Saturday, 30 May 2015

Scenes From Our Table

Some nights, you basically just want pan-asian restaurant starters. Corn cakes and spring rolls. Sweet chilli, and peanut sauce. Remind me to post the peanut sauce recipe, guys, it was BOSS.

Corn cakes.
Stewed rhubard isn't the most photogenic of foods, I will grant you, but hot damn, it does the job.
Buckwheat pancakes.
Posh take-out.
Taking the 'table' outside. I made this quilt a few years ago from thrift store scraps.
Take that, Dad. Defeated!
A breakfast series, starting with quinoa sourdough (sadly, not homemade. I am still struggling with sourdough). 
Waffles and peanut butter. She just calls it 'butter', because she's the sweetest.
My new thing - multigrain porridge. This is oat, quinoa and millet with Udo's oil , a little brown rice syrup, and seeds. And lemon water because I'm soooooo virtuous. Just a note, the millet takes a bit longer to cook, so use leftovers!

And finally, some inspiration. Been craving homemade tortillas, and I'm going to make that business happen for us.

Hope you are all having a good weekend!!

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Explaining Toddler Parenting

If you come here often, it's probably pretty clear that I love motherhood. It's been the making of me, and I wouldn't change it for anything you could offer me. But that isn't to say that it isn't really, really hard. I won't say it's the hardest job in the world, because, like, coal-mining looks pretty tough, and I can't imagine that being President is a picnic, but it's certainly harder than any job I've ever had. The hours are terrible, the daily company excessively demanding, and there is of course zero pay or social cache. Can you see where I'm going with this? I'm about to complain, friends.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Daisy Chains

Today we all hung out in a meadow and made daisy chains like we were in a Marc Jacobs ad or something. It was lovely. We had a picnic (chickpea salad sandwiches, hummus and carrot wraps, lemon water), and tried not to sit on the rabbit poo. A few pictures:

So many daisies!


Hope you are all enjoying the long weekend, and getting out in the sunshine when you can find it. It's happening, guys; summer is happening.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

But Debbie, Pastels?

I've been thinking that F's room needs something of a refresh. It's still a light, bright, cheery place to be, but I've been thinking that her rug looks knackered (a year and half of hard living, what with naked-time and butt cream...) and that I'd like to move toward more saturated colour rather than the all-colour pastel thing we've got going on. Don't get me wrong, I like this palette - it just feels a bit baby-ish for her now?
Some homemade pillows and an antique quilt.
Reading nook. Some homemade pillows, some purchased.
Ikea basket. See, I keep thinking about this hot pink with, like, bright yellow.
Grandma's quilt may graduate to actual bedspread usage.
Sleepy monkey, and my 'pony' blanket from when I was a baby.

Raiding the nappy cupboard. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but we've gone the eco-disposable route. Naty by Nature Babycare (which makes me think of Naughty by Nature 100% of the time) is only marginally more expensive here, so if you stock up when there is a good deal, it's affordable. Also, a ukulele.

Shelves. Light.
A little nightlight.
This face. 'Pony' blanket.

Mismatched socks.

So, hopefully in the next six months or so I can show off a bit of an update. I'm thinking colour, storage, wall art - and a big girl bed!

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Bicycle Built For Toot

It's been a rough week for some reason. One of those weeks where she is clearly working through some stuff, and hasn't been in the best mood as a consequence. So plenty of tantrums, but also some funny stuff I want to remember:

