Sunday, 31 March 2013


. . .and warm Easter greetings to all my friends who read here.  It's jolly cold outside with a very hard frost but lovely and cosy inside.  The sun is shining brightly and the evenings are getting lighter.  I can feel my spirits lifting, thank goodness.

Despite the tiredness yesterday I managed to get quite a lot done.  I went into school (and it was soooooo cold) to get that bit of work done so that's off my conscience.  Beth very kindly took me to Halfords where I bought a new battery for the car and now, thanks to Phil from over the cul de sac, I have a fully functioning car again.  Apart from the dhal, I didn't do much baking, but I intend to make up for that today.  I want to make the chicken balti and the pork korma to go in the freezer for when I have my friend round and, as Alex is staying with me for a few nights, I need to stock up with bread and cake.  I'm going to make the bloomer recipe again but turn it into two smaller bloomers rather than one large one - hopefully that work out fine.  The cake will be a Mary Berry Victoria sponge, of course.  I have plenty of delicious fresh local organic/free range eggs so it should taste a real treat.

Seeing as it is Easter Sunday I have lamb for dinner.  Not a leg to roast seeing as it's just me, but a couple of nice looking lamb steaks.  To go with them I want to attempt to concoct a plum and orange sauce, maybe also with ginger.  I'll let you know how that goes!

All that, combined with my knitting and crochet, not to mention the washing, drying and ironing, will conspire to keep me out of trouble all day.  Or there again, I might just sleep most of the day.  I'm right in the middle of another stoking cold, the mandatory 'teacher's cold' that we all get as soon as the holiday starts.  Thank goodness for modern medication:  ibuprofen is dealing with the aches, cough syrup with the cough and I have plenty of hankies for the snuffles.  And, of course, it is holiday.  No planning and, although I have promised myself I will start on the school reports, it's not going to happen today!  No way!  Or tomorrow, come to that.

Well, I'd better disappear into the kitchen and start the bread dough.  It's a long, slow recipe and I want to be able to get the results into the freezer by this evening.  But first I need to clear the kitchen decks, ready for action (and more mess).

Have a lovely Easter Sunday, wherever you are!

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Hazel asked me if I could post the recipe for Lentil Dhal.  I was in the middle of doing so in Teacher's Recipes when I realised that the recording of my rambling thoughts around this recipe were more fitted to over here so, Hazel, the recipe is there (click on the link above) and the thoughts are here.

I met Steve on FirstClass.  For the uninitiated, FirstClass was the Open University students' conferencing site.  I loved it - it was a great place where you could get to know fellow distance learning students through a wide variety of study and interest forums, through private and less private chat and through discussions.  It had a mailbox facility which was jolly useful and you could organise and manage the desktop which meant that you didn't have to get lost in the labyrinth of passageways and tunnels that comprised the whole site.  I used to say FC was like the TARDIS - much, much bigger on the inside!  FC was my first experience of conferencing/foruming and all other forum communities tend to be compared with it.

I was often on FC very early each morning and often exchanged messages with other early birds of whom one was Steve.  It was during one of our casual early morning exchanges that he gave me the dhal recipe which, I believe, was one he had created himself.  I met many people that way, a few of whom are now dear friends - Sonja and Judith spring immediately to mind - plus others who remain more casual friends with whom I still chatter at times on Facebook.   When the news came through on FC that Steve had died suddenly overnight, it was a huge shock to all - those who got on with him and those who didn't.  He was sorely missed by many.

 I also met less - er - less likeable characters, some of whom I crossed swords with at times!  There are some amusing memories based around them but these memories, unlike the happier ones, are not for sharing here.

Interesting times, they were.  Great fun.  When you closed FirstClass after each session a little box came up telling you how long you had spent in there in total.  I stopped looking after a while!

The OU closed the site down a few years ago now (too expensive) and the forum area they gave us as a replacement is  (must be polite here) a bit dire!  As a result, a lot of the joy disappeared from the whole thing and what had felt like a vibrant, organic, bustling community now seems slow, dull and isolating, despite valiant, hugely time consuming, frustrating, enormous and very much appreciated efforts by OUSA officers and staff to make it all work for the student body.  If you're reading this, you know who you are - thank you so much.

Time to get back to blog-earth.  Yesterday was a good day.  It had to be really, didn't it?  No school, no long list of Things To Do (that can wait) and time to potter.  I made the bread, I made some soup, I made some Not Cross Buns.  All good fun.

Today I have to go out.  The car battery is dead and needs replacing.  Beth is taking me to Halfords this morning and then Phil from over the cul de sac will put it in for me, blessings be on him!  I really should be able to do this myself and one of these days I will get someone to teach me: it won't be today though because Phil and family are off on holiday tomorrow so he's taking time out of what is going to be a busy day to help out.  Good neighbours indeed.

I also need to pop back into school to finish something off.  I was so tired during the last few days I was making silly mistakes when entering data into Target Tracker so told myself that I would do it on Friday, forgetting completely that Friday was a bank holiday and the library (through which I go to get into the school) remained firmly closed.  So I've got to do it today or I will be In Trouble!

Friday, 29 March 2013

And it worked

Here's the latest Hollywood bloomer.  The right shape, colour and, hopefully, taste.  It tastes pretty good to me anyway!

I also made some hot cross buns but couldn't be bothered to faff around with flour and water paste so I guess they should really be called 'not cross buns'!  They're only just out of the oven so I have no idea whether they taste good or not but they smell OK!

I'm having a lovely day!

Tomato, chicken and lentil soup recipe . . .

. . . just posted in TsRs.

Pondering on menus

While waiting for the bread dough to rise and the tomato and lentil soup to cook (in Thermione, of course), I have been pondering menus.

Nothing too posh, I don't do posh, but how do these sound?  I have cut starters and might have nibbles out.

First menu:
(small portions of . . .)
Creamy lamb masala OR pork and apricot korma
Best ever chicken balti
Lentil dhal
Steamed basmati rice
something bready - naan or the like
cucumber raita

Mango sorbet.

Second menu:
garlic bread

White chocolate cheesecake.

None of the above is too hard and I have recipes for them all.  There's a few new things but most are tested and trusted recipes.

I was going to do the spiced plums but I'm not sure they would go with the other stuff.

Constructive comments very welcome.

