Who has time to cook? Recipe 2: Green Thai Curry

Don’t be scared. Its super easy and fast. If you can make it in the morning or day before the flavours will do wonderful things. I use curry paste. You know what? Provenance & making things from scratch is a wonderful thing and I believe in it when it comes to sourcing meat etc but the truth is the paste is a pain to make AND if I’m honest, its no less authentic coming from a tub. I remember going to see a friend for dinner and his wife was grass roots Thai. The curry was amazing. And you know what she used? Yup ready made curry paste. Bottom line is you can make a great curry literally using paste + coconut milk + meat/fish so don’t worry if you don’t have everything!

Recipe 2: Thai Green Curry: Prep time 10 mins, cooking time 20mins

  • Crush: 1 tsp of corriander seeds + 1 tsp of cummin seeds. Then fry for 1 min.
  • Add Thai green curry paste (yes I’m cheating), and fry for another 2 mins, then the coconut milk. Next the diced chicken, aubergines & Mushrooms. Nope, no frying off beforehand.
  • Finish: Simmer for approx 20mins until you’re sure the chicken is cooked. Add sugar & fish sauce to taste.

That’s literally it, crazy huh? Enjoy.

TIPS: Go by instructions for the paste, it can be quite strong otherwise. DO add sugar, with all this healthy eating its easy to not bother but actually it enhances the flavour greatly.

Here is the Thai Green paste I use: Mae Ploy Green Curry Paste 

Mae Ploy

Looking for the perfect coconut milk? Here’s the coconut milk we use as I find some of them just too watery, this has a nice consistency: Pride Coconut Milk 


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36 weeks: Reminder, who has time to cook? Recipe 1 LASAGNE

Lolo’s 2, we have one on the way in 4 weeks and I’m mentally reminding myself of being at home all day and yet not having any time to wash myself, clean the house, think or cook. So before number 2 pops out I wanted to do a shortlist of some quick easy to follow recipes. The big cheat for me is SIMPLE preparation and then leaving it to simmer/cook. The cooking part is great because you don’t need to do anything just allow enough time, it helps the flavours come together and stop the meal from tasting like it just fell out of a jar.

Recipe 1: Lasagne

Meat sauce: dice and fry off onion & garlic, mushrooms & carrots. Add minced beef and break it up well! Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and stock cube to taste. Simmer for 20mins.

Bechamel sauce: Melt butter, add flour til its a paste, then gradually add milk and whisk to get rid of the lumps until it becomes a smooth sauce. Add cheese if you like. Simmer & stir for approx 5mins. Secret is to do it all fast so the paste does not have time to cook into lumps.

Layer meat then bechamel then lasagne sheet, repeat 3 times. Top off with Bechamel on top of a lasgane sheet and cook according to lasagne sheet timings.

Boom, there it is

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36 weeks: When is whooping cough not whooping cough

What’s the deal with Whooping cough? NHS tells us:

There’s a lot of whooping cough (pertussis) around at the moment and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk.

Whooping cough is a highly infectious, serious illness that can lead to pneumonia and brain damage, particularly in young babies. Most babies with whooping cough will need hospital treatment, and when whooping cough is very severe they may die.

I got jabbed in the arm on Monday with Repevax (sniff, it still hurts). It contained protection against pertussis, polio, diphtheria and tetanus as apparently there is no whooping cough only vaccination. And that’s when a jab for whooping cough is not quite what it seems!

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4 weeks til D-Day: May every day be like today

Today is my very first day of mat leave. If I’m honest, this means I have no tiny knot in my stomach as I anticipate reading all the emails on my blackberry, awaiting the ‘super urgent, you should have done this by 3am on Saturday night’. Not that I ever get them but I do set myself up for the worst. Nope. Hubby changed Lolo, I just got dressed in… well, whatever I rolled over in that stuck. Read to her. Gave her some milk. Then she and I calmly went to the childminders, where I also didn’t need to rush. On my return home, made some breakfast for hubby (who had stayed behind to get ready in his own time for once) and myself and put the washing on. Its the little things. I, hopefully have 4 weeks ‘off til number 2 arrives and if it’s like today I’m looking forward to it.

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Almost 2 years: These light nights and 2 year olds telling the time

Since the clocks have sprung forward you can’t have failed to notice that the day stretches out for much longer. This means two things for my almost 2 year old:

– getting up earlier and

– going to bed later

I am not a fan. I should point out that we neither have black out curtains/blinds nor, since we upgraded her into her own bed, anyway of containing her. Back in the good old days she’d just lay and wait in her cot and quite often fall back to sleep for a little nap before waking at the required time. Since the transition I think initially she was lonely, a little scared, literally out of her comfort zone, discovering her newly found freedom and probably confused – understandably having no way of telling what the time was, i.e. whether or not it was ok for her to get up. In the first 2 weeks or so we had a couple of middle of the night visits. Daddy kissed her and put her back to bed with limited chat – that habit was stopped promptly. Then she woke up at 5 am a couple of times…. noooo, no, no no. that would never do. So I bought her a gro clock so she could learn about time, she could see quite easily that whilst the stars were out (on the clock) it was time to stay in bed. When the sun came up it was ok to leave her room. Other than the glitch of a couple of 3a.m-ers at the start she was getting up regularly at 6.30am. But I wanted to teach her that actually she should be guided by the clock which was set to 6.45am. This was for many reasons, in my mind if she ever awoke again at 3am again she would know it was not ok to get out of bed until the sun was up, at 6.45am. To re-emphasize this point we wrote on a piece of paper the numbers she would see on the clock as to when the sun would come up.

