Sunday, 28 February 2010
As always, I've used what I've got rather than following the recipe totally, so the fruit is 'berries and cherries' rather than dates, raisins and blueberries, because I had a packet that needed using up, and the sugar is a mixture of dark and light muscavado (must get some more). The dough is now rolled into three 'sausages' and is chilling in the fridge, prior to being cut into 1cm thick slices and baked. It says that it will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, which is worth knowing.
As always, I will let you know. I find AWT's recipes usually work well, so here's hoping.
There's a photo of the results of the original recipe via the link. I'll try to remember to snap mine when they come out of the oven this afternoon!
Saturday, 27 February 2010
As there's some Chinese left over from last night, destined to be eaten by me for Sunday lunch, I'm afraid this weekend won't see a F M C. I will catch up at some point, I'm sure. It's nearly the end of the month and the new food mags will be in the shops within a fortnight.
Friday, 26 February 2010
Yes, it is more pleasant now - I got a lot of tidying up done this morning!!
Now MB is at DDs where he's staying the night, indulging in a spot of kitten cuddling and nephew bouncing!
And I MUST stay awake a bit longer - or I will be up at three again tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
All the colours of the rainbow.
All shapes and sizes.
This one opened up to show the inside. Very clever.
And one of the nicest things - the parents had heeded my plea not to buy anything special, just to use ordinary stuff. There were no ready bought, high-craft things, just loads of sellotape, paint, felt tips and inventiveness.
And with this one the second floor lifted off to show the downstairs. Wonderful! The little rooms had carpets, two rooms had a clock on the wall and the bedroom had a little mirror.
Just what I had hoped for.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
This morning, after posting the photo of the irises, I had a little play with them in Paintshop Pro to get some 'arty' effects It was quite good fun and I thought the series of photos could be used to brighten up my daily blogs for a few days.
Photo: A very old one. I think most of us are getting tired of the cold and damp and this cheered me up no end!
Saturday, 20 February 2010
It makes two good helpings, one of which is in the fridge either for this evening or tomorrow and the other is potted, bagged and ready to take into school with me. There's a microwave in the staffroom, luckily!
Hopefully I will remember to take a photo of it this evening (or tomorrow) when I have the other portion!
And it's definitely another I will make again. It could be tasty chilled too, come the summer.
I missed a target in a way though. Two days ago it was Middle Brother's birthday and I was so involved with the virtual hustings questions I completely forgot. How embarrassing and how unkind of me. Sorry, MB, I hope you had a lovely day. Belated Happy Birthday!
Today? Can't put it off any longer. It's in to school for the day. Yawn . . .
My FMC this week is from February's Good Food. Roasted tomato and red pepper soup. If I get going I can make it now and take it into school to heat in the microwave for lunch. It is fairly simple: roast some onion, red pepper and a can of tomatoes with thyme, unpeeled garlic cloves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When softened, squeeze the garlic from their skins, blend everything, push through a sieve, season to taste . . . It says add some creme fraiche and I don't have that so I might just use milk.
Friday, 19 February 2010
You want a small carton of double cream (around 250ml) one large lemon, juiced and zested, around 50g caster sugar and 2 egg whites.
It's been a very mousse-y week. It's going to finish in that way too. After my semi-success at a lemon mousse earlier, I trawled and found a recipe that is a lot more fattening (it has double cream as well as lemon, sugar and egg white) but looks as if it will be much more stable, so I'm going to give it a go today. I love lemon stuff and it will be good if I can find an easy recipe that actually works without too much hassle. Perhaps I can cut down on the double cream.
Apart from that, it's a morning in front of the computer trying to sort out the hustings questions and then out to do the work postponed from yesterday, fingers crossed. It looks dry outside, thank goodness.
I'm afraid my list of things to do hit the crash barriers very early on although I have managed to do some important stuff.
Better get on with it then!
Thursday, 18 February 2010
After that, I hope there will be enough space in the shed to clear out the small chest freezer and then attack it with a hair dryer. That's the theory.
And the gastronomic challenge for the day is making that chocolate mousse. It was supposed to be yesterday but the lemon one took over!
And in between all that, I need to be on FC to keep tabs on the Virtual Hustings questions.
All that should keep me well out of trouble, I sincerely hope!
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
The lemon mousse was really tasty after it had chilled. The main problem was that it split, so needed remixing (just with a spoon was enough) before eating. That meant that it hadn't really 'set' so it was like eating lemon foam, somewhat insubstantial. Very, very nice though and might make a good topping for something like meringue and fruit as well as nice on its own, to finish a meal off with something light and fluffy.
