I could have moaned that I went off menu yet again today – roast chicken as planned, but instead of sticky date and ginger pudding , 2 bags of very overripe pears that the Husband had found lurking on top of the fridge meant that instead I could create a very delicious pear and ginger crumble. I thought it might be good, and a quick google turned up a couple of ideas. Based on this recipe from a blog that I found ‘Inside a British Mum’s Kitchen’, I sliced up all the salvageable bits of pear (probably the equivalent of about 6) and thinly sliced 2 balls of stem ginger into a dish, I couldn’t tell you how big it is – it’s the one I use to make crumble or cottage pie or fish pie (you get the picture) and whatever’s cooked in it will comfortably feed 2 adults and 2 kids with leftovers. Added the juice of half a lemon and a sprinkling of soft brown sugar. My crumble topping is never the same twice, but although I am often irritated by Delia, I always go back to the proportions she gives in her Complete Cookery Course. I have a copy of an omnibus edition printed in 1982. My copy falls open at the crumble page ... Anyway, today (I kept a note because I thought someone might be interested) it was 111g of wholewheat plain flour and 114 g of oats, 75 g ground almonds and 75 g soft brown sugar and 75 g of unsalted butter, all rubbed together then chucked over the top of the fruit and baked in the oven with the chicken for about 45 minutes. I always bake crumble ‘early’ so that it’s only warm by the time it’s pudding time, otherwise at least one of the kids gives themselves third degree burns. I had intended to add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the crumble mix but I forgot. It was really, really good and there were just enough leftovers for the kids to take some in their packed lunches tomorrow.I nearly had a good old grumble about how my planned hour floating round the garden in a pretty dress this afternoon, doing a bit of light weeding here and there while listening to the birds singing, turned into 30 minutes of sweaty chopping down rampant ivy and digging up of the invidious creeping buttercup. Instead of peace, I had the dog to 'help' - alternately barking at me for not throwing his squeaky turkey for him to chase endlessly, or redistributing the pile of weeds around the garden, all the while accompanied by the sweet sound of my darling children running round half naked, playing ‘muddy slide attack’ with a pair of inflatable boxing gloves (just don’t ask, OK), and the Husband doing his best redneck impression, fixing axes for the scouts. Oh yes, and one of the chickens escaped. Twice. I bet Sarah Raven doesn’t have to work in these conditions. But then I don’t have a velvet Boden coat to do my gardening in nor a close personal friendship with Emma Bridgewater, so I don’t know what I was thinking, and anyway, in half an hour I did actually manage to pretty much clear one of the beds.
Finally, I could have had a right old grump about (1) the fact that I babysat for a friend last night and didn’t get home till nearly 2.00 a.m. by which time I was too wired to sleep, the Husband was snoring and the smokers frorm the pub over the road decided to shun the smoking shelter on the side of the pub furthest from the house and smoke out the front thus making it noisier, and (2) the fact that I am blogging for as long as possible tonight because otherwise I have to face the towering edifice of THE IRONING.
So there we have it – and the reason for not woeing is me, moaning, grumbling and grumping? The SUNSHINE of course. But without all the grumbling, the post would only have been short. Here it is – the alternative blog: What a glorious day. I got a lay in till 8, a fabulous walk with the dog and then some time at home pottering about in the kitchen ON MY OWN, sorting out lunch and making a beautiful pear and ginger crumble. After lunch, the children did their homework without complaint (I am lying about that, but it was sunny outside and the backdoor was open so I just mentally stuck my fingers in my ears and lahlahlahed for a bit against the sound of their souls being tortured while we did tables, spellings, reading etc) and then I had a productive afternoon in the garden, and managed to get all the washing dry. Finally, the pearl barley broth did eventually make an appearance for supper this evening, and as I type, the Husband is doing the ironing (actually, he really is). All’s right with the world.
But would that have been half as much fun to write?p.s. did you notice that I have worked out how to include hyperlinks?