Thursday night is chip night here. When we moved into this little house on the hill two decades ago we quickly found out the real pace of village life. The ultimate highlight of the week here was the Thursday night visit from the mobile chip van. It parked in the road 50 yards from our house. Rapidly the tradition of Thursday Chip night was set. Eventually we even discovered that the new mad dog was also a chip monster. His favourite food.
A pandemic then happened.
Suddenly Hawklad was not comfortable with getting chips from the van. So we stopped being part of the chip social. But the tradition lived on. Now replaced with oven chips. A vegetarian pie for me and skinless sausages for Hawklad. And yes a small plate of chips for the mad one.
So last night was THURSDAY. Time to dine like royalty. Well that was the plan. If you look back a few months you will see a certain muppet falling fowl of the crime of not labelling freezer items. Guess what happened last night. No pies were available from the store so it was time to root around in the deepest recesses of the chest freezer. Success a fine looking pie. Maybe a mushroom one. Maybe a Quorn one.
Chips and a pie smothered in Tomato Ketchup, salt and vinegar. Result…..
The reality sweet cherry pie is and interesting taste sensation when combined with vinegar and ketchup. Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out….
What is never beautiful is my food skills. What words are more appropriate.
Well today I almost outdid myself. Nearly messed up the easiest thing. All I had to do was make strawberry jelly. The supermarket didn’t send the Jelly Cubes but that was not a major issue. I had rather cleverly put aside a packet of the powder jelly just in case.
So I came to make the said jelly. All I had to do was add boiling water, stir then put the bowl in the fridge. So I emptied the powder into the bowl, added the water and stirred.
Ok why is strawberry jelly brown coloured……
I continued to stir expected it to turn red eventually. No that is definitely brown. Now it was time to check the jelly packet. Ok ot was the same shape as a jelly packet. The same colour as the normal brand of jelly we buy. BUT the words STRAWBERRY JELLY did not feature that prominently. What did feature prominently was the words CHINESE BROWN GRAVY.
In my defence why would you put Brown Gravy in a bright Red Jelly looking packet…
Jelly is off today’s menu, Stir Fry is strangely very much on….
Trying to figure out why the dishwasher had stopped cleaning,
Putting a new belt onto the hoover,
Removing a pet related stain from the sofa.
Changing the bedding,
Ordering ingredients for next weeks school at home cooking project,
Trying to measure Hawklad for new clothes,
Trying to make an omelette which is approaching edible.
At work multitasking was so valued. Multitasking usually in areas you might be good at or at least competent. Maybe backed up with some training and clear process guides. At home, my home, it feels very different. Yes it’s multitasking but never in areas I’m good at. Often feeling like I’m not even vaguely competent. Constantly having to refer to incomprehensible instructions, Google searching for help videos or just looking blank as I kinda just wing it.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have things I’m good at. I’m ace at saving Football penalties. I can smash into Rugby tackles. I can bowl a mean leg break. I can climb rock faces. I’m an expert on Godzilla and the X-Files. I can recite almost word for word every Fawlty Towers and Captain Scarlett episode. I rock cycle shorts (ok I made that one up). I can balance unfeasibly large numbers of coins on my elbow and then catch them one handed. AND I’m one of the worlds great air guitarists.
These are all great talents but strangely have not yet been required in my single parenting career. I wonder why? 🤣😂 But I live in hope. One day one of those skills might just be required. Then I will have found my parenting sweet spot. A task I can excel in. No need for instructions or help. No vacant look or red mist descending. That reassuring feeling of ‘I’ve got this’. How good will that feel….
Oh no it’s pancakes. I have been let back into the kitchen. How can I wreck the pancakes this year. Like most things baking – they don’t come naturally to me. So this year the ingredients are ready. Carefully measured out.
What could possibly go wrong…
AND the results…..
Where do I start….
Not exactly round. Not exactly fluffy and light think putty. Either to thin or verging on a bread loaf. The taste well I thought ‘delicate, unobtrusive flavouring’ while Hawklad thought ‘tasteless mush only saved by mountains of sugar’.
