Skip to main content

Monthly Munch: September

Once the summer vacation was over, the month was fairly evenly divided between back-to-preschool (yay!) and holiday-in-Italy (YAY!).  Both had a few ups and downs, but went well overall.  Italy was beautiful and peaceful and historical and colourful and flavourful, and you will be assaulted by many more photos of it in due course.

Toby

First day!
- struggled a little bit with saying goodbye when he started back at preschool, but is now happily settled in again (this morning he practically pushed me out of the door).

On the boat

- said his favourite parts of the holiday were the boat trips on Lake Iseo, watching a crane lift boxes in the Roman arena in Verona, .and the pizza and ice cream!

Gelato for Toby, espresso for Penguin
- has been seriously over-using the word "no".

Quotes:
When picking at a meal I'd rather over-seasoned:
Me: "OK, you can have bread and butter if you really hate it."
Toby: "I really hate it."
Graham: "Toby, that's very rude.  Say thank you to Mum for cooking dinner."
Toby: "Thanks anyway, Mum, but.... I really hate it."

To Theo, when visiting a church in Italy:
"Don't make that noise, Theo, you'll scare God."

He was carefully perusing a church newsletter, and Graham asked him, jokingly: "Are you three or thirteen?"
Toby replied, with dignity: "I'm three.  And I'm reading my newspaper."

Theo

In the Alps
- finally moved out of his Moses basket, where he was starting to resemble an elephant squashed into a shoebox, into a regular cot.

Elephant?  Moi?

- charmed the Italians like you wouldn't believe.  We got used to heads turning and cries of "Ah, bello!  Bellissimo!"

Well, I am cute.
 - quickly learned what ice cream was and made sure he got his fair share!

Mmmm, chocolate!

Thankful for:

- a surprisingly unstressful build-up to our holiday, and smooth travelling.

Lake Iseo
- Graham ably holding the fort when I got laid low by a bug the weekend after we got back.

- the life of my Uncle Ben, who passed away on the last day of September.  I never knew him well, but his death will leave a hole in the family.

Recipe of the Month: Enchiladas



Having grown accustomed to Tex-Mex during our US stay, I occasionally have a stab at trying to recreate it.  Probably better to regard this as homage to Mexican cuisine rather than the real deal, but for a first attempt it didn't come out badly at all.  It's like lasagne in that all the different components make it an exhausting prospect to tackle all at once; far easier if you can pull at least one part out of the freezer.

Meat filling
(this makes double; I used half for tacos and froze the rest to use for this recipe)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red pepper and 1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1 lb / 500g package minced (ground) beef
15 oz / 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 recipe Taco Potion #19

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan.  Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the peppers and beef and cook, stirring, until beef is browned.  Add the beans, seasoning mix and a splash of water and simmer for ten more minutes.  There should only be a small amount of liquid in the pan.

Enchilada sauce
15 oz can tomato sauce or 400g can tomatoes, blended till smooth
2 tbsp tomato puree
3/4 cup / 180 ml water
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes.

To assemble
8 soft corn tortillas
4 oz / 125g grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F / 180C.  Spread a couple of spoonfuls of enchilada sauce in the base of an 8" x 13" baking dish, or something that looks about the right size (I actually stacked my tortilla rolls in two layers with some extra sauce in between, which worked fine).

Put a line of meat filling along one side of a corn tortilla and roll up to make a tube.  Place in the dish.  Repeat until all the tortillas and filling are used.  Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over the tortillas, and sprinkle the cheese over the top.  Bake for about half an hour.  Serves four.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hell is still hot?

  Sometimes it's good when people say things we disagree with. Not always; it can be irritating, frustrating, or wounding. But sometimes it arouses our curiosity, causes us to examine our assumptions, and sets us off on a trail of new discoveries. So it was when somebody posted this image on Facebook.   It says, in emphatic block capitals: We need preachers who preach that hell is still hot, that heaven is still real, that sin is still wrong, that the Bible is God's word, and that Jesus is the only way of salvation. After my initial reaction of, "We certainly do not! " the curiosity kicked in. What was it about this particular formulation of the Christian faith that I didn't like? If I wouldn't preach that, what would I preach? Given that hell is not a major topic of the Bible, how on earth did we get Christians who think it merits headline billing in the gospel? What's wrong with it? Picking something apart is always the easy bit. I partly object to what

National Forest Way: Final Thoughts

As you may have gathered from my blog posts, I've really enjoyed walking the National Forest Way. I found myself eagerly anticipating each walk, and happily inking the route on the map when I'd done it. The National Forest Way is an ideal starter long-distance walk. There are no enormous mountains or exposed cliff edges. The route is never too far from a village, a car park, or a cafe. But there are some lovely views over sunny fields, some beautiful patches of woodland, and some industrial history along the way. I very rarely found it boring.   An advantage that I didn't appreciate when I started is that the Way forms a giant zigzag. This means it fits 75 miles of path into a relatively compact space, making it easy to reach all of it. From my home in south Derbyshire, every section was within a 40 minute drive. The distance between Beacon Hill and the National Memorial Arboretum is only about 25 miles. The countryside is lovely, and generally overlooked in favour of the P

Interior Castle: Spiritual Formation Book 11

"We cannot enter by any efforts of our own; His Majesty must put us right into the centre of our soul, and must enter there Himself."   St Teresa of Avila reluctantly began to write Interior Castle (or The Mansions ) in 1577, complaining that "this writing under obedience tires me and makes my head worse". She set herself to the task of explaining her vision of the soul being like "a castle made of a single diamond... in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions".  Her writing is engaging but dense; I found it difficult to read more than about ten pages at a time. She also has a habit of introducing terms like favours or intellectual visions and talking about them for a while, before finally defining what they mean several chapters later. This gets confusing. On the other hand, St Teresa is good at thinking of illustrations to explain what she means. She frequently exclaims that these visions are impossible to describe to any