Saturday, 31 August 2013

Gromit Unleashed #2

Gromit Unleashed #67

Gromit Unleashed #1

step by step : blackberry jam

A very straightforward recipe today - it doesn't take long, but don't let that fool you - it is absolutely delicious.  With plenty of fruit in the jam you retain that tang, and as long as you stir gently you'll have some lovely squishy blackberry lumps in there too - can you see it there on a chunk of fresh bread?  Just imagine it on a warm soft buttery scone . . .  Mmmmm . . .

So on to ingredient availability - if you are into seasonal eating then you need to keep your eyes peeled while you're out and about, and follow the blackberry picking rules, okay?  We've got loads here, and because of being out every day walking Eli we've grabbed them as soon as they're ripe, but they have been kind of taking over the fridge, which as far as I'm concerned makes jam practically a necessity.  Oh yes.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Gromit Unleashed #14

Gromit Unleashed #27

Gromit Unleashed #8

Gromit Unleashed #65

Gromit Unleashed #7

Gromit Unleashed #18

Gromit Unleashed #31

Gromit Unleashed #24

Gromit Unleashed #30

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Gromit Unleashed #66

step by step : blackberry and almond traybake

I put this together for afternoon tea as I had a couple of handfuls of blackberries left in the fridge after making fresh blackberry jam (step by step recipe post coming soon!) and didn't want them to go to waste!  The slices (or squares or triangles - however you want to cut them!) are pretty sturdy and would be great for lunchboxes (for the kids at school or you at work) or for picnics - they wouldn't crumble if they were shaken a bit on the way!

Gromit Unleashed #59

Gromit Unleashed #25

Gromit Unleashed #32

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Gromit Unleashed #4

Gromit Unleashed #5

why I'm sorry

Do you ever look back at the way you used to think and feel ashamed?  Ashamed about thoughts you had, judgements you made, words you said?

When Smiler was a couple of months old he had an appointment at as children's centre in Clifton. I took Smiler on the bus in a sling, and sat in the waiting room, wondering how late the appointments were running.  The door opened, and in came a group of five or six women chattering happily to one another, each with a baby or child in their arms.  The youngest child of the group was snuggled into a bucket seat, fast asleep while her mother carried her past me and down a corridor along with the rest of the group.

I estimated the child as being between twelve and eighteen months - she had silky wisps of blond hair, a bunch of plastic keys clutched in a pudgy hand, and the facial characteristics of a child with Downs.  I looked down at my Smiler baby, snoozing in my arms, looked back at the child being carried in front of me and thought 'at least he's not as bad as that'.

Monday, 26 August 2013

afternoon tea : 25th August 2013

On the menu for afternoon tea we had the rest of the scones scones that Noah and Petal made the other week and I'd frozen; double chocolate marshmallow brownies - recipe to come another day; and blackberry and almond slices.  

I'll just finished the step by step post for the traybake, and Blogger ate it.  Bugger.  Maybe these will whet your appetite for when I've rewritten it . . .

{Edit : blackberry and almond traybake recipe post - I win Blogger!  You will never defeat me!  Well, you didn't today anyway . . .}

* * * * *

If you'd like to read more about life as the round peg in a square hole, appreciating the extraordinary within the everyday, and general musings on family and food, please put your email in the box up there on the right, and you'll get all the abstract anyone needs straight into your inbox!  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have the chance to laugh today


Gromit Unleashed #28

Gromit Unleashed #29

Friday, 23 August 2013

step by step : banana coconut muffins

I love making muffins, and these are so simple - definitely child cooking fodder.  Even quite little ones can get involved - lots of 'stir this together' opportunities!  I've given the full list of everything I put in, but feel free to use your discretion - different sugar, or cinnamon instead of nutmeg, or yoghurt other than vanilla - this is just the combination my kids favour.  My thinking is that they make a change from chocolate, and since they have banana and coconut in, that's two of your five a day, right?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

changing names to . . .

The next question, of course, is what are we changing it to?

{This post follows on from what's in a name?}

Part of Speech: noun
Definition: title given to something, someone
Synonyms: agname, agnomen, alias, appellation, autograph, autonym, brand, cognomen, compellation,
 denomination, designation,epithet, eponym, flag*, handle*, head, heading, label, matronymic, moniker, monogram,
 namesake, nickname, nomde guerre, nom de plume, nomen, patronymic, pen name, petname, place name, prenomen, proper name, pseudonym, rubric, sign, signature, sobriquet, stage name, style, surname, tag, term, trade name
* = informal/non-formal usage
(Sourced here)

* * * * *

Simple answer : To a new name.  
Not his, and not mine.  
Well, I guess kinda mine.  
More mine than his.  
Well, actually, ours.  
In that we talked about it and had independently come up with the same answer.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

what's in a name?

