Sunday, 22 March 2015

Life exactly as we know it.

Recently I have been mainly trying to rid myself and the other members of my house hold of the dreaded sniffles.  It's not been a very successful fight I believe the sniffles have the upper hand... despite this we have been having lots of fun.
I have also been working on my fiction writing when my son had been asleep, at nursery or when my partner has taken over the child wrangling duties.  It's been slow going but I've finished my first short stories in a while and am looking forward to writing more.  I've also bought tickets to Tramlines for myself and my boyfriend and look forward to doing a lot of dancing.

There's been a bit less film watching going on here but more baking so swings and roundabouts it's just a shame it's been more of the same blue berry muffins and carrot cake.  That, a little hula hooping and all the house work in the world ever! (Slight exaggeration I just hate housework...)  It has however included washing plastic balls which look quite funny on the draining board.

This week coming I plan on fitting in as much writing as I can around work and everything else going on in my life and going to the Abbeydale Picture House produce market on Saturday with he who I prefer not to name.  So that's a little snapshot of what is going on in this little corner of the world at the moment.

Friday, 13 March 2015

A thank you to Terry Pratchett.

I am not normally one for getting upset over deaths of people I don't know or whose works I enjoy but Terry Pratchett has been one of my favourite authors for a while.

So instead of saying rest in peace I thought it would be better to say thank you.  Thank you for all the disc world books.  For all of the chuckles and guffaws.  The silly names, the hours spent reading, the interesting concepts and witty one liners.

You may not be here to grant us more stories and for that I am sad but at least in print you are immortalised. I look forward to introducing my son to your stories as he grows and sharing the love for your words.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Midweek bake - spicy carrot cake.

So last week I fancied carrot cake and when I eventually got my son down to nap I decided that it was time to make one.  So I tried the Spicy Carrot cake recipe in my Coffee and Cake recipe book, with a couple of adaptions to suit the ingredients I had to hand and my personal tastes.
This is it before I took it to work and it got demolished. I thought that throwing some fudge cubes on it might make it extra nice and while they were tasty they were kind of superfluous.  It was just very nice and moist, not bad for a bit of post park procrastibaking! (Obviously I should have spent this time tidying or writing... but hey I'm a rebel.)

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!