Well, there’s a few things to say here. What do you tell your toddler who very CORRECTLY assesses that ‘the sun is up mummy, its up outside!’ and then who, like this evening couldn’t quite get settled in bed because the sun was still up outside. Can’t blame them for being smart. Damnit!

But I had a rather unexpected situation this evening. 7.45pm: in bed settling Lolo. 8.15pm: still fidgeting. Mummy kissed her head as she always does, told her she loved her, that she’d see her in the morning and left. At 8.45pm (note: blazing sun only just beginning to set in the background) afore mentioned bambini walks into the living room and climbs up onto the sofa with mummy, asking what I was reading, could she read too, the sun was up so it must be time to still be up… I gently said no, it was time to go to bed, the stars were out on her clock. Then the tear jerker – ‘mummy sleep me?’ The 10 mins I’ll lay next to her at bed time to relax her, hug her and sometime send her off to sleep. Totally wanted to say yes but she’d already had her time earlier that evening. In the end I had to repeat it all about 4 times. But to my total and utter amazement, she got off the sofa, mummy kissed her good night/see you in the morning …. AND SHE PUT HERSELF TO BED!!!!! No crying, no arguments, tucked herself into bed and went to sleep!  In my mind I was thinking – poop, what am I going to do if she refuses to go to bed. But no need!

I think it helped that there was nothing of interest going on in the living room, no: food, drinks, chatting, TV, lights etc. But where I thought I’d created a rod for my own back with this sun up business, distinguishing it as the sun up on the clock may in fact have been helpful. This last week she’s also been getting up at the right time which is encouraging. Its all habit and consistency, or so I’m told.

Always learning.

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7 weeks to go: when do you think ‘this is what I was hoping to achieve”

I’m not negative, I am a realist. truth is the more you speak with the average parent the more you discover it’s all hard work. I have 7 weeks til d-day and only 3 weeks til Lolo turns 2. I’ve always said she was a handful. constantly into everything, a genius yet no off button. but it’s a challenge from the start. in the womb in your first tri you feel permanently sick, your third tri you have no room to breathe and it all starts becoming heavy. then there’s birth. they start life crying, then there’s every developmental stage on the way. potty training, language and boundaries are some of the things we’re going through at the moment. and as their language improves of course so does the many ways they can use it for or against you. then there’ll be a new sibling taking up mummy’s and daddy’s time. then school, the boy’s etc. there’s at least 20 years ahead of us of trying to manage them. my question to a fellow mother with a young teenager was, realistically when do you have that aha moment. when do you get to look at it all, the child, the family and say ‘yes! this is what I was looking for! this is what I’d always hoped it would be!’ do you ever? life’s a journey, got it but is the best bit when they move out? do you have to wait that long? and if the purpose of it all is to see them go then what was the real reason for having them in the first place? I liked the idea of having kids and a family, but why? what is it that’s so appealing?

of course even with all these thoughts the odd thing is I really wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s like most difficult things, they often make you a better person, they give you perspective. but the truth is I’m not sure I had a family for my own self improvement. last night when she cuddled and nuzzled me with her nose whilst we were in bed i had an overwhelming sense of joy, yes, but you don’t know about those moments when you think of a family. so what compels us to procreate other than booze?

oh, this parenthood lark is all too confusing!

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10 weeks to go: seeeeds maaan

It would appear I have a bit of insomnia. I have a 23 month old who sleeps soundly through the night and in her new bed but it is I who is up! Not fair. However it is a 4 day week, tomorrow is already Thursday and it would seem the weather is on the turn, a high of 19 degrees C. Spring hath cometh! So I might be tired tomorrow but at least it will be lovely.

The benefits of insomnia of course are being able to sit on the internet undisturbed, shopping for stuff I do not need and searching for information! For example I had some chia seeds in a yoghurt the other day and really liked it. But as I’ve learnt from my pharmacist friend, just because it is natural doesn’t mean its always good for you, let alone for the baby, so I thought it worth checking what the deal was with chia seeds

Superfoodblog (a raw and healthy lifestyle) had this to say about chia and other good, raw foods around pregnancy:

According to the NHS, vitamins C & D, folic acid, iron and calcium are all crucial for pregnant women.

  • Omega-3 (CHIA!): Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent premature birth, lower the risk of pre-eclampsia, increase the birth weight of your baby and even reduce the risk of post natal depression… Omega-3 can be found in: fish, fish oil, CHIA SEEDS, hemp seeds and walnuts. Coconut oil is known to actively stimulate the absorption of omega-3, so switching to this fragrant oil for cooking during pregnancy and beyond can prove extremely beneficial.
  • Spirulina Powder: Spirulina powder provides powerful protection against iron-deficiency anaemia as well as much needed protein during pregnancy. In addition to iron and protein, spirulina powder also contains vitamin E, vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and beta carotene, a natural source of vitamin A*, which is important for your baby’s embryonic growth and helps with infection resistance and fat metabolism.
  • Baobab powderBaobab powder is made from the fruit of the baobab, which is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and iron and contains up to 10 times more vitamin C than oranges. Tastes like a combination of grapefruit, vanilla and pear apparently!
  • Dried apricots: Extremely high in folic acid and provide expectant mums with a reliable source of iron, magnesium and dietary fibre. And… there’s the other thing dried apricots do.
  • Dried banana chips: Packed with potassium, it helps to reduce fluid retention and maintain a healthy fluid balance during pregnancy. They also contain large quantities of vitamin B6, which is required for formation of red blood cells, antibodies and neurotransmitters and for the development of baby’s brain and central nervous system.
  • Sunflower seeds: contain more folic acid than spinach or Brussels sprouts and are brimming with vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.


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