A Trifle

So, this week was characterised by my youngest son getting a year older. (Well done there little guy!) So he is 4. Going on 45 I think. In the way of modern times, he had several parties to mark the occasion. Other Half made a cake for his actual birthday on Tuesday. Another was taken in for his toddler group which meets on a Thursday and his grandparents brought another over on the weekend. We were up to the fucking eyeballs in sodding cake in various states of being eaten. Am not even that fond of sponge cake.

What was I to do? Let all the piles of leftover cake go to waste? Over my festering corpse. I was raised on a farm in deepest darkest wales. There was no central heating. The fresh water tank would run dry in the summer and there was no TV as the mountains would not let us get a signal. There were also 14 people in the house and it was 6 miles to the nearest shop that sold food. It took me an hour to get to school.

Thus, I do not waste food. I recycle it. I decided to create something I had not made since my teens. A trifle. An old fashioned UK original from the era of bread and butter pudding and cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks. Or so I thought. Wikipedia disagrees.

The earliest use of the name trifle was in a recipe for a thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater, in Thomas Dawson‘s 1585 book of English cookery The Good Huswifes Jewell.[1] Trifle evolved from a similar dessert known as a fool, and originally the two names were used interchangeably.[2]

So it’s old, like most brit food I suppose. Anyway, I hit the shop and brought the goodies home. My mother used to bake for a living, in the days when a farm kitchen was fine for preparing cakes, scones and bread. Modern Health and safety would have fainted. Like her, I opted to go on instinct.

Cooking by my ‘gut’ is not always successful but it has led to some wonderful discoveries over the years. And the ‘stale birthday cake trifle’ was created. For those interested, here is a rough approximation at a recipe.

  1. Take stale cake and break it up into bits in a wok- it was the biggest thing I had.
  2. Open a couple of tins of summer fruit and pour off the syrup into the wok. Add a little strawberry syrup or whatever sweet ya might have hanging about in the kitchen. Honey would do, so would a few tbsp of sugar. Anyway, the cake soaks it all up. Get your hands in there to make a cake mulch, or get passing 7 year old to do this for you, as I did.
  3. Child now licking fingers, get a couple of big ass bowls and shove handfuls of cake mulch into them so the bottom is covered. Lick your own fingers.
  4. Pour in drained fruit. Shuffle the bowl a little so it sits right. Then raid the freezer for some frozen blueberry punnets that have been in there 6 months. Chuck in too, not bothering to defrost.
  5. Could not be arsed to fanny about with jelly- straight onto the custard. Dump on top of fruit.
  6. Whip up some cream to soft peak. Use an electric whisk. Yes, I know this can over whip it, but fuck it. I got eyes, will watch it. 7 year old runs away from the noise.
  7. Add a bit of sugar to the cream and no, I don’t over whip it IN YOUR FACE PERFECT BAKERS.
  8. Dump cream on top of custard. Give it a shuggle (Scottish- shake) to settle it all down.
  9. Sprinkle with- something. I had some chocolate curls in the cupboard. I would advise against using chilli flakes, as returning 7 year old insisted would taste amazing.
  10. Put in fridge. Don’t eat for 24 hours so the flavours can permeate through the- Nah, it lasted till dinner time…
  11. Eat
  12. Eat more
  13. Warn children and Other Half they will feel sick if they eat it all.
  14. Be ignored.
  15. Be smug that you made two for under £7

   

         

No doubt there will be those that will look on in horror at my less than pristine offering. Created with much giggles from eldest child and with a passing nod to hygiene. To those, I say- actually what’s the point? You either get what this is about or you don’t.

Till next week, goodbye friends and strangers.

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Things Changing

Woo look at me blogging while I cook.

 

Well, it’s home made curry, it’s going to take a while. So, have chrome book propped up on the drier- while drier is on. Adds quite the challenge to typing. With NaNo almost over, I am back to the blog. Have had time to think about what I blog. Writing prompts are fun, but they should not be the only thing I do.

 

Thus, you are going to get some me. Not the work me, or the day to day me, but the actual inner me.

 

Inner me is cynical. Inner me swears, a lot. Inner me also cares deeply and can get angry.

 

This week work has dominated my thoughts. Well, I say dominated…. It’s eaten them whole and shat them out in a mental sludge that has kept me awake into the wee small hours. This has probably been the worst week of work in the last five years.

In case you don’t know, I work in education. Some say I am good at it. Devoted even. Me, I don’t have the arrogance to make a bold statement like that. I like being paid, would not do it for free. Yet the epic days I have working with teenagers balances out the bad. There are bad days, sometimes I come home mentally fragmented and needing to be patched up. Other Half has got my six when this happens.

Perhaps I get so tired as it’s an act when I stand in front of a class. IRL I am never that confident and people scare the shit out of me. Part of me still has a respect for authority. I want to believe that those in charge get put there by merit. Stepping into middle management this year has wiped that from my soul. Those in charge take care of themselves and pass blame when things go wrong.