Good Friday

Good morning to you all!  I keep feeling that today is Saturday.  I know this will come as a great surprise to you (after all, I can't have mentioned it, can I???) but did you realise the Easter holiday has started?  Properly started too, because today is NOT Saturday, it's a week day, so it counts as a proper holiday beginning.
Easter is very early this year which is why it's at the start of the break, not snuggled right in the middle.  That's something for which I am profoundly grateful - this last term has been short enough as it is, but two five week half terms would have been daft and it would have made for an extremely long summer term.

Today has been included in the break because it is a bank holiday, of course.  Not that we get a day extra, of course, it has been taken off somewhere else as it usually happens as part of a school break.

Despite this, it feels like a gift.  What happened at Easter is a gift anyway, of course, but to be at home when normally it would be the last day of the term is a gift, an extra delight to be enjoyed to the maximum.  So today I am doing nothing!  Actually, that's not true, I will do plenty but it may be random, it may be incomplete, it may be fragmented, it is likely to be a PJ day.  And I don't care!  I shall do what I want to do, when I want to do it, more or less.

So, I will be having another go at the Hollywood bloomer.  Last week's didn't quite end up looking like the one on the screen and, although it was delicious, I found it more than a tad too salty after the initial 'yum'.  I've been cutting down on salt somewhat and one of the consequences is that I can taste it more.  So the salt gets cut down.  I also don't think I gave it enough rising time.  On re-watching the programme I realised that he said rising would take over two hours and I'm sure I didn't give it that long.  So - bloomer mark 2 is on the list.

Then there's crochet (and watching rubbish telly).  Also I ought to start a bit of knitting too.  Ironing - well, apart from the fact that there's a basketful of the stuff, I quite like ironing during the daytime when I am feeling bright and breezy and energetic.

Next week I have two friends coming round for dinner - a separate times - so need to start the fun of planning what to make.  The first decision is do I make two courses or three, the starter being the optional bit?  I might go a bit curry-ish for one of the meals and do a lasagna for the other.  I know I can make a tasty lasagna.  I'd quite like to do that scrummy spiced plum recipe again for one of the desserts with custard and maybe a chocolate mousse thing for the other.  I'm going to have such fun planning.

Yesterday was another good day.  Not a lot of learning, of course, although we did manage Word Workshop and there was a concert to go to (op play the piano for) and we had a fire drill.  The best one ever too - the children were silent throughout, all of them, from FS to Y6, and we were all out and accounted for in record time.  Very satisfactory!  The concert went fine although I can't say my playing was all that brilliant in places.  However, it was mostly OK and there were no breakdowns, something I always dread.

And now it is holiday!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Gotcha, capcha!

Maybe everyone knew this.  I didn't.  I know I've taken capcha off comments for this blog but many blogs I read still have it and it can be a rare old pain.  Often the visual quality or size of those pesky numbers make them impossible to read and guessing rarely works.

However, I have discovered that you don't need the numbers.  If you enter just the word, it lets you through. It doesn't work the other way round, the numbers alone won't do, but the word alone will.

It has made it easier for me in a very little way and I thought his info may help some of my gentle readers too.


Last day of the term!  One more day, that's all.  A somewhat easy going, doing-not-a-lot day, filled with games and toys and an Easter concert, a visit overnight from the Easter bunny and a good tidy up of the bay.  So why did I wake just after three this morning, ready to start the day.  I have no idea but I guess I will be extremely tired by three-fifteen and unwilling to remain in school for very long.

We've had a project this week.  A 'make-an-open-box-for-a-creme-egg' project  starting with 'what is an open box?', 'how many faces does an open box have?' and 'how many squares will an open box need?' (not the same thing at all!). meandering through nets, diverted temporarily by the fascination of pentominoes (yes, collectively we found them all and discovered that some weren't nets, shock, horror) before starting the home straight of making the net, working out where the tabs should go, cutting out, folding, decorating, sticking and ramming in some tissue paper to let the Easter bunny know that the box was ready for filling!  No wonder we're tired.  And no, they don't 'believe in' the Easter bunny but we all agree that it makes the whole thing a lot more fun!

The worst scenario now is that I forget to take in the creme eggs I so frugally bought last week when they were on very special at £1.50 for a box of six - far better value than the box of twelve that cost £4.99.  They were such good value that I bought extra (or do I mean eggstra) to hand around to colleagues, mummy and daddy helpers, etc.

 I'm beginning to feel Thermione-ish again.  With two gloriously free weeks ahead of me, I can do a lot of learning.  I can try recipes, work out some new ones, maybe, and generally have some fun.  Alex is coming to stay for a few days at the start of next week and I think that I will be teaching him how to make my basic savoury mince, which is not as basic as it could be but it's a useful thing to be able to make because then he can make all sorts of other meals with it as a basis.  Should be fun!  And I can cook and cook and feed because, like all teenage lads, he has an appetite the size of an elephant and likes home cooked food.  What more could a devoted nan ask ?

Normally I would now post and then rush around getting stuff ready.  I'm always much too tired in the evenings but quite with it at this time of day.  However, today there's nothing to get ready.  No resources, no lessons to look at, no assessment sheets to make.  Nothing!   Perhaps I should tidy the kitchen!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Two more days to go.
Two more days of sorrow . . .

. . . as we used to sing gleefully as children, totally ignoring the fact that it was far from sorrowful!  The same applies to this week.  Two more days, both of which are likely to be enjoyable - as enjoyable as it can be given that children and adults are operating in snooze mode most of the time.

One happy thing - I have no more playground duties until after the Easter holiday now.  My other one is on Fridays and that's holiday.  My goodness, it was cold yesterday.  It was close to freezing anyway and there was an intermittent and very biting wind that went straight through you.  Even the children were asking when it was time to go in.  Mind you, in morning play the sun shone.  Yes, it did - it shone for all of two minutes before deciding that it was much too cold and sheltering behind a grey cloud again.  Sensible sun!

Today is PPA and there's no peace for the wicked.  A and I will be looking ahead to next term and, perhaps, getting all the planning done for the first week.  That would be good, especially for A as she will be away for much of the fortnight.  Which reminds me - I need to send last year's planning over to her . . .

Have a great day.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tuesday morning

Three days to go.  Very cold days too, by the sound of it.  Watching the weather forecast last night made me shiver despite the efficient heating - very cold all week with  a distinct possibility of more snow before the weekend.  Ho hum, that'll be just in time for Easter then!  The Easter Rabbit will have to be careful not to get frostbitten and the Easter egg hunts will have frozen eggs hidden in snowdrifts.

