Amazingly, we have not (yet) discarded the Good Behaviour Snake, which is becoming increasingly dappled with Wine Club stickers. (Dappled, as opposed to fully covered, because poor GBS appears to have a form of reptilian leprosy, and the stickers are falling off, one by one). Anyway, it’s getting to the point that I find self Googling “Dinosaur, large, toy, buttons, noise, scary” (and despairing a bit; surely there are roaring dinosaur toys somewhere?*); we are about halfway there – both literally and figuratively – and during the week we reached the half-way treat: Special Time with Mummy.
Nothing quite says Special Time like standing in a lunchtime queue in Prets with a toddler roaring “IT’S COMING OUT MY BUM I CAN’T WAIT!!!!” (Note to the man in the suit who was standing behind us – I apologise for shouting, but really, who cuts in front of a toddler who is shitting his pants? I trust you have learnt your lesson and suspect you will never queue-jump again.)
By the time we got home – after lunch, emergency pants-change, a museum visit, soft-play area fighting, and many many sugar-filled
treats behavioural inducements - I had lost both my will to live, and my hat. I’m particularly pissed off about losing my hat (I’m used to getting by with no will to live) – not only because it is fucking cold out there, but also because it was a Christmas present from the Man. I haven’t been brilliant about using all the presents he got me, so in homage to the lost hat I have spent the rest of the week trying to make amends.
Firstly, I started reading one of the books he got me – The Hare with Amber Eyes, which I expected to love. I don’t. I’m finding it a bit dull and draggy, to be honest. I have enough trouble mustering up enthusiasm for my own family, I really don’t have the energy to delve into someone else’s. Once I put it down I noticed that the Girl was mid-way through a multi-pack of snacks, and decided to distract her; alas her weight (she’s going through a, umm, sturdy phase at the moment) and my pathetic muscles turned the intended swooping hug into more of a staggering back-wrenching stumble. At which point I remembered another of the Man’s forgotten presents - a Tracy Anderson dvd (bought, I should clarify, wholly at my insistence).
For those of you who are fortunate to know no better, Tracy (or Trace, as I like to call her) is Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer. I have, I confess, a bit of a crush on Gwynnie – I know she comes across as a bit holier-than-thou, but I can’t help myself, I want to be her: the hair, the skin, the money, the figure, the A-list lifestyle... So when I discovered that I too could have a body like hers - well, what had I been waiting for? So this morning I donned the unused unloved gym-gear-from-the-eighties, and got to work (“work”, as it turned out). The dvd is an hour long, with 6 segments of 10 minutes each. I lasted about three minutes of each segment, at least half of which was spent trying to see if her forehead ever moves (it doesn’t), before getting equally bored, sore and annoyed (there is NO MENTION on the dvd of clicking hips and straining backs). I am still sore and annoyed – not at Gwyneth (heavens, no), but at self, and my lack of persistence. (I’ll try again
soon tomorrow, when my knees are more up to it.)
And so to the kitchen. You can’t go wrong with kitchen paraphernalia. I got: a Globe knife (I get one every year; Globe makes one for every conceivable culinary occasion, and then several hundred more besides, so this is a gift trend which can run until I get handed the Grave-Picker blade) which was my favourite gift of Christmas, not least because I managed not to cut my finger within half a minute of unwrapping it (by running it along the blade and saying “ooooh, it’s SO SHARP”, like I did our first three Christmases together); a Microblade multi-purpose grater (which I did cut my fingers on, almost immediately), which I have used almost daily (not only for finger grating, but for garlic and cheese too!); a v posh butter dish (Le Creuset, burnt orange, beautiful), my love for which must surely catapult me into the nether-regions of middle age; and a matching Le Creuset quiche/flan dish which, I am ashamed to say, has not been used yet.
Until today, when I made this:
Which I think you’ll agree is the perfect antidote to any work-out dvd.
It’s easy too, and you don’t necessarily need all of your finger-tips to make it.
Quichey Pie Thing
You need: For 4. (Or 2. Depending on your day’s calorific exertions)
· One beautiful Flan dish. (Actually you don’t really need this. You can make a quiche thing in any round oven-proof dish or tin)
· Some ready-made (indeed, ready rolled) short-cut pastry. (There’s really no need to go all Gwyneth and start making your own.)
· Two large or three medium eggs.
· About 200 ml of single cream.
· A large lump of hard cheese, any sort, grated.
· Salt and pepper.
· Whatever meat, fish, vegetables or herbs (or combination thereof) you have lurking around the house. Whatever you use it should be cooked (other than tomatoes, which you can slice or dice, and put in raw). I used broccoli and sautéed onions; other good combos are bacon/ham and tomatoes (so I’m told), smoked salmon and peas; tinned salmon and asparagus; smoked mackerel and corn... Really, anything goes.
Pre-heat the oven to 4 / 350f / 180c / 160c(fan)
Roll out / unroll the pastry, and line the greased dish / tin with it. Leave as much as you can overhanging, as the pastry will shrink in the oven. Prick the base all over with a fork, and pop into the oven for about 15 minutes. (This is so the pastry is sealed, to stop it getting soggy from the filling).
Meanwhile whisk the eggs with the cream, cheese, salt and pepper, and any herbs.
When the pastry is done, remove from the oven and scatter the fish / meat / vegetables on the base. You can get fancy if you like (check out my synchronised swimming broccoli.) Cover with the egg and cheese mixture, and cook for 30 – 35 minutes – until the top is puffed up and golden brown.
Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before abandoning your inner Size 4 Hollywood starlet, and gobbling up.