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Monthly Archives: August 2012

16th August: Superfood Chicken Salad

For The Attention of Masters and Miss Wills. To be opened on the event of Miss Wills’s 18th birthday.

Masters and Miss Wills,

I am writing on behalf of my client, Mrs Sarah Wills, to seek damages to her person – both physical and psychological – which were inflicted upon her during your young childhood. She regrets that she has been forced to take such action but, in her words, she has been left ‘wrecked’ by your antics and shenanigans. Our claim is detailed below. In invoice format.

Physical Damages

Laser treatment required to repair stretch marks and scarring: £550
Tummy tuck to return abdomen to previous ‘bikini bod’ state: £5350
Breast Uplift to return boobs to previous ‘cherry bun’ state: £5500
Facelift to return face to previous unlined state: £6400
Eyelid Surgery to return eyes to previous awake & alert state: £1600

Psychological Damages

Chronic Fatigue. My Client maintains that this is a direct result of your inability, in particular Wills Minor and Miss Wills, to sleep consistently over a period of 2615 nights and to persist in waking up each and every morning between 4.30-6am during this time.

The inability to finish a sentence. My Client maintains that this is due to the fact that she has been interrupted during every phone call and conversation during a 5 year period (in reference particularly to Wills Major). As a result of this, she now struggles to concentrate and drifts off the point when permitted to speak.

The inability to sit still. My Client maintains that this is due to your incessant demands for snacks, drinks and toileting. Your propensity to run off when out of the home environment. Your inability to concentrate on a task (jigsaw, board game etc) for longer than 2 minutes. She has therefore become utterly unaccustomed to sitting still, even when she has company, and instead spends any ‘down time’ wiping surfaces repeatedly as her guests look on baffled and bemused.

Emotional Trauma. My Client maintains that, prior to having children, she was an emotional stone. Unmoved by weepy films, wedding speeches and the like. She now finds herself teary at anything. She will cry at any of the following: anything containing Old People; anything containing Children; anything containing people doing well at something; anything containing people being disappointed at not succeeding. She is unable to watch Children in Need, Comic Relief, Remembrance Day services, Pride of Britain Awards….the list goes on.

We are seeking damages in the order of £500,000 to cover surgery, non-invasive remedial procedures, therapy, counselling, psychoanalysis and a really really loooong holiday.

My client would, however, consider abandoning her claim in return for an assurance from yourselves that you will never emigrate, always return her phonecalls, and let her live with you (preference to Miss Wills) when she is an old lady.

Yours Faithfully,
A. Solicitor

In an effort to return my ravaged bod to an acceptable state, I am attempting to eat a little healthier and do a bit more exercise, in readiness for a charity bike ride in October. This salad from Good Food is one of our favourites and you feel cleansed by its wholesome goodness as you eat it.

Take 100g Pearl Barley and boil until tender (this takes about an hour). Steam some green beans until just al dente. Mix the cooked pearl barley with the beans, a chopped yellow pepper, some cold leftover chicken, some chopped parsley, half a red onion (finely chopped), some lemon zest. Then mix up a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, paprika and Dijon mustard. Top with some toasted flaked almonds. Scrumdiddlyumptious! Let’s hope it does the trick, otherwise surgery may be my only option (and those littlies can pay!) 😉

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11th August: Nana’s Pavlova

A while ago I promised you a post all about my Nana’s pavlova.

You can keep your Mr Kiplings and your Sara Lees. My Nana is a legend. Her baking and puddings are beyond amazing. The amount of confection she produces from her modest kitchen, seemingly effortlessly, is staggering. It has mystical effects too. My cousin, a strapping Kiwi, has been known to fall into a sort of trancelike state after ingesting an absolute shitload of her wonderful boozy trifle.

Whenever we visit her, or if someone is driving down to see us, she loads up tub after tub of Bakewell Slice, Choccie Fudge, homemade shortbreads. There are Boiled Sultana cakes, Victoria sponges, Christmas cakes, coconut marshmallow things….the list is endless.

As a new mum, when I couldn’t even seem to find time to make myself a cup of tea all day, I truly believe that nana’s baking prevented me from starving. I’d stuff one of her cakes into my ravenous gob every time I went into the kitchen.

Her recipes are not for the weight-conscious. The reason it all tastes so amazing is because she uses proper old-fashioned ingredients. Lard, suet, full-salt full-fat butter. Now you know where I get it from! She has those proper cold, soft nana hands. Evolved over generations to be the perfect temperature for producing absolutely perfect pastry. And it is. Try as I might, my clammy mitts never quite produce the same results. Ho hum.

As a couple, her and my Grandad are my marital role models. Never have you seen two people take such delight in each other. The twinkle and giggles continued right up until my grandad passed away a couple of years ago. And by that time they’d been married over 65 years. Wartime sweethearts, they’d spent their youth dancing at Blackpool Tower Ballroom and The Winter Gardens. I love pictures of them in their heyday. Grandad dapper in his RAF uniform. Nana looking like some Hollywood starlet.

