Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Last week while doing the weekly shop I was thinking about the joys of Saturday lunch, trying to find a meal that all four of us can eat which is also quick and easy to prepare. The change in the season has already had a large impact on the food I am cooking, the slow cooker is out for so many meals from Caribbean chicken to sausage casserole. 

Then I walked past the humble butternut squash it's sweet so the boys would like it and they do so love soup add a bit of spice to make the husband happy.

The soup bowls were empty and in ATM words it was lovely mummy so the recipe is as follows, you may want to increase the spices, I was trying to make sure it was OK for a 3 and 4 year old.

1 butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic whole and skin on
1 medium potato peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre of vegetable stock

Heat the oven to 200 ours is not fan assisted.
Peel and chop the butternut squash, potato and red onion.
Mix the cumin, coriander and chili with the olive oil and pour over and mix with the potatoes, butternut squash, red onion and garlic put into a roasting tin and roast in the oven until the potatoes and squash are cooked through it took ours about 35 mins. I did it so they were slightly caramelised to add to the flavour.
I gently heated the stock on the hob when the veggies are cooked add to the stock I squeezed the garlic out of its skin as it had gone all sweet and blitz everything with a hand held blender.
Add more stock if a little thick and taste to see if you need a little more spice.
As mentioned I did it on the mild side for the children and they like a thick soup. 
We served ours with homemade cheese scones.

I have added a picture below, it's from the boys plate which was very soon empty. 



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dear teacher

know all parents struggle to find out about their children's days at school I talk with all my amazing friends who say they ask what they have done at school and get "humm can not remember" or "I did so much I can not remember" they all ask leading questions did you play with sand etc again nothing. 
However I can not gleam anything, one day I thought I had cracked it "did you play with sand" I asked yes he replied OK I thought, did then do some counting? Yes came the reply OK thought mummy lets try a third was counting fun? Yes came the reply OK thinks mummy we have gotten three yes answers did you fly to the moon? Yes came the eager response. OK thinks mummy where do we go from here. 

This is it, my wish from teachers, I know your busy you have lots of children and parents who all need your time and attention but I need to know something about my boys day. He goes to school at 9.30 I collect him at 2.30 and I will know nothing about the whole day but my situation is that I never will get anything other than a one or two word description. To show this in its reality he went to a farm all I got was the word bus for the next three days, nothing else just the word bus. It's great he loves the bus I am very happy but I know nothing more.

I just wish our teachers had the time to spend a little time with me and talk about his day, that he played with sand and enjoyed the feeling in his feet that at lunch he sat and ate it all. That he loved doing the numbers. That he ran around outside enjoying the rain. Those little gems that can make me know he is happy at school, that he is progressing well. These small observations can mean the world to a parent of a child with special needs. We concentrate on the behaviours, the worries all the time but hearing the joys of our children can light up our world and we know that they are happy and enjoying their time. It's the small observations that make such a difference. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Meal Plan

Thursday 4th September 2104

I have been finding food tough recently with a fussy eater to think about and being a little shattered food has slipped and all I want is easy meals. I had a good look through my books and found my woman's weekly slow cookbook which contained a few gems to at least try this week

 Thursday - omelette's and chips for everyone lots of cheese and mushrooms and maybe I should throw in a little bit if salad

Friday - Mexican meatballs I found this one in the book it said to serve with tortilla but I have gone for tortilla chips and going to make tiny meatballs.  Going to try out a little chili for the boys well spicy mince.

 Saturday - having in laws over going to be lazy and get some ready made pies etc from Waitrose so we can all have a catch up

Sunday - we are going to Richmond for a christening so it's a tesco meal deal that night as the next day is also OB first day at school

Monday - waffles, poached eggs, oven roasted tomatoes and salad for everyone

 Tuesday - Spanish cooked chicken again from the women's weekly slow cookbook going to do mini roast for the boys

Wednesday - Fish Curry from the women's weekly slow cookbook boys will have gnocchi with hidden vegetable tomato sauce

Monday, 1 September 2014

Blue cheese and mini roast potato salad

I am not very good at making up recipes, I do tweak ones in books but that's mainly due to the fact I have forgotten something in the shop meaning I have to change bits.

For lunch I was cooking the boys mini roast potatoes with a homemade tomato sauce, they always love this lunch but I for some reason had only done enough for a tiny serving for myself so needed to improvise. This is what I came up with and I must admit it was very very tasty.

To prepare the mini roast potatoes most people would cut them not small chunks and roast them in the oven, to be honest I par boil mine for a couple of mins it's extra work but I think it makes them fluffy and lighter. Then pop them into pre heated olive oil and cook in the oven at 200 for approx 35 to 45 mins depending when crunchy and lightly roasted.

