Sunday, 1 March 2015

A little update.

So my plan to re-start the 52 week recipe challenge appears to have fallen by the way side, as has regular blogging... this is partly due to me underestimating the difference between a toddlers energy levels and my own.  I think for now having batches of meals ready to heat up after a busy day of work, chasing after my son, lifting away him from danger/fragile things and general household chores is a good thing. Experimentation will have to happen as and when inspiration strikes.

So since my last post I have been to Spain and enjoyed the joys of sunshine, tapas and siestas!

I have also enjoyed a night out with my family to celebrate my Auntie Ann's birthday, baked a few cakes, visited my sister in Nottingham and gone belly dancing. (As well as working, looking after my son and being ill every few weeks.)

So that's what I have been doing when I haven't been blogging, that and trying to work out how to end one of my novels... eventually I will crack this writing malarkey! I hope anyway.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Learning things.

It's funny how when your younger you can see learning things as a bit of a burden and a boring  exercise.  This might be because the of the educational establishment you attend, the things you learn are not engaging, the pressure to pass tests or because the difficulty of the task frustrates you.  There are many reasons I can think of but now I'm older and a bit taller if not wiser then I am starting to enjoy learning new things again.

Maybe it's because there are new ways to learn now not just copying off black boards or memorising things from a piece of paper...

Currently I am enjoying learning how to use my sewing machine to make simple items, using an app called Duolingo to learn Spanish and using the internet to learn about my child's development.

I also started learning about coding last year when I used the website Codeacademy and I hope to re-start that in the future.

Another hope I have is that I can pass on a love of learning to my child and give him lots of opportunities to develop to his full potential.

You never know, maybe he'll teach me how to play my guitar properly one day!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

52 Week Recipe Challenge 2015: Week 1

So I have been thinking about food a lot recently partly because I enjoy it and partly because we seem to have fallen into a bit of a rut again.  It's very easy to eat find yourself just sticking with the old faithful recipes and eating the same dishes week in week out so I thought it was time to bring back the 52 recipe challenge.  Ok, it's probably a bit of a stretch trying a new recipe every week with a toddler underfoot but I do want to ensure that he doesn't just think there are only 6 or 7 meals that people eat.

To kick things off I decided to make a Broccoli and Stilton Soup something I haven't done before but also don't have a recipe for so I kind of winged it..

To make this recipe I used:

1 Bunch of Broccoli
Most of a big block of Stilton
About 4 Potatoes
1 Red Onion
A sprinkle of mixed herbs
4 Garlic Cloves
A knob of butter
A vegetable stock cube
Lots of boiling water

I started off by chopping up the onion, then I put the knob of butter in my wok and pressed four cloves of garlic on top before turning the heat on and stirring it around. After about a minute I added the onion and gave it a quick mix so that the garlic didn't burn and cooked it on low.

Whilst the onion and garlic cooked I put the kettle on for my vegetable stock and then chopped up my potatoes.  When I had finished chopping the potatoes they also went into the wok and were mixed in with the onions and garlic.

I then put about a pint of boiling water in the measuring jug with the stock cube and dissected/cut up the broccoli.  As I had no idea what I was doing I used it all apart from the bottom centimetre so all of that went into the wok, I stirred it around on a high heat for about a minute before adding the vegetable stock and then realising that I didn't have enough water pouring the rest of the water from the kettle in and letting it cook for about twenty minutes.

After twenty minutes I checked on the soup and the broccoli still didn't appear cooked so I wasn't sure what to do so I added enough water to the wok to cover most of the broccoli that floated on top.  The I tried to get it to boil then simmer but it seemed to take an eternity to boil so after a while I gave up and left it simmering  until everything seemed cooked when I came to it.

Once everything was cooked I turned off the heat, I blended up the mixture, in two batches as I made more than my blender could hold... once that was done I grated my Stilton into the soup.  It turns out Stilton is crumblier than I had anticipated so I  had to break bits off grate them in and then get some more. When all the Stilton was added I poured my tub of single cream and a bit more mixed herbs in and then let it cook until it was all combined.

