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Samhain or how al dente means under-cooked

Today, for the non-pagan’s amongst us is Samhain a brief explanation can be found with your friend and mine, Google or Witchvox if you cannot be bothered. The school that The Cub attends did not cover Halloween last year in case it offended people. This, offends me tbh. I don’t get all bent out of shape about kids celebrating Diwali or Christmas and am pretty much over the Christian hijacking of every holiday Pagan’s celebrate. So, as a Pagan and a governor if they decide not to do anything next year there may be ripples in the still pond that is school life.

We had Sos and Squash for tea. It’s easy peasy, peel a sqaush and cube it into bite size pieces. Take the skin off the sausages and make them into fake meatballs. Add a little oil to a frying pan (if you want to) add the sausage meatballs fry off for short while add the squash and cook until cooked. Meanwhile, cook some spaghetti however you like but remember al dente is another way of saying under-cooked*. Serve and drizzle with a little chilli oil, or add a little chilli to the sos and squash whilst cooking, whichever you prefer, the chilli is optional. Just remember when you’re cooking the squash it takes a lot less cooking than you’d think it would.

No pictures tonight as we are to busy trickle treating 😀

Peace, love and spooky pizza!

*This is mostly tongue in cheek**

**It’s not really I don’t like al dente pasta 😀

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Hotdogs! Hotdogs! Gettcha hotdogs here! Or, how I had a really lovely day…

Today was freaking lovely, I spent the majority of it with an adult. An actual ADULT. If you have children dear reader, you will know EXACTLY how exciting it is when you speak to somebody who’s response is not, ‘Why?’ every single time you speak to them. I spent the day with the absolutely gorgeous Jo. She’s svelt and has the most beautiful eyes – yes, I’m very jealous of her, but she’s so lovely and evil you HAVE to like her 😀 We had coffee at the hidden jewel that is St Lukes Cafe and a piece of cake each. Our day was made by a wonderful, elderly lady who leaned to one side and farted for AGES, loudly. We laughed so hard we cried, when I am that old I will do things like that and not worry, in the manner of a 4 year old. 😀 Jo, has this fabulous idea of getting a potato gun and when she’s old having a meal then shooting everyone in the cafe with her potato gun. I like this idea, evil is a gift.

I am, however, stupidly tired from all the laughing and putting the world to rights so I was DELIGHTED when The Cub wanted hotdogs for tea. Yes, he actually knew what he wanted, as these evenings are few and far between I grabbed a lazy meal with both hands and that’s what we are having. Aldi’s Bockwurst, It’s a hotdog, you KNOW what they look like so I’m going to post yet another picture of The Cub. 😀

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Peace, love and pizza!

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Despicable me or how annoying is this?

Second day at school after the half-term break and The Cub is very tired when he comes home – this is a mixed blessing. Hurrah, in that, my VERY active boy only wants to come home and veg, but, boo, that he gets his ‘second wind’ right at bath time and is a PITA* for everything for an hour. The parents reading this will know exactly how awful that can be.

No ‘homework’ tonight. Homework is usually just reading a book together and happens Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I call it homework because he will get actual have to sit down and do it homework in the very near future. We do it first thing when we get home after getting changed and before any tv or playing, hopefully, this will become a habit. Yes, I live in a lovely world with a purple sky and unicorns everywhere 😉

Tonight is a Beef and Mushroom pie with mash, The sauce for the pie came out of a bottle from Aldi as my health is not great today, don’t ask it’s a long story, and the mash is frozen. Frozen mash is surprisingly good if you add more butter to it. I needed to use up some puff pastry in the fridge, shop bought, life is TO short to make pastry, although I can. I had the kind of mother that wouldn’t let you use shop bought pastry until you could make it yourself. This was fine up until the time I needed to use filo pastry. Life is WAY to short to make that yourself. So I made a pie and didn’t throw away the pastry, The Cub does not usually react well to pies, this will be a test of my patience and fortitude at tea time.

I’ll update later with a picture of the pie.

Peace, love and pizzaxx

* Did you see what I did there?