I then made up a salad of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, peppers, grated carrot or what ever you have left in the fridge. I made up a small amount of mayonnaise mixed with yogurt and got out my stinky blue cheese.

To prepare the salad I mixed the little roasts with the salad and mixed through the dressing then crumbled  my blue cheese on top. It was just lovely and I am considering it for a evening meal with some fresh bread.

As you can see it's very simple and easy to do but sometimes they are the best meals. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Fancy a garden tour?

With everything going on I have discovered more and more the delights of our garden. The garden is a mess and it's taking a lot of back breaking work but it's just what I need at the moment, digging and then weeding you can get lost in everything. Most of the time I have my boys with me so have a combination of gardening and being invited to a tea party of muddy water and a mint and basil cake or pulling all the flowers from any shrub or rose and telling me it's party time.
I thought I would post a few photos to show what we are working with and how we are moving forward, be it very slowly.

A image of the borders I am trying to clear out.



This is my amazing but very small part of our bramble jungle that needs to be gotten rid of, though not before we have lots of blackberrys to put into vodka. I also need to rescue our sloes from the brambles, need to get my prioritys right, sloe vodka is amazing.



This is our front border at the moment, as you can see I need to continue digging along and weeding. Please note the blue spade is my boys and not mine. My main concern is just weeding and digging in some life to the soil. Though with all the garden I am amazed at the number of worms I have found, I am sure this must be good. The front I am going to try and get some spring bulbs planted for some colour in the new year, but I must admit its a hard ask as there is a lot to do.



This is our well, we live on the plot of an old farmhouse there are two wells and ours is 50ft deep and when we moved in it was not covered apart from some old rotten boards!!!! As you can see we have had it covered by a professional company and now in theory you can park a car on it. But it's a lovely area  that is crying out for plants and colour.



The last area for tonight is in front of our dining room again the picture just shows the issues we have but how we can change the whole garden and make it our own. This little area catches the sun for a long time during the day but needs massive of weeding and TLC. I think I need to buy in manure by the truck load.


I hope you have enjoyed a little stroll around parts of the garden. I have so many plans but trying to rein myself into get the basics right first. But the grand plan is veggies, fruit, chickens, bee friendly and a family space where we can all find solace and peace away from our hectic and stressful lives. Not just our family but my friends I want this to be a space all our mums of special needs children can come for a coffee we can sit and just relax. That's my dream I just need the time to make it happen.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Meal Plan

Our meal plan for Thursday 28th August 2014. As mentioned we are starting from scratch with OB food to see where things are going wrong.

Thursday - broccoli and mushroom gnocchi from the madhouse cook book by Jo Pratt - boys are having plain pasta with cheese grated on top carrots and broccoli

Friday - Homemade Burgers with blue cheese - boys are having gnocchi with a tomato sauce but I will purée down the sauce so there are no bits.

Saturday - fahitas - boys are having homemade pizza using left over sauce from yesterday.

Sunday - lasagna

Monday - Chicken Potato curry in a hurry again from the madhouse cookbook by Jo Pratt - boys are having mini roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli

Tuesday - Jacket potato with tuna mayo or baked beans everyone is having this

Wednesday - smoked salmon pasta - boys are having carbonara

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Meal time blues

It's been a long old week in our household and yet again it's food that is making us want to bury our heads in the sand. OB has always had issues around food mainly involving texture and the look. But now he has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this means when I administer his insulin I need him to eat or he can hypo which means blood sugar running to low and he will not feel very well (putting it mildly). We inject before meals as it's to easy to forget after and I feel have your injection them yummy food is a good way round.
So when you have given the injection and for the fourth day running he looks at the meals he normally eats says yuck and demands cake you wonder a few things. Is it the food are the issues regarding texture and look increasing or is he in fact thinking if I do not eat i get something sweet so let's cut straight to sweet or is this a normal child development and it's a phase.
Tonight I got to a point we had given him his insulin and sat him at the table he looked at the gnocchi and tomato sauce said yuck but instantly said cake. My mother instincts told me this is a cheeky little boy who has learnt if I do not eat my main they will give me food as they know I have to eat. So tonight he did not eat and I gave him for pudding a banana and yogurt my husband and I watched him like a hawk for possible hypo symptoms. He wanted to go outside but was told in simple language no dinner no outside we could not risk a possible hypo. 
So this week my meal plans will be changing we are going to try the following to see what's a success 
Plain pasta and sauce completely separate
Pasta mixed with a tomato sauce that's been blitzed and has no bits
Plain food so carrots, broccoli, potato in some form and meat all separate 
The reason for me having to go back to basics is that he can not tell me what he does not like as he does not have the understanding or language. This is where the speech and language disorder combined with autism traits and compounded by type 1 mean I have to work hard to figure out what's going on in his mind and try to get him eating his food again. Let's hope next week update is a little more positive and we have moved forward.