IN THE COTTAGE KITCHEN

courgette orange poppy seed cake

On this Friday morning, we decided to sleep in. There was no run. However, I quickly dressed and accompanied him to Vivo, the local convenience shop, for the daily baguette run. We needed diced tomatoes for spaghetti sauce as well. And milk.

There were four freshly-baked baguettes in the basket. Apparently there is an oven in the back of the store where the shopkeeper bakes the bread every morning. My boyfriend took all four plus two croissants. We needed sparkling water as well but the cashier informed us they had none now but they will at 14,00h when the supply truck arrives.

After breakfast I cleaned up the dishes and took a short break before stepping back into the kitchen. As I sat on the couch in the living area near the door to the kitchen, I saw my boyfriend go in. Deciding to start baking my cake, I gave him that look. The look which said 'this is my kitchen, I need you to leave'. He got it and left. 'You don't like anyone being in the kitchen with you, do you' he asked. I did not need to answer.

He stayed in the bedroom long enough for me to make potato leek rosemary soup and put the small courgette orange poppy seed cake in the oven. Whilst the cake was baking, I made us sandwiches, cut up vegetables and an apple, and made the table. Five minutes before the cake was ready I walked into the bedroom and asked him if he was hungry. He was and he joined me in the kitchen for lunch at the large dining table.

'Now I see why you like being in the kitchen by yourself' he exclaimed as he walked in to a table filled with healthy foods and a cake cooling on the counter. We both agreed that the large cottage kitchen makes it easier for us to want to be in the kitchen as both of our kitchens back home are anything but inspiring.

Though his kitchen in Ennis is filled with natural light, it can hardly fit two people. My kitchen in Austin, on the other hand, is dark and slightly larger than his. With my not using the dirty, old kitchen cabinets in the rental house, my dishes and other items are strewn about in boxes waiting for the next move. The dishes which I use on a daily basis I keep on the counter by the refrigerator.

Whenever I wish to make something requiring a piece of equipment packed away, it becomes too much of a bother to navigate through the stacked boxes and dig through random paper bags filled with ingredients not able to fit in the pantry. Therefore, I end up rethinking my time in the kitchen and opting for something simple as bread with peanut butter and honey or rice and pasta dishes when the children are staying with me.  

I returned to the couch in the living room after lunch long enough to find a recipe for palacinke. I could not remember the last time I made these Croatian crepes except that I made them once in the old house when the children were much younger but I remember them well from my childhood. My favourite version was one made with a cottage cheese mixture rolled inside each crepe and layered in a casserole dish to be baked in the oven. Today's version was accompanied by the plum jam I made and caster sugar with lemon zest.

On a rainy day like today, I wished the wood burning fireplace in the living area was in use. When we saw photos of the cottage on HomeAway's site, we pictured evenings sitting by the fireplace reading our books whilst cuddled up on the sofa. It was only after we arrived here that we were told the fireplace was now purely decorative. We were disappointed and felt this was something which should have been disclosed in the description on the site.

rain on window

At 14,30h he returned to Vivo for the bottles of sparkling water. When he walked in the door, he replayed the conversation he had with the shopkeeper. 'How many baguettes do you need for tomorrow' asked the shopkeeper as we took all four that were on display this morning. By now she had noticed we end up taking all of the baguettes she sets out every morning.

'What time do you need them' she continued. Since we planned on going to Belfast tomorrow, he told her we would need four Sunday morning. She agreed to have four ready for us at 09,00h on Sunday. In a village where customers are few, shopkeepers make sure to take care of those who support them. This was certainly the case today as we knew something like this was unlikely to happen where we lived.

We sat down for the palacinke at 16,00h though we ate less than two hours prior. We ate three each and saved the rest for after dinner along with half of the cake I baked after breakfast.

palacinke

Seeing how we spent most of the rainy day indoors, my boyfriend suggested we go outside for a walk. It was cold, dark, and windy and he had doubts about his 'crazy idea' to go out at such a time. We bundled up and walked to the end of the village and back. I told him his idea was not crazy as it was good to be out in the fresh, though cold, autumn air. Once back at the cottage, the room we thought felt cold before we left now felt much warmer.