(I don't have any photos of the finished dish, as it was eaten too quickly!)
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Usually I make it loosely based on my Mum’s way of doing it – cut up turkey mixed with sauteed onions, mushrooms and garlic, leftover vegetables and gravy as the base and here I have always deviated from my mum’s recipe – instead of her pastry topper, I do a mashed potato topper, so it is a turkey pot pie a la shepard!
This year I sautéed the onion, garlic and mushrooms and added the cut up turkey. Then I made a pesto cheese sauce using 2 oz butter, 2 oz flour, 1 c stock (turkey stock), 1 c milk, ½ c homemade basil pesto and about 1 ½ c grated cheddar and gruyere mixed. To this I added ½ head cauliflower and similar amount of broccoli that had been oven roasted. This mix went into the bottom of a casserole and then was topped with puff pastry. I tried to get fancy and make a leaf motif with the leftover pastry.
And as I was defrosting the puff pastry anyway, I made pesto and goat cheese puff pastry appys - roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle. Spread a thin layer of pesto over the pastry, add a layer of goat cheese over the pesto and roll up from each long side until you have two equal rolls meeting in the middle. Cut into ~10-12 pieces and place onto a baking sheet. Bake at 400 deg for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and puffy.
Monday, December 28, 2009
The other night - Christmas night actually, I was putting T to bed when he asked me where my mummy lived. I told him she lived in heaven now and that she was an angel watching over us. He replied "how do angels watch over us if we don't have holes in our roof?" Hmmm. The best I could come up with was that angels and fairies aren't bound by physical boundaries like walls, the float through air. "But why isn't grandma here" he asked. "Why is she an angel now?" I told him that she had been very sick for a long time and then she died. But that she didn't want to leave us and that she would love to be here with us and play with him. That she would love him and his cousins, she would be so proud of her grandsons. (So hard as I don't want to freak him out and let him think that anytime mummy gets sick, I could die and leave him. So hard too, as I still miss Mum and she would so love my boy and his cousins - all three are such special boys!).
So at breakfast, T sits up at the breakfast bar and tells me "it's a great morning!" Mummy and Daddy are home today and we're going to ride the train in Stanley Park later today.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
For dinner I made braised cabbage in cream (from Molly Wizenberg's book - A Homemade Life) to go with cheese and sausage perogies which gave dinner a slightly Ukranian feel. I gave T a quick bath and hustled him into his pjs. We put out the snack for Santa - chocolate chip cookies along with a carrot for the reindeer and T insisted that I make a cup of tea for Santa and we left it all on the hearth beside the tree. Then came our three hours trying to get T to go to sleep. "Is it morning yet?" over and over. I finally had to say "Santa won't come if you aren't asleep. Do you want me to call him and say don't come because T doesn't want to go to sleep?" The answer was an earthshattering "NO", but he did lie down and eventually fell asleep. I did too and when I woke up 20 minutes later, groggy and bleary eyed, I had to start remembering where I'd hidden all the presents - both the stocking gifts and the gifts from family and friends sent in the mail that I've been hiding away for weeks to keep T from opening them. The trucks meant that there was no big assembly project this year but as usual it was after midnight by the time we took our weary selves to bed.
The blessing of the late to sleep meant that T didn't wake up until almost 8. He came out and found his stocking full, he discovered paint, colouring books, chocolate, an orange, a monster truck and a lego truck. Then we made him get dressed before heading downstairs. I went to take some pictures and discovered all my camera batteries were dead - lovely! And my search for new ones was fruitless. Ah well.
T found his Santa presents on the hearth - his bulldozer, a steam shovel and a road grader. Then he opened our presents to find a low loader (red) and a concrete mixer truck. By that point he'd figured out that the blue wrapping paper meant a truck. He opened an earthmover from Grampie and was set to open the other two boxes but we made him wait until Auntie K and Uncle M came later in the day for turkey dinner. He opened other gifts - a big pirate floor puzzle from Auntie S, a furry hat and a pirate treasure book from Auntie A, a kite and backhoe t-shirt and chocolate coins from his cousins, a Cars race car transporter and a fleece hoodie and a book from Auntie M and a hat and book from Mummy's friend PK. And along the way, Mummy and Daddy got some presents as well. T and D played with the trucks while I started cooking - first taking the turkey out of the brine and stuffing it with sausage stuffing. I made a vegetarian mushroom, cranberry, corn stuffing as well. The vegetables were carrot/yam dish from M&B, mashed turnip, maple roasted parsnips, braised pancetta brussel sprouts ( from Smittenkitchen.com without the breadcrumb topping), creamy potatoes plus gravy, cranberry sauce (M&B again), and our family traditional bread sauce. Dinner was served around 2:30 once K&T and M&B arrived and more gifts were exchanged. More trucks for T - a quarry truck and a dump truck. After dinner, we had candy cane ice cream from K, mince pie and cookies. T then played trucks while the rest of us rested,
had tea, chatted and Uncle T made hundreds of wrapping paper rocks to load up T's trucks!
