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How to kind of do NaNoWriMo

Honestly, don’t take advice from me.  I haven’t a clue. I started out on the ol’ NaNoWriMo bandwagon, and astonishingly I was doing pretty well — not only did I find myself ahead of the curve, but I actually liked what I was writing (well, not all of it, but that’s okay too).  And then work got busy. And I got tired.  And, well, other things came up.  Things like:

1. Baking banana bread!


I love making banana bread (well, it’s really a cake — there’s nothing bready about it, not even the shape, but “banana bread” just rolls off the tongue, so let’s go with that): I used to work as a cook in a childcare centre, and I made banana muffins about once a week, and developed a feel for how extra-simple cake mixes go together.  I tend to make banana bread by feel alone. It’s one of the few baking recipes that I do this way, and it makes me feel like a tremendous clever clogs.


Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs and spices and vanilla, mash your banana in, etc. etc.  I’m not going to write out the whole thing here: the internet is positively groaning with recipes for banana bread.

Suffice to say, delicious:


Fluffy, moist, not too crumbly, delicious. I am pleased.  Made the house smell good.

2. Making some chai syrup!


Okay, I acknowledge that this photo could be damn well anything — simmering monkey goulash to feed my ravenous carinvorous rhinocerous or something. But it’s not: it’s chai syrup and you’ll just have to take my word for it. Steeped black tea, brought to a rolling boil with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, honey and ginger in it and then boiled until it reduces down to a thick syrup.  For six teabags and about a litre of hot water, I probably have about a quarter of a cup of syrup, rich and intense and completely delicious in hot soy milk.  Love it. This too made the house smell good.

3. Making bagels!  I did not photograph this process, because, while beautiful and poetic to me, I recognise its limited potential for photographic fascination for others (especially at my inept hands). I often think it would be lovely to be able to use photography to convey the subtle, exciting glow of rising dough; to really show the firm, silky texture of a good dough — a dough that will be springy, robust, and rise magnificently.  I can’t quite take a photo yet that really shows how smooth and rounded the bagels become while they undertake their second rising on the warm spot on top of the fishtank, where they become discrete little bagels-to-be, plump and smooth, light and firm, and ready to be boiled in water before being eggwashed and baked.  Damn, I make mighty fine bagels.  They’re fantastic. I wish I had one right now, but the kitchen’s waaaaay over there.

4. Have you forgotten about NaNoWriMo yet? I totally have.  I’ll be over here, stuffing myself with banana bread, chai and bagels with banana bread and chai on them and not writing a thing.

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