Darn it! There was a lot of “darn it!” being said by me the week before last - from the Friday through to the following Tuesday morning.. I do admit my “darn its’ were uttered using more descriptive adjectives, though. I’m sure you get my drift without my being more descriptively descriptive.
Darn it! Sometimes "Darn it!" just doesn't cut the mustard!
I had computer problems. When I have computer problems magically the air turns blue. I was steaming. In actual fact, as it turned out, my computer wasn’t at fault, Microsoft was. But no matter what was at fault, I couldn’t get into my tower. I was forced to use my laptop and I hate using my laptop. I bought the laptop purely to be a back-up for when or if I had a problem with my tower. It’s never used otherwise. For a woman my hands are quite large; too big for comfortable use of my laptop keyboard. For example, the distance between the tip of my thumb and the tip of my little finger when my hand is extended is a little over nine inches (a little over 23cm).
For the record, I freely admit I have little patience when things go awry. And, on the Monday things did go even further astray when the damn laptop decided to play silly buggers and go out in sympathy with my PC! When that occurred its bad behaviour caused the air around here to turn from blue to deep purple!
Fortunately, Kyle, my computer man has more patience than I have. To the rescue, like a knight in shining armour he came. I was about to fix the problem with a sledgehammer, but, clever Kyle sorted both problems out for me....just in time!
Does anyone darn these days? I bet the majority of the younger generations have no idea of the true meaning of the word “darn”, let alone give a darn about not knowing.
To be honest, many years have passed and much water has flowed under and over many bridges, and many yarns have been spun since I did any darning. I’ve a good memory, but darn it, I can’t remember the last time I darned anything. I don’t envisage darning in the near or distant future, either. I think the art of darning probably faded into oblivion about the time my generation hit the scene and started kicking up our heels.
My Nana darned. Mum did, too. However, because Mum went outside the home to work, most of the darning chores fell within Nana’s jurisdiction. When our socks and underwear got holes in them, out came the yarn and darning needles. Wearing darned or mended clothes wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but discarding perfectly good items that only required minor repairs to bring them back to scratch was. Wearing holey clothes on a Sunday or any other day just wasn’t done.
When a hole was spotted it was time for the darning needle and yarn to do their job.
To be classed as a good darner was quite an honour. It was something about which to be proud. Often, to the naked eye, one couldn’t tell if an item of clothing had been darned such was the expertise shown by the person waving the needle.
Darning is another past skill that has disappeared in today’s “throw-away” society. Maybe I’m wrong and am making an umbrella statement.
I have a set of darning needles sitting here in one of my desk drawers. I’m darned if I know why because I’ve never used them to darn my drawers, or anything else for that matter.
One needle out of the pack has been used a couple of times in an effort to get my disc player to open on my computer tower. Kyle, my IT fellow taught me how to do that; and it worked.
You never know - the rest might come in handy one day. I’m a prime example of the “be prepared” mob. I’m not sure what it is I’m prepared for, but prepared I am, nevertheless.
I’ve admitted I let off a bit of steam every now and then; and this brings me to the subject of steam puddings.
Once upon a time, in a world long gone, but not forgotten, steam puddings were regular features on our family’s dinner table, particularly during winter months. Nana, the darner, was the maker of our steaming steam puddings, too. Warm custard always accompanied the hot puddings, seldom cream, and never ice cream.
Does anyone make their own custard these days - not the commercially-made custard, poured from a carton variety? When I was a kid it was always custard made with custard powder; or, when eggs and time were plentiful, custard prepared with milk and/or cream and egg yolks at a consistency for easy pouring when easy pouring was called for. Custard was a huge part of our dessert fare.
Darn it! Now I’ve talked myself into it! My taste buds have been alerted and are telling me (ordering me) to make a steam pudding and a jug of hot custard for my lunch!
The temperatures have dropped here over the past few days...so it’s time to make steam puddings while the weather is cold – a small window of opportunity. Too bad about making hay when the sun shines...the wind is too chilly to be outside doing such a foolish thing!
Walnut Pudding with Date & Ginger Sauce: Combine 250g ground walnuts, 1/4tsp mixed spice and 1c caster sugar; beat 4 egg yolks; gradually add to mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gently fold into mixture. Grease and line base of 5-cup pudding basin or 8 individual moulds; fill with mixture. Cover with greased, pleated foil; secure with string. Place a rack in large pot. Fill pot with boiling water to halfway up mould; cover pot tightly; steam 1-1/2hrs for large pudding; 45mins for individual. Melt 60g butter in pan; lightly cook 100g whole walnuts until golden; add 1-1/2tsp kirsch; cool. Unmould pudding to cool slightly. Sauce; combine 1/4c redcurrant jelly, 2tbs orange juice, 1/4c dry white wine and 1tsp brown sugar; boil in shallow pan over high heat until coating density. Add 1/4c fresh dates, thinly sliced and 2tsp glacế ginger; simmer 1-2mins. Serve pudding with sauce, whipped cream and walnuts.
Fig Pudding with Mandarin Butter: Combine 250g finely chopped dried figs, 1c sifted plain flour, 125g finely grated suet, 2c fresh breadcrumbs, 1tsp baking powder, 1/2c caster sugar, 1/4tsp nutmeg and pinch of salt. Beat 2 eggs in 200ml milk; stir into fig mixture. Grease and line base of 5-cup mould; cover tightly with foil; tie with string; steam as for Walnut Pudding, 2-1/2hrs. Mandarin Butter; rub 4 sugar cubes over skin of 4 mandarins until cubes have absorbed the colour and flavour. Beat 120g unsalted butter until soft and creamy; add 1/3c caster sugar; beat until fluffy. Crush sugar cubes; add mandarin juice and 2tsp Curaçao; mix well. Unmould pudding; serve immediately with whipped mandarin butter.
Vanilla Butter Pudding with Rosella Glaze: Grease a 5-cup pudding basin or 8 individual moulds; line base/s with baking paper. Cream 175g butter and 1c vanilla sugar intil light and fluffy. (Store a vanilla bean in a jar of caster sugar for at least 2-3 weeks before using; top up with more sugar as needed). Add 1-1/2tsp vanilla essence and 3 lightly beaten eggs; beat thoroughly. Fold in 1-3/4 cups plain flour, sifted with 1-1/2tsp baking powder, alternately wih 250ml milk. Gently spoon mixture into mould/s. Cover tightly with sheet of greaseproof paper, which has been pleated to allow for the pudding to expand, and greased foil; secure with string. Place a rack in a large pot (or a roasting pan for small moulds). Fill with boiling water to come halfway up mould, lower pudding in; cover tightly and steam 1-1/4hrs for large pudding or 3—35mins for individual moulds. Replenish with boiling water as needed to maintain level. For Glaze: Combine 1-1/2c fresh rosellas with 3/4c sugar, 1tbls redcurrant jelly and 1/2c water; stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 45-50 minutes or until rosellas have softened. Rub through a fine sieve; return to saucepan; add 1/3c fresh rosellas. Swirl to coat the rosellas evenly and to warm through. Add a little extra water, if necessary, to achieve a shiny coating glaze.
Unmould pudding/s; serve immediately with the glaze.
Easy Egg Custard: Heat 570ml milk, 55ml cream and 1/2tsp vanilla to slow simmer. Vigorously whisk 4 egg yolks, 30g caster sugar, vanilla and 2tsp cornflour; pour milk into eggs, whisking. Return mixture to pan; stir until thickened.