Pretty: This was an extraordinary view of the Peak District near Matlock, Derbyshire, as the picturesque area was covered in weekend snowfall
This was on the Daily Mail website (click on the link and scroll down) this morning.  For me it's a WOW photo.  It wasn't taken by me, I think the photographer's name is on the photo, but isn't it fantastic?

Yesterday I got the music from S and rushed off to the hall to have a look at it.  She was right: it's not hard really, although there are some bits I will need to work on.  It's choir after school today so I will be going along to that and it should be more or less OK.  My sort of music - very harmonic with lovely scrunchy, gentle dissonances (so it's harder to hear mistakes) and nothing too fast!  I feel a lot better about it all now.

I got another wool order from the wonderful Deramore's yesterday, plus a pattern.  It's a Deramore pattern and I was very impressed - all the sizings are colour coded so, for example, if you want to make the 3-6 months size, all the relevant instructions are in the same colour.  Brilliant.  I hope it catches on because it's going to make pattern reading so much easier.

That plum recipe I posted in TsRs - I'm still using up the leftovers and this morning I had it over my breakfast porridge.  Mmmmm - so gorgeous.  If you like plums, you will like this.  Come to that, if you like mulled wine you will like this too.

And now I'd better go and get sorted for school.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday evening - and a bit of nostalgic reminiscing.

Two long words, but I think I've spelled them correctly!

I was reading Diane's lovely blog, Good Morning, Early Readers, when what she said sparked a childhood memory.  She was talking about the pork crackling she made yesterday.

When we were little, me and my brothers, we often had bacon for breakfast in the 1950s and early 1960s.  It was proper bacon, streaky bacon, farm bacon with none of that white water rubbish, the rind still on and I remember it as absolutely delicious.  Mum always cut the rind off and, after breakfast was cooked and we were munching and enjoying, she put the rind back in the pan to crisp.  We called it 'crackle' and it was our favourite part of the meal. Somehow it always 'crackled', it never went chewy, it was always crunchy (selective memory here?).  We (including Dad) were known to fight over the last bit of Mum's crackle.  And the fat that came off it while it was crackling must have been so useful for other dishes with all that bacon flavour.

I haven't thought of crackle for absolutely ages.  In fact, can you now buy bacon with the rind still on?  I haven't seen any for quite a while although maybe I am not looking in the right places.

Isn't it fantastic how happy childhood memories can make one feel so good.  I am sitting here at my PC after a long and busy day, brimming over with goodwill and contentment, just because I remembered our childhood crackle.

Some memories are not so happy, some are wonderful, some go back a very long way, some are much more recent but, you know, I embrace them all because they are all a part of my personal history, they make me what I am now.  Good or not so good, I wouldn't be without them.  Not now, at the age of coming up elderly.

Here's to memories!


Four days to go and I'm feeling more relaxed, apart from one thing.  I've been asked if I will play for the choir on Thursday afternoon as their usual accompanist can't make it.  Eeeeek.  I've said I will look at the music first and then say.

I'm a bit late so this is a quick one - have a great day!

Sunday, 24 March 2013


Chilly chives!

Brrrrr - wasn't it cold and bleak yesterday!  It was here, anyway.  It snowed more or less all day but, after very heavy snow that settled quickly, some of the time it was light and powdery flakes that melted when they touched the ground where the previous snow had melted or been cleared but stayed where it landed on existing snow.  It was hovering around zero degrees all day but dropped when darkness fell, although there's been very little snow overnight.  The roads are going to be nasty, especially untreated ones, so go carefully.  I intend to remain indoors all day apart from trips to the shed to get stuff out of the freezer.

It wasn't like this all day, thank goodness!

I had a go at the Hollywood bloomer but it didn't look anything like the one on the telly.  It tastes wonderful though, so no complaints: after all, taste is the main thing.  I think I am going to poach some eggs and have them on bloomer-toast!  I have poaching pods and thought I would try them in Thermione, in the varoma, to see if that works.  I also made a most delicious spicy parsnip soup, just right for damp, chilly days.

When I was in Morrison's yesterday I was looking for something for Sunday lunch for me and Alex and ended up buying some unsmoked gammon which I intend to boil.  With any luck that will give me some good hammy stock with which to make ham and pea soup or maybe some ham and lentil soup as well, depending on how much stock I end up with.  They also had some likely looking cauliflowers so I will make a cheese sauce to have with the meal.  When it's ham I sometimes make a tomatoey based sweet and sour sauce but that wouldn't go too well with Beth's vegetarian meal whereas cheese sauce will go with both and with the cauli.  So we're having ham with roasties, roast parsnips, cauliflower and a cheese sauce.  I will serve soup as a starter - I did have lots of parsnips to use up - and some stewed plums for dessert, maybe with custard, seeing as I have plenty of eggs.

Right, well, looking at the time, I'd better vanish into the kitchen and get going or all the plans I have made will remain just that - plans!
Stay warm!

Spicy parsnip soup recipe in TsRs

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Outdoor daffs

Indoor daffs

I know where I'd rather be too!

Saturday morning

I looked out half an hour and it was snowing hard.  It's stopped at the moment but I'm sure there's more to come.  It's settled on the grass, roofs and cars but not on the driveways - yet.  And it feels so cold, so icy in the wind.  Brrrrr.
I have to do a little bit of shopping which I will get done early but after that it's indoors for me, all day, in the warm and cosy, watching TV and crocheting.  That sounds so good.

Yesterday was busy, but not in the way I expected.  In the morning one of our specialist support teachers turned up unexpectedly so we had an impromptu meeting about an issue about which we all have concerns.  Then I got an email asking for a reference so I spent the afternoon (some of it anyway) pondering over that.  Playground duty was as cold as expected and the children had all decided to put on their coats, unsurprisingly!  After school there was a meeting and then it was home, James for me!

I've had a lovely two weeks while a couple of friends have been staying here but they're just getting ready to go, sadly.  I hope the snow stays off while they travel to their destination, although their car has snow tyres so they should be OK.  Thanks for coming, S and M.  Good luck!