After a late start to the day (for me), I thought I'd spend most of it sleeping, but actually that hasn't happened - definitely a sign of recovery. So I should sleep well tonight!
I watched the Raymond Blanc programme on BBC2 on Monday. It was interesting, but I didn't find it all that friendly and 'accessible'. Perhaps it was a bit too 'cheffy' for me, I don't know. However, I am going to make the chocolate mousse (has anyone ever seen such HUGE slabs of chocolate before?) as it looks easy and delicious and might slip down a sore throat easily. You can watch it here and the recipe is here. I am reducing the amount quite a lot - I don't want to make that much and I don't have seven eggs!!
I'm just pondering as to whether one could make an equally yummy looking lemon mouse by simply folding egg whites into lemon curd. After all, I have a jar to eat up within the next fortnight!
Apart from that, today is resting and trying to get up to date with the washing and the ironing. So better get started by bringing it all downstairs. Out of sight, out of mind is very true where I am concerned. Maybe, if I keep falling over it all, I will get it done!
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
I sent an email and a text message to DD to let her know as early as I could. However, I got a joyous phone call from DG, asking me if he could bring some pancake mix round when he came so we could make pancakes. Oooooohhhhhh. I'm afraid I copped out and asked to speak to DD who then explained to DG. I feel so sad - we would have had a lovely time. DD said later he was OK about it, but I wonder. I know how upset he can get when things change, especially when he's looking forward to it, and how hard it can be to explain to him. DD probably had plans too which will now come to nothing.
So, at present, there's a lonely chicken roasting (because it needed cooking today) and just me to enjoy it. And no pancakes, because I haven't the energy!
All together now . . . aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.
End of pity party!
Monday, 15 February 2010
3 oz butter
8 oz caster sugar
Finely grate the zest from both lemons. Squeeze the juice from the lemons* and add to the zest.** Beat together the sugar, eggs and lemon juice and zest.
Melt the butter in a 2.5 pint bowl on high for about 1.5 mins.
Stir lemon, sugar and egg mixture into butter, mixing well.
Cook on high for about three minutes until the mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Stir briskly every 30 seconds to incorporate thickened bits into the whole mixture. It really starts to thicken after about 2 mins. The regular stirring is essential, otherwise you end up with sweet lemon scrambled eggs!
Pour into small, warmed jars, seal and label.
Store in a fridge for up to two weeks.
Makes about 1 lb of lemon curd.
*I always cut the lemons in half, put them cut side down on a plate and microwave for 1 minute. You get loads more juice that way. I don't know why, but you do!
** You can strain the zest out, but I like it with the zest left in. Years ago I got slated at a village show for leaving the zest in, but it tastes nicer so I always do it, lady-judge to the contrary notwithstanding!
The other is the gas man - and they don't have a wonderful reputation for punctuality! He's supposed to come today!! Fingers crossed. Shameful as it is, I was more concerned about the oven than the gas! ;0)
With DG coming to stay over on Tuesday night, I need something for dessert and this will fit the bill, topped by some delicious, creamy, Greek yogurt.
So - today. First day of the holidays, officially! It's going to start with washing my hair as it feels grubby and grimy, then I need to finish the kitchen ready for the oven repair chap. After that it will be general cleaning and tidying followed by moving stuff from the shed to the garage and then stuff from the house to the shed or to the garage, whichever is more appropriate. Hope it warms up a bit before I start! Actually, thinking about it, I won't be able to get out until the gas man has been as I'm not likely to hear him knock from the back garden., so it may or may not get done.
I have some lemons to use up so will make some lemon curd this afternoon, probably by the microwave method, which is so very quick and easy. You get everything ready and mixed together and then you cook it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. This is essential if you don't want to end up with lemon flavoured scrambled egg!
Breakfast will be a mushroom omelette, lunch probably beans on toast and dinner will be the pork with spices recipe I mentioned yesterday Maybe I can get my eating back on track this week - if I plan in here it might help a bit.
Better go and start the first bit - hair washing!
Sunday, 14 February 2010
What I do have waiting for me tomorrow is a visit from the oven man to (hopefully) repair my Rangemaster (four rings don't work) and the gas man to 'upgrade' (whatever that may mean) my gas meter. In-between times there's washing, ironing, dusting and sweeping.
And I think I fancy making some lemon curd - DD loves it as does DG, so a few jars will be welcomed, I'm sure. I needed to get some Greek yogurt, for cooking with so it had to be the full variety, not the 0% fat, and it's gorgeously creamy. Some of that with some lemon curd folded in will make a scrummy dessert or two this week.
And finally, as I had some of the pork in cider today, I will make the quick pork with mild spices tomorrow as a catch up F M C.