In the end it made an ok soup, quite tasty and both my boyfriend and toddler ate it.  The main change I'd make next time would be not to use the trunk of the broccoli as it didn't really blend up that well. Still it made loads and it's always good to have some back up soup on a cold winter's day.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Farewell 2014 and welcome 2015.

So 2014 has bitten the dust and been replaced by the arbitrary place marker that is 2015... I mean the fancy new year! Last year saw my son learning lots of things from rolling over up to walking, attempting to learn coding using codeacademy; as well as my return to work.
I started last year with a list of 14 aims in place of resolutions and I am pretty sure they nearly all fell by the wayside. Ooops! I guess that's the way these things go.

This year I think maybe it would be better to try to worry a bit less about my appearance and near herculean tasks.  Instead I think the focus will be on trying to remain positive when things are hard, being a bit more assertive when the need arises and make time to do the things I enjoy rather than procrastinating.

Sometimes that's writing a quick blog to say that I am still here dreaming, reading, watching the odd gig and finding humour in all the wrong places.  Just occasionally falling into the working and childrearing swamps of utter exhaustion. Fear not I'm working out where the fire and rodents of unusual size are as I write!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Update on what I've been doing lately.

So I've had yet another blog hiatus not because of anything bad or on purpose but mainly due to returning to work and being busy.

Since September I've returned to work 3 days a week, seen a few less films, started belly dancing again on a very occasional basis, read a couple of books, celebrated a friend's birthday in Leeds and watched a little roller derby.

This month I am taking on my annual writing marathon where I attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. So far I'm on track although the idea is a loose one at best and may or may not transform into something else. My main aim is to get back into the habit of writing regularly even if I have to carve the time out of the rare instances I'm not actively looking after my son.

Wish me luck! (I obviously need it.)

Friday, 19 September 2014

A year of parenthood.

So a year ago today I became a mother to a healthy baby boy and the time seems to have run away from me!
First pram outing.
Slinging in Sunderland.
 I've taken hundreds of pictures of him for my family and me but try not to pop them on the internet for his privacy. I don't think he'd mind me sharing this picture of his first birthday cake though!
So it's been a giant learning curve as I learned how to hold a baby properly, change nappies and interpret growth centile charts as well as about ten million other things! Now my little baby is on the cusp of being a toddler there are bound to be more things to learn over the next year and I can't wait!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Movie Monday: The 100 Foot Journey.

I saw this film advertised when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy and was pleased when I realised that it was being shown at Kino Bambino. The last Kino Bambino me and Dylan would be allowed to attend no less!

The 100 Foot Journey is about the fortunes of wannabe chef Hassan and his family, guided by their business minded father. They experience tragedy in India and flee hoping to restart their restaurant up elsewhere.  After deciding against settling in England they travel Europe and accidentally find the site of their new restaurant in France opposite an existing Michelin star restaurant. Obviously the owner of the established restaurant is not keen on this and a tit for tat campaign ensues between the restaurant owners, as Hassan learns how to cook French food from one of the other restaurant's sous chefs.

This is only half of the story the rest focuses on Hassan's career as an up and coming chef and how his friends and family feel about this.

When I saw the trailer for this film I expected a nice heart warming tale about French and Indian food so it didn't disappoint in that respect; however, I must admit I didn't enjoy the second half of the film as much. While it was good to see Hassan develop as a chef and character I couldn't derive as much enjoyment out of it as the action of the start but that is probably because I didn't really get chance to sit down and enjoy the end as I was chasing after my son and trying to stop him dismantling the cinema. (Did you know you can just lift the light bulbs out of the little lights on the stage in front of the screen?!? I do now...) It was a nice inoffensive film with a few chuckles but no great big belly laughs but not a bad way to end my days of taking my baby to the cinema on maternity leave though.