Friday, 16 October 2015


Whether you say houmous, hummus, hummous or any of the many different derivatives (all are correct, I checked) doesn't matter.  Houmous is practically a mealtime god, as far as I'm concerned.  

I've resigned myself to the fact that there are only two ways to get the humble chickpea into my family, and that's through falafel and houmous, and when they eat it and ask for seconds I feel like a food ninja.  

Mwahaha, small people, I've tricked you with my devious ways of preparing food.  In your face!
....*ahem*...sorry, let me adult...

I'm very glad you like it darling.  Shall we have it more often?

This is my "no measure" recipe (partly because I'm lazy, partly because who really likes measuring?  Ok, mostly because I'm lazy.)

  • 1 can chickpeas (Keep the water to one side.  Yes, it looks horrible)
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp(ish) tahini
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1tsp(ish) ground cumin
  • 1tsp(ish) ground coriander
  • 1tsp(ish) smoked paprika
  • salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves and stalks

Chuck everything into the food processor (or use a hand blender) until it's all blended.  As you go add some of the chickpea water as you go to make it the consistency you want.

Chop up some veggies, toast some pitta and you're good to go.   Or you could add it to a falafel wrap with spinach and tzatziki.  ....Hugo has been known to eat it with, I have no idea why.

Lots of recipes I read up on use so much oil, but I've found it really isn't necessary, as is using too much tahini.  Plus....fewer calories isn't a bad thing.  Also.....don't do as I did the first time I made it and add 3 cloves of garlic.  Remember it is raw, and whilst you may generally add way more than other recipes suggest, it being raw is a different ball game.
It's one of the only meat free meals (the other is dhal) where I don't get asked "Where's the meat?" or "Is this vegetarian?" with a disappointed look, by Mr B.  

The only problem is you'll never be able to eat shop bought houmous again without being mildly disappointed.  But is that really a down point?

Thursday, 15 October 2015

It's a school knock out

I don't know what I was expecting when I had a letter from Oliver's school about their "It's a knock out" inter house competition, with proceeds going towards the Syrian refugees.

See, I've never watched It's a Knock out.  I had no idea what it would entail (although hopefully not children boxing).  Oliver couldn't help enlighten me either.  When I asked what they'd be doing he said that he had no idea but his team was the best because it was a Phoenix banner.   ...Glad we cleared that one up. 

(Spoiler alert....they lost)

They had a very impressive banner though.

He excitedly told me that there was a parents race and asked if I'd do it.

So naturally I laughed in his face, then got uncomfortable and mumbled something about having Rupert with me and that I was sure no one could possibly hold him for me whilst I raced.  I'd noticed that there was a baking competition a'la country shows, so promised a cake in lieu of my sporting prowess.

I arrived, boy strapped to my back (there was no way I was going to give anyone an excuse to get me embroiled in the parents race.) and cursed myself for not bringing sunglasses, a coat or umbrella.  The weather was so changeable that it was bright sunshine one moment and pouring rain the next.  One thing it was consistent on was that it was bloody freezing.

I put my cake on a table full of cakes with quiet confidence that I was totally going to win this thing.    Sure, it was a bit rough around the edges but taste wise, I was on the money.  After all...what sick and twisted judge wouldn't like lemon cake?  I gave my £5 entry fee and slowly the horror dawned that no, this was not the quaint competition I was promised......I'd just paid for sticky children to sell my cake at 50p a slice.....the cake I had in the oven before I'd started my morning coffee....It was worth at least 70p a slice.  There would be no giant silver cup with my name engraved medal or honour.

So being terrifically English, I smiled at them and walked away, quietly crying inside.

There were some absolutely fantastic cakes brought in.  Our house team's table was definitely filled with the most (and best) cakes.  It even had one emblazoned with the house initial.  They take their house teams very seriously.

 I was confused from the very beginning.  It started with cheerleaders from the house teams.  There wasn't much coordination, but who doesn't love animal onesies, boys in skirts and stockings, cartwheels and jumping, all brought together by shaking it off to Taylor swift. .......FOUR times.  The teachers had just as much fun with the fancy dress box and face paint.

The races confused me even more.  I was expecting it to be akin to sports day, but no sports day I've ever been to has involved balloons filled with water, having to put on 387 items of clothing, shaving foam on the head, brazen cheating and no one knowing what on earth they were meant to be doing.

There were twelve races, but the ones I had the slightest inkling of what was going on are as follows. 