No photos of the kittens, sadly. The cough has returned and I've been feeling a little less than 100% most of the day, so I didn't go over. No point spreading germs!
The pork in the slow cooker is done: falling apart and melt in the mouth. The sauce is now reducing in a saucepan with added red peppers and some sliced mushrooms to add just before it is ready.
Now, I'm not sure whether to have one portion for lunch and then freeze the rest in single portions, or to freeze the lot and make another FMC, quick pork with mild spices. I've got all morning to decide!
Apart from the above, it's more housework and then tea with DD and more kitten loving! Hopefully, I will remember to take my camera this time and come back with something worth putting on here.
Saturday, 13 February 2010
I'd got it into my head that the mixture needed marinading for a while but, in fact, it didn't say that. I did marinade it and I think it was the nicer for it.
You can find it here: It seems to be a very old recipe judging by what it says at the foot of the page, but it feels just the ticket for the first day of the half term holiday. The coriander may have to be dried (if they have some in Morrisons, I'll get it and freeze the remains) and I'll have to buy the chicken and the double cream, but I have all the rest of the ingredients. It says to serve with rice AND naan - I'll stick with one or the other, I think. Also, a bonus, it looks easy enough to cut down to one portion.
It means I have to go shopping early as the chicken needs marinating for eight hours or so - this looks to be the one disadvantage really!
Other FMCs I fancy trying from the same source include quick pork with mild spices, mustard stuffed chicken and Moroccan lamb. The new food mags are in the shops now, so I can do some more research.
Apart from that, I will do housework and sleep for moist of today, hopefully not at the same time. I had quite a bad night due to some sort of mini tummy bug, so am feeling weary. That will pass!
Friday, 12 February 2010
After that we were supposed to add objectives to our Medium Term Planning sheets (which are in the form of theme 'spiders'). Well - in our eagerness not to have too many bits of paper, Liz and I crowded the text boxes on to each page so, in order to add the objectives, I was having to move stuff around when there really wasn't the space. On top of that, I went home to work as Liz wasn't at school, and my home PC took a dislike to the Autumn 2 spider and kept freezing on me half way through without saving what I'd done. After the second disaster I printed off the original and started from a blank page and found that it's actually a lot easier than trying to rearrange. I think if I had mind mapping software it would be easier, but I don't!
I wasn't the only one to find it very hard and slow going. N (our deputy head) could see her carefully time-structured plan for the day crashing around her and very sensibly gave up her expectation that by three o'clock she would have six bee-yoo-ti-ful theme spiders from each year group and told us we would use the first two staff meetings of next half term to carry on with it all.
I was so relieved. As soon as she outlined the day to us this morning, I knew I would have huge problems getting even half of it done. Turns out I wasn't the only one which makes me feel a whole load better!
So, although I have three and a half spiders still to sort out, the time pressure is off. I still intend to get them all done this half term as then Liz and I can add the 'new' PSHE and RE stuff together. And I know that there will be enough room on the page too. :0)
I like properly done paperwork and feel that what we're doing can be useful. The only thing that bothers me more than slightly is that we're spending all this time on something that is likely to change as we get new ideas for activities. I, for one, find the thought of delivering exactly the same lessons each year dire. I'm always looking for different routes, different ideas, different activities. Really we're recording what we have done, rather than what we plan to do! But I guess that's the name of the game!!
So heigh ho, off I go to bore the teeth off my colleagues for two minutes! Hopefully everyone else will be more interesting than I.
And then it's planning, planing, planning. Wonderful!
Thursday, 11 February 2010
We had a lovely afternoon. After seeing the fun they had with the magnets yesterday, I did an impromptu, unplanned lesson making moving pictures with paper, paper clips and a magnet. You know the sort of thing - draw and colour a background (which most of them did really well), draw a character or object that you want to move, cut out the character, sellotape a paper clup to the back and make it move across the setting using a magnet behind the paper. As an added bonus, they were allowed to take their creation home with them (but not the magnet!).
It was just the thing for the last afternoon of the half term - productive, creative, a mixture of science, art and design technology and just plain fun to do. They were so happy playing with their moving pictures afterwards and some were superb! There were some original ideas and some which matched the creator to a T - the child who made a flying cat, the lad who made an ice cream van drive along the beach, the lad who did his teddy bear walking around his bedroom - not to mention various sharks, bats, fish, rockets and a most friendly looking three-eyed monster from an alien planet.
And now I have no planning for tomorrow. Feels great!
