Not mobile data
Not hooked up to my iPhone's frankly dodgy personal hotspot (the mobile signal is crap round here - may be I should start on them next)
Not parked in a lay by on the B3444, half a mile from the house, balancing my laptop on the steering wheel, watching the curtains twitch on the other side of the road..
Not drinking cups of coffee in Ty Croeso or The 25 Mile....
And much as the search for wifi added a little frisson to my day to day, and much as I enjoyed drinking cups of coffee, I cannot tell you how good it is to be here in the comfort of my kitchen using the internet.
And seeing how I am supposed to use the internet AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE in the first few days, to get the service established, I thought I'd knock up a quick post of all the stuff I haven't blogged, but wanted to, mostly because I was on the phone to BT...
Good Food has come up trumps recently. I haven't had much time to think about what to cook, and the last couple of issues has covered most things off quite nicely. From the March 2014 issue, I made a lush Beef Potato and Banana Curry - although for the 4 of us I reduced it all by half because there seemed to be an excessive quantity in the recipe, and I left out the potatoes. I was nearly stymied by the need for tamarind paste - oh to be back in the hallowed land of Hampshire where tamarind paste comes 10 a penny alongside wasabi, miso and anything else relatively exotic. Fortunately, one of my new friends pointed me in the direction of Go Mango in Cardigan, where I managed to nab the last sachet, and very glad I was too - the alternative appears to have been a trip to Fishguard... You might think banana in curry would be a bit yuck, and I was waiting for the protests or at the very least an "Is there [dramatic pause] BANANA in this?" but it didn't come and the curry and the cashew rice, plus some dahl disappeared gratifyingly quickly.
I've made the Maryland Chicken with creamed corn & bacon which went down reasonably well (although it was all a bit sweet). As an aside, the left over creamed corn made a very nice chowder for lunch.
I've also made the chocolate sponge with hot chocolate custard, and a version of the mango and coconut sponge, although I used pineapple...
We've been eating more fish recently, and we had trout on Friday - pan fried with bacon almonds and beetroot - utterly lush and washed down very nicely with the prosecco the Husband bought home. I recommend husbands who bring bottles of prosecco home. They are, as they say, worth their weight... And for something a little less showy, the pizza baked potatoes are good to have up your sleeve.
The February 2014 issue was also pretty good. Chilli beef with black beans and avocado salad went down well (I've made chilli hundreds of times, but it's always good to try a new way), and Ed Kimber's bagels were utterly brilliant dead easy and came out of the oven soft and chewy enough. Delicious with smoked salmon, and also with pastrami (we broke out one of the Husband's precious jars of home pickled gherkins for the occasion).
Herby chicken and butter bean soup went down well with the kids after school - the school lunches here have been a big hit not only from a taste perspective but also in terms of amount. Not one fairly insubstantial portion, but platefuls, and seconds too. As a result, on school dinner days, they don't need a huge amount for tea. For a pudding, healthy apple tart (which doesn't appear to be on the website - check out p60 of Feb 2014 Good Food if you've got it) which didn't quite have it as far as 'mouth appeal' goes, but was still pretty good.
Finally, the Battenberg. What can I say? It was blimmin' gorgeous, but 'easiest ever'? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a faff. Not the cake part, but the bit where you have to divide up your 20cm square cake tin, before you even think about the cake. It does say in the recipe that you can get a special tin at Lakeland (of course), but (of course) I chose the tried and tested silver foil, greaseproof paper and clothes pegs approach. Heath Robinson would have approved, but who cares, because everyone approved of the finished cake, even if it was a little wonky.
So there we go, I feel restored, and all up to date. Now, what's everyone else been cooking?