For the first time in weeks I have no specific Thermione plans.  That doesn't mean I won't be using her.  Dear me, no.  The eggs are in a ready to boil, I have to make some Saturday Soup.  No idea what - yet - as I haven't checked the fridge but I suspect it will be centred around parsnips as I think I have some fairly old ones lurking somewhere in a corner.  Spicy parsnip and butter bean sounds quite nice, doesn't it?  I have to boil or bake some potatoes to make a topping for my cottage pie for dinner.  On Thursday I bought a fairly small pack of steak mince costing £2 and that evening I cooked it into a tomatoey mix with vegetables, a can of chopped tomatoes and various seasonings and herby flavourings - oh, and a small amount of left-over mixed beans in a chilli sauce (from a can).  It ended up jolly nice.  I had some with rice on Thursday evening, more with rice for lunch on Friday at school, some with pasta last night and will have the last lot with a potato topping tonight.  That's four good, tasty meals for a total cost that cannot be more than £3.50 in absolute total.  Can't be bad!

And I must make some bread.  I wonder if I have the right stuff for Mr Hollywood's bloomer that looked so very delicious last Monday.  I could watch the playback, just to make sure (any excuse!!!), couldn't I?  On a cold day like today boiled eggs and toasty soldiers for breakfast, warming spicy soup and home-made bread for lunch and cottage pie with veg for dinner sounds just the ticket, doesn't it?  Yum!

And it's started snowing again.

Friday, 22 March 2013


I've posted some more about custard in TsRs, here.

My word, it is cold out there at the moment.  For a start, it is windy - well, breezy anyway - and that always adds to the shiver-factor.  I gather snow's a-coming, possibly.  We will see, but much as I love snow, it does feel like a slap on the cheek in the last third of March.  It should be balmy, warming up, encouraging new growth.  At the moment, any self-respecting bud really couldn't be blamed for taking one look and burrowing back down again for a bit more kip!
I am not looking forward to playground duty this afternoon!

Yesterday was a good day, despite some aches, tummy pains and feeling a bit sick p.m.  At a few points I did wonder if I was going to have to rush out of the bay and leave the children unsupervised but thankfully it passed off and by the evening I was able to eat dinner without any repercussions (touch wood, fingers crossed, etc).

Today is Friday, of course, SEN day.  As always, there's a long list of things to do, letters to write, dates to sort out, etc.  And then . . . THE WEEKEND!   Yay!

Thursday, 21 March 2013


I'm feeling strangely relaxed this morning.  No Family Assembly to stress about.  Six more days before the end of the term.  A weekend coming up in a couple of days.  Potential bliss . . .

Family Assembly went very well.  They all came to school dressed in their Victorian outfits with their uniform in a named carrier bag, they spoke out confidently, they all remembered both words and actions and the whole presentation had the 'aaaahhhh' factor.  I was so proud of them!

After that it all went a bit downhill: not in a bad way, no, but they rather relaxed and lost focus for a while.  To be fair, as it was nearly playtime, they changed into uniform after play so it was a rather disjointed start to the maths lesson.  And after dinner we had an exciting time starting to prepare for WAM.  What's WAM?  WAM stands for days of the Week, Alphabet and Months of the year.  Has to be WAM - we couldn't call it DAM, now could we?  Most inappropriate!
We have learnt how to spell Monday and Tuesday now.  It's Wednesday today - a trickier one, but some of them know a secret about how to spell that which they will reveal at the right time.
You wouldn't think it was possible to get excited about WAM but my littlies are!  I'm hoping that many of them will get their WAM certificate before they leave Y1.

This is ridiculously early, isn't it?  Never mind, it does give me a chance to catch up with some work, one way and another.  I can go to bed earlier tonight or maybe catch an hour more in a little while.  Or not . . . it all evens out eventually!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Family assembly this morning and that's the last of the worries for this term.  All downhill from here on!  The holiday diary is getting quite full - I must make sure I blank off some 'me' time or I'll go back feeling more tired than now!   A sign of getting old, I suspect, that I see holidays as time to R&R rather than time to zip about doing loads of energetic stuff!

Yesterday I changed my planning as I saw a way of doing something that I hadn't planned in.  It must have sounded good when I told A as she's doing the same thing today with her class.  It's nice to be spontaneous sometimes.

We're now on the last day of three days of interviews for two teaching posts.  S and N are going to be worn out when it's all over but fingers crossed that we get some really great teachers, people who fit in well and don't jar or conflict.  It's always unsettling when the team dynamics change, even when it is for the better.  Changing for the worse is very difficult indeed so here's hoping . . .

The violin exams went very well indeed.  Each little group of five game back looking as if they had had a great time with the examiner.  They went off happy and they came back happier.  M's organisation worked like a dream.  They all passed!!!  Such a positive introduction to the world of music examinations!

PPA today.  A. won't be there and I have to spend some time with my class (rehearsal!!!) but it's still nice to know that I have some time to plan for next week.  And that after morning play things are back to normal again.  Phew.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Yesterday morning I made the discovery that Thermione makes perfectly boiled eggs.  Yesterday evening I discovered that she also makes perfectly steamed rice.  Is there anything she cannot do?

I had the rice with some of the chicken in a spicy mango sauce that I made over the weekend.  As it happened, it ended up as mango, red pepper, baby corn and mushroom in a . . . . and very tasty it was too.  I'm glad there was enough left over for today's school lunch and even more that there are a couple more large portions in the freezer.

Yesterday was a bit of a slog.  We have family assembly on Wednesday.  Our family assembly, I mean.  So a lot of the day was spent sorting out what we're going to do.  That, plus violin lesson (exams today) and two Word Workshops was about it really.  I shall be glad when Wednesday is over, I really will.

It's going to be a long day.  Children coming and going all morning (because of the violin exams), no assembly (because of the violin exams) and endless rehearsals (because of Family Assembly).  And to cap it all, a meeting after school.  How delightful!  Still, just eight days to go - only eight!

Whenever I'm watching a cooker programme like Great British Menu nowadays, I play 'Spot the Tmx'.  It's surprising how many of them one can see, when one knows what one is looking for!  I didn't see one in 'Bread', the new Paul Hollywood programme although I did see some amazing breads being made.  I doubt he would tolerate one anywhere near his bread.  Did you watch it?   I covet the book like crazy now and seeing as I have a birthday coming up soon . . .  (hint, hint, dear family members who might be reading this!)

Better go and think about breakfast.  Enjoy the day!

Monday, 18 March 2013


I can boil an egg!!!  Remember the saying 'she/he can't even boil an egg'?  Then Delia commented that it was a most unfair way to judge a cook as, in fact, boiling an egg perfectly was one of the harder things to achieve.  I did note that Thermione boiled eggs (in the inner basket) so I decided to give it a go and you know what?  I have just eaten two beautifully boiled eggs!  Nine minutes at varoma temperature, speed 1.  No more faffing about with saucepans, pricking holes to stop the eggs from cracking, timing carefully, etc.   Just 500ml water, two eggs and a Thermione!  Boiled eggs will be on the menu a lot more from now on!

