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Stop for a moment and look - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Stop for a moment and look
I went for a lovely walk with Brith this morning. The day started dull with a huge dark cloud hovering over the house, but as we walked, the sky cleared and by the time we arrived back at Brith's house, it was a beautiful sunny spring day. If I had been a character in a novel, I would have accused the writer of indulging in pathetic fallacy. :) The change in the weather did actually match my mood and I really needed to get out of the house with some cheerful doggy company because yesterday evening was incredibly stressful. This was because G's new computer suddenly, and for no apparent reason, refused to connect to the internet. As he had desperately urgent work to do, some... er... shouting occurred and a lot of stressing. Eventually, the computer decided to work. Huge relief, but we're not quite sure what we did, other than switch it off and switch it off again, something that had failed to work several times previously.

Anyway... After taking Brith for a walk, I showered, washed my hair and finished making soup for lunch. I then felt much better and spent the afternoon productively installing more things on my own new computer (LJ Archive, printer software and iTunes). So I can now back up LJ, print things and listen to music. It found all my albums too, so that's another step nearer to having everything set up as I want it.

So I could only literally stop for a moment, but I popped out into the back garden where we have a golden path of celandines running down towards the woods that lie beyond the bottom fence.

Celandines in the garden

Regarding the aforementioned soup, I experimented with the haybox duvet cooking method. Basically, I didn't have time before or after I went to walk Brith to make the soup because it needed 50 minutes of simmering to cook the lentils and barley that I wanted to add to bulk it out. I suppose I could have put it in the slow cooker, but there wasn't long enough to slow cook it, so I'd have had to start it in the pan, transfer to slow cooker for the 90 minutes or so I was out with the dog, then transfer it back to the pan to finish off at a higher temperature. This would have meant hauling the slower cooker out of the cupboard upstairs and also created more washing up. So I thought I'd try wrapping it up to keep hot while I was out. I assembled the ingredients and boiled the soup for about 10 minutes before wrapping it in two thick towels and a spare duvet. It worked surprisingly well and was still very hot when I got back. It only took a moment or two to get it back to a good simmering temperature and it finished cooking in time to eat when G arrived back from his morning in the college.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

5 comments or Leave a comment
ritaxis From: ritaxis Date: April 23rd, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to cook a lot of soups and stews with this method, and now I wonder if I should start doing it again. Thanks for reminding me.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: April 25th, 2013 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm definitely going to try it again. It was quicker than hauling the slowcooker out of the upstairs cupboard and trying to make space for it on the crowded work top. It also only meant one pan to wash up.

I would think that if you wanted to completely cook something using that method, you could take it out every so often and give it another blast of heat and then wrap it up again.
(Deleted comment)
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: April 25th, 2013 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: LJ Archive?

I found LJ Archive a couple of years ago when LJ was having serious trouble with the DDoS attacks. This is the official page:


However, there is a slight problem with that version in that it will only archive the posts and not the comments. Someone fixed it here and this version is the one I use:


LJ Archive works equally well to backup DW posts too. It means you have a complete copy of your journal on your own computer and the search facility means that it's simple to track down that post you remember writing a couple of years ago, but have no idea exactly when you wrote it. :)
nutmeg3 From: nutmeg3 Date: April 24th, 2013 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never heard of the duvet method. It sounds so weird and yet also perfectly logical.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: April 25th, 2013 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I first read about the method in Baden Powell's Scouting for Boys. It's been used for decades as a way of slow cooking food and saving fuel. My use of the duvet was just using modern materials to improvise and achieve the same effect. Here's more about the method.


Here's a good article about someone who made a modern version out of an old cooler.

5 comments or Leave a comment