Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Roundup


You can tell that the cooler weather is upon us - a lot more casseroles and soups are making their way back into the menu rotation!

  • 1st: Fish Fingers, Oven Chips, Salad
  • 2nd: Chicken Korma (Olivia cooking)
  • 3rd: Everyone find some dinner
  • 4th: Filled Pasta with Tomato & Mascarpone
  • 5th: Mushroom and Pancetta risotto
  • 6th: Pot Roast
  • 7th: Lentil & Carrot Soup
  • 8th: Fusili with Prawns and Pesto
  • 9th: Leftovers
  • 10th: Sticky Citrus Chicken with Carrots and Cashews
  • 11th: Tomato and Chorizo Rice
  • 12th: Lasagne with Pesto, bread, salad
  • 13th: Lunch out with friends
  • 14th: Five Spice Chicken with Courgettes
  • 15th: Curried Vegetable Broth
  • 16th: Cheesy Leek and Broccoli Bake
  • 17th; Jacket Potatoes with toppings
  • 18th: Belly Pork, Spring Greens, Yorkshire Puddings, Gravy
  • 19th:Golden Veggie Shepherd's Pie
  • 20th: Ghobeli
  • 21st: Chili Enchiladas
  • 22nd: Pasta with Cream Cheese and Tapenade
  • 23rd: Cabbage, Potato and Bacon Bake
  • 24th: Find your own supper
  • 25th: Honey and Soy Salmon, Roast Beetroot, Rice
  • 26th:Chicken Jalfrezi
  • 27th: Homemade Pizzas
  • 28th: Roast Chicken, Chinese Greens, Oven Potatoes
  • 29th: Cauliflower Cheese Lasagne
  • 30th: Spicy Sausage Casserole with Mash
  • 31st: Leftovers

Happy Hallowe'en!

From my little zombie, with his candy haul.  Olivia went to a friend's house to trick or treat, so I don't have a photo of her, and Sarah went out with friends to the cinema (though they did dress up, a bit)...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dinner, 30/10/13: Spicy Sausage Casserole (with Mash)

This year's pumpkins...

Outside, having a test run before the actual night...





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dinner, 29/10/13: Cauliflower Cheese Lasagne

One we've had before - essentially cauliflower and broccoli and cherry tomatoes with thinned creme fraiche and herbs and grated cheese (and lasagne) - this one has a little ham in it, too, but it needn't...

A little Hallowe'en nail art...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ta da! Rainbow Cake Success

Despite some trouble with the purple layer, it came out very well in the end, and Olivia's friends were duly impressed with the rainbowness when we cut the first slice out (she didn't tell them what was inside...)

Birthday pizza

(Actually, this was my pizza, but you get the idea) - I did offer other meal options, but everyone decided pizza was the way to go, so we did...  Two of Olivia's close friends also have birthdays in October, so there has been a run of weekend sleepovers in the past few weeks - only one of this core of four girls has a birthday some other time of year.  (There's another girl who was invited but she couldn't make it.)  Anyway, they are lovely girls to have around, and aside from a bit of giggling, no trouble at all...

Rainbow Birthday Cake

Before this, there was a lot of this:

The true test will be when we slice it open later, though!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dinner, 25/10/13: Honey and Soy Salmon, Wild & Red Rice, Roast Beetroot

The salmon is very dark because of the soy marinade - but it was yummy. And the fresh roasted beetroot was a gift from a friend with an over-productive allotment - hoorah, allotments (as long as I don't have to work in them myself...)!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby O...

14 years ago. I know, we all look a lot younger!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dinner, 23/10/13: Sausage, Cabbage and Bacon Bake

Pretty much what it sounds like. It has potatoes as well. You basically cut all the stuff up, add a little stock and some seasonings and chuck it in the oven.  I used spring greens rather than Savoy cabbage, which is what the recipe called for (though I've made it with Savoy before) because I had some leftover in the fridge from last week...  Even though it's very mild out at the moment, we are definitely enterring the hearty cooking time of year!