She knows lots of songs now, as well as the words to her books, so if you pause a moment for the last word of a phrase, she'll pipe up with it like a little Beastie Boy. One song we've been singing a lot lately is 'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...' Do you know it? Anyway, the last line is 'and you'll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for two.' Now, the word we use for fart around here is toot (I don't know why - it's not like fart is a bad word. Just seemed too crass for her little angel face!), and she thinks it's a 'bicycle built for toot.' Very clearly, every time - toot.
I caught her 'breastfeeding' Minnie Mouse in the bath. Saying 'night, night'! I DIED laughing and she looked at me like, what? How else will she go to sleep?? Jeez, Mom.
She wants to walk everywhere now, and puts her little toy baby in the buggy. She stops every now and then, looks at the baby and goes, 'O-TAY? O-TAY?' I did not realise I did that to her, but I guess I do!
She's quite disturbed by 'mess', and it very happy to clean up spilled water or whatever if I give her a rag. So, we're going for a walk, and she's calling the puddles 'mess'! A bit too far, no? Someone told me that they are fastidious at this age, either that or she's going to be a neat freak.
A friend recently said that it must be great now that she's quite verbal, because she won't get as frustrated since she can communicate what she wants. Yeah, not at all. Tantrums have commenced this week for the following, totally rational, reasons:
I made the bed.
She wanted my spoon instead of hers.
She saw a picture of an orange and wanted it.
I couldn't read two books at once.
We wouldn't let her outside in her pajamas, barefoot.
Then, when she sneaked out while her Dad took the trash out, she was upset because she was barefoot. ('Feet!! Feet!! Shoes!)
I can't make hummus appear out of thin air.
And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!
In other news, we bought her a little potty. Not terribly serious about potty training yet, but I figure she can have a go during naked time this summer. So far she likes to sit on it and say 'peepee' or 'pssss' (I did not teach her the latter, interestingly), but we haven't hit paydirt yet. I do actually think she knows what it's for, but right now it's a pretend thing. I haven't really looked up different ways to potty train, and I know it's early, but it would be nice to make some progress during the warmer months.
Thanks again for voting guys, you're the best. Goodbye weekend, here we go again!
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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Things My Mother Taught Me About Food

Hands up if you're a sucker for a Netflix documentary? If A Tree Falls (fascinating), Nim (deeply depressing), Man on Wire - I can't resist. The other night I watched Fed Up, which is about the obesity 'epidemic' and the strong arm of processed food companies - particularly pointing a finger at outrageous levels of added sugar. It wasn't actually news to me, being a bit a a food nerd: the softening of McGovern Report due to industry pressure, the conflicts of interest with the FDA, junk food in schools, advertising to children (a nauseating quote from a McDonalds rep at a hearing: "Ronald McDonald doesn't sell to kids; he informs and inspires through magic and fun"). A fascinating tidbit was the government simultaneously recommending less dairy fat consumption in official literature, while actively peddling all the excess cheese made from the leftovers from skim milk. Depressing, but not surprising. I hadn't really thought about it before, but those of us born in the 80's and 90's were growing up in this unbelievable boom for processed foods, when families were marketed junk from all angles. Low fat! Fun! Convenient! Affordable! My childhood could so easily have been full of Lucky Charms and Spaghetti-O's, but it wasn't, because my parents knew better. I'm so grateful that they valued real food and made us eat it! That's not to say that we never had pizza or soda, but it certainly wasn't the norm.
These are some of the best things my mother taught me about food, that I hope to pass on to my kids:

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Serious Protein Salad (with Juice Pulp)

I seem to share a lot of treat-y recipes on here, but we don't eat pancakes day in and day out (I swear!) - we eat regular food. I guess our regular food sometimes seems a little too boring, to me, to blog about. But maybe it isn't! Let's see! This is just a simple but hearty main-course salad that can be thrown together in no time if you have some leftovers on hand, and of course can be modified in a million ways., loosely inspired by one that my guy ordered at that great vegan place in Cape Town. It's another way to use up some juice pulp as well, which is always nice.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Underrated Milestones, 18 Months

Yeah, ok, I know all the normal milestones are cool, but all these other, weird, forgotten firsts are absolute gold, and they are happening ALL. THE. TIME. I'd like to remember them, so thinking I'll make this another somewhat regular thing. Because growing-up is done in tiny, hilarious increments.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Project Sourdough: Bumps in the Road, Or Why Home Fermenting is a Bitch-Goddess

Damn you, home fermenting, damn you!!! I've been having a disappointing series of kitchen fails, mostly to do with Sourdough, and now Kombucha. My Sourdough falls flat, and my very first batch of 'buch MOLDED because my kitchen is too cold. Shall I recap? This might be sweary, I'll try to keep it clean.

