Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘baking’

SONY DSC

Homegrown

There is nothing better than a glut in the veg and fruit beds. It allows for creativity in working out just what to do with those marrow sized courgettes or 50 lettuces which all need to be picked at the same time. Happily this weekend’s glut was several pounds of strawberries which the small people took great delight in picking and turning into a couple of pots of jam and a rather splendid strawberry cake.

SONY DSC

Jammin’

I love to have them in the kitchen even though things can get a bit fraught at times with arguments about who is cracking the eggs…

SONY DSC

Ready to cake!

SONY DSC

Applying the strawberries

And the proud moment of near completion

SONY DSC

Cheese!

And the inevitable conclusion

SONY DSC

The remains

Read Full Post »

You know when your life has become a little over busy when you are on the phone to the bloke who sorts things like your pension out and are simultaneously making a casserole and potting up marmalade. I told the bloke on the phone of my multitasking and there was a sharp intake of breath – more because he didn’t think I’d been listening to him for the past hour rather than admiration at my not inconsiderable juggling act. Pah! All of that and writing reams of copy for everything from Swiss chocolate, Unilever collaborations, eggs cups, wedding proposals and branding to master data (whatever that is) has made life busy but very interesting. But in the midst of all of this there are others to think of… Sunday last was a Nanny day and the small people arrived at some ungodly hour whilst their mother swanned off shopping for the day. Thinking ahead and knowing the boredom threshold of a gnat that the 6 year old has, I had lined up all manner of entertainments and making and doing. The boy child immediately flaked out in front of the telly with his cars (because you are allowed to do such things at Nanny’s) and the smallest person traipsed around the house dragging unwilling dollies and singing snatches of Frozen (which, I have to say makes me feel vaguely homicidal…).

And so the day commenced. There was cake making – and I must admit that the EBG can pretty much get everything necessary out of the cupboard herself and knows which order it all goes into the bowl. They were a resounding success! SONY DSC SONY DSC I love this one!! SONY DSC When Pops finally dragged himself off the golf course rescued me it was decided that a run round the fields would be just the thing on a freezing February day. Of course….. SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Actually the older two quite enjoyed it. Not so the smallest child who stood resolutely in the middle of the field and refused to move for anyone even when cake was the bribe of choice. She is such a baggage! SONY DSC SONY DSC But we had a lovely day. Relatively chilled, cakes, telly and an amount of cutting and sticking. And miles of non stop chat… SONY DSC The eldest girl child then decided that she was going to be the next David Bailey. Actually she didn’t do half badly with my camera and got the gist of getting people and things centered and focussed. Here are a few that she took – she’s 6.   SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC Not bad eh? And so the day drew to a close and we broke the post dry January wine out which seemed both fitting and very necessary! Blimey!

Read Full Post »

SONY DSC

Well now Dear Reader, we may have had a hurricane, we may have had further torrential rain and high winds and we may have had ‘Amber alerts’ (which do make me giggle) but despite all of this, we had a rather lovely Saturday morning last weekend. And so it was that we found ourselves on the beach with two out of the three small folks.

SONY DSC

At their ages they don’t need much amusement beyond stone skimming and shell collecting and there was plenty of both

SONY DSC There was a small spot of rain but we were not deterred

SONY DSC

It’s a real treat to still have weather that’s reasonably good enough to get out with a coat and hat for a blustery walk. It blows the cobwebs away and it’s great to see so many folks out and about with dogs and kids just enjoying what we have on our doorstep.

We made some shadow pictures although TG does look alarmingly like the grim reaper..

SONY DSC

We’d all had enough after about an hour or so and as Madam had decided that cookery was the afternoon’s activity of choice, off homewards we went.

The cakes went ok despite much arguement discussion about the best way to crack and egg. Observe the concentration…

SONY DSC

The biscuits however didn’t quite go to plan and drew a withering look and a “well they ALWAYS work out fine at OUR house Nanny” from Madam…..

SONY DSC

It was one of those – look awful, tastes great moments but the Smallest Baby Boy was not deterred by such minutiae as the look of the thing and pronounced them most ‘licious Nanny

SONY DSC

Whatever the weather (well unless it really is slinging it down) it’s great to get out and about. It gets dark so early that there is no excuse necessary for lighting the fire and relaxing with a glass of wine in front of the Autumn telly schedule. It’s time for gravy and plenty of it, stews and pies and mash and root vegetables, custard and cakes with cinnamon and mixed spice. The festive season will soon be upon us and I am preparing for a marathon of children and friends. We cooked for 15 last Christmas Day – wonder if we can top that this year? This weekend I shall be making Creole Christmas cakes and the Christmas chutney is already maturing nicely along with its very best friend the runner bean variety. There are plenty of things to be getting on with if the weather doesn’t play ball but if it does then I feel a few more trips to the beach and walks coming on. Be rude not to!

SONY DSC

 

Read Full Post »

Don’t panic Dear Reader (not that I’m sure you were for one moment). I have not shuffled off this mortal coil or been abducted by aliens or been struck dumb (more’s the pity some might say). No indeed. I have just been inordinately busy with the show, holiday let changeovers and work.

However, just in case you had thought that I might be being idle, I have achieved one or two things in amongst hurricanes had! During the build up to the great windiness that was Sunday here on the blustery Isle (fastest gust of the hurricane recorded just off the Needles at 99mph…) I did a small amount of nesting or cooking as it’s otherwise known. It was a day for the using up of things grown and I made a rather tasty tomato and chickpea soup (the picture does make it look a touch unsavoury but it was ‘licious Nanny)

SONY DSC

I also made a pie of sorts with the last of the Bramleys from the tree which was rather lush and included some sultanas, cinnamon and almonds not to mention a liberal sprinkling of dark brown raw cane sugar……also ‘licious Nanny and even more so because TG will not eat cooked fruit in any form (school hangover thing). Net result – pie all for me and the muffin top now more resembling a pie top….

