If you are here for Totie’s Zucchinni Walnut Bread / Cake recipe please proceed to the end of this post.  If you are here for a glimpse into the deranged world of someone who has a serious clutter problem, please read on. 

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Bishop Brennan (aka Heather) staged another intervention this week.  Regular readers will know that I have embarked on a Marie Kondo inspired “festival of tidying” in an attempt to rid myself of serious clutter.  This has been going on since February and I’m pleased to announce that since my last mention of it, I have tackled my paperwork.  NINE BIN BAGS of paper have left the building.  I am very pleased with that.  Everything that is left, is on my desk for a second pass.  Pretty good.

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Heather decided that she would assist me with the next phase.  The “scrabble bags”.  Heather invented this term when I stayed with her once.  These are bags of various shapes and sizes that will contain a vast amount of bits and bobs that don’t actually bear any relation to each other.  These are the bags that are scrabbled around with on a regular basis when looking for something…  Anything….  Heather is very fond of relating the story of when she had to go to the local police station to pick up a scrabble bag that I had accidentally left in the street once.  A kind person had handed it in to the police station.  I hadn’t missed it at all, until they notified me a few months later, that they had something that belonged to me.  It turned out that not only my hairdryer and lots of bank statements were in it, but also my passport.

I am putting up photos of this process partly to persuade anyone else in my position to take the step to start decluttering, and partly to publicly SHAME myself into never getting into this state again.

Here are the scrabble bags after “swarming” on the top of my sideboard.  Bishop Brennan has prepared the lounge floor for intense scrabble action by laying out newspaper.

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Here’s part of the contents of 7 scrabble bags, all emptied out onto the floor in a Kondo style begging the question: “Does this bring me joy?”  Answer, no.

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Disgraceful!  So seven bags of miscellaneous nonsense were systematically gone through.  Some things did bring me joy, like this:

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A Shellac Sisters envelope that had £60 in it…  There was another £23.67 in loose change amongst the bags… 

Some things wouldn’t bring anybody any joy:

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an empty bag for a “Surge Protector” whatever that might be.  Many other items of a much more shameful nature were thrown away, two whole bin bags full in total, lovely!  Heather was very firm about things like this:

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which has great sentimental value (I bought this when the pair of us went on a little mini-break to Budapest).  She couldn’t get a flame out of it, therefore it was BINNED.  Farewell, reminder of a legendary drunken night out on the town!  She is brutal.  I had better get a date in the diary sometime, so she can help me tackle the clothes…

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That, I’m afraid, is the tip of the iceberg where clothes are concerned…  That is probably about 1/5 of the clothes I have.

So, anyhow, I am currently feeling good about chucking away more junk, and making space in my head for more cooking.  Here’s Totie’s recipe for a very good courgette / zucchini cake.  It makes 2 so you can freeze one, or give one to a friend!

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Totie Fields’ Zucchini Walnut Bread

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 and 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose (plain) flour

3 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (courgettes) = about 3 medium

1 cup walnuts, ground

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (160 C, gas mark 3).  Grease two 8 inch x 4 inch or six 5 in ch x 3 inch loaf pans generously with shortening (Trex or butter).  Line the bottom of each pan with waxed paper and grease that.  Combine all the ingredients except the flour, zucchini and walnuts in the large bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat for about 2 minutes until well blended, scraping side of bowl often with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the flour until blended, then fold in the zucchini and walnuts.

Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared pans.  Bake on the centre rack until a wooden toothpick inserted in centre of loaf comes out clean and the centre feels firm to the touch.  This will be about 1 hour and 15 minutes for the large loaves and 1 hour for the small.  Let cool 5 minutes in the pans, then turn out on racks to cool completely.

To prepare in advance: When the loaves are cool, wrap them airtight in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.  May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  For best flavour, serve warm.  Heat the bread wrapped tightly in foil in a 300 degree oven until it is warm through.  Served with whipped cream cheese if desired.

Thanks Totie!  And thanks Heather!  If you have a friend who can help you declutter, who won’t be horrified by your disgusting scrabble bags, get them over.  We had fun.

Totie

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