Thursday 1st Mar 2018

-7C, bright but cloudy, windchill and high humidity feels like -15. Still snowing gently, there’s about 1-2” on the ground.

There was a big fat NO vibe going on this morning. Just at the point of cold where you just want to stand still with a woolly hat and a scarf and lots of socks on and look out of the window and just watch the snow falling.

But.

Gotta start somewhere.

Coffee on.

Fire lit. (Tried my theory: if I aim about an inch to the right from where I actually want to hit the briquette with the axe, I hit my mark dead on! Haha)

Porridge cooked, kids fed.

Big blanket/duvet/cushion nest thing going on in the living room, some new Korean cartoon discovered on Netflix (Invincible Rangers? Something like that. Kids are relieved to discover we can have the audio in english rather than korean – not quite ready for that linguistic leap yet!) and all the kids leaping around raa-ing and being invincible rangers with power crystals and fighting the bad guys. Even Erika. She does a super pirate raaaar.

And for me, troubleshooting time for why my bread isn’t working properly: I read up on how to knock back dough properly after proving, and discovered that it’s that which is causing my bread to not be right. Basically it’s under-worked dough. But, it’s a school night tonight so no breadmaking today. I’ll have another go tomorrow.

Better feed the sourdough starter. It wasn’t looking too happy yesterday, but after today’s feeding it started bubbling away happily again – phew! It’s a wild yeast sourdough starter, brand new, but hopefully well worth the effort. I used to make cakes regularly using a sourdough culture, so I’m hoping that I can start that habit up again.

How to make a sourdough starter (Or if you’re local and don’t already have a sourdough starter, feel free to call round in a week or so when there will be babies available!)

And, since it’s not a bread day, I decided to finally make the cheesecakes I’ve been intended to make for weeks. Turns out the recipe in my notebook makes an ENORMOUS amount of cheesecake batter, so I’m going to have to make a second batch of biscuit crumb base for another round of cheesecakes! Can tell I’ve not made a cheesecake in a while huh. I rarely make actually useful notes on my scribbled recipes because if I’m using them at all I’m generally using them constantly (or at least fairly regularly) and always think nah, I’ll remember that!!

Cheesecake recipe:

8 crushed digestive biscuits (or equivalent)

50g melted butter

500g cream cheese

2tbsp plain flour

175g caster sugar

Few drops vanilla

2 eggs plus 1 yolk

140ml natural yoghurt (I used soya yoghurt as that’s what I had in)

Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Spread on the base of a 20cm springform tin and press down with the base of a glass. Leave in the fridge to set.

Beat the cream cheese with the flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs and yolk, and yoghurt until light and fluffy. Pour into the tin. (Now’s the time to drizzle with blackberry syrup!) Bake at 130C for 40 minutes and then check: it should be set, but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Turn the oven off and leave it to cool in the closed oven for two hours, then transfer to the fridge overnight (if you think you can!).

I wanted to make mini cheesecakes but evidently this much batter is too much for only three mini cheesecakes so I’ll need to make some more biscuit crumb bases. Tomorrow.

And it’s a school night! Slightly nervewracking when Steve messaged me having made it to the train station that his next bus, the one that’s only once every hour and the only one that goes out our way, doesn’t appear to exist on our usual travel planner app. And it’s late arriving. I did a bit of hunting after Erika decided to fall asleep and found the app that the local kids must use, that livestreams the bus locations so you can see immediately if there’s a delay (and where). Explains how, even if the bus is late, all the kids appear as if by magic mere moments before the bus appears over the hill in the distance.

Shame this app is only available via the danish itunes app store. Which we don’t have an account with. Gah. We have a bit of figuring out to do there.

But his bus did appear thankfully and for the first time in a while it wasn’t a mad frantic dash to school for me. Even had time for a bit of a play with double exposures while I was waiting for the bus, combining the views off to either side of the road at the bus stop!

This evening we did some more vocabulary work based on work / jobs, which incorporated telling the time and the way the syntax of a sentence changes when it follows a time based clause – d’you know what, I’m absolutely loving learning again. I’m even loving learning the grammar differences, and the way the danish speech patterns differ from english. It’s fascinating.

We also had a meeting during our break between lessons, to explain the new klipperkort system for the danish language course. It’s simple but frustrating, and both the school and students feel frustrated with parts of it. All the students who are here as self-supporting immigrants want to learn danish in order to be able to carry on integrating better into the society we are now living in: we don’t need any extra “motivation” to learn. Anyway. Too easy to get sidetracked. I have a module test to prepare for…

Back to the station afterwards – my friend Katya caught up with me as I was about to start my trek into the snow: “Jeni! I not in Ukraine any more, I give you lift to station!” Happy happy! She’s been away for what feels like ages, it’s been really quiet without her in class! We both agreed that the current weather is just painful though. It’s not super-cold with the moisture literally frozen out of the air like it is in Ukraine or like it was in my memories of Finland, it’s just really cold, and windy, and wet. This kind of cold hurts. By the time I’d walked from the station to the supermarket and back I couldn’t feel my cheeks, and my ears – through two hats and a scarf – hurt. Brr. But it was okay. I had a huge rum and raisin truffle marzipan chocolate egg thing to gnaw on while I waited for my bus!

Back home, the wind has been ripping the warmth away from the house and Steve’s had to use logs as well as briquette several times to keep the boiler temperature up. I have a reason to stay up late, because I need to keep feeding the fire until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer to make sure nothing freezes over with the added windchill. Hurrah – it’s crochet time!

And in case you were wondering, the mini cheesecakes were baked to absolute perfection…

My plan is to give the other two to the neighbours who have been over to welcome us, as a very small “thank you” something. And to give me the chance to see if any of them would be willing to come over on a regular basis to coach me through the verbal side of things!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    Love reading your stuff. Good job with the site btw, think you picked a stunning theme!

    Liked by 1 person

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