Do you see what I’m doing there with my pop cultural reference being juxtaposed with my son’s 4th birthday party? It shows I’m still with it even though I’m a mom.
G is sick again so we’ve had to postpone his birthday for a fortnight. This is the third time in as many months that he has had a tummy bug so I’m getting a little worried.
And before you say it I do wonder if it’s something to do with the lurid pink icing. Or the fact that this cake was birthday cake no. 2 although he didn’t eat much of either.
My cousin R was over earlier and we were talking about all sorts of things before she had to go off to work. Among these many things the issue of weight came up and she commented as have a number of people lately that I have lost weight which is true and I am very glad that I am (just!!) under the 9 stone mark again at last. I do not write this to boast or to undermine anybody else. Those of you who know me in the flesh know I am only a small woman as G said yesterday at 5 foot exactly so I should be between 8 1/2 and 9 so I’m happy. The reason I write about this is because although I don’t think discussing weight is an appropriate topic of conversation because I think women are tyrannised by unrealistic “role” models (pity they aren’t rolly models!) and the last thing we should do to each other is add to it. However it is apparent from the frequency that comedians do the “and don’t ever get involved in the does-my-bum-look-big-in-this conversation” comedy routine that men find this obsession baffling. Tommy Tiernan did one recently at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal (not the clip I was looking for but funnier than the one of which I was thinking). So men may be baffled by our obsession but there is little in the world more baffling than going from a size 16 to a size 8 twice in 4 years and I am not including the time while pregnant. There is nothing more baffling than trying to be supermum when you feel like you are dressed with as much style as a Siberian on a Saturday night in the 80s.
And speaking of women, the Irish Times didn’t print my letter about Bias against Working Mothers. It was a bit all over the place to be fair and I’m not 100% whether I’ll publish it myself. But obviously I have been thinking about the issue lately and while listening to an interview on Seán Moncrieff’s show on Newstalk yesterday about Industrial Relations and various news reports about the Dublin Bus and Aer Lingus strikes etc. it suddenly occurred to me how mothers can prove for once and for all that they are an essential part of the workforce, be they working outside the home or not: a nationwide strike. Now while I currently have no gripe with my working conditions (I don’t have any) I would certainly down tools for a day to support my sisters. National No Working Women’s Day. The Pink Flu. Strike while the Iron’s Hot. Wans Strike and they’re out. I wonder what would happen…? I wonder could I organise it…? I must contact all the mothers that I know… I wonder would any of the trade unions go for it?
I’ve just finished baking 2 of these: one for Garman’s birthday in the creche tomorrow and one for his birthday tea at home. Hope he likes it. If it tastes half as good cooked as it did raw, we’ll be doing well. This recipe comes from The Austalian Woman’s Weekly Cakes and Slices Cookbook which I love because it has loads of different and some really unusual recipes (Chocolate Zucchini cake anyone? And don’t laugh the chocolate potato cake in this book is one of my favourites. Potato and Chocolate hmmmm) However I substituted chopped dried apricots for the glacé cherries because can you believe I had no glacé cherries. Believe it – they are a culinary abomination. Think of a fresh cherry, think of a glacé cherry. How can they both be called cherries?
Enough! Here’s the recipe. I chose it because half an hour before our party started last Saturday I exclaimed to Himself “Ohmigod! I’ve no dips.” and sent him off to buy ingredients which I had no time to whip into hummous etc. so I was left with a ton of sour cream.
125g butter 2 teaspoons greated lemon rinf 1 cup castor suger 3 eggs 1/2 cup sliced glacé cherries (see above) 1/2 cup sultanas 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour 3/4 cup of plain flour 3/4 cup sour cream 1/4 lemon juice (the juice of a lemon)
Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 14cm * 21 cm loaf pan. (they say line base with paper, grease paper. I say life is too short.) Cream butter, ring and suger in small bowl with electric mixer ntil light and fluffy; bet in eggs one at a time, beat until combined. They say transfer mixture to large bowl. I say start off in a large bowl, save on washing up. Stir in fruit, then half the (sifted – you decide) flours with half the combined sour cream and lemon juice, the stir in remaining flours and lemon mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours (Mine took 1hr 10 min at 175 in a fan assisted oven.) Stand for 5 mins before turning on to a wire rack to cool. G and I will be decorating ours anon – photos to follow.
In the email I mentioned last night it specified that the recipes should be quick and easy. Herein follows the first recipe I got which although it might be easy it sure isn’t quick!
Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style
“Ever wish you could get that restaurant style rotisserie chicken at home? Well, with minimal preparation and about 5 hours cooking time (great for the weekends!) you can! I don’t bother to baste the bird, though some like to for the first hour. The pan juices always caramelize at the bottom, and the chicken will turn golden brown…fall-off-the-bone good!”
PREP TIME 10 Min
COOK TIME 5 Hrs
READY IN 5 Hrs 10 Min
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pound) whole chickens
In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.
I was just asked by my lovely Kiwi friend to take part in a recipe exchange. Basically it was a chain email which normally I don’t agree with but as you all know I love to cook and bake so I thought this was a really practical to get tried and tested recipes. I sent the inevitable Chocolate Fudge Cake and another staple from our kitchen.
Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce This is so simple and so yummy and it’s a lifesaver. Real comfort food.
1 14oz tin of tomatoes (she specifies whole tomatoes but we use whatever is in the cupboard)
Half an onion
About 60g butter – a finger sized chunk
Put all the ingredients into a pot, leaving the onion unchopped. Bring to the boil, allowing butter to melt. Cook for about 20 minutes
Cook pasta according to taste/ packet instructions. Drain. Put in a bowl. Remove onion half (can be retained for stew/ ratatouille/ whatever). Pour tomato sauce over pasta. Mix well and serve with a good dose of good parmesan.
Friday night was Culture Night 2007 in Dublin City. I apologise to the very cultured people who were being shown around the inner sanctum of Lord Powerscourt’s, Richard Wingfield 3rd Viscount (1730-1788), city centre abode. I barged up to their tour guide and asked “Is this the way to the Loft?” There was no way on earth that I was missing another StarLittleThing gig! I have had no luck so far and I know I’m missing their album launch on 5th October in Crawdaddy so I was damned if I was missing their single launch. I needn’t have worried: I was there a fashionable half an hour late and they were an even more fashionable hour and a half late. We were kept amused by all the free beer and based on the nonsensical conversation I had with the young girl serving the free booze she had also kept herself well amused. It was brilliant. I know I’m completely biased but the energy in the room when they picked up their instruments completely changed, notched up. I, of course, danced. I can’t believe there were people there who didn’t.
The only downside of the evening was when I was introduced to this older man and the first thing he said to me was, “You look like Bette Midler”. All I could think to say to him was, “I’m so @#*&ing insulted!” Normally I wouldn’t be so rude but I really don’t like Bette Midler. I demurred a little bit but I didn’t take it back. Don’t miss StarLittleThing at Crawdaddy 23.30 on €15 entry includes free copy of the album. A bargain.
Then we headed down to the Port House for a few pinchos and finished up in wagamama for noodles. A delicious evening. I was feeling a little worse for the wear when I wrote this. I was at a hen on Saturday. Not my best work darling.