It's been a very weary weekend.  I've done some cooking, a bit of planning, some crocheting and lots of sleeping.  And I'm still tired.  Ah, well, things will brighten up when I get to school, I am sure.

And thinking of school - better go and get ready!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Another recipe

I've just posted my recipe for chicken in a spicy mango sauce in TsRs.  Here's the link.


I've posted recipes for orange squash and citrus spread into Teacher's Recipes.

Yesterday was lovely.  I cooked, crocheted, watched telly, slept and generally chilled to my heart's content.  I made the recipes above, cream of chicken soup (which, from my previous post, you will gather is absolutely scrummy), the tomatoes bit for lasagne and custard that was properly thick rather than pouring.  It has eggs and vanilla, etc but tastes more like a very posh version of good, old fashioned Bird's Custard (which doesn't taste the same nowadays, sadly).  Also - big bonus - it uses the whole egg and milk, although one can add cream and there's a lemon version, which I rather fancy making at some point.

Today I'm half way through a 'quick and easy loaf' and am then going to have a go with making cream and then pastry.  I'll freeze most of the pastry as I don't need it for today now, stewed apple and custard being a whole lot healthier than apple pie and custard.  I'll cook just a little bit to test, as you do.  Maybe I could make a few citrus spread tarts, yum!

The granny square bedspread is coming on very slowly.  Last week a friend posted a code for a goodly amount off yarn so I bought some more for the project as I know I don't have enough at present.  The Easter holiday starts in a fortnight and I intend to do a lot then.  I doubt it will get finished so soon, but it will be a lot closer to finishing.

And now I'd better go and check how the dough is doing.  Have a great day!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Oh, my goodness - so delicious

I've made the orange squash but it's cooling so I haven't tried it yet.  I used the residue to make orange and lemon spread and it's lovely.

And then I made the cream of chicken soup and Oh. My. Goodness.  It is absolutely delicious  The recipe made 2 litres of it so some will have to freeze but I guess I will get through a fair amount today.   The flavour is so chickeny and the texture is so creamy despite there being no milk or cream in it at all.  What it does have is rice and macadamia nuts (should have been almonds or cashews but I didn't have any).
I did change a few bits (don't we always) and I will post about it on TsRs later on, with due acknowledgement, of course.

It can be made the normal way too, of course, it just would take longer and use a lot more utensils!!

Saturday early

Here we are, back at the weekend again.  As ever, I was up stupidly early (around four o'clock) but have made hay while the sun wasn't shining and planned out a weekend's fun with Thermione.  At the moment the list looks like this . . .
another go at custard, hopefully thicker this time
pastry for apple and plum pie (my pastry is shockingly bad so fingers crossed)
mango chicken (again, because it was so very delicious last time)
cream of chicken soup (I found a likely looking recipe)
lasagne for Sunday lunch - we all LOVE lasagne!
orange squash and fruit spread with the residue from the squash

and maybe
Thermomix cream (because I am intrigued)

When I got home last night I had a go at making the chicken stock paste and it seemed to work out OK.  Like the vegetable stock paste, it is very salty in its undiluted state but after using the veg stock successfully, I'm not so concerned.  I need the paste for the cream of chicken soup I want to try so here's hoping!

I'm quite weary after a very full week so intend to take it easy this weekend.  I know the above sounds as if I will be very busy, but that's not the case.  I love cooking and it won't be a chore, it will be fun.  I also want to get on with the granny square bed cover: I haven't done any for weeks and it's about time I got going again.  That, with rubbish book and rubbish TV should keep me nice and relaxed and, with any luck, I will be dozing and snoozing in between times too.  Here's hoping anyway!

Friday, 15 March 2013


I woke up this morning feeling warm.  What a change from the last three or four days when there has been several degrees of frost.  Mind you, although it was bitter yesterday morning, by playtime the children were begging to be allowed to go out without their coats on.  It was gloriously and deceptively sunny and I noticed that a number of them decided on coats at lunchtime!

We were all walking around like zombies yesterday - we being the teaching staff.  Consultation evenings do hit hard.  However, the feedback comments were 100% positive, so that was cheering.  No more now until October.

Today, being Friday, is SEN day.  There's a list of things to do as long as your arm but, as it is uninterrupted by littlies most of the time, I usually make good inroads into it all.  It feels good to be more or less up to date on things.  There's just one more SEN day before Easter because the following Friday is Good Friday and the Easter break will have started.

I have a good friend staying for a few weeks.  I'm sitting at my work desk typing away and she is sitting at the dining table working away and now and again we exchange emails and giggle!  At least I giggle and I'm sure she does too but as I haven't put in my hearing aids yet, I can't hear her!

I've done a bit of research (i.e. Googled) into chicken soup (proper, cream of) and one thing I must have is a good chicken stock (obviously).  I feel a visit to the supermarket is coming on, for some chicken wings and to see if there are any pots of chicken stock.  Actually, thinking about it, I might have a pot of stock that I bought before Christmas to enhance the Christmas gravy and which I never used because Christmas was cancelled!.
I must take a look and see.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Looking for a recipe

I love cream of chicken soup but I dislike the canned version.  If any of my lovely readers could point me in the direction of a great recipe for said soup, I'd be ever so grateful!  Many thanks.
(keeping my fingers crossed in hopes)


I've just made a sweet potato and lentil soup and have posted what I did on TsRs.  I hope you like it.

Good morning to you on an extremely cold and frosty day.  No snow - I think that's more or less finished now - but there's a very hard frost and the sun is coming up.  It looks as if it is going to be a lovely day!

Consultation evenings are now over for this school year.  Next term it is the full report and a much less formal 'Open Evening'.  It's lovely to talk to the parents about how their children are getting on but it's a great strain.  After all, we teachers are passing judgement on little people who are likely to be one of the most important people in those adults' lives and I sometimes wonder how we *dare*!  Anyway, it went very well, I am satisfied, the parents all seemed pleased and today we will all be weary and worn out.  Just the act of talking more or less non-stop for well over two and a half hours is bad enough, without all the other pressures.
I'm not complaining (I hope), just saying.

