Recipe: Mushroom Risotto, easy

This is quite easy to make but it takes a bit of time. If you’re making for 4 or 6, you can just cook it up (in a flat pan) but I discovered recently when making risotto for 20 people, that it requires cooking in separate flat pans otherwise it turns to mush, it needs the time to cool, being in a large pot keeps the heat in. Also if you’re making it in advance as I tend to do, make sure you take the risotto off the heat whilst the rice is still al dente and cool it down. So, for about 4-5 people:

  1. 4 large onions diced, half a bulb of garlic chopped, all thrown into a wide pan with a big nob of butter. Let them brown up ad become see-through.
  2. Add the diced mushrooms and porchini mushrooms (prepare the dried ones with boiling water and then keep the mushroom stock for later)
  3. Stir in the appropriate amount of risotto rice, let the butter coat all the rice grains.
  4. Gradually, in stages pour in: stock, wine, porchini mushroom stock and I like to put in a bit of fish sauce too… if you have it

And that’s it. It just takes time to stand over it all and stir gently, between 30mins and hour. Add grated cheese toward the end. One cheat my end is to buy pre-diced onions to save time. I’d say the richness of flavour comes from the butter and porchini mushrooms, so don’t scrimp on those! Enjoy.

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1y4m & 3y5m: This half-term madness

What to do with this half-term madness!? I have a week off with the kids and no hubby (he had 2 weeks going solo with the kids over the summer, so don’t feel too sorry for me!). It can actually be a little bit tough with a 1 and a 3 year old, mainly because the 3 year old is good but still learning, the 1 year old is very much into darting off, so going out with them as the only adult can be quite tricky unless you’re in a contained area. It’s also an odd time because a lot of kids’ regular activities close over the holidays.

Monday we chilled and had grandma over all day. That didn’t stop me having to carry little AJ on my hip for most of it! Then today we went to the Circus would you believe. It was an hour long special designed specifically for kids. They loved it! They saw spiderman (uhem, possibly a middle-aged man who was a bit tired and struggled to get up into position, fun to watch though!) Then there were the ‘Russians’ who did fancy stuff with bouncing balls and big wire frames. The folks from the orient were hilarious – not an oriental among them. Easy for me to pick holes in it of course. But as I said, the kids loved it, as did we, but for slightly different reasons. Can’t go too wrong for £6 though.

Tomorrow we’ll be meeting with a friend, possibly a shopping trip in the afternoon. Thursday, off to see a friend in West London and then another out in Essex…

and just like that.

The week was gone.

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3y5m: Nothing to do in cold weather!

Last weekend I really felt the cold. And it was a Saturday. We were home and tired, thinking we’d have a chilled day. But, with it being cold, it was doubtful we’d go anywhere fun outside like the park. I suggested swimming – but who wants to be wet AND cold?! I couldn’t face a day in-front of the TV, with the kids getting irritated and cabin fever-y. I have been thinking recently that I should make more of an effort with them anyway. I know 3 languages but we only speak English at home because it requires pro-activity on my behalf, but really I should try to do something with all their energy and brain power.

Last weekend was the start of something awesome I hope. We kept the TV off and started the morning by playing decorate the jar – if you haven’t tried it, you haven’t lived! Then at 9am we went to a taster rugby lesson. She smashed that tackle bag and did well at the running. It’s basically a chance for them to learn how to listen, gain some confidence, learn how to score a try and get to grips with the oddness that is the egg. Then afterwards we went to check out a ballet class as she keeps coming home wanting to show me her ballet! Who knows where from, Peppa Pig? Either way I have chosen to take this moment by the scruff! The class we came to watch briefly was ending… but the next class was about to start and it was for her age! So she did 30 mins of ballet for Pre-Primary kids. Fab listening of the teacher, co-ordinated motor skills and memory. Awesome. Rugby and ballet. It’s all to play for. We’ll check-in in 20 years time. We also went to the local farm in the afternoon for the apple picking. We missed the picking but we did have lots of fun seeing the animals and Lolo even got a chance to turn an apple press! Busy weekend.

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3y5m: oh button button, who’s got the button

I spend ages trying to teach my kids stuff. Some I know they’ll eventually learn on their own, but most stuff i like to give them the opportunity to learn by me showing them. Having learned they can often do a lot more than we give them credit for – if you give them the opportunity, I do try. And of course which parent doesn’t enjoy their kids developing?

Well it is w great pleasure that I can say at 3years 5months, Lolo did up her own button today, all by herself. Sure I helped with the first 4, guiding her on where to put her fingers, but on the last one, she had no mummy involvement whatsoever. There was much whooping and hollering. I’m hoping this now given her the confidence to keep practicing. She’s growing up! Sniff.

