Cherry Clafoutis

This is the first clafoutis I ever made. Traditionally, clafoutis are made with cherries, but other fruits can be used. Also traditional for this French dessert is not pitting the cherries. I did, though. Spitting out cherry pits can be great fun, but it’s not really a dining table activity.

I based it on two different recipes; the one in Joy of Cooking and one from Cook’s Illustrated. (Unfortunately, I didn’t write it down, so I can’t replicate it here.) On the recommendation of Cook’s, I added cinnamon, which has one of the same chemicals as the cherry pits I removed. So you get the flavour without the broken teeth! Huzzah.

I thought it would be smooth and custardy, but it was firm and eggy. It was actually rather like bread pudding, without any bread.

If I made it again:

I think it would go very well served with whipped cream.

I would take it out of the oven sooner and see how that affected the texture.

 

Sometimes

Sometimes I feel really helpless. Of course, most people are helpless to some degree–no one has complete control over his or her own life. But being completely unable to rely on the reactions of one’s own body is a helplessness like no other.

Boo. Hiss.

*ahem*

Feeling awful is terrible (imagine that!) but not knowing why can make it even worse. Some people get understanding doctors and supportive family, and some don’t. To everyone with a chronic illness who doesn’t have a diagnosis: I’m sorry. I hope medical science advances rapidly and provides you with answers. And maybe also makes us all into cyborgs.

Even with a diagnosis, a sudden change from normalcy to constant sickness must be devastating. I’ve had CFS so long that I don’t remember what not having it is like, emotionally or physically, but it still devastates me sometimes. But who can you rail against? This thief of life can’t be reported.

But now that the internet is a thing, we can find each other. Someone understands. Someone cares. And that someone is me.

The old bacon and e.

Tomorrow will mark my first three weeks on the ketogenic diet. I will show my journey using pictures of Bertie Wooster (as portrayed by the inimitable Hugh Laurie).

First, I will describe the diet: you eat lots of fat, protein, and vegetables. Very specific vegetables, though. Spinach and broccoli and such. The greener, the better. None of this carrot and corn business, as least to start out with. Nor any fruit, bread, or pasta . . .

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Bertie captures well my reaction at realizing what this diet will involve.
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No . . . pasta?
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It does indeed, Bertie. Right away from one’s watering mouth.

So what is all of this in aid of? Well, it’s a good diet for weight loss (you don’t get hungry either–not with all the bacon and eggs you’ll be scarfing down). But that is not my primary reason for trying it. It is supposed to be a ‘low-inflammation diet’, and I have a lot of inflammation, and therefore, pain.

So far, I am not noticing a significant decrease in pain. But I’m (mostly) willing to give it a fair try.

And as much as I miss toast and apples, I love drinking whole milk with cream poured in. Yes, you read that correctly. It is delicious.

bertie-wooster

 

What do you do . . .

when you have the flu?

I think I may be coming down with something. It can be hard to tell, though. Are these the usual aches and pains, or a special, more different kind? Exciting questions for a full and adventurous life.

I have to decided to (try to) ignore the part of my brain that insists if I don’t do something useful RIGHT NOW I am a useless lump of . . . myself? Not really sure where that metaphor was going. Clay, possibly.

But I need to save up my energy and not push it, because it is Thanksgiving next week, and I want to be able to make pie. Three kinds! Currently, my plans are to make pumpkin (not my favourite, but a classic), chocolate pudding (yum!), and apple (another great fall pie). I may cut back if I find I don’t have the energy.

So, I will be resting. I am reading The Luminaries (about the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand–I didn’t even know they had a gold rush! *embarrassed*). I want to listen to Christmas music, but I am forcing myself, as always, to wait until after Thanksgiving. (I am curious though, about when the rest of the world ‘starts’ Christmas–in some stores, of course, it seems to be August).

Other things I like to do when sick, depending on how bad it is:

hand work (embroidery, cross-stitch)

watching favourite TV shows

listening to audiobooks

sleeping! of course

So, two questions: what is your favourite kind of pie, if any, and what do you do when you’re under the weather?

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A picture of one of my Christmas cactus blooms. It obviously doesn’t realize it’s getting ahead of itself, but I don’t mind.

What goes around comes around

As winter approaches, here in the northern hemisphere, I find myself once again confronted with the problem of Very Cold Hands. Circulation: not just for newspapers.

This year, I was determined not to suffer through another season of cold and aching hands, my fingers stiff and my skin painfully dry.

But the thing about hands is, you need them for just about everything. You can’t just swaddle them in socks and slippers, like your feet. They’re going to have to come out at some point.

So, gloves were not quite what I was looking for. But maybe fingerless gloves . . . to the internet! To research. And I found a great solution: fingerless gloves that turn into mittens!

So far, I am very pleased with them. I can type in them, and use my phone. They are good for outside wear, but I can also wear them in bed (if I’m too cold, I can’t fall asleep. I tell my body this is nothing short of self-sabotage, but it doesn’t listen). Unfortunately, they aren’t available on Amazon–I got mine from Target.

Lie down and die

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So, many of you have probably felt this way, or even done exactly this. Is it not a childhood rite of passage to collapse upon the floor and express disgruntlement with everything and everyone?

But sometimes, when you have a chronic illness, it’s less funny and more . . . descriptive of daily reality. But if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right? So all I can do is pray my sense of humour never deserts me.

 

Revolution

(That’s a misleading title. The only revolution discussed within this post is that of my feelings about pie. Do you feel let down? If so, why? Would you like to join me in a real revolution of some kind?)

When I was a little kid, the only kind of “pie” I would eat was an ice cream bar called Eskimo pie. I remember being fed one when I was very young, probably not even in school yet, because I had a very¬†high fever. That’s one way to get your treats, kids!eskimopie_blog

When I turned nine, I asked for a rhubarb pie instead of cake, because my dad like rhubarb pie and I wanted to be like him. I don’t much remember my reaction to it, but I don’t think I was particularly enthused.

Later, I took a liking to lemon meringue pie, my favourite part being the meringue, and my least favourite (and often uneaten) part being the crust. As soon as I had a taste of chocolate pie, I was on board with that too. In fact, it became a tradition for me to order chocolate satin pie from Marie Callender’s every year for my birthday dessert.

In my early teens, I started baking, and lemon meringue pie was one of the first projects. I was surprised to discover that I now preferred the lemon to the meringue (I now love lemon-flavoured desserts passionately). Eventually, I even learned to enjoy eating pie crust (my own pie crusts, anyway. Yes, I am a baking snob).

At this point in my life, I have made and eaten all kinds of pie, having long since left behind my pie-despising ways. Pie-making could be said to be its own reward, but I don’t just enjoy consuming it–delighting other people with my desserts is something I love.

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Pies I made on Independence day a few years ago. On the left, cherry; on the right, straw-berry rhubarb.