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Pizza’s or where have I been for the last week

Fear not dear reader I’m back, last week was half-term and the toll of keeping an energetic, snot filled, 4 year old was heavy. We ate out, a lot, The Cub did really well this half-term so was treated to his favourite place on earth Ikea – do not ask how long we spend in the lighting section, but it’s longer than the toys! Yes, we had meatballs. It’s a toss up with Mr Cub if his favourite food is sausages or meatballs.

I did cook some stuff over the last week. we had home made pizza.

We sometimes have tortilla pizza, which is basically a pizza on a tortilla but this is VERY messy and today I could NOT face Robin (who is a neat freak) getting all antsy at the table because of the mess – don’t ask, he’s hell to live with sometimes!

Here’s the dough recipe from Saint Delia*, How to Cook, it makes 1 25cm (10 inch) base:

  • 175g Strong plain white flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Delia’s recipe has 1 tsp but I find this to much)
  • 1 tsp easy-blend yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (Delia uses golden caster sugar but I find no difference tbh)
  • 120ml warm water
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons polenta (cornmeal)

I use a bread maker, I’m not going to apologise 😉 The only time I make bread by hand is when I have The Rage. I have a hormonal issue which is managed, quite effectively, by medication. But, about twice per year, it flares up to monumental proportions and pounding the crap out of dough is an excellent venting mechanism. So, where was I? Oh yes, I bung everything in the bread maker (in the way stated by the manufacturer) and press the dough setting. If you’re making by hand here are the instructions:

  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in a warm bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the warm water and olive oil. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix to a soft dough.
  2. Turn the dough out and knead it for 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  3. Return the ball of dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm or a clean, damp tea towel, and leave in a warm area until the dough has doubled in size. This should take 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. sprinkle work surface with polenta and roll the dough out, **get creative and pretend you’re in Rome and toss it up in the air and roll it on your hand

Then I shape the base, I am VERY bad at this and it’s always cause for ‘hilarity’ because I try to do it like in Italian restaurants and end up punching a hole in the base. Ha ha, did I mention sarcasm is my life? You might want to note that this dough is a bit wetter than you’re use to don’t be to worried.

Preheat your oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7, adjust as per manufacturers instructions for a fan oven. On that subject – we have a fan oven – I usually (unless I’m baking) don’t bother preheating and shove whatever it is in at the temp for a normal oven, it usually takes a one or two minutes less or exactly the same time and I haven’t spent money on energy to heat the oven. Warning do not try this at home or do so at your own risk! And back to the plot, after shaping leave somewhere warm for 10 minutes. Cover with your toppings and bake for approx 25 minutes.

Pizza base, I use passata, stripey, natch, with any of the following I feel like:

  • tomato paste
  • chilli flakes
  • mixed herbs
  • garlic
  • basil
  • parmesan cheese (or similar cheaper version). Again I keep this in the freezer and just grate off what I need when I need it, just like the ginger in yesterdays post.
  • Worcestershire sauce (this is pronounced Wuster for our American readers, should I ever get any 😉 )

Any tomato base left over gets popped in the fridge and used in spag bol/lasagne/chilli at some point the next week. If it looks like it won’t get used it gets frozen. Now, some people say freeze things in ice cube trays or bags so you can just use what you need. I have never had the energy or wherewithal to be bothered to do it. I am very lazy! I put it in a bag and shove it in the freezer. I find the sealable bags from Ikea work VERY well. Oh, how I heart Ikea 😀 I digress, again, mix it all together in a bowl. Apply as much as you want, add your toppings and bake. I currently do not have a pizza stone. I’m on a gadget ban – we really don’t have enough room in our kitchen for anymore gadgets and I do so luff my gadgets. So, I just use oiled foil under the pizza to make sure the toppings don’t drop off and end up lurking at the bottom of the oven.

Eat, if you are very odd and have pizza left over eat the next day for breakfast. Pizza, is the gods own food, or, if you’re not inclined towards gods, the perfect food. It’s as good hot as it is cold. It’s not my favourite food, though it does make my top 10 😀 The Cub declared he didn’t want cheese on his pizza, he has these mad ideas sometimes, he’s 4 and will one day take over the world if current behavior is anything to go by. So I hid some cheese under his pepperoni as he only wanted pepperoni on his pizza. Did a salad and some garlic bread and there you go.