So, Sourdough:
I've continued to try various bread recipes using my starter, all turning out way too dense. Another malthouse turned out like pumpernickel. I was so disappointed with the rise on a San Francisco-style loaf that I resorted to adding some quick yeast AFTER the second rise and luckily got enough of an oven spring to salvage that em-effer (above). Still, disappointing. Tried the following fixes:

Kept the starter at room temperature for a few days before using.
Changed the jar when the above fix resulted in a tiny bit of mold on the edge of the jar.
Fed more regularly.
Proofed at room temperature.
Checked the dough regularly to suss out the tolerance.
Tried different oven temps, both experimenting and to-the-letter recipe following.

Of course, the answer is obvious. I should get my hands on a known good starter to narrow down the list of potential problems. If I know my starter works, then I must be going wrong somewhere with dough tolerance, or temperature. Have I mentioned that our kitchen is cold? That can't help. What's frustrating though, is that the starter smells good! It smells right! It smells sour and complex, and the dough does actually get some big, sexy air bubbles. What's wrong with it??? 

So my plan is to get some good starter, from where I don't know yet, and try again, all while continuing to maintain my lovely rye starter. I'm also going to get my hands on a proving basket (is it proving, or proofing? I see both on t'internet. Any bread nerds out there?) and do this right. And I do know that there's no turning back - I've made some bread with quick yeast since, and it just doesn't have the flavour or the crust.

And Kombucha! What the hell!! I thought, since sourdough is proving to be a troublesome, erm, Berkshire Hunt, I'll do an easy ferment for the summer. I bought a Scoby (and named it Scobias), and set up what was to be a continuous brew. I happen to like Kombucha, and I get a kick out of making something that's normally expensive for next to nothing. Sounds great! No, mold. MOLD. 

So excited! So naive!


The Internet seems to think that Kombucha is actually difficult to screw-up, unless you're a screw-up, like me. The company I bought the Scoby from, Happy Kombucha, have actually been really helpful in diagnosing our problem, so I am going to try again. I'll have to brew upstairs somewhere, near the goddamn thermostat if I have to, and I will probably wait a few batches before attempting a continous set-up again. Then I shall report back! Hopefully with better results! So today I bought a bottle of commercial Kombucha just to bum myself out further about what I WON'T be making this week. 

Now, if you need me, I'll be over here crying into my guacamole. Not really, I'll be eating it.

Don't forget to vote for us though! If you want to, of course...

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May Day! May Day!


If you are lucky enough to live in the UK, you'll have just enjoyed another 3 day weekend for no reason. May day? Is that the holiday? Who cares! 3 day weekend! We decided to spend it visiting family, splashing in puddles, eating Indian food, and generally enjoying ourselves.

More swing actions shots. I love dressing her in bright colours.
Hey, that's me! With my mom uniform and bright stroller, pretty much as always.
Loving the puddles.

And still loving the boots. This is Yellow Boots version 2.0, because I lost one (DISASTER!!) in Eltham last weekend. We can't be wellie-less for the summer though, no way. If you don't know why, then clearly you didn't get that 3 day weekend. 

So we've been busy, and this week is set to be just as busy, but in a good way!

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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Scenes From Our Table

Her new favourite book, I think I've read it 15 times since yesterday.

Taco night! And salad, obvs. 

Little hands.

Sometimes I think I'm just an old-school, sprouts kind of girl.

We have a little alcove above the table where we store jugs and serving plates...

... and cookbooks and table linens. I like it.
Another new friend.

Why are the chipped mugs always the best? Got it in Provence and can't bear to part with it.

Oranges, my mother's ring.

A fairly typical weekday lunch - a little bit healthy, a little bit not. Salad and Violife quesedillas.

Trying to get organized, and little hands shoot in there, like, instantly!

Who, me?

Little hands.

Yeah, I'm a sprouts kind of girl.
Hope you are all enjoying the long weekend, and hopefully some spring weather. Don't forget to give the link below a click if you want to vote for us!
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