Fake It Till You Make It: Summer Veggie Food in the Rain

halloumi salad
halloumi salad
Summoning Summer

The barbecue has gathered dust in our shed this year, and we spent most of the weekend with our noses pressed against the glass, gazing mournfully at the rain outside. My optimistic Australian brother in law is made of sterner stuff than us. Even though he has Irish citizenship now, he can’t quash the need to cook over fire and he has been known to stand outside in january barbecuing while holding a golf umbrella over himself and the food. So when we popped over to my sisters house and I saw him preparing fresh corn to chuck on the barbie I felt compelled to summon a bit of the summer spirit he manages to maintain. Fake it till you make it, if you will. Veggie style, of course.

I had four ears of fresh corn, still wrapped in their lovely husks and a block of halloumi with which to rustle up a summery sunday dinner. So with that, and the general contents of my fridge and garden I made Warm Halloumi Salad with Grapes, served with fresh Corn on the Cob and Roast Potato Chunks.

One each.

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The Tale of the Sad Washing Line And Some Fancy Gin

The things that came with our house are falling apart. You may have seen that I put a picture of my bedraggled rotary washing line on my Facebook page earlier this week.
Exhibit A and the culprit.
The washing line was no longer fit for purpose as it creaked and swayed under the massive amounts of laundry that we four produce. Earlier this year our admittedly crap washing machine had given up the ghost and with great joy (and sadness on the part of our bank account) we replaced it with a fantastic 8kg super eco speedy model.
Me in the kitchen now
Me in the kitchen now
The new washing machine takes a duvet and full set of sheets easily (something we have to deal with a lot). The poor old rotary drier was not up to its part in this task and its time was limited. After six years of wobbly service it finally fell foul of a three year old and his foam sword. It unravelled like a great metaphor for my life this week, alone with two small boys.
photo credit: Buckaroo! via photopin (license)
Pickaxe on the ground = towels on the grass
I had been ploughing on playing a sort of laundry buckaroo, draping sheets over the bockety line with my fingers crossed it would remain standing. Last night my husband returned from a work trip, thrust a bottle of gin in my hand and divested his suitcase of its contents. I gestured towards the sorry sight in the garden. He sped off to Homebase. Who said romance is dead?
photo credit: Buckaroo! via photopin (license)
photo credit: Vintage Maytag

I Am Solo Parenting. Send Potato Gratin.

Potato Gratin.

Picture the scene:

It’s the school summer holidays. My husband is away for work. I am home with the children.

I am in the bathroom with a five year old yelling from the other side of the door “I heard you flush one minute ago! Where are you?”

I am refereeing possibly imaginary fights from the shower, trying to discern if actual injuries have occurred or if it’s hysterical laughter. I guess I can just wash my hair tomorrow instead. The kids won’t care.

I have stopped tidying away the toys in the living room at bedtime. I’ll be in bed about an hour after them.

I wonder, when I am having the exact opposite experience, do I really need to know how the staff in the hotel my husband is staying in keep asking him if he is okay, sir. And if they can do anything for him, sir.

I regret having pizza the night before he left, and chips with this cousins the next night. Now I have to feed them healthily for the rest of the week, and I keep no meals handy in the freezer because it is weeny and I need seventeen frozen bananas, ice cream, bread for toast and all that quorn.

The Reason I Can't Batch Cook
The Reason I Can’t Batch Cook

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Now we are Three: Pox & A Minion Birthday Cake

It looks like we might have made it to the end of the chicken pox. Two small boys down in three weeks, many tears shed (mostly mine), large doses of cabin fever and one birthday that fell on a bad day celebrated instead at the weekend. I would like to be folded into a suitcase and posted to the nearest yoga retreat with vegan food and a vow of silence right now. But I’ll settle for a cuppa and the tv to myself.

Crumbs V Pox
Crumbs V Pox

I steered Teddy away from a Star Wars cake request (think big bro had had a word in his ear). I’m a fan of age-appropriate celebratory baking, so I started big upping the idea of Minion birthday cake a few weeks ago. Continue reading

Birthday at the Baby Restaurant.

wpid-img_20150704_150610.jpgI lay down beside him and spoke softly to him as he drifted off last night. “Three years ago, you started to make your way out into the world. I knew about now that my new little baby boy was on his way, and the next day I got to hold you.”

He spun around to me, his expressive little face alive with confusion, his tone sliding upwards incredulously.
You got me? In the baby restaurant?

He was awake now. “No honey“, I said soothingly and with my hand drew the bump shape he once filled in the air “you came out of mama, and I cuddled you and fed you.

By way of response, he one-twoed the air in front of him “And then I punched you in the face. Hiiiii-yaaah!

That’s the last three years summed up right there; better than I ever could in a soppy blog post (much as I’d happily write one of those) – it’s like I’ve been assaulted by his love, his sheer physicality, his forceful personality. And lately, I’m seeing more and more of me coming out in him with his best cross looks and his easily located indignance.

Happy birthday my little Teddy bear.

Oh yeah, did I mention he now has chicken pox? *Sigh*