Monday, 25 February 2013

So, I missed Parents Evening...

Random day, really.  Didn't go as well as anticipated, to be honest. Spongebob to Squidward ratio 2:98.

The course was good.  Lovely mix of people, once again.  Small group of 8, had a good laugh, some people with similar problems, some with far worse.  Will be interesting to see how this one goes.

This has been the icing on today's cake, for me... Eldest son...

I don't know what a MOAB is.  I don't care either. 

In other interesting news today... I planted some Jalapenos, Habaneros and Tomatoes.  My autistic son's teacher informed my husband - oh, guess what, she didn't know he was autistic.  Quelle bloody surprise!  History repeating itself there!  And the boy himself just yelled 'BOTTOM FEEDER!' at me when I came up the stairs.  THEN had the audacity to ask me what it meant.  Handy life lesson - find out what something means BEFORE you use it as an insult and not vice versa!

I'm off to listen to some nice relaxing 'Sounds of Nature' on my MP3 player, see if that calms me down.  Because certainly the bloody wine didn't work!

Flappy Bum - out!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Recipe - Coronation Chicken

Another of Mr G's requests - I haven't made this for ages, and definitely not since we moved to the new house (I say new, it's been nearly 4 years!). 

If you're used to the Coronation Chicken you get from the deli, on a roll or baguette, almost mustard in colour - this isn't quite it.  The colour doesn't look the same, in this instance it's dark because the curry powder I used was a hot variety which was brown as opposed to yellow.  But it can certainly hold its own in taste - or to quote Mr G verbatim - 'That was the nicest Coronation Chicken I have ever had, from anywhere'. 

The finished article

To make this amount - this was a bowl, by the way, in case it's not apparent from the horrendous photo...

3 chicken breasts - cooked in the oven and chopped into chunks when cool
½ onion, diced finely
1 tbsp hot Curry powder
150ml hot water with 2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in it
1 heaped tsp tomato puree
Juice of ½ lemon
2 level tbsp Mango chutney
110g low fat mayonnaise
5 tbsp double cream
50g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
Spring onions - to garnish
Flaked almonds - to garnish

Heat a little oil in a pan.  Saute the onions (not fry) for a few minutes until softened.  Add the curry powder and fry out for a few minutes.

Add the stock, tomato puree, lemon juice and mango chutney.  Stir until it boils, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.  Set aside to cool.

When cool, stir in the mayonnaise and double cream.  When combined add the chicken and the apricots and stir to coat.  Put into a bowl and sprinkle over spring onions and flaked almonds.  Eat with a salad and rice, or on a tortilla - or like we did, on a hot crusty baguette!

Make sure you have plenty of napkins or baby wipes on hand for this one as it can get messy!   The recipe above made enough for four medium baguettes.

Recipe - Creamy Chicken Tagliatelle

Yesterday, while we were sat meal planning for the week before we went shopping, suddenly Mr G exclaimed 'Ooooooh...' and had a far away look in his eye.  Or it could have just been his normal vacant, empty stare as they both look similar, but no.  In his head, he was rummaging through my culinary past.  Which meant I wasn't getting away with tipping a jar of Ragu over tonights tea.  Meh.

Mr G:  'You know what I really fancy.  Tagliatelle.' 

I rolled my eyes.  I remember, you see, why we stopped buying tagliatelle.  He obviously didn't.  Imagine... a 12 month old.  In a high chair.  Eating creamy tagliatelle.  With her fingers.  Imagine the mess on that little tot.  That's me eating tagliatelle.  I need a bib.

Apparently I used to make a chicken dish with tagliatelle in a creamy sauce.  I don't remember this, we're talking around the time that I was at home all day with a newborn and a 12 month old, so by the time he arrived home from work to relieve me, and I set about making tea, it was generally under the influence of wine.  And lots of it.   So, being the dutiful, willing to please wife I am - *wipes away tears of mirth* - I set to work making him a creamy chicken tagliatelle dish.

