A spoonful of sugar

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Or at least the promise of one as reward. In this house our children enjoy a myriad of foods and tastes, some exotic, some spicy, some mundane and others are just occasional treats. When it comes to treats, I’m talking about sweets and chocolate of course. You also only receive dessert after dinner if your plate is completely empty. And you are never blessed with a dessert when there is good food left on your plate. Our guys are still small, but love mussels, olives, pickles (gherkins), Blue cheese and many more flavours from around the world. But they can still be belligerent and picky about the most basic things! I’ve told you about Thor only liking cheddar cheese with Branston pickle, but he loves parmesan over all and every type of pasta dish. Amritsar on the other hand likes every and all cheeses, on their own, on a cracker or indeed in a sandwich. Now today at lunchtime for the little ones, chicken salad sandwich’s with farmhouse bread, a little salt on the salad and full fat mayonnaise. I went off of the low fat variety of mayonnaise after watching one of those programmes with Jimmy and Jamie, exposing different foods and how they make them. With low fat mayonnaise, they replace oil with water using various gums and most bizarrely with citrus pulp (tasting of nothing once all of the juice is removed), there’s no actual citrus flavour. This concept I will come back to later using Apples as a substitute, but anyhow, a little of anything is okay, so I happily converted back to real mayonnaise. I just don’t eat so much of it. So back to this lunchtime… Aaliyah arrives in from preschool and sits in her chair, the boys follow and Thor asks ‘what is it’? ‘Children salad sandwich’ I reply. By this time Aaliyah has pulled out the contents and screams’I don’t like it’. Thor sometimes does this but when you try to remove his plate the then screams’I like it, I like it’. A very odd boy at times. Aaliyah on the other hand is just being manipulative. She lowers her head below table heigh and she has this smile or rather smirk, it’s sneaky and cheeky, the look of pure naughty. I say ‘eat up Aaliyah, there’s a Jaffa cake for dessert’! We don’t often get anything sweet at this time of day except the occasional apple, pear or banana. Also, they all love salad now, it’s chopped smallish and usually dressed with a Caesar dressing. Not even a limp lettuce leaf left on the plate – too scrumpy for that. Aaliyah decides she likes the chicken salad sandwich and eats it with haste. So she is first in line for her spoonful of sugar, or in this case the Jaffa cake. The boys soon follow as Sindy and I make it a race, to see who comes next. It is a draw. Open mouths to check that all has been swallowed. Both mouths completely empty and then two very big smiles as they chomp away on their sweet treat. Talking of which, against my better judgement, yesterday’s Tesco delivery included zero sugar fizzy drinks, iced ringed donuts with sprinkles and a multitude of sugary sweets and chews. Don’t forget that it is our big ‘trick or treat’ hunt with the neighbours tomorrow. You gotta show willing I guess. But I’ve never amassed such a stash of such sugary things for the children ever before. The fizzy drinks are the diet variety however, so a few brownie points earned. With all that sugar, it won’t be easy to put them to bed tomorrow night though…

On an unrelated matter, this is the fourth week of my blog. It started four weeks ago to the day and I remember, around this time, I was talking about the ‘poo incident’. A lot can happen in a month. I wonder what we have to look forward to in the four weeks to come!

New costumes for ‘T’ and ‘A’

With the little ones entertained at their other preschool on a Thursday until 3pm, it gave me a chance to go out shopping for new Halloween dresses for T and A ((Tara and Amritsar). Amritsar wanted to be a witch on Saturday when we go on our trick or treat hunt with two of the neighbours families. Tara on the other hand wanted to be a Vampire. So one Black cobweb and one scarlet wenches dress later, we finally have suitable attire for Saturday. Thor will remain with his ‘pumpkin’ look and Aaliyah and Caleb are dressing as the witches cats. I also found the time to do a bit of Christmas shopping along the way. The girls are doing a school related outing to another local school, something to do with their extra curricular life skills classes. Sindy is with them and I am entertaining the little ones at home, who are insisting on wearing their costumes whilst indulging in Children’s BBC. I really don’t know how earlier generations coped without the multitude of small children’s programming and the sheer abundance of children’s channels.

I gave Sindy a packed picnic for the girls homeward journey and plan to feed the little ones pasta bolognese, the same as what John and I will be eating later. I’m getting bored with the quality of beef mince the supermarkets serve us up with. For an edible sauce, the beef needs up to three hours cooking time in order to tenderise! Firstly whilst frying the meat gently, the sheer volume of water that the meat releases, essentially steams the meat and then the amount of fat the beef exudes over the extended cooking time, shocking really. Well thankfully we’ve always plenty of kitchen roll to absorb what amasses on the top of the saucepan. I noted in France a much more tender cut used for minced beef for bolognese sauces. Perfect bolognese in 30 minutes. I finally came to the conclusion here at home to just use pork mince (with a similar cooking time) and lots of garlic. Perfection is reached and we all eat very well. Time to put on the penne and heat up a treat, with masses of the finest parmesan cheese.