Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen… Spirulina. The Revenge. And now with added chia seeds Because it was just lacking a certain, frogspawny je n’est sais quoi. Exciting going in. Even more exciting coming out Sorry. Yum.
Youngest child has a new topic to research for school.
Mexico and the Aztecs.
Unfortunately, the opportunities for field trips to bring this particular topic alive are somewhat limited here in the depths of the Midlands.
And after spending several hours with her doing ‘research’ on Google, -which seemed to involve looking at countless pictures of guinea pigs wearing sombreros (yes, really), something a bit more hands-on and rewarding was needed.
If only to stop me prising my own eyeballs out…
So what is Mexico famous for?
And what better educational thing to attempt on a blustery January Sunday afternoon that Mexican hot chocolate?
Pour 500ml of milk into a pan and add 100g of grated plain chocolate, 2 tsp of vanilla essence and 1 tsp of honey.
Heat the chocolatey, milky mixture – but do not boil.
Mix 1 tbsp of corn flour with 4tbsp cold water.
When the chocolate has melted into the milk add the cornflour mixture to the pan and stir vigorously
Once the chocolate has started to thicken, pour into mugs, sprinkle cinnamon on top and serve.
And if you happen to have a Flake handy to dunk in the thick, hot, chocolatey gloop, well then, even better 🙂
Yummy and educational.
Well the Aztecs did believe that chocolate was a gift from the god of knowledge, and who are we to argue?
We invited 35 friends to the grand kitchen unveiling at the weekend.
Only, the weekend before this one? the kitchen wasn’t actually quite ready to be unveiled.
And neither was the living room, which we decided to start redecorating a couple of weeks ago.
Because that’s a great thing to do when you’ve got masses of guests due to come to the house very soon.
So it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of nailing, sawing, painting and papering over the last ten days.
But I think we made it.
Or at least we were able to strategically place furniture in front of the bits that weren’t quite finished.
I think we got away with it.
So Saturday was party day. A whirl of cooking and baking
And a lot more that I was too flappy to take photos of.
I make a very convincing headless chicken 🙂
A drizzly afternoon.
A houseful of children.
Tired children, after two days of kayaking.
The perfect excuse for some baking.
Butter ‘n’ spice biscuits
Take 400g of plain flour and sift it together with a teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of cinnamon.
In a separate bowl cream together 200g of caster sugar and 175g of butter
Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the sugar/butter mixture and mix in well.
Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and combine well
Divide the dough up into the same number of pieces as you have children to occupy, cover with whatever covering method you favour -bowl, cling film, tea towel – and place in the fridge for about 30 mins.
I did this bit before the kayaking so I could be smugly organised for once in my life (really must try that more often)(the organised bit, rather than the making cookie dough at silly o’clock in the morning bit).
Then, whenever noise levels/fractiousness/boredom levels get too high, produce the cookie dough out of the fridge (The loud “taaaa daaaaa” is optional), hand out rolling pins and cookie cutters and let the small creatures roll and cut to their hearts content.
splodges carefully cut out and arranged shapes on a lined baking tray
Then let the small creatures loose with icing and assorted doodahs to decorate the biccies to their hearts content.
The biscuits themselves are rather moreish. Buttery with just a hint of warmth from the spices.
If you can taste them through all the creativity piled on top.
Well, it’s traditional.
The schools break up for summer.
And so does the weather
Six weeks stretch out ahead of us.
Full of possibilities.
Last year I tried to be uber mom. In a fit of misplaced enthusiasm I got the kids to each write ten things they wanted to do over the summer on to small slips of paper and put them in a jar. We could then take it in turns to pick things from their wish lists and do them all over the summer.
They moaned, they groaned.
Oldest child had one thing on his list, which was “play with x”
Youngest child included a trip to Paris on hers.
Which wasn’t such a mad idea given we were going to France on holiday…
only, we were down near the Spanish border.
So this year there is still a list of fun things to do
But I’m writing it.
Sod family cooperatives, I’m changing it into a dictatorship.
Anyway, as we all know, mums are always right and have the best ideas don’t they. 🙂
Twenty Fab Things We Will Try To Do This Summer
I’ve tried oysters. We
forced encouraged the kids to eat snails in France last year. I feel the whole foodstuff as bogey experience will not be complete without the addition of winkles to the canon.
Which will no doubt end up the size of giant sausage rolls, but I feel it must be done.
We’ll be in the area for a week this summer, so it would be positively rude not to.
Every single day.
A new Caribbean restaurant has opened in Leamington. I’ve never eaten Caribbean food. Is this kismet?
Homemade Cherry Pie.
I will, yet again, face my arch-nemesis, pastry.
I will remember the televisual experience that was Twin Peaks
Beatrix Potter’s house in the Lake District.
