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Monthly Munch: February 2015

It's beginning to almost feel like spring is coming!  We have snowdrops and crocuses in the back garden, and hopeful-looking buds on the daffodils in the front.  There have still been plenty of cold rainy days, but we've celebrated Theo's first birthday and Pancake Day to keep us cheerful.

Toby

- enjoys creating things and draws some really imaginative pictures.  He wanted to make a car out of a box, so he told me which bits to cut out (not forgetting the lights and exhaust!) and he stuck them all on.

Attaching the rear windscreen

Barely fitting in the finished vehicle!
 - is excited that they are "doing science" at preschool.  Apparently stretchy green noodles are involved.

- likes it when I put my Pilates exercise video on.  The other day I caught him perfecting Downward Dog in the hallway.

Hips in the air!
-welcomed all our visitors enthusiastically and had them playing Snakes and Ladders within minutes of their arrival.

Quotes:
Graham: "I like those trousers, are they brand new?"
Toby: "No, they're brand old."

"I saw that a long time ago.  I think it was before I was born."

Theo

- is exploiting his mobility skills to the full and getting into everything.

Can I get into this?
 - crawls over to meet Graham when he gets home and gives him a hug, which is just so sweet.

- makes a beeline for the front or back door if you open it, to look outside.  I think this may be my new favourite photo of him.

Gorgeous face!
 - has started waving objects at us with a hopeful expression, so we'll tell him what they're called.

- loves all kinds of musical instruments, especially Graham's guitar.

And I promised you a banana photo, didn't I?

Thankful for

- a completed DIY project; Graham and I attached the fabric to those cupboard doors, and were very pleased with the result.

That's Toby being a cowboy and swinging a lasso, too.
 - catching up with friends from Bristol.  We had visitors on two consecutive weekends!

- playing a piano duet with my Mom - the first time I've played in public for a scarily long time.

Recipe of the Month - Banana Birthday Cake


The cake part of the recipe is basically Nigella Lawson's banana bread, which is the only banana bread recipe I've used for years.  I have this vague memory of a banana cake with luscious caramel fudge icing - so vague I'm not sure the cake even ever existed, but I find myself trying to recreate it occasionally.  This seemed to be a pretty standard caramel icing recipe, but in the interests of not putting everyone into diabetic coma, I left out the icing sugar (butter, sugar, and two cups more sugar?  Yeowch!) and made it more of a glaze instead.


Banana Cake
4 oz sultanas
boiling water
4 oz margarine
5 oz sugar
2 eggs
3-4 bananas (depending on size), mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.  Put the sultanas in a small bowl and pour boiling water over to cover.  Leave to soak while you do the rest.
Melt the margarine and beat in the sugar.
Beat in eggs, then add the flour, baking powder and bicarb, mashed bananas - and don't forget the drained sultanas!  Stir it all together thoroughly.
Put in a large loaf tin or a 9-inch springform with ring insert if you're feeling fancy.  Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.  When cool, ice with a drizzle of glace icing or plenty of caramel glaze.

Caramel Glaze
2 oz butter
4 oz light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp milk

Bring the butter and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the milk and cook for another minute, still stirring.  Leave to cool for about 10 minutes until thickened enough not to just run off the cake.  Spoon over the cake and leave to set.

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