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1y4m & 3y5m: getting ready in the mornings

I remember when Lolo was little. The thought of needing to sort her out singlehandedly in the mornings before work, filled me w dread. How the hell are you supposed to get out on time? How are you supposed to get out at all?! During Mat leave it’s easier in a way. You can always have a shower and get ready during their morning nap. When they’re 1 and you’re going to work, you need to wash yourself and get dressed. In the meantime you have a baby who in our case could walk, didn’t yet understand the concept of dangerous and so you almost needed to create a safe environment, by the shower where you could see them and wash. Juuust manageable except you leave clothing them to the last minute so they don’t throw up on you, or themselves or soil a nappy just as you’re walking out the door. As they get older it’s a bit easier. 

Fast forward 1 year and there’s a newborn which constantly needs help and a 2 year old who’s just figuring out how to put certain items of clothing on herself. This was a mission. Really happy I was on mat leave as getting out of the house, including the tantrums from both as neither particularly enjoyed getting in the pram so I could drop Lolo off at the child minder’s, was tough. I won’t say it was hideous, but I will admit it was super stressful.

Thank God things change. We’re at 1 and 3 now, and Lolo has started getting dressed herself. It’s a God send. I still tend to shower with them in the bathroom so I can see what manner of no good they’re up to. But they seem to occupy themselves nicely. Lolo, I’m comfortable if she’s roaming around the house but AJ, I like him nearby as his awareness ain’t so good yet. He tends to play with the grippy dots (like mini bath mats) that I stick to the side of the bath. It leaves just enough time for me to wash myself and my hair without too much stress. We then all go have an Aptimel and a cracker. Then as I go change AJ, Lolo gets herself dressed. She even puts on her own shoes, which have a buckle! Very proud. Then off we go to the car. 

There is hope🙂

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1y4m: Hitting

We’re having a tricky time. AJ is hitting at the child minder’s. He is 1 year and 4 months. He does not learn to hit at home from any of us. No one at the child minder’s hits. I wonder where he’s got it from. There was one incident when he joined at the very start. The other baby, a few months older than him, Ethan, gave him a good whack on day one. AJ did not like this at all. For days after that, he saw Ethan and pretty much ran the other way. Both kids are actually lovely kids – no idea what got into them. Then one day, AJ just whacked him right back, unprompted. I wonder if he’s learned that if he’s physical first then he can assert himself? Over to any child psychiatrists who fancy enlightening us?

I don’t know, but it’s not great. I have spoken to a few different people who have boys who have said quite often this is the way boys are, they have a different energy from girls. Lolo is quite high octane, but he just seems to throw himself into and ‘at’ more things with more blind gusto. I also take that with a pinch of salt, as I still believe you can teach kids manners. I do think it is a bit of a phase as I remember Lolo going through something similar but I do not remember it lasting this long. I think he will grow out of it, just when, before a big kid whacks him one I hope.

The big question of course is how do you help teach him it’s wrong. How do you discipline? Or do you even discipline? If you discipline does this make it more of a thing, something he gets more attention from, are we fuelling his fire? I’ve tried smacking his hand a couple of times; if you do it lightly he thinks it’s hilarious and just laughs (, cutely – its really annoying / you can’t helping laughing with him) and if you do it hard so he’s uncomfortable, well I just think that reaffirms to him that hitting is ok. The other methods of telling him no, over and over again don’t seem to work, so we’ve resorted to time outs. He’s a social (cheeky) butterfly, so removing him socially hopefully will change his behaviour eventually. It’s just so looooong. And you pick your battles but I just can’t be bothered to have this argument with him 20 million times a day, I’d rather just ignore it. And oddly enough he doesn’t really hit me. Sometimes he tries but I dodge him before he gets to me, I say no and then he tends to put his hand out to stroke me/my face/my nose gently. It’s everyone else that seems to get it the worst. But, I would feel upset if someone chose to ignore if their kid was hitting, so I choose to do something about it. But I’d much rather wait for it to blow over. Discuss.

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1y4m: Baby talk

Friggin love it. Love when they start talking. You know they’re saying something because there’s context to it and from that you start to understand the words they’re forming. The blinders we had this last week were ‘thank you’ (although I suspect it’s ‘ta’), ‘please’, we’ve also had ‘look’ as he points, ‘there’ and one of my favorites, ‘I did that’. ‘Mi!’, is ‘milk’ at the moment. He does a lot of ‘wow’ which fills me w joy, every time he gets something he likes, which seems to be often. 

It’s just wonderful and a sign of progress. Of course it feels like it’s a long time coming but if I think about it, he’s only a year and 4 months. It’s crazy how fast they learn stuff. What amazes me most, back to the original point, is that the words are used correctly and in context. I’m amazed their little brains don’t explode. First they need to try to understand the word they hear, figure out when it’s appropriate to use and then remember both that and the sound it makes in order to repeat it. And of course the words aren’t fully formed yet but as you see them start to appear, it’s like magic!

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