Here are 4 of the trucks with the mountain of "rocks".
A lovely day and T learned that it sometimes doesn't snow at Christmas and it happens anyway!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
And when I came back inside, there was T's combine harvester ready and waiting for harvest!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
My name is T.M and I will be 4 in January. I have been a good boy this year. (There was some hemming and hawing about this statement after I wrote it as T was fairly sure he's not always a good boy at daycare - not listening well, etc but in the interest of the letter he left that bit out).
I hope you and the reindeer will come to my house at Christmas and we can look at wheel backhoes (real ones) on the computer. I would like a bulldozer, a track backhoe and a road grader for Christmas, please.
Mummy and I will make cookies for you - chocolate chip ones - so I hope you like chocolate.
Hello to the reindeer.
T decorated the letter with some stickers (fire truck, monster truck, train and 18-wheeler). We are going to mail it on the way to preschool tomorrow.
I don't remember writing to Santa as a child. A family tradition was that on Christmas Eve we would write out a list of wishes and each member of the family would throw the paper on the fire. If the paper flew up the chimney that meant our wish would come true. At least, that is how I remember it. I do remember my mum being nervous about us throwing paper on the fire at my grandparent's as my grandfather (my Da) would encourage us really close to the fire to catch a draft so the wish would fly up.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Toad in the hole from Jason Parsons as prepared on CityLine, adapted by me.
1 package sausages (I used 6 skinless cheddar Mitchell's sausages)
2 carrots peeled and thickly julienned
1 small turnip peeled and thickly julienned
sprinkle of sage, salt and pepper
I sliced the sausages and tossed them and the vegetables in a roasting pan with the spices and roasted for ~ 30 minutes at 375 deg.
Yorkshire pudding mixture
7 large eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c milk
(Note match the volume of eggs with equal volumes of milk and flour. In this case my eggs measured 1 1/2 cups.) Beat eggs. Add flour and whisk until the lumps are gone. Add the milk and beat together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the vegetables and sausages into a greased casserole dish (9x13 or equivalent). Pour the yorkshire pudding mix over the top. Push the veggies into the batter. Bake at 375 for ~ 35 minutes or until the pudding is set all the way through. Serve with gravy, if desired.
Friday, November 27, 2009
What a difference a year makes. T has been waiting for this for months. He's had his list since August and regularly drags it out and shows it to everyone (at church, at school, anywhere he has a chance to ). D printed out the list, after T wore out his small catalog that came with a toy tractor he got last Christmas. So this year's wish list includes
-dumptruck with long dump body
-concrete mixing truck
- road grader
-low bed with a track backhoe
Lately he has added
- logging truck with grapple hook
-two black racing cars with batteries
Last week, I asked him if he wanted to go to my work Christmas party and his yelled answer was "is SANTA going to be there?"
When I said I thought Santa was going to drop in, he said "I'm going to bring my list!!". Oh dear. This should be interesting. I've already talked to Santa and told him how excited T was to see Santa and show him his list. I'm still trying to get T to give me his top 3 picks to get from Santa because the elves at the North Pole are so busy making toys for all the boys and girls everywhere around the world and Santa has to fit all the toys in the sled to go around the whole world so probably Santa will only be able to deliver 3 construction trucks.
At this point, thankfully, T doesn't seem to be remembering the bulk of his previous presents from Santa, last year's big art easel and spider web bean bag chair and the previous year's big train table.
Meantime, I played Santa's helper today by wrapping gifts for the party. As it is less than a month to the big day, I'm easing myself into getting into the spirit. A christmas CD in the car, this week. Next week the advent calendars come out - T's chocolate one and a quilted one I made when T was a baby. When I get that out, I might start with the door hangers as well. Have to do it slowly so as not to trigger D's Scrooge reflex!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
“Which artist were you learning about?” I asked.
“Mickeangelo” came his answer.
“Was there paper on the bottom of the table?”, I said, just wanting clarification that he wasn’t painting on the actual table.
“What did you paint?”
Of course, almost every painting T has done lately is a roller coaster.