This was quick, simple and so delicious.  I know exactly what went into it (no horse!), and yes, it tasted better than a jar!  You can also adjust all the ingredients to give you more or less, depending on how many you want to feed.  More saucy, less saucy, more winey (hurrah!) etc... just keep tasting as you go along.  This was for my husband and I, and our daughter.

Chicken breast - I used four small ones
Mushrooms - I used three large ones, sliced
Spring Onions - three, chopped
Small carton of white wine
Pot of double cream
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Fresh or dried Tagliatelle - I used 75g each as per the pack instructions

Heat some oil in a frying pan or wok, and cook the chicken until no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.

I then transferred this into a smaller saucepan and added about 100 ml of white wine, spring onions and a little seasoning.  Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer slowly.

Cook the pasta in boiling water, mine took 8 minutes.

Keep checking the chicken mixture, adding more wine if necessary.  When the pasta is cooked, drain well and keep covered.

Add the double cream and more wine (if necessary) to the chicken.  Bring to the boil, check seasoning.  Serve over the tagliatelle with garlic bread to dip in!

Usual apologies for the photo and presentation, that aside, this was a really delicious dinner, and one that if you had surprise dinner guests, could feasibly be made in around 30 minutes.

And me?  I may as well have just leaned over my plate and pressed myself into it before eating.  Before Mr G could pass comment on the state of my jumper, I very loudly announced that 'THIS is the reason we don't buy tagliatelle'. Pasta quills next time ;-)

No reprieve for me today either, it seems.  This is what happens when you take a stroll down memory lane.  'You know what else we haven't had for ages?'  So I'm off to root for a certain recipe.  I may be some time... if I'm not seen by 4 pm, send someone in with wine, please.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Flappy Bum

Two posts condensed into one for you today, reasoning behind this further on!  Firstly and foremostly my fourth Why I Love My Husband - The Never-ending list, linking up again with  Short but sweet this week, because I'm just about to fall asleep.

34.  Those of you who've followed my posts about Mr G will know by now he's a joker.  Pretty much any situation is fair game for a laugh.   And if that man can read filth into anything, he will.

Mr G:  Michelle!  Michelle!  Come quickly!  I've got a Robin on my nuts and a pair of Tits on my fat balls.
Me:  Jeez.

This really happened.  Mr G likes birds.  Seeds, fat balls, nuts, bird baths, bird houses - he spends more on treats for the birds than the kids.  Yet, Mr G can take something so... so... innocuous and make it sound dirty.

Me: *Under boys bunk beds with vacuum nozzle, in most vulnerable position possible*  Can you turn me on please?

Mr G:  Mmmmmmmmm... I can...

Me:  I meant the hoover, touch me and I'll break your fingers.

35. He's still unblocking the toilet after 'Cabbagegate'.  Bless him. 

Well - any decluttering fans out there would be really proud of me this week!  I have purged.  Recycled.  Shredded.  Donated.  Launched.  I have been ruthless.  I have boxes and bags galore ready to do a car boot sale this weekend.  I can move freely from room to room, and I feel a million times better, if stiff and exhausted!  And gravely unblogged!

The first casualty - the cookbooks.  Yeah, a big percentage of those are going.  I find that the more cookery books I've acquired, the less I actually cook.  Once again - too much choice.  Old DVD's - still in shrink wrap, some bought as far back as 6 years ago - and I haven't watched them?  Will I miss them?  Or do I let them clog up my shelves for another 6 years?  CD's - my music collection is all backed up as MP3.  I don't listen to CD's any more.  Novels, some I've never even glanced at and those I have, I'll never read again - or if I do, it will be on the Kindle.  Clothes, kids clothes, books and DVD's they've outgrown.  Anything doesn't sell it can be taken to the charity shop on Monday.

So apart from giving away all my stuff my week has gone a bit like this.  

Random ASD moment of the week: 'Mum, who invented the word 'nipples'?'
And you think I would know this because...?