So somewhere between 5 out of 10 to 1 out of 100. But here’s the thing. Pancake Day was special this year. Really special. It made the day DIFFERENT. In these lockdown times that makes it special.
An apple crumble. One of my apple crumbles. Actually not a bad one at all. Very tasty.
Unfortunately not all crumbles are the same. Certainly not mine. Like the one I made a couple of nights back. All seemed on track. Apples picked from the tree. Apples cored, peeled and cut into pieces. Placed in a bowl and seasoned – generous helpings of sugar added – these are sour apples. Then a fine gluten free crumble was made and applied lovingly to the pie dish. The crumble was cooked at the right temperature and for the right time. A beautiful custard was prepared. Just perfect. What could possibly go wrong.
“Dad I can’t taste any apples. In fact I can’t find any apples in my portion!”
Nonsense must be there Hawklad. Your just imagining that……
Oh hang on I can’t find any apples in my portion as well, just crumble and custard….
**** So I went into the kitchen and there on the table was the unused bowl of apples. I had made Apple Crumble Surprise. The surprise being that it contained no apples. ****
In the local market town there is a garden shop which I get my bird seed from. I like it because it’s super cheap. Even cheaper then the Pound Shop. I especially like going in the shop during October. That’s when they give away the out of date flower seeds. Just 9 months ago I walked out of the shop with a bag of bird seed and pockets stuffed full with flower seeds. This little beauty cost me the price of feeding the birds for three months. A bargain and us Yorkshire Folk like those.
“That’s my Dad, heis a muppet.”
That what Hawklad as a toddler thought of me. He sternly mentioned this to someone at the local zoo after his Dad had one of those moments…… Now wind forward to the present.
“What on earth is that…”
“If you think I’m trying that you are clearly madder than you look….”
“The muppet force still runs strong in you Dad….”
“If you try to feed that to the birds then I will need to call the Bird Protection Society. “
Clearly he wasn’t impressed with my latest piece of baking art.
Trust me, that was the good side. It was a shocker. It had the soft, airy and bouncy feel of Reinforced Tungsten. Understandably even the birds refused to eat it. I wonder if the builders across the road would like to use it as foundation material. I’m not sure that thing is ever going to break down. Like I’m not sure Im ever going to grow out of my muppet stage….
Wouldn’t it be great to fly. To just fly. No need for a baggage check in, security and long waits in the Terminal. Just to fly under your own steam, when and wherever. Given the size of my bum during these lockdown days, that would have to me some mighty wingspan to get me airborne. Buttocks like mine are the reason that they invented super sized planes like the 747 with those massive engines.
“Dad have you lost that weight you said you were going to before the summer…”
Yes I did set a goal of shedding some weight.
“You actually said it would be 14lbs which is 6.3kg’s. So how are you doing?”
I am probably about 6.3kg’s short of the goal currently…..
“So what’s gone wrong?”
I’m exercising really hard but I’m just not getting any long runs. Without the runs it’s a real struggle to get my heart rate above 100 during the exercise. But the main problem is the food. I’m having to eat Soya and some Gluten products. These just make me blow up as if I’m pregnant.
“Are you sure your not pregnant?”
Pretty sure, although we have some of your old baby clothes somewhere – just in case. Those food types just make my abdomen and face puff up. It takes ages for my system to try and process them. When the shop gets a better range of things back in, then things will improve.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger became pregnant in that movie. Look how much money he has now. Just saying……Instead of soya and gluten stuff, Dad, why don’t you just eat salads and soups…”
Yes we could all do with some more money but call me a coward, not that way please…. But Hawklad does have a good point. I’ve just switched to the soya and gluten alternatives without really thinking. Salads would be far better for me. I’ve become lazy, stopped making things like soups and stews. So from today my body becomes a temple. A well cared for one. Now I don’t have an excuse, that weight has to come off now. Either that or it’s a remake of the movie Junior….