Monday, 22 September 2014

Smoked cod chowder recipe (Tasty Tuesdays)

I've linked up for the first time to Honest Mum's #Tasty Tuesdays linky.

We had this lovely chowder for tea tonight and it was comfort food in a bowl.  Perfect for the slightly chillier evenings.

Here's my recipe. It served the two of us and gave us a generous portion of leftovers.

Two fillets of skinless, boneless smoked cod (you could also use haddock)
165g tin sweetcorn (drained)
About 3 medium white potatoes
750ml semi skimmed milk
750ml stock made with vegetable or fish stock cube
150ml single cream
1/2 tsp English Mustard powder
I leek 
Black pepper
Olive oil (dash)


1. Peel potatoes and dice them into 1-2cm squares.
2. Chop leek into similar sizes pieces and wash.
3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and then sauté the leeks until softened (about 5-7 mins).
4. Make up the 750ml stock using the vegetable stock cube and boiling water.  Add to saucepan.
5. Add the milk to then pan and stir in the mustard powder.
6. Add the potatoes to the pan and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.
7.  Chop the fish into small pieces and add to the pan.
8. Add the sweetcorn and a few twists of black pepper.
9. When potatoes are tender add the single cream, remove from the heat and serve with hot buttered toast or crusty bread.


Tasty Tuesdays on

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The saddest day

It has been a hugely sad few weeks in our family.

On September 1st, out of the blue, my beloved Grandad passed away.

He was 83 years old, and as fit as a fiddle. Although he'd had triple bypass heart surgery thirty years ago, he was a man still living his life to the full, including playing golf three times a week with his friends.

In fact, he died on the golf course, after having a massive heart attack that killed him instantly.  I take comfort that he didn't suffer.

We are all still coming to terms with his loss, and as a very close-knit family, both geographically and emotionally, we all keep expecting him to walk through the door with his customary 'Cooo-eee!'

My grandad could be difficult at times, but essentially, he was a man who was devoted to his family. He was the man who cooked and carved the turkey each Christmas, who loved to have his three children and six grandchildren around him, and who relished telling stories from his childhood in London during WWII.  He could be abrupt and insensitive but he was also capable of such tenderness.

I will forever remember when, the day after leaving hospital, I showed him his first great-grandchild, our first son.  Often, older men are not all that interested in babies, and I expected Grandad to peer into the Moses basket politely and congratulate us. 

But he surprised me.  Although, as a brand new mother, tired and anxious, I was worried about waking my baby, Grandad uncovered the First Boy's blankets and insisted on cradling him. As our newborn slept in his arms, he took his tiny feet in his hands and gently peeled off my baby's baggy socks.  Looking down at him, he delicately caressed his perfect little feet and marvelled at his ten baby toes.  That moment is how I will always remember my dear Grandad.

I am sure he would have wanted to hold the tiny feet of my Second Boy in the same way but he tragically left us too soon to meet him.

Dear Grandad. You are gone but not forgotten.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

First day at pre-school

Twenty minutes ago I dropped off my baby boy at pre-school for the first time. I had planned to go straight to the shops afterwards but I need a little regrouping and a coffee first.  So I've come home.

Although the morning routine of getting dressed, washed and teeth brushed in our house can often be accompanied by lots of dawdling and a little rebellion, this morning the First Boy was a little angel. We both ate our porridge together and he didn't make a fuss with dressing or anything else. We put some spare clothes in his George Pig backpack, wrote his name inside and headed off. 'Nothing's going to upset me, Mummy,' he assured me when I told him I'd be leaving him at pre-school this morning and not staying with him like his induction sessions.  So independent, my little man.

We walked in through the school gates with all of the other patents and older, primary school children. I felt so protective but when I looked down at him I got a confident little grin back up at me. I held his little hand a bit tighter.

We were a good fifteen minutes early and had to wait outside when we got there, and the First Boy began to get impatient to go in.  When we got inside and found his key worker 'Auntie' Natalie, he became a little bit shy and hid his face, but he soon spotted some numbers on a display and started to point them out to her. Then he saw a toy farm and was off amidst the throng of other children. I had chance for a quick hug and kiss goodbye, and I whispered in a cracked voice that I loved him. And that was it. A few backwards glances from me. None from him. 

My baby boy released to the first stage of the school system. Here begin the days when his world will begin to ever widen and he becomes exposed to so many more influences than he could be at home and with family.  I know he will enjoy himself and it will be so good for his development. But this morning I feel a familiar vulnerability and rawness that comes with the territory of being a mummy.