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Monthly Archives: January 2013

23rd January: Spinach & Stilton Gnocchi

23rd January: Spinach & Stilton Gnocchi

Signs I might need to go back to work

Endless baking of biscuits/cakes for sales, raffles & playgroups.

An obsessive stockpiling of dried & tinned goods.

The inability to relax in the evening if the annoying little plastic toys are not put away in the correct basket.

The ‘beat the microwave’ game whereby I set myself a challenge (eg. Unload the dishwasher) that I must perform before the microwave beeps.

The exultation when I ‘beat the microwave’

The sorrow when I do not.

The humiliation when my husband catches me attempting to ‘beat the microwave’. (“erm…what are you doing darling?”. Awkward.)

Spelling out messages with alphabetti letters on my kids’ tea plates.

Initialling their porridge with honey.

Organising my children’s social life as if I was their PA (call to make date, confirm by text, send reminder on the morning of the date)

Constantly volunteering to help out at school, Pre-School and on various committees.

Tidying the recycling tubs

My steam mop.

Rewind. It’s December 2010. I have just had ‘The Baby’. I have three Pre-Schoolers at home. There are some long, dark days. In my sleep-deprived, exhausted little mind there is a dim flame in the distance. “September 2013” it tells me. I’ll have two at school and one in Pre-School. I’ll be able to sleep. To brush my hair. I might smell nice. I’ll be able to see friends without having them cuddle me pityingly. September 2013 became my mantra for a while.

And now it’s nearly here. “I didn’t mean it” I want to shout. I’m waiting for confirmation of the Fusspot’s school place. I’ve just handed in an application for The Baby’s Pre-School place.
September 2013 is galloping towards me too quickly thank you very much.

And now the house is a little quieter. And a lot cleaner. The washing is occasionally contained within the washing basket. I know where things are. I’m on time for things. I get to go away with the girls. I occasionally get to urinate on my own.

And so my thoughts turn to what next for me. I can’t stay in the house steam-mopping and racing my microwave. That’s how you go crazy. Maybe I will write that book after all…

He has gone on his annual diet. Like some sort of lard counter-balance I immediately start craving rich cheesy food. I make these amazingly, delicious Gnocchi from Joanne Harris’s ‘French Kitchen’ -A wonderful book with lovely homely French recipes. Do try them. Here is the recipe.

Sad to report that my microwave beeped a few minutes ago. God dammit ;)…

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Christmas 2012: Bumper Festive Edition

Christmas 2012: Bumper Festive Edition

I’m so very sorry. I have totally neglected my blog. The vast majority of you won’t even have noticed my lengthy absence I’m sure. But I have had a few gentle queries about when I might produce my next foodie outpouring. The pressure.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have totally underestimated how much time it takes up having a child in school. Coupled with the fact that I am such an annoying joiner, I seem to have spent the run up to Christmas in a haze of shopping, baking, nativity shows, fayres & fundraisers.

I remember being totally Christmas HYPER as a schoolchild. Now I see this from the other side, it’s a sort of payback. Seriously, my boys have been singing Christmas songs since the October half term. Not.Even.Kidding.

Clearly at a school like ours, with 120 children in the infants’ nativity, they need to get started early. It obviously takes some serious hours of dedicated marshalling and coaching to get all those littl’uns to sing, dance and narrate in all the right places. Fair play. And the show was AMAZING…

But. Seriously. I totally peaked too soon. I had the tree up the first weekend of December. Had all my shopping done. Attended carols upon carols. Show upon show. By the 10th I was wanting it all to stop. Away in a Manger became almost as annoying as the ‘Underpantsy Man Stink Song’ – don’t ask…

Some festive highs and lows

The Big One’s first nativity performance where he did a cool spider dance with his friends.

The Big One’s second nativity performance where he sat crying on his chair refusing to sing.

The Fusspot dressed as a dancing Christmas tree.

The Big One singing angelically holding his candle at the Christingle service.

The Big One pulling a moonie at all the old ladies in that very same service.

All-Day boozing without the worry of being labelled some middle-aged lush.

Our annual Christmas Eve party with some lovely friends.

Shopping for, and tidying up after, our annual Christmas Eve party with some lovely friends.

Frenzied OAPs panic-buying massive bags of nuts in that bargain supermarket (seriously, you are NEVER going to eat them all, the shops are only shut for one day, go home).

Having pretty much an actual panic attack at the school fayre and being unable to exit the building *breathes into paper bag at memory* (summary: arrive, buy back cakes that I had baked & donated, attempt to leave, cannot leave, tell the Big One’s lovely smiley teacher that the funeral I had attended earlier that day was more enjoyable, cry).

Cooking Christmas dinner in my own house for the first time ever.

Realising the reason we normally go to family is because our children are rubbish dinner party conversationalists. “Jingle Bells, Daddy smells” “Jingle Bells, Turkey smells” “Jingle Bells, poo poo smells” – they are weeping with laughter by this point. “Can we get down?” “Yes…yes you can”.

My lovely brother, his wife and my niece arriving home from Australia for three weeks.

My lovely brother and family leaving again.

Seeing old friends, meeting new babies and catching up with wonderful family.

A Christmas night out with friends.

Waking up with the fear after not remembering a solitary thing about leaving or walking home or getting to bed after our Christmas night out with friends.

Catering for three days solid.

Having a fridge (and patio) packed with awesome leftovers and lovely lovely booze.

Seeing my beautiful babies’ faces as they walked into the front room and realised “He’s been!”.

I won’t bore you with the minutiae of what I cooked. It was nothing special. Probably incredibly similar to yours. Christmas eve is always a baked ham (normally Nigella’s, this year Gordon’s) and my father-in-law’s potato salad. One friend of ours refused to come unless I made my smoked salmon and caraway seed twists (with horseradish dip. Demanding much?).
Christmas Day was the full turkey & trimmings. My highlight as always was the gravy, which, if I may say so was pretty spectacular!
Boxing day was a soup made with the ham liquor and turkey stock. I even used up our leftover mash to make some tattie scones to accompany it. We also had baked salmon and more potato salad of course.

I became relatively obsessed with using up everything. It is, as I’ve said before, my favourite cookery challenge to use up a load of leftovers. I made masses of soup using fresh and leftover veg. We even got as far as turkey quesadillas on the 27th. Scrum.

So. Boringly enough, that is it. I was also so busy serving up that I forgot to take pictures of most of the food. Very probably not worth the wait but at least I am back in the saddle.
Resolutions include eating more healthily, boozing less and writing more. Fingers crossed I manage to stick to them. Thanks for reading in 2012, much appreciated. And wishing you all all the best for a happy, yummy and smile-filled 2013 🙂

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