Cheese, writing and other things

This evening’s write up of today’s edition has turned into an evening of getting lost in the wormhole that is the internet and making cheese. Yes, cheese. I got home from work, opened the fridge to get out dinner and remembered I needed to make cheese tonight. This particular delight is a yoghurt cheese from the Yeo Valley cookbook (a fantastic new buy, along with Ella’s Kitchen cookbook which is equally amazing and actually more practical – Harry and I have so far made four recipes in it to much success!). The cheese is basically a fresh cream cheese and is made by mixing 1.5kg natural yoghurt with 2tsp salt (or a proportion of; I used a 500g pot of yoghurt and it has made plenty!), popping it in a double-thick muslin lined sieve, then leaving it to drain in the fridge until it stops dripping. This takes about 48 hours, hence the I need to make cheese! Then, you form it in to balls and pop it into a sterilised preserving jar along with a selection of herbs, garlic, lemon zest, chilli flakes, you name it, and topped up with extra virgin olive oil. I used rosemary, peppercorns and chilli flakes. It tasted so good before it even went in the jar, but I now have to leave it to infuse for 24 hours before eating! It should keep for a good week which means I’ll be able to force it on my sister when she comes to stay at the weekend! I mean, what’s the point of making fancy weird stuff if you don’t get to show it off?! (I’d make it anyway because I’m getting a bit obsessed with the making bread, cheese, wine… well, that’s the next one!)

Anyway, it has been a productive day writing so I can forgive myself for not writing up tonight. I am down to my last four chapters – which is actually only three chapters as I have done the last one already! I am struggling with a particular scene which no doubt will be left until last at this rate. It is not the most important scene in the grand scheme of the book, but in reality (meaning the grand scheme of the ‘however many books there end up being in this series’) it is very significant. I have dreamt about this scene. I can see it happening step-by-step in my head. I know every detail of what it would be like if, say, it was on screen, but trying to write the blasted thing? Not happening. Probably hasn’t helped that my muse for the character in this scene was dancing around in the café yesterday taking no notice of the general public. And was doing weird things with the fan trying to get cool. Plus, she’s too nice and this particular character isn’t!

People at work have started asking me a lot more about my book lately. It’s nice, although a bit weird. I say ‘I’m writing a book’ and they say ‘What’s it about?’ and I say ‘It’s a fantasy’ and then I don’t really know what else to say. The people who have known for a while what I’m doing (those who have actually been bothered to ask – not that I’ve been surprised by who has taken an interest) have started changing their tune with their questions. I think they must be thinking I should be done now. Or at least, that’s how I’m reading it because I am thinking I should be done by now. (End of this week, end of this week.) But they’re asking if they’re able to read it and if they can get signed copies when it’s published. I’m glad of their support, but this is why it has taken me so long to get serious about writing a book. It’s not the writing, the editing, the end product of ink and paper all bound together; it’s what happens after all that. Now, I’m not expecting the moon, but I know at the minimum family, friends and people who know me that actually give a damn are likely to read it and they will comment with their compliments and their criticisms, and then there will be the things they don’t say. And that for me is the hardest part – not what strangers think, but what my nearest and dearest think. I’ve gone through life trying to do my best and there are times when my best never feels good enough, but just this once I want them to see me, see what I am capable of. I know this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I hope these people will be able to see what I have achieved and be proud of me even if they think it is a pile of rubbish (of course, I hope they don’t really think it’s a pile of rubbish).

So, it’s a busy couple of weeks ahead of me. I have seven scenes still to edit and I will really have to push myself to get this all done by Friday, but if the words aren’t flowing I’ll just have to deal with it. Friday afternoon is also out as I’m going to a garden party to welcome the new union exec. However, I still have the evenings too as James is away. Then on Saturday night my sister is coming to stay for a couple of days which is going to be great! Weather permitting we’re going to picnic and BBQ, and on the Monday Harry is at nursery so I’m going to take her to the new deli which she will love as much as I do. Then, on Tuesday, Harry and I are going to my Mum and Dad’s for a week, which is going to be just as good! While there I am going to print off everything and read through, but I don’t want to do anymore than that as that is my much-needed relaxation time! When I get back I have the odd day’s holiday when Harry is in nursery so that can always be writing time if necessary although I really want to use that to get cracking on my synopsis.

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2 thoughts on “Cheese, writing and other things

  1. Well firstly I didn’t realise that making cream cheese was so straightforward! I love cheese and that sounds like it’d be right up my street 🙂

    You must be so pleased that the end is in sight with your editing! I don’t think people realise the work that’s involved with writing a book so they think it’s a lot easier than it is. I’m very secretive when writing/editing, and only my mum and boyfriend know what I’m doing (other than the people reading my blog and Twitter, which I understand could be anyone! The difference is, other writers “get” what’s going on). So you’ll finish when you finish, and that’s fab 🙂

    When the time comes to write your synopsis, you might find this book helpful: Write A Great Synopsis by Nicola Morgan (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Write-Great-Synopsis-Expert-ebook/dp/B006ZA88Z8)

    And even though I went the self-publishing route, if you would like a second opinion on anything, you know where I am 🙂

    • I have two recipes for cream cheese – this one was by far the simplest, the other I need rennet and a thermometer for. As far as my ‘dairy’ making is going I’m sticking to the things I don’t need to go out and buy equipment for just yet!

      I’ve always been very secretive about writing too, but I haven’t been able to get away with it at work. When I’m scribbling away for at least an hour before and after work questions start getting asked! I would go somewhere else but its a waste of my writing time getting there when I just have to come back to get Harry from nursery.

      Thanks for the book suggestion – I really don’t have a clue where to start. I’ve done some brief research but it got a bit muddly.

      Second opinion sounds great, thanks! 🙂 I don’t think publishing route matters in general; as writers we can still all learn so much from each other.

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