Saturday, 22 November 2014

Adventures in scooting and climbing

You know when you have a perfect Sunday? Bacon for breakfast. Coffee and the papers. A glorious day in the park. Wine while you cook a comforting dinner. An *amazing* dessert. Yes, last Sunday was one of those. I'm starting to feel a little sad that autumn is coming to an end  but we are making the most of getting out there to enjoy it's splendour while we can...

I wrote a little about the stage of parenting we are at for the gallery this week. It is a lovely stage that our girls are at able to enjoy going off on adventures together. Exploring, scooting, climbing. Of course it means some tense moments on the parenting front watching them taking corners at breakneck speed and climbing everything in sight! 

Ah Autumn you are so beautiful and I will be sorry to see you go...

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Being a Parent

As parents we are always there for our children. Nurturing them, helping them to grow, to learn and discover new things. We hope to give them the best start in life so that when it is time they will be ready to make their own way in the world. Sometimes we just have to stand back and watch them as they test their limits, being there to help them when they need it and catch them if they fall. At the moment with two little girls aged five and two this is quite literal on adventures out scooting and trips to the park but I know our role is the same as they grow older, just perhaps more metaphorically. Will I always feel my heart in my mouth whether my little girls are jumping off a climbing frame or taking a leap into the unknown?!

At the moment their demand for attention can feel relentless. Their unwillingness to stay even a night away at their grandparents, their want that we lie with them until they go asleep, then little visitors in the night kicking us in the ribs and punching us in the eyes! But on the plus side of course there are the endless cuddles, the little hands in ours as we walk down the road and the smile on their faces as they run to greet us when we pick them up. This is what being a parent is to us at the moment.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to cherish these moments when their worlds still revolve around us and they are so happy to spend all of this time with us. I know that this will change all too quickly. Already I have seen them grow from newborns to bouncing babies to toddlers to a little school girl right before my eyes and I wonder at how that has happened so quickly. Yes, most of the time being a parent *is* the hardest job in the world but it is also the most amazing and special thing that can happen to you too. When I heard this quote in The Happiness Project (on Audible) it really resonated with me:

          "The days are long but the years are short"

 It is too true.

This post was written for week 209 of The Gallery for the theme 'Being a Parent'. Head on over to see all the other lovely entries.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bakewell Slice a la Costa Coffee

My challenge, which I chose to accept, was to create a Bakewell Slice not unlike that served in Costa Coffee. It is very tasty and a firm favourite of the darling husband which is quite unusual for him as he is normally a chocolate cake kind of man. We already have a Tassimo and a selection of Costa pods so it was just the cake we were needing to have the perfect Costa experience at home. We do love having coffee and cake out but with two little people threatening to run into people carrying hot drinks and fighting over who sits where at home is just easier and less stressful sometimes. All of the above still happens obviously just without ruining anyone else's day ;)

375g ready made shortcrust pastry
200g seedless raspberry jam
200g golden caster sugar
200g softenend butter
4 eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
1tsp finely grated lemon zest
40g flaked almonds
5 teaspoons apricot jam.

Grease and line a traybake tin. Line with the pastry, pressing into the corners and trim to fit. Bake on 180 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes and then spread the jam evenly across the base.
Mix the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs and combine.
Next add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, almond extract and lemon zest and mix well.
Spoon this over the jam layer and spread evenly.
Top with the flaked almonds and bake in the centre of a 160 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. The sponge should be a lovely golden colour and firm to touch.

To glaze while still warm mix 5 teaspoons of apricot jam with 1 teaspoon hot water and drizzle over the sponge. 

It looks and smells amazing!

As it was Sunday and it was ready just before dinner I decided to serve some up with custard for dessert. Oh my goodness it was good!

Then for any leftovers, divide into portions and store in a pretty tin, although I can't guarantee how long it will last... ;)

*Disclaimer* Very yummy but in no way endorsed by or the actual recipe of Costa Coffee itself. The darling husband says this one is way better  ;)

Tasty Tuesdays on