  • Passing a balloon from under your chin to the next person, using your hands when you're sure no one is looking, and then realising you're losing and giving up, letting your balloon float away.
  • Taking an item of clothing to a person, them having to put it on....and repeat until they can't move, when they have to wriggle about, not knowing which direction to go.
  • Throwing balloons filled with water to (NOT AT) the next team mate, up a line of people.  When you realise that the person you're throwing to is a terrible catch you end up running with the balloon to the next person...when they still drop the balloon with that method you throw all caution to the wind and lob it to the end of the line, soaking everyone when they unreasonably didn't realise they were meant to catch it.
  • A three legged race (now that's one that I've heard of).  It was male/female parings for the most part and there seemed to be an unwritten rule that you were meant to act like magnets and had to be as far away from your partner as possible whilst still being attached at the ankle.
  • Something involving tennis balls.  ....No idea...
  • Plank walking (no not into a shark infested pit of water, although that might have been fun to watch).  Most teams seemed to adopt the tactic of, when they realised that half of them knew their lefts and rights, so they were going nowhere, that taking your feet off the planks and pretending was a much more efficient system.
  • Shaving foam was squirted on the head of the first runner, they ran to the opposite side and had to take the shaving foam off their head and onto the next person's head.  That person's head was then topped up with shaving foam because carrying shaving foam on your head is an inefficient method of passing it from person to person and they ran to the next person.

Then there was the parents race.  There they were, trainers and active wear, limbering up with stretches and star jumps.  I'm pretty sure someone was wearing spiked trainers for extra grip (or to tackle another parent if they were winning).  I was asked if I was going to take part.  "Oh what a shame, I have Rupert wrapped to me and I have temporarily forgotten how to untie it.  I'll have to sit this one out".  Also, I'd seen the buckets of water......Nope, nope, nopity nope!!   

There was a hockey stick and two buckets full of water for each team.  They had to carry the buckets like a milk maid and run with it.  They got points for how much water they had left and how many "passes" they managed.  There were two full tilt and get soaked, losing all the water with the first couple of people, but managing more passes, or going slower, keeping more water, but meaning everyone in the team got wet. (For reference, I'd have gone with the second way I'm taking it for the team when it was that cold outside).

And with that, a double rainbow appeared and it was all over (I'm not sure if that part was orchestrated by the school, but if it was then I'm incredibly impressed...)

As I was walking up to collect an exhausted, sticky, cold and wet boy from his classroom I heard it described as organised chaos.  I'd say it was more like your bog standard, regular chaos, but there's no denying that it was, as another parent described it, jolly good fun.


Monday, 12 October 2015

The passage of time

Time passes and life goes on.

Such a simple, obvious statement, but I think it takes all of us by surprise at one time or another.  

It's been the best part of a year since I posted but I think I've needed a year to get over last year and everything it threw at us.  At times I've felt like someone's been playing a cruel game of "Buckeroo" with me but slowly, over time, I've been able to put those weights and burdens down.  I woke up one day and I felt lighter.  There comes a point where feeling sorry for yourself and like the universe is out to get you get's more tiring than what has actually happened.  I needed to accept it and move on rather than wallow in self pity....but I needed time to wallow in order to accept erm...yeah...

The first half of this year were very hard and at times I wasn't sure how anything was going to end...or, indeed if it ever would end.  When everything seems so dark, when you feel lost and you have no idea how to explain what's going on in your head, it's hard to write anything I didn't.  The second half of this year (after I pulled myself together) has been full of eager anticipation and uncertainty...well, I guess the whole year has been fraught with uncertainty...but uncertain in a hopeful way.  I've been too busy with three mental exuberant children to bother writing a blog post...I started a few but never finished them. ...and then there was the mental barrier of coming back after so long not posting.  Stupid really, as I write this for me, so who am I embarrassed to....oh..that would be me.  Whoops.

But time has passed and life has gone on, seasons change, cake is eaten...boys have got taller...and life is quite exciting for us right now.

We're months...and months into the process of moving house.  If I never have to talk to another solicitor or estate agent again, after this is all over, then I'll be a happy bunny.  But today is an exciting day.  We hopefully will finally exchange, which means a week today we're going to be the proud owners of a new house.  A house that we will stay in at least until our children have grown and left home.  It's a complete curve ball.  We're country people at heart and envisaged moving somewhere more rural, but here we are, moving into the centre of a little Suffolk town.  Both Mr B and I have lived there before, separately and is the only town I think I could live in.  It's only 5 minutes down the road from where we are now, so we're still surrounded by family.

It has bay windows, a kitchen I could literally swing a cat in (watch out Catsby), a basement to lock the kids in  convert into a play room and enough space for us to not constantly be under each other's feet.

So yes.  There is much excitement at the prospect of a fresh start.
...and after last year, I really think we deserve one...

It'll always be Howard's House.  No matter where we are.
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