselves up too much and have some stress-busting fun instead. Here are my top 15 (food related) suggestions… enjoy!

1 Go to the supermarket and buy 2 or 3 items of food that you wouldn’t usually buy that are slightly out of your comfort zone.  If you feel in the sharing mood you can let me know what you got and whether this was a success or not… I’d love to hear about it. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2 Bake a lovely cake for someone you think deserves it.. your mother, your colleague, your friend, you.  If it doesn’t turn out well a) give it to them anyway, it’s the thought that counts or b) scoff the lot yourself, they’ll never know!

3 Make a meal plan for next week including some tasty and replenishing suppers. I’m thinking home made chicken soup with loads of veg in it.. I recommend the one in Good Housekeeping Express, my favourite after work recipe book at the moment.

4 Go out for a romantic meal with your partner or catch up with an old friend for lunch somewhere beautiful with a view… Ferny grove farm anyone?

https://www.fernygrovefarm.co.uk/coffee-shop

Photo by DESIGNbyJA on Pexels.com

5 Make a new cocktail .. (I do this every bank holiday) Find the recipe on the internet or buy a book such as The Little Book of Cocktails by Rufus Cavendish. Get some fancy coloured glasses from a charity shop to serve them in.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-little-book-of-cocktails/rufus-cavendish/9781849535854

6 Start digging your veg patch or think about starting one.  If this isn’t practical how about some herbs to grow on your windowsill?  Go retro with some cress?

7 Give your kitchen cupboards a thorough clear out and clean the shelves. Ditch the out of date stuff and think of ways of using up the other bits.  Have a little dance along to music on the radio while you do this.

Photo by Film Bros on Pexels.com

8 Cycle to the pub.. exercise and relaxation, this is my usual Friday night combination…11  mins there, 18 mins back due to the drunken weaving around.. ONLY JOKING! (This works for me as there is a cycle path all the way to the pub and I do not drink that much).

9 Go to the library and get some inspiring cookbooks. Invite friends and family round to try out a new recipe on.  Or share a takeaway with friends.  Or host a cheese and wine evening?  (I’m on a roll now, or is it a Ciabatta?  Ha ha).

Photo by Denise H. on Pexels.com

10 Turn your fruit bowl into award winning still life and draw or paint it, or take some artistic photos of it.  Enter your picture in The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition for a laugh, although you’ll have to wait til next year as entry for this year has now closed.

https://summer.royalacademy.org.uk/

11 Watch the film Julie & Julia.  Try to recreate the experience by obsessively following one cook book trying to rustle up every recipe within it.  I have already done this in the form of “Delia and Gail”. I did over 350 recipes from Delia’s complete cookery course from sauces to souffles to puddings. It definitely made me a better cook. Husband still raves about the crab soufflé.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

12 Get some proper fish and chips from the chip shop, preferably at a traditional British seaside town and eat them out of the greasy paper to the sound of the majestic waves. Ignore any big, fat, greedy seagulls. Ignore any thoughts about calories or cholesterol.

13 Go for a walk around your local neighbourhood taking a different route from usual.  Wear gloves (oops I nearly said wear clothes then!! Of course wear clothes unless you are a naturist and not in fear of being arrested). Wear gloves, pick up litter and put it in a bin bag.  Reward yourself with a big pat on the back and a nice coffee, tea, hot chocolate of your choice.

14 Run up and down your stairs 10 times followed by 10 star jumps.  Celebrate your efforts with a biscuit. If you can’t be bothered to do the first bit have the biscuit anyway, life is short! But only one mind you x

15 Start a food blog.  If I can do it with no training, so can you!  Follow your blog’s WordPress statistics with map showing where in the world your blog has spread. It’s like the Coronavirus map only a lot, lot happier. I am proud to say that TWW is already being viewed in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Israel and the Netherlands.  Spread world peace through food. ❤️👍

If feeling inclined to do so you can let me know in the Comments section below or email me what you did from 1-15 if any and how it worked out for you.  It would be nice if we could create a little community here on TWW.

