There are no answers

I spend so much of my time trying to understand why my children do the things they do. Why will my toddler only eat the soup if it is spooned into her mouth, but the baby next to her is apoplectic with rage if I try and help her eat it? Why can’t toddlers just turn the tap on, put soap on, lather, rinse off, dry; why the need to ‘clean the wall’? Why is trying to sleep on the hall floor apparently more comfortable than in an actual bed? But I try and remember the words of a wise friend – ‘there are no answers’. Hence why it’s not worth trying to fathom why the amount of effort you’ve put into making a meal is directly reflected in the level of disgust it provokes. Baby actually likes these ones, toddler not so much.

Broccoli and cheese soup. Onion chopped into pan, chopped celery into pan as I had it, small amount of peeled chopped potato to thicken, as these start to cook, broccoli split into florets and stalk relatively thinly sliced in, chicken stock to cover and let bubble for a bit until broccoli done. Blend within an inch of its life lest vegetables be identifiable to an untrained eye. Grate cheese over the top. Can add a swirl of yoghurt if you think that will make a difference to its reception.

Squash Dahl with egg and peas. Simplified from Jamie Oliver. Onion chopped into pan with peeled sweet potato (didn’t have any squash) cut small with garlic, cumin seeds, chopped coriander stalks and oil. Cook down for a bit, add red lentil and enough boiling water to cover. Cook (maybe adding more water) until lentils done and sweet potato squashable. Fry an egg, do some peas. Serve.


I have no control of my own life anymore. Our kitchen has been taken over by some robot radio overlord who insists on assumptively playing me music she ‘thinks I’ll like’ and will only play things at two volumes – silent disco or club night. I appear to have zero control over feral children – ‘why are you wearing pyjamas again, it’s 12 o’clock?’, ‘stop dragging your sister around by her dress, she’s CRYING’, ‘I repeat, I will not allow you to ride on the reindeer now, it’s sleeping time’ etc etc ad nauseam; and it appears I don’t even have control over my own online shopping – Sainsbury’s having apparently decided ‘new year, new me’ and sent me sweet potatoes instead of baking potatoes. I didn’t notice because the stranger standing in my kitchen at 10pm on a Friday while we unpacked the crates together was a bit awkwardly intimate and I just wanted him out of there. So it was baked sweet potato for tea, with beans because I’m past caring.

Cooked one big potato in microwave for 6 mins, cheese and beans on top. I did make tomato soup for lunch which was nice – chopped onion and celery in pan, would have done carrot too and potato but didn’t have any (see above). Tin of chopped tomatoes and passata with veg stock with little bit of sugar. Cook for a little bit. Blend with some cream cheese. Served with dipping toast, watch toddler pick out any bits that aren’t totally blended, sigh.

Soup, soup eh doop

So, today we’re rocking a carrot and coriander soup. After a couple of days where everything feels harder work than you think it should be, where we’re on the brink of Trump (which frankly sounds like a particularly revolting place to be) and I’m watching Theresa May suck up to Scotland with a tartan blazer, soup feels like we’re on track in the right direction. Plus, I made it yesterday, so today is reheating, wins all round.

Half onion chopped in biggish chunks, in pan, chop 3 carrots, in pan, cook down a little bit, good shake of dried coriander, veg stock to decently cover. Handful of lentils.¬†Simmer for half an hour. Blend with a handful of fresh coriander. Serve to baby while feeling virtuous. Serve with a tortilla wrap as you’ve run out of bread. I suppose this could be toasted under the grill a bit into tortilla chips, but not today.

Soup: a revelation

Soup is my latest revelation. I know. But it’s only obvious when you know the answer! For some reason, I’ve stopped making soup, but I love it – warming, different textures etc for baby, can last a few days and most importantly for toddler – stealth vegetables. Necessary as¬†toddler says stuff like ‘mushrooms make me poorly’.

This did admittedly take longer than 10 mins, about 40 start to finish. But, there wasn’t too much to do, which was good as I had to keep stopping for group hugs. Plus, the toast is good on its own for v quick lunch.

Chopped onion, in pot with oil, ideally I would have put in a small amount of shredded ham but it went out of date a week ago, so, no. Parsnip, carrot and a couple of potatoes (only a couple so it didn’t turn to glue) roughly the same size in pot. Cooked for a few mins until sweated down a bit, big handful of dried red lentils on top and then poured stock on top until very decently covered. Used Kallo v low salt. Ten mins from end – grate cheddar and half an apple together, pile on lightly toasted bread, grill, cut into little squares and call it ‘croutons’. Blended soup with hand stick blender. I would prefer it unblended but I never get to do anything I want anymore. Serve. Lion plate optional.