Loving this...

Most amusing email subject line this week (that doesn't include 'penis', 'lonely cheating wives' or 'Vigara'. What is Vigara???):  'Why you're secretly mad'.

Most optimistic email subject line this week:  'We'll all be wearing white dresses this Summer'.
I think not.  Not all of us, love.  Not all of us. 

Heartbreaking observation of the week #1:  I have grey hairs.  Nay, silver.  And they're 10 times stronger than the brown ones.

Heartbreaking observation of the week #2:  I cannot comfortably wear any shoe that isn't flat.  So four pairs of boots are ready for sale, two of them brand new, because simply put - watching me trying to function in anything other than flip flops is like watching a 2 year old in her mothers stilettoes.  Highly entertaining but most uncomfortable.

'Why my son is going to fail his A Levels' #1:  This week he ranked no 32 worldwide on Black Ops TDM.  I don't know what a TDM is, and hopefully when I change the wireless key on the router to something he has no control over, he'll put the same amount of effort into his schoolwork :-)

And to finish off my humiliation and misery, I've just been informed that my youngest (6 years old) has been telling his friends I have a 'flappy bum'.  How bloody wonderful.  Thank you very much.  A flappy bum.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Review: The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno

I'm way behind the times here - I usually am - but I've just read a good book.  I'm incapable of reviewing books.  Just can't do it.  This is just my take on it.

The author is a Christian man called Dave Bruno, who was seemingly living the American dream, owned his own business, wonderful marriage, beautiful wife and children, lovely home but still grasping for more.  When he walked around his home, from room to room, just describing the stuff that was there, overwhelming him, Dave - I felt your pain, man.  The irony was, he was a Blogger, blogging about anti-consumerism!

It took him a while to plan but eventually he whittled his possessions down to 100 things or rather that was the maximum he could own at any one time.  He left a little leeway for things he might need to buy.  He counted all this books as a library, therefore one thing.  He could buy something new to replace, for example a coat, but would have to throw or donate the old coat to charity.  This was a personal challenge, he didn't expect his family to partake, and he did the challenge for a year.

He had model train stuff (like his father before him) that never got built (like his father before him), rock climbing gear that he didn't use, which served as a constant reminder of things he'd wanted to do but failed to do.  He accepted he wasn't a model train enthusiast or a rock climber, sold or gave the items away, and got over it.  This was possibly the starkest message of the book to me.  We get a bee in our bonnet about something, and we go and buy all this stuff, for a hobby or maybe a sport and then... it sits in a cupboard.  A constant reminder of our failure to see something through.  A reminder to make us feel guilty for frittering away money on something that we never use. We hang on to these things 'Just in case' when the reality is, we know we're never going to use them. 

It touched a nerve, if you read my posts regularly you'll know that I other people have too much stuff in too small a house.  My kids won't part with a McDonalds Happy Meal toy.

Has anyone else read this book?  What did you think?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

You are what you eat?

Did you hear that even vegetarians aren't safe in this 'Horsegate' scandal?  Veggie burgers have been found to contain traces of uniquorn!  *Wah wah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...*