Another birthday, another laptop

A very slightly early birthday present for Olivia, who is turning 14 tomorrow. This arrived in the post yesterday, and despite being a tiny bit before time, we let her open it. Partly because I'm not totally mean and cruel and partly because then Sarah could help her set everything up vis a vis homegroup networks, remote printing and so on, before she (Sarah) went off on her school trip to Germany and Poland in the wee hours of tomorrow. We now officially have more laptops than people in the house, if you count the two older ones which are rarely used (one a netbook). But the girls both have so much homework which needs to be done partly or wholly on a computer that it's really necessity. And it means I might once again in the evening get a chance to use my laptop for my own stuff!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Merton in Bloom Winner!

Olivia enterred a contest last spring through school to draw a picture of a garden for Merton in Bloom, which is an initiative to encourage gardens and flowers in our borough of London (there's a London-wide one as well, London in Bloom, and presumably, other boroughs have their own awards).  Awards are made for actual gardens (e.g. best front garden (several size categories), best hanging basket, best balcony, best commercial property, best allotment plot and so on) and there are 3 age categories for best drawing of a garden (3-6, 7-10 and 11-14).  We were invited to the Awards Ceremony at the Civic Centre, as Olivia won in her age category.  One of the prizes she received was a hooded sweatshirt with a print of her drawing on it (the other two winners also got one each, with their own drawings on). 

A bit of a closeup of the hoodie

and here she is modelling it. 

She received her award from the Mayor of Merton

and in addition to the hoodie, had a nice certifcate and and a physical award whatsit (not sure what to call it - it's not a plaque, it's not a trophy). 

 She also had a free family ticket to the really big local fireworks (for Bonfire night), which is fun.

Well done, Olivia!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dinner, 21/10/13: Chili Enchiladas

Enchiladas are one of those meals that always taste great, but look messy. This time, I used some leftover chili from the freezer for the filling, so it was a very quick weeknight meal. Yum!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dinner, 20/10/13: Ghobeli

This is a rice and lamb dish with carrots (as you may be able to tell from the photo). It has a garnish of pistachios and dried cranberries, which we think works fantastically well with it.  This is a staple in our house (in as much as anything is).

Art (and stuff)

The Tate Britain has had an exhibit of paintings by the British artist L.S.Lowry on show for a while (unfortunately, a lot of the time was while we were away this summer) and I had hoped to get up to see them. Today was the last day of the exhibit, and while I thought our chances of getting tickets were slim, it was worth a shot - worst case scenario, we could look around the permanent exhibit at the Tate and then either wander London or go home.  So I took the children who wanted to come (which turned out to be Olivia and Alex) and caught a train to town. 

(There's a great row of pollarded trees in the road outside the Tate.)  

As suspected, there were no tickets avaialable until 6pm, and as we didn't want to stay that long (it was 1 ish), we opted for a browse around the regular galleries instead, including some Henry Moore pieces

(the pieces were more than heads, but I just really like the heads on these two); 

and some miscellaneous bits and pieces, including a collection of maquettes (scale models) for a Reg Butler sculpture called The Unknown Political Prisoner (not sure how big the proper sculpture is, but I loved the maquettes, which were quite small - the prisoner in this one was only a few centimetres high).

We did manage to see one Lowry painting, which was in the general collection, rather than the special exhibit, so I was pleased to see that. Just wish the timing had been better for the exhibit (like if it had lasted until the end of October, I could have gone during half term).  The next special on is Paul Klee, though, which is a must see, so I'll have to make sure to hit that one. Perhaps I'll even book in advance for that!

We also had a look around the Turner wing - I like some Turner more than others, though I can admire them all - ultimately, I prefer the more abstract ones, I think.  I liked the cow detail from larger painting

and I loved the just barely visible people in this Riva degli Schiavione, Venice: Water Fete.

There were also a few small paintings on board (I think) of a few figures on a beach, which struck me, but no photo of them. 

Alex enjoyed the Turners as well, though he liked the room of Constable paintings better, apparently.

After we left the gallery, we walked a little along the river and then caught a bus up to Covent Garden to grab some ice cream or coffee, depending on what the weather did...

I always enjoy the views from London buses, and recommend travelling by bus rather than underground wherever you can!

In Covent Garden, after a brief stop in the Doc Marten shop to eye up the sale boots (Olivia tried to talk me into the blue ones, but I resisted nobly)

we headed off to Scoop to get our ice cream. Never mind that it was raining - who would let a little rain stand between themselves and gelato? Especially in London!