Skip to main content

Monthly Munch: January 2016

Wow!  The start of my third year doing Monthly Munches!  Hope you're still enjoying hearing what we've been up to.  Sooo... this month, I feel, has mostly been a sorting out kind of one.  I've been doing some new year house cleaning, Graham and I have been figuring out what to do for some kind of gainful employment.  Toby has been practising on his new bike and scooter, and Theo has been learning to talk and going to bed awfully late.

Toby




- had his first 'Forest School' day at school, and came home happily plastered in mud.

- built a snowman with friends and dubbed it Mr Chillyman Coldhead.


- "I want to draw something.  What shall I draw?" is a constant refrain.

- had a great time at our New Year's Day party, having a "chocolate party" with the other kids up in his bedroom.

- is getting better at dealing with things that scare him.

Theo



- is learning numbers ("free, four, free, four") and colours ("reeaaadd, brue!")

- is losing more blonde every time I take him for a haircut


- does this thing where he lets himself fall straight from vertical to horizontal on our bed.  Aren't you meant to have some instinct where you catch yourself?

- waves cheerfully at the dustbin men every week.  I think they look out for him now!

Thankful for:


- the life of our neighbour Dave, whose funeral we sadly attended this month.  Even in the short time we knew him, we had many reasons to be thankful for his generosity, knowledge, helpfulness and cheerfulness.  He will be missed.

Recipe of the Month: Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Potato



This month I have been trying out some recipes from Nigella's Italian cookbook, Nigellissima.  I can recommend the lasagna with ham and eggs in (Quick Calabrian lasagna), and this is another recipe with ingredients that sound strange but actually work really well.  I like the way that you just boil everything in one pan - no separate frying of onions or anything - and then mix it up in the baking dish.  Her original recipe was to serve eight, so I have reduced the quantities.  I thought some tomato slices on top might be nice too, but when it came to it I forgot to add them.  Maybe next time.

300g brussels sprouts, halved
200g penne or fusilli
1 medium potato, diced
100g Gruyere cheese, in 1 cm cubes
75g ricotta
25g butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
4 small sage leaves, shredded
25-30g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt generously.  Add the sprouts, pasta and potato and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Pour some of the cooking water into a mug, then drain the rest off.  Tip the pasta and veg into an ovenproof dish (I used a 20cm x 20cm Pyrex dish).  Add the Gruyere, ricotta and a good splash of the cooking water, and mix well together.  Add a bit more ricotta or water if you think it needs it (mine waited a while before it went in the oven, so I added a splash more water just before I put it in).  Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.

Using the same pan to save on washing up, melt the butter and add the garlic and sage.  Cook just for 30 seconds or so, then drizzle over the pasta.  Scatter the Parmesan over the top, and put in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden.  We had ours with garlic bread and green beans, and with similar accompaniments this quantity would comfortably serve four.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Game of Life?

"I'm playing Snakes and Ladders with Jesus, because I haven't got anyone else to play with." Lest you think I have a super-spiritual four-year-old, I should inform you that we have a plastic Jesus figure that a friend gave Graham as a joke.  If Jesus is not around to play games, the toy penguin or dog get roped in.  Toby's pretty much board game crazy right now. But usually it's Mum or Dad who gets to sit down and play endless rounds of Ludo, Three Little Pigs, or the current favourite, Snakes and Ladders.  None of these are exactly challenging (although Toby is surprisingly good at winning), so you get plenty of time to ponder the deeper questions of life.  Such as, what sadist designed the Snakes and Ladders board? Oh yes, it's a very cunning design.  At the bottom you have lots of lovely ladders to go bouncing up, so you get halfway up the board in no time at all and think you'll win super easily.  But if you miss the mega-ladder up to 8

Equality is Biblical: Spiritual Formation Book 6

"To our reading of the Scriptures we bring our reason, experience, and the traditions of our faith, feeling down into the truth we trust is there waiting for us." Equality is Biblical is the only book I've read where the questions have been as good as the main text. Usually study questions range from mediocre to dire, with a distinct feeling that they are only there because someone suggested it at the last minute. Penelope Wilcock, on the other hand, provides questions like surgical tools, probing deeply into what you believe and why. The book's main topic is the place of women in the church, but the questions cover everything from how we visualise God to the power of shame in society. What are the main themes of this book? The subtitle of Equality is Biblical is Lifting the Curse of Eve , and a large chunk of the book focuses on Genesis, analysing how the story has traditionally been interpreted, and offering alternative readings of the text. Then there is a look at

What is a blog?

Well, what is a blog?  And why am I asking the question now, after seven years of writing one?  You'd think I might have worked out the answer already.  But there's nothing like meeting hundreds of other bloggers to start you wondering again... Of course, the first shock is that there actually are hundreds of other bloggers.  And that they make so much NOISE!  As I descended the escalator to the venue for Mumsnet Blogfest 2015, the clamour of dozens of voices rose up to meet me.  There was no one in the crowded hall that I knew; but although many others had also come alone, you couldn't have told it from the level of conversation. Panel session with live link to Margaret Atwood It quietened down once we had drunk our coffee and entered the auditorium.  The speakers covered a wide range of the writing world; from authors to agents, columnists to comedians, and brand experts to bloggers.  Every discussion was very entertaining, with plenty of humour and some thought