I haven't done more than briefly touch on this subject on my blog.  Ok, I didn't touch on it.  I rehashed other rubbish jokes.  Not the same thing.  Generally I avoid the news in any form, TV, newspaper and online.  News is depressing.  Misery, illness, death, hatred, bigotry, murder, oppression, war, famine, pollution, corruption.   All negative, and played out for billions of us on a daily basis, billions of people focusing on that negativity and therefore attracting more negativity.  A lot of people may not agree.  But personally I think too much.  Way, way too much.  I'd rather be ill-informed and happy than well-informed and too scared to live.  If that makes sense to anyone.  Not meaning to get too profound, just want to give an insight into why I personally don't watch or read the news.  This is probably going to be a dissertation, but it's just my humble take on it, as a normal (lol) harrassed, mum of 4 on a budget.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks it would be imposssible not to know about the furore unfolding in front of our eyes, aka 'Horsegate'.   Testing, in Ireland I believe initially, uncovered the fact that not only did some products - claiming to be beef - contain pork, but that some products contained horsemeat or horse DNA.  These products were traced back to the suppliers, who it emerged also supplied British supermarkets with products.  The potentially contaminated products were immediately removed from sale in Britain and tested.  To find that - they too contained horsemeat.  As the days have turned into weeks, the supermarkets involved and the products involved have risen, and the last couple of days we have been informed that in the North West, school dinners have also been found to contain horsemeat.  In the supermarkets, horsemeat has been found in a chilled product, so this isn't just a 'cheap frozen meal' problem.   I have a feeling that the end is nowhere near in sight on this matter, and that the full horror story has nowhere near been told as yet.

What I find, dare I say it - amusing - about all this - is that we're muted in our indignation.  We're appalled by this news.  We're changing how we buy, how we consume, how we cook as a result.  But we're not forming angry mobs?  Not that that's a bad thing - don't get me wrong - but why are we accepting this news without a hint of fury?  Because we're British?  Because we don't complain, and we just get on with it, our stiff upper lips jutting out in a resigned acceptance of the issue?  No.  I don't think so.  We're a nation of whingers, despite what our stereotype dictates to the rest of the world.  So why are we shocked into relative silence about this?  It's something I've been thinking long and hard about these past few weeks.  Starting blog posts.  Discarding them.  Digesting more news.  Sitting looking at a blinking cursor.  Why is it so hard to talk or post about, when it's a major food crisis?   The biggest we've seen in the UK for a long time?

We've all got our take on this, but I believe we can be pigeon-holed into very few categories as consumers in the UK.  We can probably all slot ourself into a category and we'll all know someone else who will fill the others.

The ones who - this news doesn't affect them in the slightest.  Including but not limited to vegetarians. I know my friend Helen S will be one of these, and I haven't even spoken to her on this matter, because I know she'll be (rightfully, might I add) in smug mode.  I'll want to stick a free-range chicken where the sun don't shine (no offence, Floss!).  She makes everything completely from scratch.  She makes her own pastry and pies.  She boils chicken carcasses for stock.  Whip up a batch of scones just like that. 

The ones who - this news has affected them so much, that they're quite possibly too embarrassed to pipe up.  Those who buy convenience foods, microwave meals, cheap foods and who never, ever cook.  Those who have fed their children these foods - unknowingly, granted - and are feeling really awful about this now.   I'm not naming anyone.  But we all know at least one. 

Then you have the ones who - like me - are the tryers.  We're quite competent cooks but we're frazzled almost permanently.  Sometimes we can't be bothered cooking.  Sometimes our children are such fussy eaters (nature not nurture, I vow!) that if it wasn't for Chicken Dippers and Pizza and Waffles, then they'd starve.  Because we can't afford takeaway.    We generally have frozen vegetables in the freezer - just incase - because any vegetable is better than no vegetable.  We'll have a couple of jars of sauce in the cupboard, pasta sauce, curry sauce on standby. 

We're on a budget, but I don't/won't/can't buy inferior quality.  I was put off sausages for years and years after the horror stories swept school about a programme that had been on TV, saying that eyeballs and testicles went into cheap sausage.  I've never looked into the truth of this, but hey - we're selling 100% beefburgers with pork in, and frozen beef lasagne with 99% horsemeat, so it wouldn't surprise me in the least. As a result, I will only eat a premium sausage, with a very high meat content.   This means that for my family what once was a cheap and cheerful tea (back when we were growing up), has actually become a treat that we have to build a complete meal around.   No more sausage sandwiches for me.   Not when, ounce for ounce, it's probably just as cheap to buy a steak than it is a pack of sausages.   

