star charts and breakfast trifle


Deciding that our star chart system was in need of some new enthusiasm to encourage good behaviour, I took inspiration from Emily Carlisle at more than just a mother.  Our new chart is a childlike picture of mud, grass, flowers, a tree with a swing and treehouse then sunshine above. I would like to claim the drawing is by my 5 year old, would reflect better on both of us, but afraid it’s by me.

Ruby started in the mud but by behaving well has risen to the flowers. When she arrives at the sunshine, there’ll be some sort of treat. I’d suggested that Guy and I should be on there too but he thinks that at 5 your parents shouldn’t be seen languishing in the mud too much, we should be infallible. I think it’s a bit too late for that, but have agreed that Mog and Tiger can join Ruby on the chart.

In an effort to haul myself out of the mud I decided to be enthusiastic about healthy breakfasts again. At the weekend it’s particularly easy with less time pressure to get Ruby involved in making something more exciting. If she’s made it herself, she’s even more likely to tuck in with relish. And possibly edge onto the swing.

Yesterday we made breakfast trifles with oats, greek yoghurt and lots of healthy berries. In season, blackcurrants, raspberries or blackberries are great. The only blackberries we have at the moment are in whiskey and I thought using those would’ve kept me firmly down in the mud. So I made an indulgent purchase of blueberries, although was able to use strawberries we’d frozen from the summer days of gluts. Their tendency to lose texture in the freezer is fine here (as it is in milkshakes and smoothies) as they get mashed into a sort of rustic puree with honey anyway. I had some home-made blackberry sauce left to drizzle over our breakfast puds too. And we made enough to give us a tasty, healthy start to the more challenging Monday morning. Maybe I still have hope of rising to the sun and a Monday evening glass of wine.


Berry Lovely Breakfast Trifles

100g porridge oats

125 ml apple juice

500g strawberries (can be frozen ones in the winter)

3 teaspoons honey

125g plain or greek yoghurt

150g berries (blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries or blueberries/a mixture of whatever you have handy)

blackberry sauce, optional (I just heat blackberries with a little sugar for a few minutes, then push through a sieve. Good with ice-cream or pancakes too)

Mix the oats and apple juice in a bowl and cover then leave in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Mash the stawberries with the honey. Now simply take about 5 glasses and layer oats, yoghurt, strawberry mixture, berries and blackberry sauce in an order that you or your children feel is pleasing.

Summery Food for Rainy Days

Summery food for rainy daysIt may look grim outside but the glut of new potatoes, broad beans and strawberries from the garden is still telling me that it’s summer. So my daily harvest may be very muddy but it’s cheering me up on this very rainy week. I’m enjoying it in the following ways:

Broad Beans:

When I pod the first tiny beans that are so tender they’re delicious raw, it reminds me why it’s worth bothering to grow your own – you never see them this small or fresh to buy do you? I love the first little beans just podded, mixed with olive oil, torn basil and shavings of parmesan (I use a potato peeler) and seasoned. They’re great as a salad or on bruschetta. But my favourite broad bean bruschetta is to cook a handful of podded beans for a couple of minutes, then squash them with a fork, mix with olive oil, a little garlic, salt, pepper, chopped mint and basil. Piled onto garlicky toasted bread, with a little olive oil drizzled on top, they’re yummy. Continue reading