Which is what happened to me this week. It dawned on me slowly, others saw it first. Told me I should be angry, I was not… until I checked my records. Never delete an email children. Looking back over dates and contacts it became clear. I had been fucking shafted and was left to deal with the fallout. My professional integrity has been put on the line because someone is too wrapped up in other things, or too damn lazy to do their job properly.

I don’t like getting angry. No, really, it frightens me. I get flashbacks of angry yelling from growing up and some of the rest of what I saw back then.

Nope, not going into any details. Naming names when people are not in public life is a dick move. I am not a dick. I was, however, tired, angry and upset with little outlet. I put my head down and slogged on. One thing I take pride in- I am a stubborn cow. It did not break me. Oh, I wanted to cry in a corner and gnash teeth, but that would not have done any good. Many hours of extra, panicked work later and I met the deadline. It’s a rushed, poor job, that will reflect badly on me, yet it is done.

So, on Friday I filled out an application form for a new job. I have been playing with this idea for months. Making half-assed comments that I don’t have to be trapped in my current job. Yet it took this week to galvanise me into actual action.

It was rather cathartic on one level, and utterly terrifying on another. I’ve been working in the same place ten years, TEN YEARS. A DECADE! Some of my colleagues have been in the same place their entire career. Rare in this day and age. I was half submitting to the idea that I would be among them. Despite the allure of better salaries and working conditions abroad, my Other Half really does not want to leave Scotland.

I am not a dick and I love him so don’t push the issue. Marriage is about compromise- as I have learnt from fifteen years of it. Back to work- two jobs on my radar, the other side of the country.

Yes, I am scared. I flit between OMG WHAT AM I DOING??? To- FUCKING LET ME LEAVE! AM SICK OF THE FUCKWITS!

 

There will be fuckwits wherever I go, but if I don’t try and leave, how will I know?

 

Oh, trite poetry? I’m such a twat.

 

Curry is almost ready. I am off to cook the rice. Korma, if you must know. Then onwards to marking in front of the TV. Living the dream. It pays the bills-

Who knows this might be the best decision in recent years. Or the worst. Or it might crumble my ego to dust and bend the steel in my spine as I am unwanted elsewhere.

 

That’s life. Time will tell.

 

Signing off for now.
Goodbye friends and strangers.

Food and Thought

Yeah updates will have to be on the weekends now because of work. Have one hell of a year ahead as far as my career is concerned. In fact tonight I have hours of planning and resources to make as well as finishing off a website I am building. *phew* I am finding it difficult at times to get a good balance between work/life/other things that need doing.

Spent most of today amusing my son and cleaning… no room in my life to even write at the moment.

One success though that I have to pat myself on the back for is food. About two months ago I took a long hard look at what we were eating as a family and realised most of it was crap. Perhaps an exaggeration but a lot of it was to save time. Stuff I could shove in the oven and in 30 min would be ready. Nothing wrong with that of course, it was not all convenience food and when I had the time I would make a real effort. I can actually cook well and I enjoy it.

So with son getting taller and hungrier as well as me and Hubbie working hard i decided we needed to feed ourselves properly. Thus, I ploughed the net for inspiration and bought a recipe book. My son has an odd quirk. With a few exceptions he does not like eating meat. I remember the day I came home with nearly £30 worth of prime sirloin steak and cooked it to perfection. My Husband, an unashamed carnivore, declared it the best he had EVER eaten. Son turned his nose up at it.

Thus it was only natural that we as a family tried to cater for all tastes. 3 to 4 meals a week, sometimes more are meat free and nearly all meals in the week are cooked from scratch.

It is a struggle at times, knowing that when I get home I am going to spend 1 to 2 hours cooking. It’s tiring but knowing we are eating well is keeping me motivated. Besides I see it as a anti stress tool. Chopping all those vegetables with a razor-sharp ceramic knife (my favourite, bought it in Japan in 08 and it is STILL the sharpest knife we have) has many therapeutic applications.

There have been a few disasters as I’ve not cooked many of these dishes before. There have also been some blinding successes. Soups in particular have become a bit of a specialty of mine.

Food bills have gone down too. Convenience food is expensive and so is meat. On the other hand the time spent planning a shopping list and actually buying what I need takes ages.

So, I am actually quite proud of us. I’ve even started cooking Japanese dishes again on a regular basis. It’s taken since 07 but I have finally cracked how to make proper tempura. NOM!

Food is Love again in this household. I might sound really anti-feminist but I am enjoying feeding the men in my life. Toddler is still a bit fussy and would eat a block of cheese for every meal if I let him. Still he does eat, eventually. He also loves to cook and I enjoy cooking with him.

He likes Mummy’s ceramic knife, he wants it. He can’t understand why Mummy won’t let him have it!

That is it for today, expect a few reviews soon as i am watching a great anime and playing a fantastic game, when I have the time!