I can't afford to eat organic.  I can't afford to eat free range.  Not when there's 6 mouths to feed.  I can't afford to shop at my local butcher, sadly.  And this is what it boils down to, when all is said and done.  Money.  The root of all evil.  Have butchers outpriced themselves?  Maybe, a bit.  If you can afford to go for quality over quantity, then no.   I think the truth is, not so much that butchers are expensive, but that supermarkets are cheap.  We've become accustomed, through need or necessity, to go for a cheaper option.  Times are hard for most people.  I remember when - just my husband and I - I could go to the butcher and get a couple of lovely thick gammon steaks as a treat.  Now for six of us?  Out of the question.  Now it's gammon steaks from the supermarket, barely thicker than bacon.  At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.  We want - or in some cases need - things as cheaply as possible whilst companies are striving for bigger profits - and this is the outcome.  And I think this is why we're so quiet.  This is why we're shocked, but not surprised.  We're appalled - but we're not surprised.

If you look at a pack of economy burgers.  Say for example, 80p for a pack of 8.  For a major retailer to be selling them for 80p to make a profit on them, and for the suppliers to make a profit from them as well... begs two questions.  One - how much do they cost to make to sell at a final cost of 80p to the consumer?  And two - what on earth then, is in them? 

I'm a massive fan of Aldi - one of the supermarkets caught up in the fiasco, because I believe the quality of their goods to be as good as the own labels of the 'Big Five'.  I'm also impressed with the statements that Aldi have released in relation to this, no nampy pampy half-hearted attempt either.  It was refreshing to see such a passionate and honest response from a Supermarket.  The only way I may have been caught out in this Horsegate, is that very occasionally I will buy a frozen burger.  9 times out of 10 I make my own.  Sometimes though, I just want convenience.  Then - still.  I won't buy cheap.  I would never, ever buy those economy burgers above.  My stomach wouldn't be able to keep them down.  Just the thought of consuming them makes me feel ill.   In the rare event that I buy a burger, I will always go for a premium burger - just like the sausage - it has to become a meal and not a cheap fix.  Preferably a fresh burger from the supermarket meat aisle.  Even more rare is that it's frozen.  And I always, always, always look on the packaging for 100% beef.  So I expect that to be 100% beef.  The burger I have eaten has been the Aldi 100% Beef Quarter Pounders.  Which has now been withdrawn from sale.   This is what's unacceptable to me.  If I ate an economy burger that stated 'meat' in the ingredients (never EVER eat anything that says 'meat') even then the fact that I'd consumed horse, when it's not a meat we eat in this country, would be unacceptable.  Purely because we don't eat horse as standard here in the UK.  It's not illegal.  It could be very nice.  We just don't.  If it's a mishmash of beef, lamb, pork and chicken, fine.  But not horse.  I've eaten a burger that professed to be 100% beef.  And it possibly wasn't.  That is unacceptable and I go as far as to say criminal.

Whether this is a  coincidence or not - I don't know.  It's something I was discussing with a good friend months ago, and I'd forgotten about it until we brought it up again today.  I love beef.  I love roast beef, steak, diced beef, you name it, I love it.  Again - I've never bought cheap beef mince.  Always lean steak mince, if there was a premium (such as Finest or Extra Special) to go for in the range, I'd go for that.  Until a couple of years ago.  Almost like a pregnant woman reacts violently to certain smells, I suddenly could not abide the smell of beef mince cooking.  I would dry fry it, even boil it, and the smell would make me feel physically sick.  It just didn't smell... right.  It also hasn't tasted right for a long, long time.  So I made the switch to pork mince for the majority of mince dishes - Lasagne, Chilli, Spag Bol, burgers, meatballs.  Occasionally I try again, some dishes really need the beef mince, but the same problem remains.  It smells foul and it tastes awful.   My husband has suggested today that I buy a piece of steak and mince it myself and try cooking it to see if it's just one of my oddities or if there is more to it than meets the eye. 

