This week I’ve gone with an Italian theme in order to boost energy levels and hopefully eat more healthily. The last week or so with poorly children eating habits have well… mainly been take away, nice at the time but afterwards blurgh! So this week it’s all Italian.
This cake must be eaten in wodges. It’s a wodge kind of cake.
what you need:
4oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour
5tbs custard powder
5tbs icing sugar
what you do:
preheat the oven to 180C
cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl
beat the eggs in a jug & add slowly to the butter/sugar mix
sieve in flour and 3 tbs of custard powder
add the 2 tbs of milk and mix into smooth batter
pour into a greased cake tin (I use an 8 inch heart-shaped silicon mould)
bake for approximately 18-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
once cool mix the icing sugar and remaining custard powder in a jug with a tiny drop of boiling water – splat the icing onto the cake from a height, for no other reason that it sounds nice and splatty.
A really versatile recipe which can be used to make sweet or savoury bread. In this recipe I’ve used sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan but I have made it using plain cheese, cheese, ham and mustard, pesto and olive or my most favourite of all Nutella.
what you need:
600g strong white flour
1 1/4 tsp dried fast action yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
approx. 350ml tepid water
filling of choice
what you do:
tip the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and oil into a large bowl.
gradually add the water, mixing with your hand until a nice pliable dough is formed.
tip dough onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes
return to the bowl and cover with cling film, leave to rise in a warm place until double the size (around an hour)
alternatively do as I do and use the dough setting on a bread maker for the stages above.
tip dough onto floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle
add the filling of choice – this time I blitzed sun-dried tomatoes (approx 8 big ones & some of the oil in a food processor) and sprinkled on finely grated parmesan.
roll into a big sausage – think swiss roll.
slice into 1 1/2 inch rounds and place into greased loose bottom cake tin (I put surplus into loaf tins)
leave to rise for 30 minutes – I use the oven for this on 50 C.
once the bread has doubled in size…
bring the bread from the oven and turn the oven up to 200C – brush the bread with milk and then bake for approx 20 minutes.
once cooked remove from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
The nutella version is ideal for breakfast. The savoury versions are nice served with stews, like my sausage & cider casserole or soup such as my lentil & tomato. Or used in packed lunches – the chunks just pull off into nice serving sizes.
This is me. I am the accidental one. I never intended to be a baby wearer, a co-sleeper an extended part of my baby but that is what has happened.
My first two children now seven and nine didn’t do any of these things, they slept in cots in their own rooms, they travelled about in a pram quite contentedly and in fact were quite independent from me – happy to go off and play, amuse themselves etc. Then we get to baby three. He’s an entirely different little personality, he is a complete attachment child. He can’t sleep unless he’s in our bed, he’s only content if he can see us, he detests being put into a pram, cot, play pen where he isn’t with us and so I’ve morphed into an attachment parent.
But thinking about things, is attachment parenting how it’s supposed to be? Is it right to put a tiny baby into a barred cot in a separate room from his mother or father? Is it right to put a baby into cots, playpens, prams etc so you can get on with whatever it is you wanted to do? Is it right to send him to a nursery from a very young age to be cared for by a stranger.
If left to nature is attachment parenting not how things would be? Would the young sleep with the parents, travel around by being carried and held, observe the world from the arms of mum and dad?
Or… Is it because this is baby number three and our last baby that we’ve been so much more laid back and wanted the easy option? In the night when the baby has cried I honestly have not been able to be bothered sitting up in a chair rocking him back to sleep for what could be hours on end. I’ve wanted to sleep, I’ve wanted to be comfy in my bed and so have popped him in with me. I can’t be bothered listening to tantrums and unnecessary crying because he’s bored or wants to do something with me instead of on his own and so he is always kept happy by being with us and 99% of the time he is really happy and laid back in a way I don’t remember the other two being.
Also because we’ve had two other children we feel no pressure to be checking child development books to see if we are establishing all the “correct” behaviours and milestones at the correct times. Or is it simply that we’ve created a rod for our own back by being lazy and relaxed as many people like to tell me, daily.
This post doesn’t need all that many words. Formby is stunning, the autumn weather gorgeous and the children happy*
*well when I say happy, obviously that incorporates a wide range of sulking, arguing, fighting, tantruming and general Veruca Salt style behaviour in amongst the happy. But the happy was very happy – paddling, shell collecting and for a certain small boy the sitting in the sea fully clothed experience….
Formby is a brilliant place to visit and an absolute must if you are around the Southport area. It’s so easy to spend a day here – picnics, walks, beach, red squirrels, forests and obviously ice-cream.
Halloween is drawing near and so talk at school has turned to ghosts, one ghost in particular, the ghost of bloody Mary. Not as I had assumed the vile hangover following a few too many tomato juice & vodkas but an actual ghost who haunts the boys bedroom.
She came home from school with him yesterday after a day filled with scary stories. She is now a firm fixture behind the curtains, possibly in the wardrobe and sometimes under the bed waiting to drag the boy from his covers in the dead of night and into the underworld. She casts all manner of terrifying shadows and has been known to whisper evil things in demonic dog like voices….
I’d like to thank Mary personally for making my bed even more crowded than usual. I just love it now there’s one more in there with us, sleeping with just the baby and a husband wasn’t quite squashed up and uncomfortable enough. I like to have half my body hanging off the bed, I enjoy sleeping with one foot on the floor in a desperate attempt to hold on to a remaining few inches of bed with my name on them and now thanks to bloody Mary that’s all the more possible.
Perfect for autumn. They shout at you to pop your pyjamas on, snuggle up on the sofa with a cup of tea and tell you that it’s fine to eat a stash of these one after the other. They want to help you keep your strength up, to get you through cold tiring days. Yes, these cookies just want to be eaten.
what you need:
3oz muscavado sugar
3oz caster sugar
6oz plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 medium egg
1 bar of Green & Blacks milk chocolate (my preference)
1 tsp cinnamon
what you do:
preheat oven to 180C
put the butter and sugars into a mixing bowl and mix together until creamy and fluffy.
add the egg and mix well
tip in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and oats & stir
add the raisins, chop up the chocolate bar into smallish chunks and tip in – stir well to combine everything
using floured hands – roll pingpong ball sized amounts of dough and place on greased baking sheet – well spaced.
using the back of a fork squash the top of the balls so they flatten slightly
bake for approx 10-12 minutes until just turning golden for chewy or browned for crispy.
feet up, cup of tea or pop in packed lunches. One will never be sufficient.