And so we start with a confession. I was laughed at at work last week because I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a Sunday Roast. I thought they were something only people’s grandparents made, and apparently this, ahem, isn’t the case.

In my defence I was a vegetarian for eight years. Mumma Crafts on Sea  is a veggie. My brother is a veggie. Roast dinners were never going to be a big part of my childhood. Even when I started eating meat again The Husband had to teach me how to cook bacon. Roast dinners always look like such a pain to cook, and yet there is that desire that occasionally builds up to eat a ‘proper meal’. The kind of meals mums are supposed to make and not just the total carb-junkie pastathon that I live on.

Thankfully my mild case of paternal guilt was thwarted this week by my friend Aimee Fox-Godden who asked me to blog a couple of slow cooker recipes. Being a parent to Vaguely Fussy Child, I obviously could not be faffed to cook him something separate to what I’m eating. Predictably, this being the latest in a long line of Teething Hell weeks (sponsored by calpol and cbeebies) the Small Thing would not eat a ruddy mouthful of this (I appreciate that I should probably lie and say that he loved it or I’ll never get my advance on How To Feed Your Fuss-Pot Child) However he has wolfed it down before, I promise! Either way, I had it on at lunchtime which meant once he was in bed I could concentrate on more important things, like drinking.

For two adults with proper appetites, and one toddler who may or may not eat it.

Ingredients:

1 pack skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces

A few potatoes, peeled and chopped

Half a low salt stock cube

Whatever vegetables you have knocking around that want eating. In my case this was peas, sweetcorn, green beans and a leek. Sweet potato is also nice but that would have involved going to the shops.

Pop everything in your slow cooker with about 1 cup of water. With slow cookers the thing to remember is that the water needs to be there to cook everything, but it will not disappear, so unless you want a soup don’t add loads, you can always put more in later.

Turn slow cooker on. Feel smug. (A re-occuring theme in this blog, you may wish to note)

Feed child. Cross fingers if appropriate.

Because the husband is also not generally  a fan of sensible foods, we tend to chuck loads of dried chili flakes on ours when we serve it so that voila! Not too sensible, but still tasty, healthy and no effort at all.

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Hasn’t the weather been awful this week? I know that’s a very British thing to moan on about but it makes keeping a toddler entertained a bit of a nightmare and while the roads to work kept flooding, which made me late for work (not actually that bad a thing) I park next to a river which made me a bit concerned that I’d come back to my car floating through Chelmsford.

So the weather being not to insanely awful this morning, me, The Husband and The Small Thing managed to make it out and as we had time to kill decided to pop along to the Farmers Market in Rochford.

I’m always slightly sceptical of going to farmers markets. I love the idea of it, ‘oh yes, just nipping along to the farmers market to get some bits’. But in this imaginary lifestyle I also drive a shiny Range Rover, wear lots of Boden and think Waitrose is reasonably priced. Obviously none of this is actually true. Farmers Markets are a bit like craft markets, vintage fairs, art fairs and all the rest of those bits in that once you’ve crossed the threshold you’re pretty much committed to buying something that you wouldn’t normally buy. You’ve committed yourself to that dream lifestyle and once you’ve had a chat with a cople of stall holders, well, you feel kinda bad if you don’t buy anything as they all seem so nice and you like to support small businesses and actually you don’t really agree with with Tesco’s anyway, it’s just that they’re rather more conviently located.

Behold! The honey….

So todays purchase was honey but by god it does look like rather special honey. The very nice bee keeper I spoke to (Ann) keeps beehives locally in Leigh on Sea, Hadleigh, Canewdon and Hawkwell. She also has one next to the prison at Bullwood Hall but that doesn’t really fit in with my Boden wearing fantasy.

What I’d never thought about before was that the honey would be totally different depending on where the beehive was. So the bee’s in Hadleigh that fly over towards the castle get a dark strong tasting honey, while the ones in Leigh that fly over and feast in Two Tree Island get a pale light honey. There’s the difference they don’t give you in Tesco’s.

I’d love to do bee keeping, its a proper craft isn’t it? I’d wear my Boden (are you noticing a theme here?) and listen to folk music and chat to my bees in my embarrassingly large garden. But the reality is that I’d worry about the bee’s stinging the Small Thing, my garden is pretty small and quite frankly if I try to fit one more job into the already crowded mum/work/housework/cooking/cleaning/drinking juggle then I’ll probably explode. So we bought the honey instead. The light one is what you have on your porridge or for honey and lemon. The dark is for the proper honey eaters. We went for the dark one. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I know I’ll enjoy thinking about my fabulous life as a beekeeper when I do have a go.

 

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My friend Rachel Marek makes a brilliant tea loaf, and as she always seems like one of those mums who Knows What They’re Doing, I presumed it would be somewhat difficult to make. Hmm! So earlier this year Rachel went off skiing and I lent her my Out and About buggy for the trip, because quite frankly that thing could survive a nuclear war so baggage handlers and a couple of foot of snow would be no issue at all. Anyway I asked in return for her tea loaf recipe and it turns out its about as difficult to make as a ready meal. Personally, I’m currently making this about once a fortnight, and if I didn’t have to turn up at the office as often I’d probably make it every other day. Its perfect for those among us who like to bake, but for whom life tends to get in the way. View Post

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Following on from this weeks headache, blogging, worth its weight in silver, I’ve semi-bitten the bullet and have purchased a very nice looking saw thing and some file things. I think that’s the technical terms anyway. A little while ago Jenna from Stillettos on the School Run tagged me in her happy places meme. And I haven’t done it yet because I’m a bit useless like that, but I have thought about it (and we all know it’s the thought that counts) and this is one of my happy places, it’s the view of Two Tree Island in Leigh on Sea and I often try to get stuck at a red light on my way to work near here. What a view, even on a grey day like this! So to bring things together, and stop rambling, my plan is to use this image to inspire the bracelet I’m working on in my class. My husband thinks I’m batty but I think it’d be good to carry a bit of your happy place with you.

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