So - whose fault is it ultimately?  Is it the supermarkets for putting profit over quality?  Is it the consumer for wanting more and more bang for their buck?  A combination of both?  I don't know.  All I do know is that it's going to change the way we eat forever.   I think people will start cooking from scratch more.  I think we'll start using a proper butcher again.  I think a lot of people will cut down on the amount of meat in their diets, buying less but more expensive and better quality meats, and quite possibly a lot of people will turn vegetarian.

What do you think of the whole sorry mess?  Has it affected you in any way?  Will it change the way you cook and eat, or do you think it's a fuss over nothing?  Let me know :-)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Recipe - Sesame Prawn Toasts

I'd been craving these for absolutely ages, and finally got around to making them again for the first time in years, for Chinese New Year.  I had intended on writing a more fuller blog post about my meal and what we had to eat - but as tends to happen in this madhouse, it all went a bit pearshaped.  We ate these as a side dish with chicken and vegetables cooked in a sauce consisting of sherry, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and ground up Star Anise and boiled rice.  Very tasty!

Cooked King Prawns, spring onion, egg white and cornflour paste - processed

Lightly toast the bread

Spread onto the toasted bread

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and press down firmly so they stick

Deep fry, seed side down until golden

½ tbsp cornflour
½ egg white
150g cooked prawns - I used King
Spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp ginger
splash of soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
4 slices white bread, toasted lightly
sesame seeds

Mix cornflour with the egg white.

Finely chop the prawns and the spring onions and combine with the egg white. Add the ginger, soy sauce and oil.  Use a food processor to get a smooth paste.
Lightly toast some bread and spread on the mixture. Cover with sesame seeds and press firmly. Deep fry for a few minutes, seed side down, until golden and brown.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Me and Mr G. We got a thing goin' on...

Happy Valentines Day to all my lovely, lovely readers!  Much love for putting up with my inane and insane ramblings.  And just remember, love comes in more forms than just a significant other, so here's to - our other halves, our parents, our children, our siblings and family, our pets and wonderful friends.  Anything or anyone that makes you feel love or loved. 

We don't celebrate the day as such - I don't want to sound like a misery but we show our love to each other all year round, not just on one day.  We get each other a card and then tonight I'll cook us a nice steak dinner and an as-yet-undecided dessert.  How are you spending your day?

Linking up again - for my third week - to and Why I Love My Husband - The Never-ending list

31.  Ohhhhhh.  I blocked the toilet on Monday.  Again.   Anyone going to ask me how?  Any advance on 'No, weirdo?'  Hows about - I emptied cabbage soup down the toilet.  Unblended might I add.  Why?  Because - and I quote myself - 'It's vegetable so it should flush'.  Don't press me further on this.  It was early, it was Monday and the words 'colander' 'drain' and 'compost bin' seemingly hadn't sparked to life in my vocabulary nor my brain.

(Yes, that's four children I'm unleashing on the world reared with that kind of parenting.  Sometimes I ASTOUND myself with how simple I am.  I don't mean basic, I mean stupid).

If he had done this, I would have shouted at him.  Especially as the water level was coming precariously close to spilling over the rim.  He just looked at me as if I was a simpleton (which under the circumstances was both warranted and accurate).  He looked at me as if I was a simpleton and unblocked the toilet.  Which isn't the first time, but it's the first time he's had to unblock soup.  So it was a learning curve for us both.  Me - don't flush unblended soup down the toilet.  Him - he married a simpleton.  Win win.  More so for me.

32.  Eco-warrior or cheapskate - you decide.

Mr G:  Those flowers *nods towards decaying, almost 2 week old bunch of roses bought for anniversary* in Waitrose tonight.  £15.  FIFTEEN POUNDS!

Me:  Tsk.

Mr G:  The same ones as those.  FIFTEEN pounds.   Good job those have lasted til Valentines Day.

Me:  Lasted?  They're crispy?

Mr G:  They're fine.

Me:  They're crispy!

