25 March 2013

because there's always baking...

Easter holidays loom and it's STILL SNOWING. 

If you're trying to figure out how to entertain the children during the break, here's something that should resist the lure of the telly for an hour or so at least. My six year old can get on with this pretty much unassisted while I tape padding to the most accessible walls.

Because if it stays this cold she'll be bouncing off the walls and I'll be hitting my head off them. Repeatedly.

So, y'know, Happy Easter and all that. I shall be celebrating by printing off engineering vacancies in Singapore and using them as my husband's table mats.

15 March 2013

sweet potato, sour cherry and pecan brownies ::
a great random red nose day bake

Well, after questioning the omnipotent Twitter the other day, it only went and proved its worth in the comments section of the very same post, with the actual s'labrity baker answering a query I had about his recipe. I suppose that's me told.

I still don't understand Twitter, but at least I know a man who does, and that man is our Random Recipe host Dom. Who challenged us this month to pick from our bulging folders, toppling towers and sliding stacks of cuttings and clippings for this month's random recipe. This is my favourite kind of Random Recipe, because if you cut something out or jotted something down, you must have thought it sounded delicious - no risk of frog congee or sherry trifle here.

Well, I used a number generator to select page number 9/52 from my laminated book of dreams (no, not the Bill Bailey Argos catalogue, but my kikki.K baking folder).

Why the baking file rather than the recipe file? Because it was our local baking night in aid of Comic Relief of course!

And so, Dan Lepard's Sweet potato, sour cherry and pecan brownies were made. And I'm pleased to say every single one was eaten at the bake night (or tucked away in a tupperware for later).

They were everything a chocolate brownie should be. And a little bit more besides because:
a) sweet potato is a health food
b) the sour cherries symbolised red noses
c) they were gobbled in aid of Comic Relief!

Despite heavy snow and a modest turn out, we raised £70 on the night, and I understand there's more to come with a blind auction of some goodies.

So, what are you waiting for? Hashtag dosomethingyummyformoney, hashtag don'tevenknowwhathashtagmeans, hashtag don'tevenhaveahashtagsymbolonmycomputer

Hop on over to Belleau Kitchen at the end of the month to see Dom's wonderful RR roundup. Actually, it's only half way through the month - why don't you join in too? You must have a stash of clippings and cuttings kicking around somewhere, don't you...

13 March 2013

no time to say "hello, goodbye"

Did I ever mention how wonderful Nicole's Classes are?
I did? A hundred times already?

Well I'm going to tell you again, because they have monopolised ALL my spare moments so far this year.

Like the white rabbit, I'm late, late, late for everything these days, always trying to squeeze just one more tutorial into my already hectic schedule. I've listened to tutorials while changing nappies, while pasta boils, while The Boss does her homework. You name it, I've got half an ear tuned to my tutor Alma's dulcet tones.

Here's just a small sample of what she has enabled me to make this week. I'm not getting any kick back for telling you that I highly commend Nicole's online school to any and all of you who want to learn something new.

I'm hooked.

[I suspect Alma would point out that other fonts are available, and there is more than one way to set a block of text, but I'm having a fully-justified Amatic moment. It'll pass.]

* copyright little macaroon. 2013, all rights reserved.

* copyright little macaroon. 2013, all rights reserved.

* copyright little macaroon. 2013, all rights reserved.

* copyright little macaroon. 2013, all rights reserved.

12 March 2013

answers on a postcard please

Some of the many things I don't understand:
  • Twitter. I just can't wrap my ailing braincells around it. I get lost in shopping malls, so I certainly can't navigate which bit of who said what and where it was answered and re-tweeted and, well, no. Just no. It's not going to happen.
  • Multi-functional maternity'x'nursing wear. In my limited experience, these two states are mutually exclusive. The desire for something half decent to wear while nursing means I am obviously not pregnant anymore. The stupidity of this issue makes my head ache. (If anyone can recommend a company that does good-quality nursing clothes that don't make me look like a trog who's given up on herself and flung on an ill-fitting sack, I'd be very grateful.) 
  • People who leave their dog mess in our street. Clearly cretins, they have to walk down the street everyday too, so surely skipping round various evacuations bugs them as well? I'm going to take affirmative action with some blue spray chalk. Sorry, that should be hashtag affirmativeaction hashtag turdwars. Or something. 
  • Now I do actually really need advice on this last one. "200g baked sweet potato, flesh scooped out". What does that mean? A 200g potato baked and scooped, or 200g of scooped out flesh from a couple of potatoes? It's for this recipe, so I think it's kind of important. I'm veering towards that latter... Answers on a postcard please.
That is all. Thangyaverramuch.

01 March 2013

almost parenting... gingerly

Turns out there's one real drawback to parenting a really brainy child. (That is in addition to the fundamental flaw of her being brainier than me, you understand. "Flight of the Bumblebee was written by a man called Rimsky-Korsakov you know Mummy." Erm, no. I didn't as it happens.)

No, as far as I can tell, the main issue is this. The brighter the child, the sooner they realise that you, as a parent, have absolutely no effing clue what you're doing.

Which is fine while we're bumbling along in our everyday shambles of Oxford Reading Tree, damp laundry and glitter glue. But when it comes to actual parenting (I'm talking discipline, behaviour, Ural maestri, that sort of thing) she can tell, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'm making it all up on the spot. And she's not convinced.

After a week of particularly feckless parenting, I'm working on a solution while she's at school: crystallised ginger, date and walnut cake. And while that's baking, a batch of Nigella's meatballs from the Kitchen book.


Because the former might trick her into thinking, for a valuable minute and a half, that I'm one of those awesome, capable Mums that knows what she's about. And the latter? Well, they're turkey meatballs, so presumably there's no dobbin in them. Though it turns out you can't be too sure...

Crystallised ginger, date and walnut cake (a variation on an old favourite)
Ginger is supposed to boost the immune system isn't it? So with the fibre-rich dates and walnut Omega-3s, you can pretty much convince yourself that it's good for you.

120g chopped dates
large pinch bicarbonated soda
170g sugar
50g  room temp butter
170g self-raising flour
50g chopped walnuts
finely chopped crystallised ginger to taste (I used 15g)
ground ginger to taste (depends how spicy you want it, I used just half a tsp)
1 egg
1tspn vanilla essence
1/2 tspn salt
  • preheat your oven to 180*C and line your cake tin
  • cover the dates with one cup of boiling water with a pinch of bicarb and set to one side while you weigh everything else
  • blitz all the other ingredients together with a hand-held mixer
  • mix in the dates and their juice (then put it in the oven for two minutes before realising you've forgotten the walnuts, so burn yourself whipping the tin out and stirring the nuts into the batter, like one of the more hopeless GBBO contestants you love to scorn)
  • bake for 35 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.

Joining in with April's 'Fred & Ginger' edition of Just Desserts over on Domestic Sluttery.
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