A sunflower not a rose, but the best I could do - we don't have any roses in the garden!

Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene II

 Juliet.  ’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
(Sourced here)

So Juliet clearly distinguished between the person she knew as Romeo, and the name Romeo itself, which she views as "no part of thee".  What do you think?  Do you consider your name to be part of you?  What is a name after all - a string of letters, a grouping of sounds?  Is it that simple - is it just a word, or does it hold power?  

Gromit Unleashed #3

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Gromit Unleashed #49

Gromit Unleashed #23


n. 1. a. A strong desire or need for food. b. The discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food. 2. A strong desire or craving : a hunger for affection. v. hun•gered, hun•ger•ing, hun•gers  v.inter .1. To have a need or desire for food. 2. To have a strong desire or craving.

Food meets our basic physical need, as human beings, as mammals, for nourishment and hydration, but alongside this it is so much more.  It is telling, I think, that even our language considers food on par with emotional needs as well as the purely physical ~ we hunger for attention, for affection, for love ~ and for food.  

Monday, 12 August 2013

the day Petal was the paint

When Petal made the move from her cot into a bed with sides, we decided it would be good if she helped decorate her own bit of wall, to personalise it a little.  I created a base with a colour that matched her bed~sheets to try and focus her on a finite piece of wall ~ as you can see, the walls were a rather fetching shade of magnolia, as the bungalow was a new build when we moved in six months before Petal was born.

Petal was almost two, and loved getting messy ~ thinking about it, she still does...  She was that child ~ you know, the one who covered every single inch of the paper in scribbles, and if she did a painting ~ well, the paper would end up completely saturated and ripping under the weight of the paint.  The theory was, the wall could take the weight of however much 'art' she covered it in ...

So off to the local B&Q, Petal choose which tester pots she liked the look of (white, pink and pale pink ~ surprisingly colour coordinated for some one related to me I thought!) and carried them home in the car.

Indoors, I put old clothes on Petal while Mr Manley put an old fitted sheet on the bed, and let her get on with it!

No brushes or anything, we just encouraged her to use her hands to put the paint on the wall, swirl the colours, twirl her fingers, slide the paint around, smudge the shades into one another ... just whatever she liked the look of.  I had the extremely important job of paint holder, so Petal told me which colour she wanted, then held her hands out, palm up,  I poured some of the paint on to her hands, then she turned back to the wall and continued with her masterpiece!  Petal rubbed her hands together, mixing the colours and coating herself in pink~ness at the same time ~ a great sensory  experience for everyone involved.  That reminds me ~ if you're going to give it a go, make sure you're using low odour paint (there is a word for it, think it begins with a v?) and you open all the windows ~ it's much more enjoyable when everyone stays conscious!

As you can imagine, by the time Petal decided she was finished everything was a bit of a state ~ although we'd put an old sheet on the bed to protect the mattress, she obviously decided the bed frame should match ~ if you check out the bed head (word? not a word?) you can see where she got there before we did... It was also very clear that Petal's artistic side was very ... immersive ... she had to be the wall, or be the brush, or be the paint...

 Mr Manley carried her at arms length into the bathroom, where (very unlike me) I'd been organised enough to have already run the bath.  Taking off her clothes without touching them was kind of tricky, but we managed it in the end!

Petal loves her wall, and used to follow the curves with her fingers when she went to bed.  Because of a lack of space in the room she shares with Noah, they both have high beds now, but when Petal plays under her bed she can still see her painting, and says she remembers doing it.  Personally I think it's more likely that having seen the photos and the wall, and heard the story her brain has made up a corresponding memory, but hey, what would I know!

Have you tried anything similar with your children, or do you think you might give it a try?  I was a little concerned at the time that she might get the mistaken idea that she could paint walls wherever and whenever she wanted, but (thank goodness!) she didn't ever try it.  Do you have photos of any unplanned (or planned) interior decorating that your beloved offspring have done?  Please share them if you do, I'd love to see!

Giving Petal the opportunity to ... make her mark (no pun intended) on her room turned out to be a lot of fun, for us as well as for her.

A lasting momento of her babyhood ~ the day Petal was the paint.

afternoon tea : 11th August

The weather was gorgeous yesterday so we had afternoon tea outside - warm scones with tropical fruit jam taste amazing in the sunshine, just so you know!