It’s been a week of personal developments in our household.
The Girl had her first taste of baby-rice – which she celebrated by reacting as if I’d fed her crushed glass. I’m not really sure it’s worth the hassle to be honest, and now find self wondering just how long I can keep her on milk-only for. About as long as I can take having to get up to deal with her in the night probably – which isn’t very long at all. So we’ll persevere. The Boy at her age was roaring for pear and carrot, suspect that the Girl is going to be a bit trickier when it comes to food. In fact probably as tricky as the Boy has now become (talk about crushed glass - Jesuschrist, you’d swear I was force-feeding him the dog poo he drags through the house from the park several times a week).
The Boy – when he’s not spitting masticated food onto the plate / floor / his lap / my hand - is going through his own advancements, mainly parroting our dialogue. So out of nowhere you might get “Hellohowareyou”, or equally likely: “OhdearohGodohChrist”. I was emailing with an NCT friend whose daughter is the same age as him, and she said how great it is being finally able to have a conversation with her toddler... Huh? Really? Because conversations with the Boy go something like this:
“Good Morning Darling”
“NO MUMMY! BAD, SHARP, HEAVY MUMMY!”
“Um, ok. Would you like to come have some juice?”
“NO JUICE NO! BAD, SHARP, HEAVY JUICE!”
“Really? Ok. Maybe some mango?”
“Mango? Mango? Mangoooooooooooooooooo” (wailing pitifully).
(Later, when all the dried mango has been stuffed at once into his mouth,gagged on, spat out, and re-eaten:)
“Monkey mango? Poor Monkey mango, very big heavy mango, Monkey crying. MONKEY CORNER! STOP IT!”
I suppose it is a conversation of sorts. Just more like one you’d expect to have in a mental institution.
I have also made a couple of leaps and bounds since last I posted – almost literally; I’ve been to the gym again! And I lasted 25 mins this time (5 mins longer than last time; I should be up to an hour in time for my summer holidays next year.) AND I’ve kept a list of easy-to-prepare food which I’ve saved on my online supermarket shop, thus they’ll be delievered irrespective of whether I remember to order them or not. (I expect the house to be awash with uneaten bananas and smoothies by the end of the month.)
But the best personal development of all came from the Man, who amazed both of us by producing the most delicious meal the other night. The Man, while in fact fairly competent in the kitchen, pretends to be disabled (or something) to avoid having to cook too often – apparently he can’t deal with the stress. So anything he cooks is always going to be a bit of a treat – just because it happens so rarely – but this was so yum that I’m going to hand out the recipe. (And let’s face it, if the Man could do it without too much complaint and without it taking all night long, it’s obviously not the most challenging of dishes, and will, I suspect, become something of a regular in our new, developed household).
The best thing of all is that by all accounts it was neither bad, nor sharp, nor indeed heavy, and was equally enjoyed by the Boy, who in his haste to shovel it into his gob, forgot to spit any out.
Sweet Potato, Coconut and Spinach Curry
(Lifted from Allegra McEvedy, and adapted slightly (by me, not the Man – are you mad?))
You Need (for two, v v generously)
- Couple of onions, peeled and diced
- 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into largeish chunks
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Bag of baby spinach (or two if you need yer greens)
- 50g ground almonds (essential – gives the curry a fantastic texture)
- One red chilli, (sliced thickly enough so you can remove pieces if small unadventurous children will be eating it)
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- Juice of a lime
- Handful of coriander, chopped
Fry the onion in the hot oil, lid on, for about 5 mins.
Stir in Sweet Potato, curry and turmeric and fry for a few minutes until potatoes start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the spinach, almonds and chilli.
When the spinach has wilted pour in the coconut milk, stir well, and bring to the boil. Then turn heat down and put on lid. Keep it simmering and check in about 15 mins – the sweet potatoes should be soft but not collapsing (which happens if you cut them too small).
Once potatoes are cooked, check consistency of sauce. If it’s too liquid for your liking, take lid off and turn up heat for a few minutes.
Just before serving, add lime juice and coriander, and season if needed.
(While this was delish, next time I make it I think I’ll get creative, and add a couple of sliced carrots (fry them for a few minutes before the sweet potatoes) and a tin of drained chickpeas. This will probably mean using two tins of coconut milk, and doubling up on the spices. Which in turn will make twice as much curry – no bad thing. But if that sounds like too much hard work (or too much curry) just make it as above.)
Serve with a smug self-satisfied grin (if you’re the cook) and rice or nan. Yum yum.