I wish I were one of those women who stopped eating when under stress. You know the type – those who eat like a bird, pick at a few carrots. They have snake hips and a slightly worried expression all the time. They talk about their ‘nerves’ a lot.
I am not that woman. READ MORE
Well, it’s still National Picnic week. Have you had a picnic yet? I think we can extend the deadline to include this weekend if you’re pushed for time.
A good picnic must have food that is both fun and delicious in my humble opinion. You can’t just pack up a standard cheese sandwich and expect everyone to get in the picnic mood. That won’t do at all. People expect excellent and imaginative sandwich fillings, some form of crisps and of course a scotch egg, a slice of pork pie, fresh berries (ie/’fun’ fruit) and a cake or flapjack of sorts. (I have never knowingly under-catered).
It was Lawrence’s first birthday today. My grandmother had two children in her early twenties and two in her thirties. She swore her forties were her favourite decade; I’m not sure what that says about early years child rearing back in the 40s/50s! Here are my observations and learnings from raising a baby from 0 to 1 in my mid thirties, the third time round:
Did you know it’s National Picnic Week? Now let’s not be all British and moan about the weather. I personally don’t give two hoots about how sunny it is when it comes to eating al fresco; I have been known to pack up warm soupy picnics for snowy sledging trips after all.
If the kids are crying that it really is too rainy then a carpet picnic is a perfect British alternative. Here are my ‘rules’ for a successful indoor picnic:
Food takes me back to places I physically can’t get to anymore. A plate of corned beef hash with lashings of HP Sauce and I’m 8 again, balancing a slightly too hot tray on my knee of a Saturday evening, watching Blind Date and wondering when I might be old enough to ask clever questions to potential suitors.
Lemony roast chicken accompanied by a very cold glass of Jacob’s Creek Sauvignon Blanc and I’m 17, playing house with my boyfriend and studying Delia’s Complete Cookery Course with the attention my A Level texts never quite got. And then there’s sausage and mash with salted butter beyond belief and sticky onion gravy; that is the taste of my university years. A plate piled so high us girls would have a little break halfway through, just to pace ourselves.
Sometimes crimping can be a step too far. All that pinching and pulling and pushing of the pastry. It sure is pretty, but it isn’t quick unless you’ve been making Cornish pasties for nigh on 60 years. Or maybe if you’re a master baker. I am neither. Sometimes I just don’t fancy preening pastry. But I often fancy pie. Enter the galette; a lazy person’s pie.
It’s half term, by today (it being Wednesday) the kids are probably starting to itch for something parent-inspired to do. I say put that Prittstick away! Save that jigsaw for tomorrow and instead get them making their own (and your) dinner. These three recipes provide lots of short term concentration span activities. There’s breaking an egg, there’s crumbling feta cheese, there’s measuring out herbs, there’s scrunching and shaping koftas. No time to get bored, oh no.
Then in the 20 minutes they take to cook there’s shredding (with supervision) vegetables, mixing up coleslaw and blitzing hummus. If your kids are anything like mine they love the opportunity to press the buttons of grown up kitchen equipment. Obviously, watch them like hawks. I know I don’t need to say that but I feel duty bound, in a Mum like fashion.
You can watch the recipe being made on ITV’s This Morning by clicking here.
So I overhauled the blog. Did you notice? Do you like it? I am still getting used to it. I may even write a whole blog post just on the reasons why. Like a kind of blog therapy. I do LOVE it, don’t get me wrong. I think it seems a bit whizzy and cool for me. Like when I bought a racing green, soft top car at the age of 27 and kept expecting someone to laugh in my face as I pulled up at the traffic lights. I got pregnant about 6 months later and swapped it for a Skoda so all was well in the world again.
So we’re moving. Yep, almost a year after we saw the house we fell in love with at first sight, the move date it set. I am in full denial mode at the moment. Boxes are mounting up from all our generous and helpful friends, but they remain unfilled. I want to have a huge life laundry style clear out, but it’s oh so hard with little ones. They just need (and want) so much stuff. Mostly plastic. And puzzles. We have a lot of jigsaw puzzles.
As a displacement activity for all this packing (or rather not packing) and blog makeover anxiety I’ve suggested I bake scones for the children’s sports day at school. Three days before we move. How stupid is that? I might make some of these too. They’re summery, no?
My university pals came to stay. We did that thing everyone does at Christmas with their family, where we all revert to our childhood script. Except we reverted to our young adult script.
I was always a young fogey, hating clubs and absinthe. So just like back in 1999, I sent organisational emails, picked people up from the railway station, called cabs and booked tables. I also cooked the food. I spent much of my free student time moaning that I was REALLY BUSY whilst avoiding bending the spine of the one book I had to read per week (yes, I studied English) by cooking big roast chicken dinners with all the trimmings. (Three types of potatoes anyone? Essential in my book).