Mr G:  Pot Pourri.

Me:  Pardon?

Mr G:  Pot Pourri.  Home made.  Petals off.  In a dish.  Have we got a nice dish?  Always thinking.  You don't have to thank me.

33. A simple one - but oh, how effective.  He does the ironing.  All of it.  All of the time.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancake Day and Wreck it Ralph

Yay.  I know what this means...

What a lovely day we've had today - the first time we've ever visited the cinema as a family.  We went to watch Wreck it Ralph in 3D - the little ones and my first 3D film as well.  The film was absolutely brilliant - after having four kids I've been exposed to pretty much every kids film in the last 18 years.  Repeatedly.   And they are good, better than what I had as a child, but this one really stood out.  My concern was that the boys wouldn't be able to sit still for two hours, but it kept their attention throughout.  After the cinema, the kids wanted McDonalds, I couldn't bring myself to eat that after the continuing Horsegate scandal, and so Mr G and I had Fish and Chips.  I have just spent just short of two hours making pancake mix and cooking 38 pancakes.  They took - maybe ten minutes to disappear.  Golden Syrup, chocolate spread, Maple Syrup, lemon and sugar.

I'm not a natural cook, as my husband will testify.  I'm very much a self-taught later-on-in-life cook.  And I agree that cooking is a science, so with the exception of a few dishes, I always follow a recipe.  My mother can just shove ingredients in a bowl and come out with beautiful cakes.  I have to weigh everything.  I can't make pastry, and another thing I can't couldn't make was pancakes.  Try as I might.  Watching one of Nigella's programmes a good few years ago, must be at least 6 now, and she had made this pancake mix consisting of flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and salt.  She kept it in a big plastic tub, and then when she wanted pancakes she just added milk, eggs and melted butter to a weighed amount of mix.  Looked simple, tried it, was simple and that's the recipe I have used ever since.  If it ain't broke...!

I won't put the recipe up here, as you know my paranoia with copyright issues - even though I see all manner of things and pictures posted on blogs - knowing my luck, I'll end up in prison or something for posting something in good faith.  So here is the link to Nigella's recipe that I used.

The dried ingredients weighed out

Milk, eggs and butter added and well whisked

Add a small ladle of mixture and book until bubbles appear

Turn pancake over using a thin fish slice

Perfect!  Only 37 more to go...

Done.  Realise now why we only eat them once a year...

Hope everyone had their pancakes.  I had meant to be a little more original with them this year, experiment with some savoury fillings but life and everything in between gets in the way when you're a mother of four.  I think I did well just getting this lot done for everyone!  Have you got a favourite filling?  I don't think I can decide!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kung Hei Fat Choi, half term already and other nonsense

It doesn't seem like yesterday I was writing about the children going back to school and - they're off again!  The house isn't even tidy from the Christmas break yet... so Mr G and I have made a pact last night, that the house, and the children (and he and I) are getting whipped into shape this half term.  It's not the tidying that is ever the issue - it's keeping it tidy.  So I think I may have to bite the bullet and draw up some house rules that we all have to adhere to - and maybe even a sticker chart (for Mr G).  At the end of the day, I'm only human, I can't do it all myself - and I shouldn't have to do it all myself.   As I've touched on before, this house doesn't 'work' for us as a family - partly our fault for having so much stuff, but then it's six people's stuff.  Partly because the house is so ridiculously laid out, so much wasted space it's unbelievable.  I don't regret moving here, it is a nice house, we have a lovely garden, wonderful neighbours - but I have to be in control of the house, and not it in control of me.

Mr G had another one of his moments whilst out shopping the other day.  Wheeling the trolley to the car to pack the shopping into the bags.  He stops, shaking his head.

Him:  Just look at that.  Look  *points at car boot*

Me:  What?

Him:  Bloody swan sh*t all over the car!

Me:  Oh no!  Now you'll still not have to clean it, ever!   And by swan, you mean...