I find the stories virtually unreadable, but the illustrations? Aaah.
during the candlelit procession to Our Lady of Walsingham. As someone who is slowly moving into agnosticism and possibly paganism, I will be out of my comfort zone here. A spiritual tourist?But I am in awe of people who have such faith, and I am always open to different routes to enlightenment.
The Tate Modern. Apparently, according to his Art teacher, oldest child needs to learn more about different schools of Art and different Artists. I did think that was one of the things they were supposed to teach them about in Art lessons at school – but what do I know? Anyway, we did visit the Tate Modern a few years ago, and did the obligatory “oh my god what is that?” . And, “ha! I could do better than that!”, so I think it could be time for a revisit. We will be cultured and appreciative this time. We will, honest.
The Leamington Gurdwara
is open for Heritage Open Weekend. I’ve been meaning to visit every year since it opened and failed miserably. This is the year I will do it.
English Heritage’s History Live festival of history.
A grand festival of reenactors and other historically minded people. And it’s today. And it’s raining.
geeks intellectuals 🙂
It’s summer. It has to be done.
That doesn’t involve me slamming into the wall and then slowly collapsing sideways like a felled tree trunk.
I bought the kit in a car boot sale over 15 years ago. This year I will actually have a go!
A picnic in the park.
In the rain if we have to.
And we might have to…
There are so many bits of our town we haven’t explored.
All the mini parks.
We will know our town by the end of the summer.
Well, it’s on the kindle, so not really borrowed, but this was on the recommendation of Tracey (hi Tracey!) so, sort of borrowed…:-)
No not that kind of blue.
Probably quite short then? 🙂
And finally, just so it makes the list up to 20, and I’m a bit OCD that way…
Something that’s been mouldering on my bookshelves unread for a while and I’d really like to stop it looking at me reproachfully every time I choose a different title to read.
It’s good to have a plan 🙂
It’s been a little while since I updated the blog.
Busy at work, busy at home. Stuff generally happening all over and all the time.
Less than a week till the schools break up for summer.
So much to do, so little time.
And I’ve been trying to do the mad Finnish woman’s diet.
You know, the “all sugar is evil” diet.
Which means I’ve been veering wildly from wanting to bite people’s heads off…
To wanting to lick their faces in case any vestiges of previously consumed chocolate bars may still be lurking there.
Yes, as you can see, I feel so much better.
But I will be strong. I will.
We just won’t count the three glasses of wine and piece of cake I had at the barbecue at the weekend.
Well, It would have been positively rude not to…
And life is made a little easier with this turning up today
Almost makes salad a pleasure 🙂
Much excitement in our local supermarket today.
The bald bloke sat at the table next to mine in Costa in Warwick Tesco today?
Turns out he’s the bald bloke from Masterchef.
In Tescos to do some filming.
Yep, that’s what I thought.
But then as I was wandering the aisles a la “Dawn of the Dead” a horrid thought occurred to me.
“What if it’s not Masterchef related but some awful “let’s peer in the average persons shopping trolley and comment on what they’ve bought” sort of programme?”
My shopping trolley, as a result, was a rainbow of healthy fruit and vegetables.
As long as you didn’t dig too deep. 🙂
The last two mornings I have got up early and gone for a run.
That noise you can hear? That’s the sound of people who know me falling over in a dead faint.
I don’t do running.
And as I was running around the park this morning I thought to myself
“I don’t DO running”
and then “why am I here?”
and then “I want to go hoooooommmmeee”
But, I’ve been reading recently.
and that can be a dangerous thing.
so according to this
Which makes me over 60.
But given the effect that 90minutes of Ashtanga on Friday followed by two early morning runs on Saturday and Sunday has had on my body, 95 would be a positively flattering estimate.
This can’t be good for you!
And then, and then, of course, is the ‘news’ that all sugar is evil, the work of the devil, and responsible for everything that is wrong in the world today.
So what is a girl to do?
Lavender and Honey Scones
No sugar (ahem) and it contains plant matter so it can count as one of your
five seven a day.
Take 375g self raising flour and sift it into a bowl. Take 2heaped teaspoons of culinary lavender flowers and grind in a pestle and mortar or blitz in a processor
Add the lavender to the flour and mix well.
Now add 2 tablespoons of runny honey and mix well, and then to this slightly sticky mix add 80g of butter. Use your finger tips to mix in until it resembles breadcrumbs
Add between 150-200ml of milk – add a bit at a time, you don’t want it too sticky, but also try not to overwork the dough or the scones will be heavy. Once the dough has come together, turn it out onto a floured surface and press down.
Cut out your circles and place on a baking tray. Brush with milk if you like.
I remember having Lavender ice cream when we were in Provence many years ago.
Sounds lovely doesn’t it?
Imagine eating frozen perfume and you get close to the experience.
These scones are not like that. The lavender is subtle and adds just a hint of fragrance to the scone.
They go very well with strawberry jam