Today is a normal day.  No specials, no out of class, nothing planned that will mar the smooth running of a school day.  Such a relief.  I hope yours looks like being good too.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


I said that yesterday was 'back to normal, sort of' and I was right.  Violin lessons happened as planned and it was rather disruptive.  I lost about half my class at half nine and about the other half at nearly eleven - that was fine but the managing it promised to be complicated with the second group not terribly happy about losing their playtime (well, would you be?).  However, as with a lot of things you worry about, it ended up a lot simpler than expected.

Firstly, we had a special assembly by the Mad Science people which was jolly good and the children had a wonderful time.  Then it was decided that the infants should have an early playtime - the snow had gone, the field was slushy and the top playground was icy so there wasn't an awful lot of play space.  So out we went and by the time the juniors came out and the infants were ushered in it was just time for my second group.
Then it was coordinator time and my usual cover was unwell so it was cover for a cover, so to speak.  It was a bit of a surprise to see her but not a problem.

After lunch, things settled down and afternoon play was a delight - lovely and sunny and, when the wind stopped, not that cold either.  My class had remembered that it was them on the adventure playground and had a wonderful time.

After school it was a rush around to get ready for the evening and then the parents started to arrive and we were off.  It was a nice evening with lots of appreciative comments and happy parents.  Great!!

When I got home at just after nine, I was shattered but needed to unwind, so this morning I'm yawning my head off.  One more session to go and as this one is straight after school we won't be too late home.  I will sleep well tonight, that's for sure.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Good morning, everyone.  It's another bitterly cold morning with snow and a wind that freezes the toenails off your feet.  Not enough snow to create any kind of disruption though, unless it suddenly starts blizzarding in the next hour or so.  From what I can see, the road seems clear and there isn't much snow lying anyway.  No snow day for us!

Yesterday was excellent.  A chap called Andy Meller was speaking about how to be an outstanding teacher.  It was all a bit depressing in a way but he was a fantastic speaker, very funny and very approachable.  I think we all learnt a lot although how long before it all changes again is anyone's guess!!

We had quite a lot of snow through the day, some of it very heavy, but the temperature was just enough above freezing to prevent it from settling most of the time.  I was glad to get home and out of the biting wind into the warmth and comfort of home, where I was so tired that I fell asleep and dozed on and off for most of the evening..

Today is sort of back to normal.  Sort of.  There are violin exams coming up next week and most of my class is involved.  That means I will lose half of my class at nine twenty-five and the other half just before eleven, which is going to prove a bit of a nightmare as they will all be out at play and I am on duty today so can't supervise them indoors.   Brrrrrrr . . .
Tonight is the first consultation evening so I will be staying at school to get things ready and won't be home until around nine.  That's going to make a very long day, especially as I'm on playground duty morning and afternoon.  Oh, well, we will manage, I'm sure.

Have a great  day and stay warm!

Monday, 11 March 2013


Yes, we had snow - very wet, yucky snow/sleet nearly all morning.  It stopped in the afternoon but remained cloudy and the temperature dropped.  We've had a bit of snow overnight; not very much but I wonder if there is more to come.  Who would think it's the middle of March, eh?  The Ides of March approaches - we are told to beware, aren't we?

I had fun yesterday.  I made pizza with a dough and a sauce made in Thermione followed by plums and custard, the custard also made in T.  It was delicious but it didn't thicken much.  I need to investigate!  A delicious dinner though.

I worked my way through until all the reports were finished, checked and printed off.  Phew . . .  Looking around the living room, it's a right mess now and I need to do a rapid clear-out before I go off for the inter-school conference.  It's local, thank goodness, at Melbourne Stadium and, if my memory is correct, it's about being an outstanding teacher.  See - it's perfectly possible and all you need is one day listening to someone talking about it!!!  And if you believe that . . .

Better start on the tidying up, I suppose!

Sunday, 10 March 2013


It's bitterly cold outside with a really icy 'smell' in the air - no snow though, although I gather other parts of the country have had some.  It looks as if it's rained a fair bit here but, hopefully, it's not cold enough to create driving problems.

The reports are swinging along, despite all the distractions yesterday.  They're not too complicated which helps.

And now I must continue - I just wanted to come in and say 'hi'!   Have a good day.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Saturday morning later on.

Well, it's most definitely RAT time at the moment (that's Report Avoidance Tactics for the uninitiated!)

This morning I have made (using my beloved Thermione)

  • Coconut cream/milk from dessicated coconut and water - dead easy and much cheaper than buying cans of the stuff
  • Vegetable stock paste - loads and loads and loads of it so there's a jar for you, Beth.  It saeems incredibly salty but when you use it, it isn't and you don;t add any more salt to the recipe
  • Mango chicken - adapted from a recipe so I may feel that I can post it at some point when I have refined it a bit
  • Bread rolls and a loaf.

I'm beginning to see what Leonie meant when she said during the demo that it saved money as well as time, not to mention washing up!

So - something eggy for lunch and Mango Chicken for dinner tonight.  Mmmmmmmmm
Must get back to my shopping list - er - I mean reports!


Aren't these lovely?  A friend has a cake business and she also keeps chickens that provide the eggs that go into her delicious cakes.  At the moment she is making fewer cakes due to a gammy knee and an operation, so she has eggs galore.  I bought this half dozen for the ridiculous price of £1.

I now have rather a lot of eggs (most of them fresh from the hen without any supermarket intervention) so my cooking will be egg-heavy for a while, starting with scrambled egg for brekky, yum!  Victoria sponges freeze nicely, assuming there will be any left after Alex has attacked it tomorrow.  And I might try out pastry in Thermione and make a quiche for dinner at some point.  Also, I haven't yet made proper custard, just the chocolate sort, so that's also on the cards.  I love proper custard!  And the home made stock cube paste is top of the list this morning.

Yesterday was a gloomy, dismal, soaking wet day.  The children got their morning play but by lunchtime the heavens had opened and it rained hard more or less for the rest of the day.  In at lunch time, in at afternoon play and a speedy rush home in the pouring rain after school.  Our poor Year 4s had an inter-sports afternoon at our local stadium, walking there and walking back again afterwards - oh, dear!  'Drowned rats' doesn't even start to describe it!

Our visitors came.  I met them officially in my capacity as Key Stage coordinator and SENCo.  I saw them wandering around the school a few times but they weren't interested in Y1 very much.  I saw them talking to colleagues in the staff room after play as I worked with S to fill in a referral form.  And that was that!  Ah, well, after the considerable rush round in the morning, my classroom is now a 'learning environment' (if it wasn't before!!!).

