Dear blog

Dear blog,

I have not forgotten you; in fact I often think of you, as I crawl into bed at an early but necessary hour each evening, and feel guilty that I am neglecting you. The problem is, I don’t seem to have much to feed you with at present. I suppose I could shove you full of the blogging equivalent of pasta (blow-by-blow accounts of the minor deeds of my children). After all, many people enjoy pasta greatly. But other people find it palls after a while. I do have a couple of interesting pasta dishes on offer, comparatively speaking:

Penne regurgitati – a pungent dish, produced at about 2am most nights this week, followed by an unpleasant cleaning up and re-settling operation
Tortured tortellini – extended moaning by me about how little sleep we’ve had as a result of the regurgitating
Farfalle fluffi – fond, somewhat cloying musings on how gorgeous and delightful my boys are despite their ill-time digestive upsets, transcribing several amusing grammatical mistakes by Hugh plus Frank’s entire vocabulary (duck! doggie! milk! beer! tea! cook! pan! out! etc etc)

You don’t want any of those, though, do you?

I ought, if I could just find the energy, to be able to put together a quite spicy and, for this blog, unusual concoction of election commentary: not only is there shortly to be a general election (I have useful thoughts to share on why Eamon Gilmore really should get a new photo for his campaign posters) but at work we are to elect a new provost. Of the two elections I feel much more hopeful and engaged with respect to the second one. Our house-buying project also might become a source of sustenance; but, alas, our offer is still refused, and the agent hasn’t replied to my email asking if there have been any other developments. I hope this means there is no other offer, but I just don’t know.

So, dear blog, you’re on a bit of slimming diet. And, sadly, people like plump blogs – plump, funny blogs for preference. I shall just have to go on a gathering mission to find you something interesting to chew. Manufacture incidents on buses, that sort of thing. Apropos of which, one of my facebook friends has been in Tirana and has posted, in addition to lots of moody studies of graffiti and people in leather jackets, photos of each of his hands, covered in scratches and captioned “My hands after the Incident.” He won’t explain what the Incident was and I have no contact with him apart from facebook these days (we were graduate students together) so I imagine I’m not going to find out. I find this frustrating. I’d like to say it’s because I’m worried for him, but I’m afraid it’s mostly curiosity, and irritation that he should so deliberately arouse that curiosity and then refuse to satisfy it. I could take enigmatic photos and put them on the blog with mocking, confusing captions. Or I could mention the very scandalous expenses claim that was recently submitted to my School but that I’m not allowed to talk about. But I won’t do that. It would be annoying.

Much love,



5 thoughts on “Dear blog

  1. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    Oh my, oh my – [hysterical laughing] – (too old for blushes)
    I must stop laughing – brings on asthma.

    Anyone out there recognize why laughter must be in brackets?

  2. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    PS I tried a really excellent bread recipe on Saturday – perfect for dunking into stews and soups – and very easy to make – 8 loaves in under three hours.

  3. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    Moroccan bread is called khobz, and is characterized by a round, somewhat-flat shape and a slightly coarse texture. Although often referred to as flatbread, Moroccan bread is often a full inch thick when baked. The disc shape allows for lots of crust, which is ideal for dipping and scooping up tagines, salads and other Moroccan dishes.

    This recipe is for basic Moroccan white bread; use all-purpose flour or bread flour. Vary the recipe by substituting other flours for some of the white, or try the Moroccan Wheat Bread Recipe.

    Allow 1 hour rising time. Yields two 8″ to 9″ round loaves.
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes
    Total Time: 45 minutes

    * 4 cups white flour
    * 2 teaspoons salt
    * 2 teaspoons sugar
    * 1 tablespoon yeast
    * 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    * 1 1/4 cup warm water
    * additional flour for kneading
    * cornmeal, semolina or oil for the pan


    Prepare two baking sheets by oiling the centers, or by dusting the pans with a little cornmeal or semolina.

    Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the yeast.

    Add the oil and the water to the well, mixing to dissolve the yeast first, and then stirring the entire contents of the bowl to incorporate the water into the flour.

    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading the dough. If necessary, add flour or water in very small amounts to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Continue kneading for 10 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.

    Divide the dough in half, and shape each portion into a smooth circular mound. Place onto the prepared pans, and cover with a towel. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

    After the dough has rested, use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into circles about 1/4″ thick. Cover with a towel, and leave to rise about one hour, or until the dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.

    Preheat an oven to 435°F (225°C).

    Score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife, or poke the dough with a fork in several places. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool
    I used 1 cup rye flour to three cups strong white. It takes a little more water.
    And I tried the Dove Farm yeast for a change – it is streets ahead of any other yeast I’ve used over here.

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