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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

This weekend had all the ingredients for a completely lovely, uplifting, reviving and rejuvenating time. It’s been a loooong time since I have felt such contentment masha’allah.

Some crafting, of course, in the form of a quilt-top for our bed.

Plenty of posies – a stream of flowers and things generally ripped off stalks made it’s way into our home.

Oh how I *love* the aroma of daffodils. I could bury my head in those petals and inhale like a crack addict. Hm…lovely poetic imagery there I’m sure you’d all agree…

Sun. Hot hot sun. Blue skies. The sounds of nesting all around. All weekend. Masha’allah!

Ergo outdoor play. All weekend! Masha’allah.

Time to sit and knit… ahhhh…..

The barakah of guests, family and good company masha’allah.

Some thrifting thrown in for good measure (a treat in itself, let me tell you :: a bit of time to stroll around a local thrift haven is a little bit of heaven) – and seriously scoring! Yes! Oh I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Some pretty, lovely things (and yes more yarn in some seriously yummy colours) to adorn our home masha’allah.

Another tin – pehaps for buttons? Who knows – currently on my craft shelves awaiting a use …

And some chocolate thrown in for good measure. Good times, people. Good times.

I need to remember that times like these are so very joy-full and make me so grate-full, I am literally full in the heart and glowing with tiredness and contentment. Alhamdulillah. Some days are like this. Life can be so very good.

xx

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I don’t *do* planning. And meal planning? Uh, never. But I’m starting to think maybe I need to give some attention to this area of my servitutde family life; maybe more organisation would result in, you know, meals. On the table. Which people would want to eat. And not bitch over.

Do other people plan in advance what they want to eat? Do you have like a month’s menu pinned up somewhere?

Does this regime help or drive you crazy? Answers on a postcard please!

Today the children and I will sit down and construct meal plans together: things they like (chocolate, cake … you know, the basics), the things they don’t (anything that started off as a root vegetable, anything that begins with the letter ‘p’ or anything orange or green or red. Or purple. Or mushy); and things they might want to have a go at.

I’m thinking it is going to be a thankless and disheartening task. But perhaps, just maybe, being a little more proactive (instead of wanting to run away and hide at mealtimes…) that the pain will be lessened over time?

I kid myself don’t I?

Any family favourites you’d care to share? Any must-have recipe books that do it for you? Please DO leave a comment!

Cover me. I’m going in.

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:: Love in the mail. Gifts from friends.

:: Linen.

:: The colour aqua.

:: Aqua Linen?? Oh yes.

:: This boy and his drawing

:: THIS boy and his intensity {and current dinosaur models}

:: This cup

:: Evening tisane … ahhhh

:: Calmed nerves after a shattering day.

Have a wonderful weekend. If you are celebrating the vernal equinox (in whichever hemisphere of the world!) then I hope you have a peaceful day. Embrace the change and the new season! Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday, I’ll hopefully be back after the weekend insha’allah.

xx

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Honouring the season is very important for me; I try to find the beauty of each moment and live within it’s contraints and bounty. This means that, even though I live in an age which is essenially seasonless in regards of how it impinges on my life and lifestyle, I do try to live within what would be considered in more traditional times as mindful of how the world changes around me.

One small example of this is food. Yes, I can walk into any supermarket and buy any fruit that I desire all year round. But this isn’t how it should be, is it? I mean, you don’t *get* strawberries in winter, do you?

Likewise with flowers. You just don’t get flowers in Winter. Period.

Unless you import them in.

I would like my children to grow up understanding the nature of time and seasons and the need for changes in rhythm and listening to the needs of our bodies and the world around us. In Spring, you sow, in Summer you grow, in Autumn you reap and in Winter the land sleeps. Hm, that rhymes.

We have been eating lots of starchy root vegetables this winter. Fruit has mainly been apples and my poor deprived children *begged* for strawberries this weekend. {Or Stwawblellies if you prefer…}

And even though they had been shipped, by air, from Egypt {sorry environment!! so so sorry!} this weekend we enjoyed some fruit from another season.

And I bought flowers.

And the children and I Mmmmmmed our way through a pummet of fruit whilst a giddy aroma of pollen and perfume and growing wafted around us.

Such a welcomed treat! And made us even more grateful for the bounty we are blessed with, ready for the seasons to come…

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Do you need an excuse to make Apple Pie? No. You do not. Apple Pie exists therefore it is. Or something like that. By the fact it exists is reason enough to make it.

Oh you don’t have custard to go with it? Fear not. I include a recipe to make your own. It is both easy AND peasy.

I use packaged pastry because I like Puff Pastry and for life of me cannot fathom how to make it. But if you want a shortcrust pastry topping you really have no excuse – make it yourself.

OK, so here for your delight is my version of this classic. Adapted and downright stolen from untold women. Share and share alike.

APPLE PIE

Crust:

2 Cups plain flour
12 Tablespoons butter
ice water
dash of lemon juice

Mix the flour and butter til it resembles bread crumbs, add the water and lemon juice and form a ball of dough.

Filling:

1 cup of Demerara sugar
Lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
2 bramley (cooking TART) apples
2 ordinary apples
1 cup sultanas
6 Tablespoons butter

Method to the Madness:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400*F/ 200*C/ Gas 6
2. Peel, core and slice apples. Place them in an oven-proof dish. Add lemon juice. Add sultanas and spices and sugar and mix.
3. Cover the mush with your rolled pastry. Make slits in the top and place in your oven til golden brown – 35 – 40 mins.
4. Eat.

CUSTARD:

Ingredients:

600ml (1 pint) Milk
6-8 Egg yolks
50g (2 oz) Sugar
1-2 Vanilla pods OR FLAVOURING*

*note about flavouring – if you are Muslim then please note that vanilla extract is alcohol based, so choose another flavour. It really doesn’t matter a whole lot which you choose, but I happen to prefer Almond.

Do it:

1. Split the vanilla pods lengthways scraping out the sticky seeds.
2. Bring the milk almost to the boil, remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds and pod(s). OR FLAVOURING*
3. Allow to stand for 15 minutes to allow the vanilla to infuse the milk. OR JUST CARRY ON IF USING FLAVOURING
4. Place the egg yolks, sugar and in a bowl, beat until thick and creamy.
5. Remove the vanilla pod(s) from the milk and slowly beat into the egg mixture.
6. Place in a heavy based saucepan and cook over a low to medium heat (do not allow to boil) , stirring constantly, until the custard thickens.

{I actually cheated and added a teaspoon of cornflour mixed in a little water too.}

You might want to grab a stick too – because after this your family will be jumping all over you to tell you they love you.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

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After a day of meeting the needs of others, sometimes it’s nice to be able to sit down, without distractions, and to enjoy a strong coffee and pain au chocolat. A little treat which can make life just that little bit sweeter all round.

Naughty, but nice.

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