(this one is apparently in the style of Emily Carr)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
And now it's quiet. There is the drip, drip, drip of the rain on the drainpipe outside, the hum from the laundry in the dryer, a small boy curled up in his bed, sound asleep, the aroma of stew cooking for tomorrow night's supper and a mug of hot tea next to my computer. Life is good.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Sunday night I made Mushroom Spinach Lasagna - a recipe I've been tweaking for ages trying to eliminate the oily film that I had the past couple of times. And I think this version worked really well.
Fresh lasagna sheets (I made mine using a breadmaker pasta recipe and my pasta machine)
Ricotta spinach mixture (adapted from a Delia Smith recipe in Basic of Cooking One)
1 tub of ricotta
1 bag of spinach, cooked with a bit of butter until wilted, drained, chopped
70 g gorgonzola cheese
70 g mozarella grated
grating of nutmeg
2-3 tbsp milk
Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
Half a medium onion, chopped, sauted
1 leek, green part only, sliced and rinsed well, sauted
1 c. sliced mushrooms (I used cremini and button), sauted
1 tub of Safeway Gourmet mushroom soup
2 tbsp flour
Saute the vegetables until soft, add the soup and flour and mix well. Heat through for 5-10 minutes.
In a greased 9x13 pan, spoon 1/3 of the mushroom mix and spread over the bottom. Fit one layer of noodles over the mix. Pour over 1/3 of the ricotta mix, and 1/3 of the mushroom mix and spread over and cover the noodles. Create another layer of noodles. Sprinkle some grated mozarella over the noodles and follow with 1/3 of the ricotta mix, spread and then 1/3 of the mushroom mix. Add the final layer of noodles, cover with the last of the ricotta mix. Top with a layer of grated mozarella and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 deg for about an hour.
Monday night I made another casserole - broccoli, cauliflower and rice with ham from Delia Smith's book Basics of Cooking One:
1 1/2 c brown rice
1 small onion sliced
3 c. vegetable or chicken stock
Saute the onion in ~ 1 tsp oil until soft. Add the rice and turn. Add the stock and cover, bring to a boil and then simmer for 50 minutes.
Meanwhile steam 1 head of cauliflower and 1 crown of broccoli florets.
Make the blue cheese sauce:
1 1/2 oz butter
1 1/2 oz flour
500 ml milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 c chopped ham
120 g blue cheese, crumbled
In a saucepan, add the milk, butter and flour. Whisk together and cook for 5 minutes. Add mustard, ham and blue cheese.
Once the rice is done, spread it into a greased 9x13 pan. Layer the cauliflower and broccoli florets over the rice. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, covering them as much as possible. Combine one handful of bread crumbs and some grated parmesan cheese in a small bowl and mix. Sprinkle over the dish and put into a 350 deg oven for 20 minutes, then put under the broiler for a couple of minutes until browned and bubbly.
I went away for a couple of days (to the spa for some relaxation) with my pal. I had a wonderful time despite the crazy, stormy, windy, wet weather and the guys had lots of leftovers to eat in my absence!
Monday, November 16, 2009
This pair is for T's little friend C - who came over for a playdate this week. She's such a sweetie and so different from my wild child. She was wearing her new fairy shirt and got right into painting. The two of them have wonderful conversations - one about Auntie's dog by T was riveting. Not so much for the dog (poor Allie) but in the telling of the torn cruciate ligament tale by T. " My Auntie's doggie fell down the stairs and hurt her leg and so she had to go to the animal hospital for an operation and get a big, big bandaid on her leg". C was enthralled. I wonder what his take on Allie's post-surgical hydrotherapy treatments would be!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I got him a preschool version of the old snakes and ladders game a few weeks ago after we played a few rounds at the kid's stall at the market. This version is really chutes and ladders - I guess snakes are too scary. And there is a spinner instead of a dice. T cheats - he moves the spinner to whatever number he wants it to be but not with any game advantage in mind - just because he likes certain numbers better than others. He loves going down the slides even when he doesn't have to, in fact, he gets annoyed if I "get to go down a slide" and he hasn't yet. He loves to win but wants me to win as well. Not quite clear on the concept which is ok with me.
We also play a card matching game with Thomas the Tank Engine cards - in our house called the Thomas matching game. I've taken to carrying the cards around in my purse as we can play a smaller version of it while waiting for shots for instance. (This week we waited for over an hour for T's H1N1 shot). T is extraordinarily lucky at this game - D thinks he's marked the cards as I think he's only lost one game so far (to Uncle M after 3 wins and a tie).
Yesterday the puppets came out of the hiding bag (hide some of the toys so we aren't overwhelmed)
And another baby beanie.
I have a couple of bigger projects I'd like to do. I found some great patterns over at garnstudio.com. A boy's sweater and a sweater for me (using wool I've had for ages).
1 c. currants