The children are so tired and several are just mildly under the weather. Not enough to stay off from school, just enough to make them listless and weary. They woke up a bit yesterday while we were doing a magnetism investigation. Magnets can do some funny things at times, including making a paper clip jump! And trying to get the two blue ends or the two red ends together caused great hilarity and some puzzlement!
Today, I think, I will ride them easy - they're not fit for anything very intensive. And nor am I!
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Today I was assessing her against the targets on her last IEP and, you know, much to my delight, she has achieved them all and gone further. Fantastic. So I grabbed her mum after school and we had an impromptu review meeting. She (mum) was so pleased and so was the D L C, who beamed her way through the short meeting. You could see her confidence increasing as we spoke. And then she looked at me, smiled shyly and said 'I do love you, Mrs Clark'. Aaaaahhhhh. Made my day, it did!
That's all most teachers need. A little bit of appreciation for our efforts. It's not just a job, it's so much more, and to know that we've made a difference - well, what more could one ask for?
Monday, 8 February 2010
So, seeing as I know next to nothing about my new area (geography - spit, spit), I'm having to learn fast. Luckily it's all there, in the booklet, I just have to regurgitate it!
Apart from that, I hope the week will prove as uneventful as possible. I could do with a bit of settled peace. I have my SEN day on Tuesday and my hour for Key Stage work on Wednesday, but I will have to commit that to SEN as last week I used some SEN time to start sorting the tip around the Y1 bays.
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Saturday, 6 February 2010
It's all very nice but I do wonder how long it will stay tidy.
On Wednesday evening Sister Act was amazing. We had the best ever time. It was so bright and funny and the scenery changes were just out of this world, so very clever and seamless. We had time to pop into a little Italian eating place before the show and I had a delicious pizza calzone - it came on a huge plate and I had to leave more than half of it! A red bull in the interval helped me to stay awake to the end of the show (oh, yes, I can fall asleep just about anywhere if I'm tired) and the coach ride home was uneventful. However, I don't recommend teaching on about four hour's sleep unless it's unavoidable!
In school, the new cupboards are finished and look super - well, they will when the surrounding chaos has been cleared up. Guess what I will be doing today! It's no fun, working in a mess and I will be glad to get it all sorted. I have a little list which reads:
Creativity Club notice
Find house sheet
Clear orange tray
Prepare Geog talk
Move art resources
I guess the chances of me getting all that done today are minimal, so a bit of prioritising is on the cards.
All of the about, combined with some fun and frolics on FirstClass have combined to make this a most intensive week - and to cap it all, I think I'm going down with yet another cold! The cough is back and the aches and shivers are just round the corner most of the time!
Oh, well, such is life!
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
The way the year 1 resources are organised is very much a hodgepotch. There are cupboards of all shapes and sizes, shelves, piles of rubbish. Also, Y1 is kind of the poor relation in terms of appropriate resources that don't relate to maths or literacy. While Foundation Stage has a wonderful array of construction, role play, small world and other resources, Y1 has very little. That's not a moan, it's a fact.
Anyway, what with schools being forced to spend all the money that they had reserved for ongoing projects before the end of the financial year or have most of it clawed back, and LEAs in the same position downloading extra money to schools so that as they (the schools) get spend some another load comes in, we're in the jolly position of having to spend quite a lot.
An exciting outcome of this is that the year 1 resources storage is in the middle of a major overhaul - by that I mean the results will be exciting. The mess is far from exciting at the moment. Large, built in, floor to ceiling cupboards are being built - the first set were done yesterday and the other will be done Friday. That will take a little longer as it will have A1 sized paper drawers but should be done in the day. And guess what I will be doing on Saturday.
So - yesterday there were resources all over the place as the existing storage was moved and the first cupboards were put in. I took some of my SEN time to start sorting out the mess and excited plans were made for what to do with the existing storage, most of which is perfectly usable and in good order.
Alongside that, Liz and I have put in quite a big order for resources. Home corner furniture and equipment, small world stuff, lots more lego . . . oh, all sorts of stuff. AND - it's been approved!
We're going to be jolly busy over half term, but it's worth it, so worth it!
And tonight is Sister Act - leaving straight from school and getting back at some unearthly hour! It's going to be hard to keep awake tomorrow!
No photo but I'll try to remember to take one of the new cupboards.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Monday, 1 February 2010
Secondly, DD popped into school later on this afternoon, after shopping in Morrisons (just opposite the school). It's always lovely to see DD and it cheers me up so much.
Thirdly, my class tried very hard with their writing this morning, much to my delight and pleasure.
And fourthly, a very good and trusted friend told me something that someone said about me that makes me feel really chuffed . . .
I'm sure the clouds will return, but today was sunny, in all ways.