It got me to thinking. What on earth would they have made of us if we’d’ve been next door neighbours back in the day. What would they have thought of our 3am “it’s your turn to get up” “NO IT’S YOUR F***ING TURN” rants at each other? Or if they overheard me puking in the toilet after a night of excess? Did Grandad ever have to prop Nana up as she staggered home from a night out? Extremely doubtful.

So, my hope is to forever be as sweetly and happily married as my grandparents were. To laugh with eachother, to dance with eachother, to be kind, sweet and considerate to one another.

Inevitably I will be sick and get drunken jelly legs innumerable times in the years to come. I will doubtless moan about His messy messy ways and his endless capacity to jeff off playing golf/riding his bike/inviting himself on stag dos. But. I will endeavour to curb my potty mouth and try to remember what it was to be 16 and madly in love. In short. I will try to always ask myself “What would Joan and George do?”.

So, to the Pav. My very favourite pud. You are lucky to be getting this recipe. Let me tell you that now.

Heat oven to 170*C. Take 4 egg whites (room temperature), and beat with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar until really stiff & peaks form. I use an electric hand whisk. Nana uses an old tarnished fork. Work ethic between the generations in action.

Add a tbsp water. Gradually add 7oz (250g) caster sugar, beating all the while. The mixture resembles the middle of a Tunnock’s teacake at this stage. Scrummy. Fold in 2tsp cornflour, 1tsp malt vinegar, few drops of vanilla essence.

The next bit is fun. Wet a big piece of greaseproof paper, wring out and place on a baking sheet. Then dollop on the mixture and shape into a big circle using a spatula. Bake for 10mins then reduce temp to 150*C. Bake for a further 50 mins.

When it has cooled, pile a load of whipped double cream and whatever fruit tickles your fancy. Tart fruits like raspberries/kiwis work well.

Today, it’s strawberries. The pav is an offering for a friend’s barbecue. Our friend the host plays air guitar with all the kids, much to our amusement. We scoff and quaff and generally make merry whilst the kiddies frolic. I get a couple of commissions for more pavs.

Told you it was good. Thanks Nana x

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6th August: Cupcake of Champions

What have you done today to make you feel proud??

Well Heather Small. Thanks for asking.

I’ve done the weekly shop. I’ve tidied my house after a weekend of visitors. I’ve been a calm and serene mother in spite of my children’s best efforts to thwart my Mary Poppins-esque persona.

Ooh, and I made a giant cupcake.

That any good for you?

We are, like many of you I’m sure, in the grip of Olympic Fever. Never before have I spent so many days glued to the telly. Cheering on people I’ve never heard of, in sports to which I have simply no idea of the rules. Bandying about words like Ippon and repechage like an old pro. The children chattering excitedly about Cav and Wiggo.

I like to think of myself as a natural optimist. I was feeling irritated by all the negos, giving lip about how much it all costs and how pointless it all was. But. Deep down I was fully expecting the games to be a total British shambles. Peeing rain, security scares, traffic chaos. Horse-toothed toffs with bad dress sense appearing on tellies the world over, giving us all a bad name.

But no. So far, they’ve been utterly brilliant.

On Super Saturday, we sit with some friends noshing an amazing Thai takeaway. We all watch awestruck as three GB athletes take gold. As we admire Jess Ennis’s washboard stomach, I tell myself mine would be similar if it wasn’t for the fact that I am currently hoofing down a Grab Bag of Cadbury’s Eclairs I’d so recently had three babies.

Possibly a little hormonal, I feel weepy with pride as the stadium crowd belt out ‘God Save The Queen’. Not in a footbally way. Just in a 80,000 people singing joyously kind of a way.

“Inspiring A Generation” is the Olympic slogan. Doubtless the athletes are doing that for many young people across the country. But, in our house at least, they seem to have inspired a generation of middle-aged parents to grab their spare tyre of flab and sob as they eat toffees. All the while possibly doing some mental maths to calculate which Olympics their kids will win Gold in. Event to be decided, but here’s hoping that by 2028 they’ve made whinging, scrapping and toy-smashing Olympic sports. In which case, watch your back Chris Hoy.

On one of my desperate trips to that budget supermarket *shudder*, I buy a giant silicone cupcake mould. In the vain hope that it will fill an hour or two with the excitable offspring.

Interesting how differently you view the school holidays now you’re no longer of school age. 6 weeks of watching telly, riding bikes, pestering your older brother stretching out ahead of you…in reality it’s trying desperately to amuse warring siblings, trying to find something cheap and suitable for everyone to do in dire weather.

Today was baking then. We make the massive cupcake, fill it with jam & buttercream and decorate it with Hershey chocolates. Gold medal winning novelty confection.

I’m off to do some sit ups and referee the fight breaking out on the trampoline. Ooh, trampolining is an Olympic sport isn’t it….interesting…. C’mon kids….BOUNCE!

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