Disclaimer: I am not paid to promote or link to anything shown on TWW.  If I recommend or link to a product or place this is my personal, honest recommendation. If you do something silly that I may have suggested please note you do so at your own risk and I will not be held responsible.. but I will probably send you lots of love and internet hugs to speed your recovery🤗 .

Happy St David’s Day

Hello and Happy St David’s Day from TWW (The Windsor Waffle).

I know daffodils would be more appropriate but these lovely camellias have just sprung into bloom in my garden today. When I saw the fresh pink buds next to the glossy green leaves earlier in the week my heart did a little jump for joy. Spring is coming, yippee!!

For those of you still craving a daffodil, here you go:

Daffodils are much harder to photograph as they keep bobbing about in the breeze. They seem to have an extra life of their own, like ladies gossiping at a bus stop. I think that Wordsworth knew what he was talking about!

Having “surveyed the estate”.. my garden is honestly not that big but we like to use such terms, I notice the veg patch is looking pretty sorry for itself. The wooden slats were bought from good old Mahjack’s, such a useful, old fashioned DIY store which us locals are sorely missing. The wood is now a bit rotten and the earth about to bulge out the sides like a fat belly escaping a skirt waistband. I intend to get this fixed soon by a local handyman so I can start planting my seed potatoes. We usually have Arran pilots which are really tasty with skins so thin they fall off with a gentle scrape under the kitchen tap. There are NEVER any spare potatoes to share with our friends and family; we gobble them all up ourselves.

The rhubarb is looking amazing already!

That’s a lot of rhubarb crumble for one person (husband does not like it). Luckily I really do love rhubarb and especially crumble. Any stalks I can’t make use of go to family and friends. My parents eagerly accept my red and green parcels of the same. I believe they freeze it which maybe I will have to try now that we have got a new, slightly bigger freezer. I am looking forward to filling up the freezer with some yummy stuff. Of course I will remember everything that goes in and use it all in the correct order… yeah right, unidentified half cooked dinners from goodness knows when here we come….!

Less is more

Hi blog followers, this is becoming my mantra for 2020… less is more.

Photo by Lovefood Art on Pexels.com

Simplicity in cooking, eating and living. Being a bit less busy when possible is more relaxing. I also feel that having less stuff accumulated in your house leads to a better quality of life.

After a massive clear out of my clothes about 6 months ago I am trying to create a streamlined capsule wardrobe. I have gone from over 300 items of clothing available for my everyday use to 90. My goal is to get this down to 50, although true capsule wardrobe experts seem to have some magic number of 37. Whatever, having less stuff on show in my wardrobe is really helping me to see what I’ve got, what I really like and where the gaps are with a few key items of purchase. I appreciate the items I have still got more and am getting better value for money out of them.

Enough about clothes! I use this just to illustrate where my head is at right now. A few delicious key ingredients can lead to a supper fit for kings just as an overly complicated recipe with more than 20 ingredients is perhaps not the most enjoyable way to spend one’s down time. That is what cooking is for me.. it is a down time zone. I can get completely absorbed in frying an onion, stirring a sauce or measuring out some flour. I find it a truly mindful activity and one in which only that moment counts until the whole adds up to something perfect on the plate. My food is not always perfection (ask my husband!) but the creative process is pretty neat as is the satisfaction. I think it is this that I wanted to share with you in starting my blog.

I have now written my first book review. The book appealed to my current “Less is more” vibe. Please check it out by accessing it via the book review link at the bottom of this page. I hope you enjoy it. 😊📘📚

Welcome to my blog!

Hello and a very warm, waffly welcome from Windsor.

That is Windsor, Berkshire, UK, home of the Queen in case you were wondering. But no, I don’t live in a wing of her Majesty’s castle.  

Just starting off with this blog… I am new to it all so please bear with me!  I hope you enjoy reading my content.