Sunday, 28 April 2013


Messing about in boats...

Weekends...enough time to visit the farmers market in Sheridan's, eat ice-cream, make pizza (made all the easier by using this) and welcome friends for dinner.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

recipe :: aubergine parmigiana

It is Saturday. I am busy making aubergine parmigiana to torture the children with later. William, claiming total boredom, was sent to root to the bottom of his toy box till he found something (anything!) to play with. Luckily the cowboy fort was discovered and assembled. He came to find me to report on his success and absent-mindedly gave me a kiss. Realising his error he quickly wiped it away. "Oh, am I that yucky you have to wipe away my kisses?" I asked feigning hurt. A heart beat passed. "No", he said "I was just wiping it in so I can make even more kisses from it." Ha. Clever child. He will get an extra big helping of aubergine tonight.

If you need to torture someone you love with vegetables here is the recipe. Serves two normal vegetable loving adults for lunch or more as a side dish
1 large aubergine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ball buffalo mozzarella - 125g - sliced
handful grated Parmesan or good flavoured hard cheese

tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tin tomatoes
a little sugar
salt, pepper

Trim the aubergine and slice into rounds about half an inch thick. Layer these in a colander with a little salt sprinkled in between to draw out any juices- leave it for about an hour. To make the sauce pour the olive oil into a medium sized saucepan and warm it up. Add the whole but peeled garlic cloves and let them cook a little, then add the tin of tomatoes. Sprinkle in some brown sugar, salt and pepper. Let this simmer gently for half an hour, stirring every so often. When cooked blend the sauce so that it is smooth.
When you're ready to cook the aubergine rinse it off and pat dry with kitchen paper. Then heat the oil in a frying pan or griddle until hot and fry the aubergine slices in batches for a couple of minutes so that they are soft and golden. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Arrange half the cooked aubergine slices in a smallish ovenproof dish. Cover with half the tomato sauce and half the mozzarella slices. At this point you could add some dabs of good pesto or some fresh basil leaves if you wished. Then layer it up with some more aubergine, tomato and mozzarella. Finally sprinkle on the grated Parmesan or hard cheese and put into the oven for half an hour until bubbling and lovely. We're going to eat this tonight with buttery, crusty garlic bread and hardly any complaining.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

simplicity parenting

"Like any work of art, families need inspiration, fresh infusions of hope, and imagination"
Simplicity Parenting: Using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier and more secure kids 
by Kim John Payne

Last night we tried something new. Totally inspired by this lovely family but especially by this book, we tried some family drawing time. So, after dinner we all settled down with sketch books and pencils and, using natural history books for guidance, we set about drawing. I fully expected this to last for maybe fifteen minutes but one whole hour passed in total peace and harmony, just the odd murmur of encouragement from one brother to another. I was surprised by their concentration, by how seriously they took it and by how much fun they had. Each one was so pleased by what they had drawn and were keen to make it a regular occurance.

I am also inspired by this book- half way through it and thinking this is food for thought....

Saturday, 6 April 2013


We have been waiting for ages for the weather to improve, for there to be a little more sunshine and a little less biting wind. Whiling away idle hours indoors we imagine the garden in full flow-scented blossoms and dappled greens, sheltered hideouts and freckled faces, picnic leftovers and snoozing dogs. Today (in fact this week) we have been blessed with slightly warmer conditions so it was out into the garden to plant seeds- Nasturtium,  Sweet William, Sweetpea all sown by eager hands...