We had sausage chips and gravy and a variety of meals that required little to no energy expending on them. Because, after a day with a 4 year old who is use to being entertained by elventybillion other small people there is no energy left.

When asked today what we want for dinner we actually got an answer, result! Well not really, there are many awake hours between now and dinner time so this could all change – it usually does. This time they are getting what they asked for! Boundaries? I gotcha boundaries right here! Said in my very poor Brooklyn accent.

Here’s a picture of The Cub because, no post would be complete without one:

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No picture of the pizza because my phone needed charging and I’d had a day. 😀

I’ve attached the spread sheet I use to scale up the pizza dough, if you have any questions about using it leave me a comment. It’s NOT protected if you change things it will stop working properly. Please remember I use less salt than Delia and if you want to go with her recipe you’ll need to factor that in yourself.

Tonight we are going with gammon steak, potatoes and whatever veg is in the fridge. I’m pretty sure you don’t need a photo of that, but if you insist in the comments I’ll post one later.

pizza conversion chart

Peace, love and pizza!

* I have oft let down Saint Delia, she has never let me down, although, I’m reliably informed her baking recipes can be a bit hit and miss.

**this is me being facetious and not an Delia instruction

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Sausages and waffles or how I avoided stabbing Robin

The Cub went to a party today for twin 3 year old’s on our street. It was held at a local soft play area, these are the 10th circle of hell for me. Usually, Robin (henceforth referred to as TT or The Twat) takes him to these parties because of it. Apparently, in his dreams, TT asked if I’d take him today because he wanted to finish The Great Wall Greenhouse. So after I woke him up this morning (we have system that gives TT a lie in in the morning and me a nap in the afternoon), he was expecting me to bounce out of the house with Cub in tow to the party. He was MOST put out that he had NOT actually had a conversation regarding this and that somehow this was my fault. No, dear reader, I have NO idea how that could possibly be either.

The Cub had a whale of a time, he is not the most fearless child in the world and I will not force him to BE fearless, he’ll come to things in his own time. My childhood was unremitting, awful, low level bullying and this was just a form of it and I will NOT do this to my son. My parents have been excellent role models in bringing up The Cub, every time I think what would they do then do the opposite. But he was whizzing down the big slide by the end of it and having tons of fun. For lunch he had a 1/4 of a jam sandwich, a ham sandwich and a dairy lee (or equivalent) sandwich. The usual crisps and accoutrements attended the feast. He seemed to enjoy it, but then, as a crawling baby, he once ate and enjoyed dog kibble. His taste is therefore suspect 😉

No there will not be a picture of the party because I don’t know all the children there and I’d rather cut off my thumb than put a child at risk by posting a picture of them. That, by the way folks, is the real reason schools and nursery’s won’t let you take pictures.

We get home and at long last The Great Wall Greenhouse is ‘finished’. I know you, my intelligent reader, you’ve spotted the apostrophes that attend the word, finish. There are several panels missing and no doubt, will cause pointless drama over the coming weeks whilst TT spends vast quantities of time to find the best price and save 20p off the cost. Still, it keeps him quiet and out of my hair for a bit 😉 Also, instead of getting some decent top soil to fill the bottom, there is some complicated reason why it’s been built the way it has, no I have no idea why although TT has tried to explain it to me several times. TT is sieving the soil that was dug out to get rid of the clay, Cheshire has A LOT of clay, and putting the good stuff back in.

Anyhoo, after a nap this afternoon, which is supposed to end at 17:00 we did have waffles, peas and sausages. There will be no picture of the food today, if you’re not from the UK and you’d like a picture I can post one later, if you are? You pretty much know what they look like. I cook sausages in the oven btw as it reduces the amount of fat in them.

TT was being ‘helpful’ again and allowed my nap to over run by half an hour. Don’t you dare say ah or bless, because, he didn’t actually start dinner whilst this was happening and as a consequence we had one EXTREMELY over tired Cub. He had a late dinner and a late shower and late story time. It was most enjoyable, that, dear reader, is what is known as sarcasm or just Dawn talking in our house!

