Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tom and Jerry chopsticks

The boys have a set of Tom and Jerry chopsticks each from McDonalds - the sort where the tops are joined together to make it easier for children.

For dinner, Leo used eat yoghurt.

Simnel Cherry Tart

Very, very lovely even though I over-baked my pastry!!! (oh, and a great opportunity to sneak some marzipan!!)

 (Good Food magazine)

75g self-raising flour
375g pack sweet shortcrust pastry (or homemade!)
140g butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
75g ground almonds
175g dried mixed fruit
50g glace cherries, halved
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp cherry jam
350g marzipan, ½ cut into small cubes, ½ rolled into 11 balls to represent the apostles
50g icing sugar
25g toasted flaked almonds

  1. On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Lift the pastry over your rolling pin and use to line a 20 x 30cm rectangular fluted tart tin, leaving a rim of overhanging pastry. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the pastry case with baking parchment, then fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15 mins, remove the beans and parchment, and bake for a further 10 mins until the pastry is pale golden and biscuity. Leave to cool.

  1. Reduce oven to 170C/150 fan/gas 3. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Stir in the flour, almonds, dried fruit, cherries, half the orange zest and the spices. Spread the jam over the base of the tart case, then dot the cubes of marzipan over the top. Pour over the cake mixture and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 35 mins until golden and risen. Leave to cool in the tin.

  1. If you want to brown the tops of your marzipan balls, heat the grill to medium. Put the marzipan balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place under the grill for 1-2 mins until golden – make sure you keep an eye on them, as they will burn easily. Let cool. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a thick, smooth icing. Drizzle the icing over the tart, top with the toasted almonds and the remaining orange zest. Cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When ParaTed came to stay

We had a little visitor this weekend - ParaTed from Zachary's school. Apparently he was given to the class by the ambulance men who visited a few weeks ago (suddenly the name becomes clear!) and he only gets to go home with children who are (according to Zachary) very kind and helpful. And Zachary had him for the weekend! Woo-hoo my son!

But...ParaTed comes with a sting in the tail - taking photos of our activities with him and filling in a page of the scrapbook! Over the weekend?!

We had a busy weekend planned as we were off to Norfolk to see my sister and..well, let ParaTed tell you!

First of all there was the school disco (complete with Gangnam style dancing!)

Then dinner and packing for Norfolk...

 The reason for visiting Norfolk was to visit the big model shop off the A11 at Snetterton. It was brilliant. We were mainly there for Lego, but also picked up a board game and some Hama beads. There were lots of other craft things there, party supplies, dressing up, a kitchen section and a pets section! Here are some of the big Lego models...

And everyone in the Lego car!

The rest of the weekend was taken up with seeing relatives and building Lego but also lots more of this stuff

And it looks set to be here for Easter - joy of joys! But we did manage to send Zachary to school on Monday with a completed scrap book which he then had to present to the class (I'm told). We're still waiting for the golden box of goodness to make its way home to us too....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mend and make do

Got to work this morning and when I changed my shoes (I don't like driving in heels) I discovered a large hole in the toe of my tights. Large enough for most of my toes to poke through but not large enough for them not to have blood supply cut off by the tights!

Fortunately the hole hadn't resulted in a large ladder snaking up my legs, so rather than abandon the tights altogether (and then have cold, rubbish looking legs), I spent a while trying to tuck the hole under my foot. When that failed, I simply stuck it in place with sellotape. Hurrah! Problem solved, noone any the wiser. I still maintained my air of professionalism despite wearing tights held on by sellotape.

These are not the droids you're looking for... (spoiler alerts!)

We have begun educating the boys in the way of Star Wars. Now Zachary pretty much thought he knew everything from playing Angry Birds Star Wars and playing with his friends at school - but it was so exciting watching the films with him (and Leo too!). Leigh watched Star Wars : A New Hope with them on Saturday while I was rehearsing, and we all watched The Empire Strikes Back on Sunday (the weather was foul at the weekend - we had planned to go out, but failing that just watched films!).

It was great for me too as I haven't watched the films since an all-night marathon when I was at uni (which I think was pretty much compulsory!) and now having watched the 3 prequels as well, it was good to go back to the originals. I'd also quite like to watch the original originals side by side with our remastered versions - we were 'cgi spotting' in most of it, but it would be interesting to see the differences as I can't remember how the films were when I watched them 18 (crap. Was it really that long ago?) years ago. I do know that I had forgotten just how like Fozzy bear Yoda is! (yes, I know why)

We also had a great time with Zachary and the massive revelation in The Empire Strikes Back. He knew (from playing at school) that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker. He didn't seem to make any connection to Luke Skywalker. And then there was that bit in the second film where Darth is talking to the Emperor who tells him that Luke is Anakin Skywalker's son. Now usually that does not have much impact because as watchers we shouldn't yet know who Darth is, but as Zachary did, with a bit of handholding he got there - and the look of surprise was tremendous! Almost as much as when Luke loses his hand!!

So the boys have been playing lots of Star Wars games now (complete with Leigh's light sabre) - Zachary tends to be Luke (either with or without hand depending on what mood he's in!), Leo always wants to be 'a goodie with a gun' so he's Han Solo, (although his R2D2 noise is very good too!) and I end up being 100 Storm Troopers, Darth Vader and Darth Maul in rotation (for information - Darth Vader and Darth Maul both have 100 hit points so for any enemy I 'just' have to count down from 100 each time I'm hit!!!!)

Can't wait for Return of the Jedi now!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A couple of things...

One of Zachary's friends had a birthday party at the weekend - out came the birthday cake and I'm looking at it...thinking 'red cylinder with what looks like a black hat on top and a face on the can't be....' It was - Henry the Hoover!!!! Apparently the little boy is totally obssessed with hoovers and he looked genuinely delighted with his cake. Brilliant!

And in honour of the weather this week (more snow!)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The blender has broken!

This is  a major disaster - we have just begun treating ourselves to some delicious icy cocktails and now the blender has broken!!! Fortunately the breaking happened after the iced peach margaritas for this evening were complete. Phew.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


Well, almost - 5 on Wednesday. Zachary had his birthday party today though - we went to Pot 'n' Kettle in Beeston, which is a pottery painting place. He had 8 friends over and we painted, ate cake and played pass the parcel. It was really great and he had a super afternoon!

Here he is with his creation

And it was an Angry Birds cake this time around...with little piggy cupcakes for everyone to take home!