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

There was also a luscious lemon cake which began life thus

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

And ended up looking thus.

No. There are no pictures of the finished baked cake because by the time the camera battery had recharged it had been eaten IN ITS ENTIRETY. Honestly, men!!

In any case, by the time the winds had whipped themselves into a frenzy the house smelled most pleasantly of things domestic. We were lucky and got away without any damage to home or person and for that I am indeed thankful. There but for the grace of God and all that…

The only other thing of any note which has occurred as that I have made a little guest appearance over here – they are a very up and coming company based on the Island and I was very delighted to be featured on their blog. I’m itching to do some proper writing and this is my first venture beyond the drivel on here. So if there are any more of you folks out there who’d like a ‘guest’……let me know.

Well I am off now for another week of board treading and general slog. I am hoping to see the small folks at the weekend having been given the 5 year old ‘but you’re always TOO busy to see us’ guilt trip….they always know how to push the buttons don’t they? More amends to make!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s official. I am now COMPLETELY fed up with the flippin’ weather. If it’s not freezing your bits off it’s chucking it down with rain. TG and I have braved the elements and walked in snow, ice and drizzle, but sometimes it thwarts even us. So, below a few ‘other pursuits’.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Diet be damned!!!

Spring’ll be here soon. Won’t it?

SONY DSC

Read Full Post »

Well Dear Reader, flushed with the success of last weeks baking escapades, the Eldest Baby Girl and I set to a spot of fairy cake making this week. This was preceded by a trip to the supermarket to purchase flower and butterfly sprinkles, MORE pink icing and some rather fetching sugar creatures with which to adorn our masterpieces.

I was thinking about when I was little and as I’ve said before, making cakes for Sunday tea. Back in those days (not quite the Dark Ages but not far off) you had ‘proper’ Sunday lunch at lunchtime followed by Sunday tea at around sixish. We absolutely loved Sunday tea in our house. Taken in front of the fire and the telly it consisted of bread and butter, salad (for some unknown reason), scones and whatever cakes I had made the previous day. There were jars of beetroot and pickle to accompany and a big teapot full of tea which was drunk (on this day only) from cups and saucers. My Mother had a full set of the botanic garden range of Portmerion china and this was what we ate from as we watched All Creatures Great and Small and endless episodes of The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie. We lived in the middle of nowhere in Ireland for much of my childhood and I remember Sunday teas with great fondness and nostalgia. I loved the sense of occasion and the sense of family that is all too often missing in these busy times of ours.

And so bake we did. The Small Boy came for observation, hugs, kisses and later tasting duties but found that rugby on the telly with Pops was far more his thing. We had such a lovely time. The EBG could talk for England and there was a steward’s enquiry about the correct way to stir cakes….but eventually taaaadah

SONY DSC

I just love how she loves to do all of this. She is a massive bossy knickers (bit like her Mother was at that age….just saying) but I love her to bits and she is always so very proud of her achievements

SONY DSC

Couldn’t pin the other one down for a decent photo at all. Too busy rushing about

SONY DSC

See??

Whatever the weather Dear Reader, enjoy your week. I’ve spent today slaving in enjoying my garden. Nigel Slater has been enjoying his too and we’ve been exchanging Tweets on the matter. Get me eh – exchanging Tweets with my very favourite cook…I shall be unbearable…

Read Full Post »

If you should ever require an afternoon of contented entertainment and have a small child about your person, then might I suggest biscuit making. All you need are ‘gredients Nanny, a selection of cutters (ours were a tad Christmassy but small people don’t care about such minutiae), icing colouring (very very important to have pink!) and sprinkles…

I remember when I was little being let loose in the kitchen with a copy of Marguerite Patten’s ‘Everyday Cookbook’ and producing all manner of things. There were drop scones and fairy cakes made on rainy Saturday afternoons for Sunday tea. There was the ‘Jiffy Cake’ which was a completely foolproof cake and only required the maker to chuck all the ingredients into the bowl before turning the mixer up to warp speed. I made the family Christmas cake every year until I left home and progressed eventually to meringues, Pavlova and various complicated desserts. The one thing I have never been able to really make is pastry – that is my Mother’s skill and one which I did not inherit. I love to cook and can pretty much make something out of nothing  (TG agrees with this but I suspect we aren’t talking about my cookery skills) which comes in handy faced with fridge scrapings and a few tinned things on a Friday night.

Anyway, make biscuits we did. The Smallest Baby Boy was interested until we turned the mixer on and then he sloped off to watch bobsleighing with Pops (commentary by ex husband which was slightly bizarre). There was much concentration

SONY DSC

And the finished products were by no means ‘scusting…

SONY DSC

The session was a resounding success and even son in law was impressed by our baking skills…amazing!

In fact, it was such a success that the EBG has requested a repeat performance. I am under instruction to purchase further icing colouring, more sprinkles and some more inspiring cutters. This simple pleasure gives me the greatest of pleasures and I look forward to further sessions with this small person and in future her siblings. There is the comfort of stirring soups and stews, of steaming pots full of loveliness. There is the science and alchemy to look forward to of rising bread and turning runny uninspiring egg whites into sublime snowy peaks to be filled with creaminess and fruity goodness. There are fabulously stodgy puddings dripping with custard to enjoy and pies and sponges to be baked. I can’t wait.

Of course the good thing about all of this is that the EBG, like all small people, wants to take everything home. Phew, otherwise the diet would have fallen by the wayside and I would be 25 stone…

It’s wonderful to have a small pupil. And I am a more than willing teacher. Perfect!

Read Full Post »