Him:  Seagull

Me:  I'm putting you in a home.

It's a miserable Sunday, raining steadily (what else?).  This week we have Chinese New Year, Pancake Day, and Valentines Day so there may be a few recipe posts for you!  The children want to go to the cinema to watch 'Wreck it Ralph'.  This will be the first time we've ever gone as a family.  This is also my bargaining tool for the house spring clean.  No cleany - no Ralphy!  

Wish me luck, I'm going in...

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Together Forever

Wow!  A week since my last post.  Standards are slipping.  What am I talking about - there were no standards to start off with!

It's been a busy week what with our Anniversary and Mr G's 51st Birthday only three days later.  I don't seem to have spent any time at all online, content just sat with him watching a film or reading a book in bed while he listens to music.   So two successive blog posts of absolute adoration?  His head is going to start swelling soon!

Why I love my husband ...

21.  This.  He went out for an hour today and came back with this.  He's been making noises about having another tattoo done for a few weeks, and when he gets a bee in his bonnet - it's best to let him get on with it.  He had birthday money and wanted to commemorate us.  So he did.  Together Forever 02-02-02.

I suppose now isn't the right time to ask for a divorce then...?

22.  I suffer from Sciatica, and even on days where it's bearable I find it hard to bend down or bend over.  He will always cut my toenails when I ask - even if his first response is 'As long as I can find my safety glasses first'. 

23.  He colours my hair for me.  And he does a good job of it.

24.  Mr G has occasions where he completely forgets commonly used words and substitutes them with random words.  Random words that have no business being used in the sentence.  Sometimes even words that don't exist.  Which makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

a)  Look at that boat in the water fishing for shamrocks (cockles)
b) (Looking over my shoulder while giving me a hug)  What are they for?  Those on there.  Yes, mushrooms.  *Dissolves into fits of laughter*  Glad you told me what they were called, I was going to say micronuts (mushrooms)
c) (Helping me keep my shopping)  And how exactly are you cooking this aborigine? (Aubergine)
d) Singing along to the radio; 'Love lift us up where we belong.  Where the eagles fly... who is this singing with Jennifer Warnes again?  Bill Sykes?  No it's not Bill Sykes.  Who's Bill Sykes?  Who is it then?  Joe Cocker?  Oh.  Oh yeah, Bill Sykes was from Oliver Twist.'
Me - 'Shut up!'

25. On every day out he gets saddled with the picnic lunch and has to lug the full or empty bag around all day.  He's cottoned on over the years, and became a bit annoyed when looking through photographs to see that every picture of him on a day out had a rucksack, coolbag or box attached to him.  I actually have a folder on my computer just of the pictures of him with bags.  Here's my favourite - as thanks to him for the last 10 years of carrying our bags - and knowing now after his shoulder surgery - it's my turn from here on in.  This is where the whole family, including my mother, all dumped our bags on him, in Portmeirion, and disappeared on him.  We spent a good five minutes just laughing at him from a vantage point higher up.  We bad.

26.  He'll say it anywhere, any time, in front of anyone, anyway - but he'll always end a phone call with 'Love you'.

27.  He thinks the world of my parents, and enjoys the days out and breaks away we have together, always wanting to include them in our plans. 

28.  On Mother's Day he buys my Mum a card, the biggest one he can find along the lines of  'You're like a Mum to me' (which he knows grates on her as she's only 9 years older than him) and scours the internet for the sickliest sweet poem he can to copy into it.  He will then read it out when we go for a meal and we end up in tears of laughter. 

29.  I haven't got a creative or artistic eye at all - so when he buys me flowers, he also arranges them for me perfectly in a lovely vase.  If it was left to me they'd just be stuck in, completely vertical.

30.  He's really brave, having spent more time in hospital than your average person this last 11 years, inclusive of 6 operations, a heart scare, an angiogram, and rehospitalisation due to nasty infections after each operation including MRSA.  I faint having a blood test.

To be continued...