I didn’t actually stab TT, because? He meant well. He usually does, he just doesn’t think things through to its logical conclusion, this makes me cross and is the reason I initiate arguments. I, on the other hand, am rubbish at housework and a happy slob, this makes TT cross and is what causes him to initiate arguments. Nobody is perfect I suppose, I come damn close though.

I have no idea what we’ll have tomorrow, probably pizza as we’ve got all the ingredients. I do have to do a shopping trip tomorrow as the world had come to an end, we’ve run out of jam. The Cub, will only want toast for breakfast, just watch! I’m off to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which we recorded Friday. We record things via a pc now so I can’t say taped, which, because I’m old, is what I want to say, what the hell do I call it? Anyone else finding it slooooooooooow? I heart Joss Whedon greatly, but this? It really needs to pick up the pace. Talk to you all tomorrow, I might even recap Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 😀

Peace, love and pizza!

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Today is Saturday or what else can get in the way of feeding The Tribe

Ah, The Tribe – wasn’t that a 90’s kids tv show? I always said ‘The Tribe, or why young teens should not be allowed to dress themselves.’

Look at me digressing before I’ve even started the blog! If I was a superhero I’d be ADD Woman, here to fight for truth, justice and ooooh shiny!*

So what got in the way today? Robin, has decided to sell his car. He has, allegedly, reasons. He has explained these reasons to me, but, they can be boiled down to:

I don’t like the car and am having a monumental sulk because a van is just not practical.

Ain’t love GRAND. I read somewhere that you know it’s love when you look at them lying in bed next to you and think ‘I could smother you with a pillow or I can go make pancakes. Pancakes it is!’ This is very, very true.

The person who bought the car came from somewhere in Wales, he was here for 09:15. Robin got up at 08:50 and takes at least 2 hours to get going. They bought the car and left about an hour after getting here. Robin FINALLY sorted out the bloody insurance at 11:30. Robin did something rather complicated with the insurance, all legal, and took many, many days to sort out. He’s probably saved about 10p doing it that way. He ACTUALLY made me want to stab him about 3 times a day whilst sorting it out. I needed a car to go shopping today, usually I can pick up stuff on the way home from school after dropping off The Cub or whilst picking him up, but today it was heavy stuff and I was pouting. Robin wanted to put The Great Wall up** glass in The Greenhouse, he’s been putting The Greenhouse up for 3 years. Admittedly, he’s done it all on his own AND put in a patio, but his propensity for drama means things take 100 times longer than they need to. Take the garage for example, in the same amount of time it took Robin to paint half a small wall I painted the whole bloody thing. He over thinks things. I however, rush right in and don’t always stop to think, if you put us together we’d make a pretty rocking human 😀

Anyway, the reason for my diatribe? I needed the car, remember? So, whilst Robin is putting up The Colloseum*** Greenhouse I have The Cub, after The Lurgy and not sleeping to well I made them come with me. I’m evil, this is a gift. So we got enough fruit to feed a family of 6, The Cub eats his body weight in fruit nearly every day and veg etc. But, by the time we get back it’s nearly 14:00. I pull out my fall back, Aldi Bratwurst hot dogs in a jar. They are VERY nice, I don’t look tooooo closely at the ingredients because, I’d have to stop eating them if I did, no doubt. Hmm sweet chilli sauce on hot dogs……

Take out for tea because of the lateness of everything and my general can’t be arsedness. The Cub wanted a sandwich and an apple so that’s what he got.

Tomorrow is shaping up for sandwiches for lunch and sausages, waffles and veg for tea. Proper nursery tea there. Ooooh, speaking of which I might dig out that recipe for kedgeree next week, or at least a biryani.

No pictures today because who needs a picture of a hot dog or a sandwich?

Peace, love and pizza!

*Yes, I’m aware that is a glib way of looking at ADD but when my friend told me that her daughter, who has ADD would be this as a superhero I laughed like a drain. Now, go forth and be offended elsewhere.