It was a busy day, one way and another.  I knocked together some SEN stuff, I edited  added to and faxed off a report, I worked with a few children and I did some observations in Foundation Stage.  I have to say that while most of it was quite hard work, the last was sheer unadulterated pleasure.  I love our foundation stage!

And now it's the weekend.  It's a busy weekend.  Reports.  Planning.  Sorting out books.  Marking. Getting the house ready for visitors.  And playing!  Mustn't forget the playing!

Have a good play, everyone!

Friday, 8 March 2013


It's not very nice out there at the moment.  It's cold, it's misty going on foggy, it's damp - at least it doesn't appear to be raining for which I am grateful.  Yes - it rained yesterday and we had wet playtimes so my class missed their turn on the new adventure playground.  That didn't go down too well as you can imagine.  I was getting a bit cheesed off, having been in school at 7:30, on early morning duty, worked all the way through morning play and through lunch and looking forward to 15 mins of peace and quiet during afternoon play . . . before the flippin' rain interfered!!!

It was a very busy day.  Partly my fault, of course, it always is, but we have some teachers visiting today to see our 'learning environment'  (excuse me for a moment while I have mild hysterics) so I have to make sure my bay at least pretends to have a 'learning environment'!!
OK, so maybe it's not that bad at all but when one works at  a 'national teaching school', one sets oneself up for that sort of thing, doesn't one?
Which means that one has to be ready for visitors.  And this particular one wasn't.
Well, I will be, once I have hammered on the school door at six (OK, seven thirty, and I won't hammer, I will wait patiently for Steve to arrive and unlock) and have whipped the old stuff down and shoved (carefully arranged) the new stuff up!!

Bet they won't come after all - or they won't be interested in Y1!!!

In other news, I have posted the recipe for Mars bar yums on my other blog.  It can be done either the usual way or using Thermione.  After today, I reckon I will need chocolate so I'm going to make some more this evening!
And I'm going to have a go at making my own coconut milk too.  It looks easy but that might be famous last words! If it works, I fancy making some sort of chicken korma for dinner tomorrow night.  Yum!   In-between writing reports, of course!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Joy's accidental oatcakes

Posted in Teacher's Recipes.  :-)


Not so cold today again but we have rain.  Real rain!  How unusual!  I sincerely hope that doesn't mean no outside playtime because I need that time!

Things are hotting up so I might miss a few entries over the next five days or so.  If I do, fear not (or do I mean 'be afraid'), I will be back and there won't be anything wrong.  It's just that reports take a good deal of time to write, even short ones.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


After a very frosty start yesterday (car scraping time, no less), it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day with sun and warmth and children on the field without coats on.  I am so glad I was on playground duty twice, as it was well worth being outside.  The complaints and the injuries were fewer too, always a bonus, and to cap it all, it was my class' turn on the new adventure playground.

Having just peeked out, there's no frost and, while it is hardly warm, there's a softness in the air, which may or may not signal rain to come.  I'm really hoping it is fine and warm again today, fingers crossed!  Sun = happy children = a lovely feeling in the classroom.  Mind you, one little lad left his coat on hip peg but insisted on going out with his woolly hat, scarf and gloves on!  So sweet!

Have a lovely day, whatever you are planning.

Edited to add: for anyone reading my blog who has posted a genuine comment that has been labelled as spam and therefore deleted, no, I don't use guest writers, thank you, and if you didn't ask us to visit your own blog (usually a porn or gambling site by the looks of it), it wouldn't go into the spam folder.  Hope this helps!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


A cold and frosty morning, as the song goes, although I don't intend to go round any mulberry bushes today, thank you. I woke feeling quite cold and when i looked out I could see why - the car is white-frosted and the air is bitter.  Pretty!  Yesterday was quite mild too - mild enough for me to give my children the choice of coat or no coat, something they reacted to with glee and a 'do I have to wear my jumper?' (YES!!) and 'is it football day then?' (no).  Funnily enough, more of them wore their coats at lunchtime than at morning play!

We had our meeting, several things were sorted out, dealt with, asked, answered, etc.  And the Mars bar slices (not a very imaginative name, I know.  Sorry) went down a treat.  Another one on the 'to do' list, although next time I won't add marshmallows as Beth then can't have any (non-vegetarian, you see).  I forgot, sorry, dear.

It was a lovely day.  Each year I look forward to these two weeks - looking closely at four old objects and recording information in different ways.  Yesterday it was the chamber pot and very simple mind mapping and we had a lot of fun.  Today it is the brass candle holder (less mysterious than the chamber pot) and bullet points.  Today is hopscotch, bowling with a hoop and skipping.  Today is measuring with a ruler (cms, which is definitely non-Victorian, but you can't have everything, can you?)  Today is looking at William Morris designs and decorating a chamber pot outline.  They are loving this olden days theme, they really are, and so am I.  It makes me wish we had a full six weeks instead of less than five.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Here we are at the start of another working week.  Last week went so very quickly and this week is planned full of interesting things, so should go just as quickly.  We're well into our theme now and the children are extremely interested in all things olden-days.

Yesterday was less busy than Saturday and I went to sleep several times!  Lunch was great, the risotto worked out a treat (there was none left for my lunch today, always a sign of success) and the sorbet worked really well.  Adding the glycerine has stopped it from setting rock hard in the freezer so I know what I'll be doing from now on.  Now I need to see how little I can add for the same result.
I've posted the recipe on TsRs, here.

And now I need to look up today's teaching and make sure any resources are ready.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sunday morning

How to write about yesterday?  When there's something new around, it can feel like a journey of discovery and that's a bit how I felt yesterday - on a journey.  I was so tired by the end of the day; new things can have that effect, can't they, but I didn't feel that I'd worked all that hard or that it was in any way a hassle.  And the lack of washing up was significantly amazing!
I think the best thing is to take you through it, menu by menu and I will give links when I can.

First of all, I fancied trying out a milk bread recipe I found.  Now, I am NOT getting rid of my wonderful breadmaker but, when I have the time, I like to make dough in the machine (because it's messy by hand!) and do the rising, the proving and the baking the old-fashioned way.  It's an extremely satisfying process but the dough programme takes for ever (between 2 and 3.5 hours depending on whether it is white or wholemeal) and it does the first rising so you have to watch it and stop it before it starts that.  Also, it's fun to ring the changes.  So I had a go at this recipe, found following a link from the UKThermomix web site.  All I can say is that everything behaved perfectly and I ended up with some absolutely delicious soft bread - six knotted rolls and a loaf.  Strangely enough, while I am finding that most other bread tends to give me indigestion, this did not, not even the slightest hint of discomfort.  Perhaps is is the milk (there's a lot of milk in it) that makes the difference.  Beth, I wonder if it would be better for you.

