DEFCON

Guess who has been baking again. Yes NORAD have raised the threat level to DEFCON THREE.

Years ago I worked in a Police Force as a civilian. I was based at an old country mansion which acted at the Police Headquarters. At the front desk there was a sign on the wall saying THREAT LEVEL. It had a slide in colour board. Usually it was Green (it’s all cool dude), sometimes yellow (it’s not so cool but no need to panic dude) and rarely Red (it’s time to assume the crash position dude). We also had white which meant ‘everything was cool, but the government audit team is in so put on a tie, dude’. One day the threat level went brown. No one had a clue what that meant. Even granite chiselled veterans had never seen that colour in decades of work here. Much confusion and speculation ensued. The receptionist was not there so we couldn’t ask her. She was like Thor’s Heimdall. The Gatekeeper. No one got in or out without her approval during the day. She also maintained the threat level board.

Finally she was located. Apparently Threat Level BROWN was ‘she had put the board in back to front’. If just one of us muppets had bothered to look on the other side of the board we would have found that it was in fact GREEN…..

And yes DEFCON THREE was wrong. Apart from the earthquake cracked crust it was a rather fine gluten and dairy free loaf. Time to lower the threat level.

Don’t do this

Kids don’t try this…..

Lack of sleep does strange things to the mind and body. It took me 30 minutes into a yoga session before that the odd sensation I was experiencing was attributed to me putting on my compression shorts back to front. If only it stopped there.

I decided I needed a milky and sweet coffee to get me going. The sugar is next to the kettle. So what sleep induced madness sent me to the cupboard. Made me reach out and grab a large bag. Open that bag. Carefully add two spoonfuls of the white powder into my drink. Then stir and stir. Rather puzzled at the enfolding congealed mess. Then taste what was clearly something approaching wallpaper paste.

Only a lack of sleep ends with self raising flour being added to coffee.

Well at least it cut down on the calories…..

What went wrong

While I was rummaging around the loft I came across a box from mums old house. Inside I found all sorts of things. Decades old bus timetables, shopping lists, out of date vouchers, instructions from long lost video recorders, random keys and coins from long defunct foreign currencies. My mum had a philosophy – you never know when you might need this. Actually the answer was invariably – NEVER.

But as I still have the box I must clearly have signed up to mums philosophy. But I did find and one of my old school reports. All pretty boring apart from the Home Economics page. I quote

He shows some talent in cooking. He has mastered a number of baking recipes. He has produced some very good bread loafs and cakes.”

Wow. What went wrong……

Bread making

A few weeks back I was in the loft trying to find some old papers. In a corner I found the old bread maker neatly packed away in its old box. No papers but I did decide to bake some bread.

So a few days later I bought the gluten free bread ingredients and went back into the loft for the machine. Wow it was heavy. So I opened the box. Pants…..

Ok, no it wasn’t full with pairs of my big pink pants. But no bread making machine. A box full of papers. The papers I was trying to find. My plans had gone a RYE. Homemade bread was now TOAST. What was I thinking about, I’m BUTTER than this. But at YEAST I found those papers.

No

A pleasant walk across the farmers field. It’s good to expand the world beyond the usual constraints.

We were sent a practical science test to try at home. I presume it was just for information. Test requirements included a Bunsen Burner, a Fume Cupboard and various rather explosive chemicals.

Or just maybe the teacher has heard about my baking and just assumed I would have these facilities in the kitchen.

Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise has been filming some scenes for the latest Mission Impossible movie about 15 miles away from here. Doing the usual spy capers….fighting on top of a speeding steam train.

Usually he’s trying to save the world from apocalypse….

If he’s braving the Yorkshire weather then it must be a really big world threat this time. Something truly horrifying must be going down in Yorkshire. In a separate note I’m about to bake a cake.

It’s cooking Jim but not as we know it

Warning this post contains some disturbing baking images.

This house had an idea. Some next level pancakes….

Not content with messing up normal pancakes let’s go a stage further. Pancake sandwiches. So what filling could we go for?

Chocolate biscuits. Carefully warmed chocolate biscuits. How hard could that be.

First Try….

Erm…. As Spock would say ‘it’s a chocolate biscuit filling Jim but not as we know it’.

After a number of other shocking tries we finally produced this….

We can officially call this a warmed chocolate biscuit filled pancake sandwich.

The message here. If keep throwing punches, you might be the worst boxer ever, but eventually one will land.

Searching

It is a beautiful planet.

What is never beautiful is my food skills. What words are more appropriate.

Abomination

Shocking

Horrible

Disaster

Dreadful

Petrifying

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….

Sweet Spot

The lake is going, going, gone….

It’s been a busy old day. Much multitasking.

  • Cleaning out the cat tray,
  • Darning holes in jeans,
  • Trying to reassure,
  • Baking bread and some small buns,
  • Cleaning the toilet and bathroom floor,
  • Explaining probability to Hawklad,
  • Hair cutting,
  • 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….

Pancakes

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.