Oh yes, October! Time for some spooky pyjamas, socks, treats, shirts…
Grandpa David’s annual Halloween package came on Thursday! Conor had a playdate over, so there was tons of excitement. Things came tumbling out of the package and we immediately had to make cookies because there were two spooky baking mixes. Conor’s friend is allergic to tree nuts however, so I made my shortbread recipe. The awesome sprinkles wouldn’t stick in to those while hot, so I made some quick icing too. It was hectic! I was convinced I was going to get a sugar crash any moment since they wouldn’t dream of touching any after-school snacks!
Some of the sprinkles may not have made it all the way to the cookie surface…
My friend Judy and I resolved to get some bulk Concord grapes from my farm coop this fall. She lent me her steam juicer so I could get a head start for making jelly. I LOVED it!
Getting through a large batch, with banana bread also accomplished
I also asked a local neighbor if they were using the quince on their bush. They didn’t even know it was edible
Frankly, after all the work it took to prepare it all, with little to show except very sour mush, I’m inclined to agree with them!
My neighbor gave me about 12 pounds of rhubarb! He has a knack to making it grow like a forest. I made a rhubarb juice that I tried out in two different cocktails. And I made two crumbles.
My favorite drink was one shot Cachaca, two shots rhubarb juice, juice of one lime, over ice
Papa has encouraged me to always stop and look at the fish counter when I am shopping. I am notoriously bad at buying fish (I had a fish bone phobia after a bone caught in my throat as a child), but he scored some cod on super sale recently which I enjoyed cooking, so I am trying harder. I saw some monkfish at an incredible price. I rarely even see it on sale here, let alone at a 40% discount. Darina Allen had a recipe I wanted to try, so I forged ahead.
It was involved (roasted red pepper sauce)
Papa was appreciative, but also eager to impart his knowledge. As a child his family simply dipped the monkfish in melted butter.
It was divine. There is no going back. It was like lobster, without getting itchy shell juice on my hands!
That same weekend we tried to see if the fish had woken up at Spot Pond.
All we caught was plastic debris that we gathered for the trash can
Conor held out for a bite but it wasn’t to be
I spied some berbere spice at Whole Foods one knit night. I LOVE Ethiopian Food and have not been able to find anything that compares with our favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Tucson. So I determined to try some Doro Wat (chicken stew). It definitely needed some extra flavor, and some more time to develop (tasted better the next day) and I didn’t have any injera (bread for eating with) but it was a commendable first try, for sure.
I didn’t add a ton of berbere because my spice tolerance is way lower than my Arizona days!
I also decided to make some extra boiled eggs because I had been craving an egg salad sandwich for weeks. I pulled out all the stops and added everything my nana used to add to hers.
Just needs bread
The day after we got back from Ireland was Conor’s 7th birthday; a busy day, with a mini van that wouldn’t start, school, swim classes… Still time for celebration of course.
Lucky boy got a 3DS
I had to collect my car from the dealer straight after swimming, so my plans to make “French chicken”, Conor’s favorite, (it’s basically either roast chicken or braised chicken thighs) were scuppered. We detoured on the way home to Friendly’s…
He got a special song
This is what a jetlagged 7-year-old looks like in the baby blanket Farmor made him:
Mommy is melting
The party request was a sports theme again (of course): Mario and Sonic at the Rio Olympic Games 2016. I cooked up hot dogs per the birthday boy’s request (most parties have pizza without fail, so there were some surprised comments from the kids but most of them packed in a couple!) I also sprayed mini Oreos with gold edible spray to look both like a gold medal and a gold coin from Mario. The cake was the sheet cake I used last year, but with the frosting that comes with the recipe (yum): Martha Stewart’s Texas Sheet Cake
Mario is in the lead
I have had a fierce sweet tooth recently. I have tried not to buy any chocolate, so if I have a craving I need to bake. I decided to use Conor’s upcoming birthday as an excuse to satisfy my sweet tooth!
Not exactly a “Pinterest Fail”, but need some work (but YUM!)
Santa delivered some rather large Nerf guns to the boys this year. Eamon is thankfully too young. He got some cool Duplo and ball toys.
Learning to unwrap
Delivery for Daddy
Lighting the pudding
The rest of our Christmas can basically be imagined by freeze framing this next photo for two weeks… The NES Classic that Daddy lined up at dawn for three mornings in a row was quite a hit, especially with Daddy…
As we muddle through our lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, there are always certain times when we are brought closer together, through our experiences. I feel closest to you when I am cutting my boys’ hair, making pastry, going for a walk… And making the Christmas pudding. I have found a silver lining to our distance from each other, and that is that I have had to figure out a way to get the wrapping tight without a second helper…
An elastic band! You’re welcome!
You merely need to place the elastic band around the parchment paper, then tie the string while it is nice and well-behaved. After cooking, place the elastic band again and restring, or wait until Christmas time and do the string then.
We got a humongous head of escarole from our farm coop. I discovered this endive back in Tucson when I determined to try a new recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook every week. The Italian sausage, white bean, and escarole stew is one of our absolute favorites.
I love how escarole fans out really wide so you can clean it really easily.
I’m glad it’s starting to be stew weather…