** Google it, it took about 2000 years to build!

*** 10 years to build

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Sweet and Sour Chicken or the recipe I’ve been trying to make forEVER

You may recall today was going to be Ikea for lunch day – didn’t happen, bet you’re shocked! Instead Robin, who is trying to sell his car, needed to use it today because he has man flu. I have the lurgy but apparently it isn’t as bad as Robin’s who has to go to work, I have The Cub on an inset day which is, of course, a breeze in comparison, sarcasm is my life 😀 So, The Cub had a bagel with cream cheese and veggies and I had a Pot Noodle, oh, it’s the HEIGHT of haute cuisine here 😉

I’m having quite a relaxing day as it happens because I made some snow. Yes, I’m magic and can conjure up snow. Actually, what I did was combine 1 cheap can of shaving foam with a kilo of cornflour less the amount in the SnS recipe and it makes mouldable snow it’s a bit like the moon sand you can buy without the cost. Usually it lasts about 2 weeks, the preservative in the shaving foam keeps out the nasties and it’s usually grey at the end because it has been played with A LOT! Because of it’s constituent parts it makes washing toys that are used in it a doddle. I’ve had 2 and 1/2 hours of peace and quiet from it today, why yes, I am a bit of a legend 😀

Anyhoo, here’s the recipe for Sweet and Sour sauce, I’d love to tell you what magazine I got it from but it’s just stuck in my recipe-book-of-things-I’ll-actually-make. I find that shop bought SnS is either to sour or to sweet so I use this, it’s easy to make and I usually do it in a pan whilst I’m doing something else. I have no idea if it keeps because there is never any left. Yes, we love it that much, you’d think it would be easy to get them to eat it. I told them it was SnS tonight and you’d have thought I was serving boiled babies but when asked what else they’d like I got the stock answer so they can put up with it.

  • 1 tbsp of groundnut oil suitable for frying – I use this because we like the taste but if you have nut allergies use any oil you can use without nuts
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated root ginger – I usually have a piece in the freezer because it keeps really well in there but I NEVER remember to get it out to defrost it so I grate it with a the nutmeg side of the grater (the really small one) then bung it back in the freezer. This is probably not a good idea but I don’t think that it’s out of the freezer long enough to defrost to much even with my hands which are usually hot!
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks – the recipe says a green pepper but as green peppers are nasty un-ripened peppers I don’t use them.
  • 1 x 227g tin of pineapple chunks sliced and juice retained. I use stripey (what we call whatever value range the supermarket is selling because Tesco’s use to be stripey) tins of pineapple.
  • 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar. It’s pretty much always cider vinegar because I love salad dressings with cider vinegar or if I’m feeling sassy mirin.
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar optional
  • 1 tsp cornflour blended with 1 tbsp cold water

The recipe gives a really complicated way of making the sauce here’s what I do:

Stir fry the peppers and ginger in the pan for a couple of minutes. Add everything else except the sugar. Boil the crap out of it for a few minutes. CAREFULLY taste – this is going to be hotter than McDonald’s coffee use to be, so let it cool and then cool some more. Add the sugar if you need to and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Thicken with the cornflour/water mixture if required.

Stir fry your meat and or vegies, we would be having chicken, chinese leaves, pak choi and any veg I can find in the bottom of the fridge – I’m lucky we have a REALLY good veg stall on our local market who stock exotic things like mooli and pak choi. If I can convince them I’ll get them to pose for a picture one day! – and steamed rice. However, as the lurgy got me yesterday we’re just having chicken and extra peppers in the sauce! Because of the lurgy tonight I’ve added extra ginger. For the 3 of us I use 1 1/2 cups of rice and 3 cups of boiling water. Simmer the rice for 5 minutes then turn off for 15 minutes with the lid on. DO NOT LIFT THE LID before the time is up. Drain any excess liquid, fluff and serve.

I have a question for you all, are you tired of getting so much damn water out of chicken when you cook it? Funds, as they are for everyone, are tight we CANNOT afford organic chicken although I’d love to buy it. Actually I’d love to have my own chickens and eat them but that’s a whole other blog for another day. I wonder how much money the supermarkets are making by selling us water not meat. Leave a comment let me know I’m not lonely what you think.

Here is tonight’s picture:

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Why yes, it does look VERY orange but this is due to VERY poor lighting and equipment and it doesn’t look this colour in real life – honest guv!

Oh, and a picture of The Cub taken tonight playing with my Kindle, he’s soooo cute. I’m biased, I’m his momma:D

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Peace, love and pizza!