I adapted the microwave lemon curd and that also behaved well.  I'm finding that the curd sets rather more firmly in the TM than it does in the microwave so maybe I could use more lemon juice.  I will try that next time.  It's a shame lemon curd doesn't keep for long but three weeks is the most I would recommend, and it needs to be stored in the fridge, taking up precious space!

I am having a team meeting on Monday, for the infant staff.  It is now a tradition that I provide refreshments for these meetings (cake, cookies, stuff like that) so I had a look round and found a recipe for Mars bar slices and do you think I can find it again now?  Grrrr.  It's just as well I downloaded it, although it isn't hard to remember.  Melt three Mars bars, chopped into chunks, with 90g butter, stirring all the time, then fold in three cups of coco-pops and I also added some mini marshmallows so it made it a little bit rocky road-ish.  It makes a very gooey, sticky mixture, much more easily made in the TM, and it needs to set in the fridge.  Sorry for not giving the source; if I find it, I will post it and I might post the recipe in TsRs with an apology for not including the link.  (Note to self - from now on, record the link on the recipe)

Ages ago I accidentally created a recipe for oat cakes (like the Nairn ones, for butter and cheese).  It's an easy recipe but oatmeal can be hard to find sometimes.  However, the TM turns ordinary oats into oatmeal in five seconds flat so I adapted my recipe and made some and they were scrummy.  I will post the recipe on Teacher's Recipes soon.

Then I decided to formalise my oaty crumble topping and I have posted the recipe on Teacher's Recipes.  The resulting fish crumble with a bottom of TM cheese sauce, vegetables pre steamed in the varoma (not convinced about the varoma just on its own - it would be just as easy and straightforward using my little steamer on the hob, to be honest), salmon chunks and prawns was just delicious and I am very happy that I have four more nestling in the freezer.

The other thing I did was drain three cans of lychees and put the fruit in the freezer to open freeze. There was a lot of light syrup left so this morning I have gentry simmered it and reduced it to about 1/3 to make a syrup.  I will add some of the syrup to the lychee sorbet I plan to make for lunch and probably some will be good made into a drink with chilled sparkling water, perhaps topped up with white wine (or use sparkling wine).

Dinner is going to be scrummy today.  Leek and potato soup with soft rolls,  mushroom risotto and then lychee sorbet.  All made in or with Thermy - if one is daft enough to shell out a ridiculous amount of money for something, one has GOT to use it, hasn't one!  :-)

On Friday I found some ale that is called 'Two Hoots' and has a cute cartoon of a couple of owls on the label.  As some of you will know, I am a sucker for anything owly so I bought some and it was so nice I looked for it again when I did my shop yesterday.  Sadly, it was all sold out.  Boooo.

I love the quote: 'With great beer comes great wisdom, but we only care about the great beer'!!!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Teacher's recipes: a new entry

I've just adapted my microwave lemon curd recipe to make in TM and it worked well, so I've posted both versions over there.  Here's the link.
Please do take a look.

Saturday morning

Good morning everyone and welcome to a dull, damp Saturday morning.  We have to have some sun at some point soon, surely.  Actually, that's not fair, we did have sun one day this week and it was lovely!

As I am sure you have guessed from previous posts, this weekend is a thermomix weekend.  I have a list of recipes I want to try as long as your arm and as a result the shopping list is also getting longer and longer too.  I thought one was supposed to save money with a TM!!

This weekend I want to make some mars bar slices, some bread, a mushroom risotto, some fish pies (for the freezer to use up some cheese sauce I made yesterday) and a lychee sorbet.  The risotto and sorbet will be for Sunday lunch when Beth and Al come round and I will have one of the fish pies for dinner tonight.  I have some neat little foil dishes which I can use to make single portions, the main problem being that one may not be enough!!!  I will have to exercise some self restraint!

I bought cans of lychees yesterday for the sorbet and today I will single freeze them in the hopes that I won't need to use any ice cubes as well.  I can use the syrup too - some of it, anyway.  I read somewhere that if you add glucose syrup it makes a soft frozen sorbet but I am not sure when, how and how much, so I have to investigate that (courtesy of Google) For the fish pies I will use salmon and prawns and I will steam some veg in the varoma after making a crumble topping.  I think that will be very tasty and if it works as I hope, I'll post the recipe in Teacher's Recipes.

Now I need to make breakfast.  It's Saturday so I think I will spoil myself with a cooked brekky - bacon, egg and toast.  Yum!

Friday, 1 March 2013


This is an early start to the day.  Yesterday I was so tired that by just before eight o'clock I was fighting to keep awake (and losing the battle) so I went to bed, read for all of twenty seconds and then fell fast asleep.  Hence the early wake this morning but not to worry, today is Friday, I have a lot of work to get on with and I feel a leek and potato soup coming on (in TM, of course) as the last lot has nearly gone.

I did intend to use some of the 'mystery' soup as a sauce with some filled tortellini I bought but I got waylaid by the chocolate custard.  So healthy and balanced, don't you think?  The pasta and sauce will keep for this evening though, so no problems.

Yesterday went well.  I was out of class p.m. to go to a meeting but when I got there I found it had been cancelled and I never received the message.  It didn't matter because I had a really good chat to the deputy head there (it is one of our wonderful special schools here in Chelmsford - we are so fortunate) about the kind of support they can offer to schools so it was all extremely useful.  When I got back to school - I did have to as it was only halfway through the afternoon - I spend the rest of the time catching up with some reading with my children, so that was great.

Once home, as already mentioned, I had a go at making the chocolate custard in TM and it was brilliant   So easy and just what was needed.  So today I have a TM lunch - the mixed veg soup and then some of the custard folded into some home made yoghurt.  All of it absolutely delicious!

Today is SEN day and I have loads and loads of stuff to do so it should be a busy and satisfying day all round.  And then the weekend starts and, incredibly, there will only be eighteen more days before the Easter break.  That's because one day in an INSET day and the last day is Good Friday so a Bank Holiday.  No complaints from me!!

And at the weekend I will have time to peruse my new cookery books and make some sort of list of things I want to try out.  Great fun!
Diane - I want to make the stock paste but it looks extremely salty - is it OK to cut down on the salt?