26 April 2012

Things that Suck about the first three months...

OK so I found out I was pregnant in South Africa where everyone announces it as soon as they find out. I then returned to England where you don't tell anyone and that is annoying because it really limits your complaining (which is maybe why you don't mention it til you're 12 weeks) and what the hell is Twitter for if not complaining? So I found it easier to make a list of things that are annoying. I don't want to sound ungrateful because I really am. But I also love a good moan...

  • Having to pee five times a night
  • The nausea oh my god the nausea
  • Clothes starting not to fit around your thighs... please let that not just be me
  • The extreme exhaustion
  • More nausea
  • Having to eat everything that's not nailed down
  • Not being able to eat smoked salmon, salami, parma ham, some cheese, peanuts
  • Not being able to drink Crabbies
  • The extreme guilt after eating biltong, smoked salmon, parma ham
  • Not being able to go in the cage shark diving
  • Fearing the appearance of piles
  • Having to have a scan with a thing that looks like an Apple joystick in your hoo-ha 
  • Not being allowed to casually smoke cigarettes...  
  • Not being able to tell anyone why you look like a plumper, spottier version of you
  • The conviction that everything bad you've ever done will come back and bite you in the ass and there will be something wrong with your baby
  • Looking at lovely clothes in shops and thinking... there's just no point 
  • Thighs eventually needing their own postcode
  • Feeling guilty about getting my hair dyed. 
But then we went and saw the scan this morning and it was wriggling about and had tiny feet and I minded all of the above a lot less... still slightly resentful about the size of my thighs though. 

11 April 2012

Simple Salad Dressing #2 - Zingy Balsamic Dressing

I feel a bit of a wanker calling this 'zingy' when I really mean 'balsamicy'. This is my favourite dressing and I usually try to make enough to half fill my dressing bottle so it's in the fridge ready to go any more and it can go a bit sludgy... we don't eat enough salad in this house.

Balsamic Dressing

10 tbsps olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsps grainy mustard
1 1/2 tsps caster sugar
1 tsp garlic paste
Salt and pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients together either in a blender or by hand in a jug with a whisk (which is what I do). Add salt and pepper to taste and add a bit more oil. mustard and sugar if you find the balsamic too mind
blowing.

10 April 2012

Heavenly Ham and Lentil Soup for Easter Monday

We spent the Easter weekend with my Mumma in Hampshire eating. She is the queen of Easter - beautiful tablecloths, eggs and decorations everywhere, tastefully done Easter tree, her sheer capacity for consuming chocolate. She cooked up a storm all weekend including her amazing fish pie and smoked ham, jacket potatoes, leeks, peas and parsley sauce. Last time she did a ham my lovely, helpful husband tipped the stock away in a frenzy of washing up but we managed to save it this time and soup was looming for the rest of the weekend.

We'd eaten so much I was not sure how I felt about soup which in my mind is always a bit heavy but we were all completely astounded by what appeared. Rather than something creamy and heavy this is clear and life-giving, the perfect antidote to a weekend of overeating. I love ham but can never really be bothered to cook it myself but now I know this is one of the outcomes I'm definitely going to add it to my repertoire.

Heavenly Ham and Lentil Soup
Serves 6-8

1 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
2 litres smoked ham stock
1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 medium potato (ideally new potato), finely diced
3 handfuls green lentils
1 finely chopped tomato
1 bunch curly parsley
black pepper
Parmesan (optional)

All you need for this (apart from a sharp knife and a chopping board) is a big saucepan. It's important that the vegetables are quite finely diced and the potato is a firm variety as you want it to hold it's shape.

1. In a large pan heat the oil and butter over a medium heat and sweat the vegetables, excluding the parsley, for five or so minutes.

2. Add the ham stock and the lentils, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1/2 and hour until the lentils are cooked.

3. Chop in a large bunch of curly parsley, including the stalks, just before serving.

4. Sometimes its nice to sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan over this - I prefer it without but some like it with so you may want some on the table for people to add if they want.

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