Bake of the Week: Carrot and apple muffins
Movie of the Week: How to be single
Book of the Week: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
It says a lot that the most exciting thing to happen to the Busy household this week is the advent of a new toilet seat. The old one died a highly undignified death from hinge failure. Now we have a new seat that not only soft closes, but also boasts amazing powers on non-slippage that will make life terrifically dull. What will my life amount to when I can no longer be surprised by the sudden movement and subsequent crash of the toilet seat underneath me at 4 am? Will I have to look to drugs for excitement in life? Will I resort to full scale ranting? Who knows?
What I do know, is that D will no longer have to hold the seat up to pee and I will, therefore, no longer have to worry about my house being slowly but inevitably covered in a light coating of boy pee.
Anyway, I digress.
This past week we have had an INSET day which involved a promised trip to the Natural History and Science museums; World Book Day which required much making of costumes and Mother’s Day, which saw me going off round the M25 to my parents’ house for the day. All in all, there has not been a great deal of time for baking! However, I did find time somewhere to bake some little muffins for the boys to take to school in their lunchboxes. I love sending the kids to school with something homemade in their lunchboxes – it’s one of my little indulgences and I also try and use it to surreptitiously insert vegetables and fruit into their diets. I find it difficult to discover recipes that work well for lunchboxes, especially since many of them seem to include nuts – something I find puzzling since I’m fairly sure that my kids school is not unusual in having a nut-free policy. I have persevered with some of these and experimented with seeds and things, but it is so much easier to have a nut-free place to start. I find the easiest thing is to bake small cakes or muffins in silicon muffin cases so I can pop them out – less mess and less waste!
I found this recipe in a children’s book which we borrowed from the library a few years ago called Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic, it’s evidently designed for kids to bake, so it’s dead easy and tasty enough to sneak one yourself! They look a bit gross at the yogurt mixing stage, but soon look normal once the flour, carrot and apple are added. The recipe makes 9 lunchbox sized muffins. If you don’t have plain natural yogurt in the house then I’ve found pretty much anything similar works as a substitute. I’ve made them with a tablespoon full of yogurt from a muller corner before now 🙂 The amount of apple and carrot don’t seem to matter a great deal and I don’t bother peeling or coring the apple, seems like a waste of time – I just grate it around the edge until I get to the core. My kids are fairly picky and I’ve never had a problem getting them eaten.
If you want the recipe then I’ve popped it here.
Now I did say I was going to look out some woman-centric movies to watch this week, with it being International Women’s Day today, but I just haven’t made the time, so the closest I could do was to investigate a Rebel Wilson billed movie that was still showing called How To Be Single. I’ve watched a few films over the past year that have claimed to be rebooting the romcom genre and I find it fascinating how people attempt to reconcile the romcom aim of a happy ever after ending of the couple heading off into the sunset with an increasingly mainstream feminism. The action starts with Alice, who decides to take a break from her relationship with her college boyfriend in order to find herself. She moves in with her single successful doctor elder sister (Leslie Mann) and starts a job as a paralegal. At the office she gets adopted by Rebel Wilson’s character Robin who decides to teach her how to be single. We also have Lucy (Alison Brie) who plays dating websites using an algorithm to find The One. The male characters also play to type-we have the barman slut, the steady good boy, the grieving widower and father and the happy go-lucky young guy. It seems to try hard to subvert the cliches of the romcom, with a short relationship just not going anywhere rather than being an ending or the slut who decides he wants to settle down getting laughingly rejected, or a guy happily embracing the idea of stay-at-home dad, but it doesn’t quite work. It ends with a celebration of female friendship and seems to try to suggest that happiness means different things for different people, but the idea that once you’re over 30 surely you should be settling down and thinking about babies is never far away. It was funny, Rebel Wilson wasn’t too annoying, the younger lead (Dakota Johnson) wasn’t too dewy eyed or irritating and it gave me yet another example of how to get text messaging of various kinds on screen which must be an ongoing problem for screen writers these days! All in all , I enjoyed it – it’s definitely worth renting when it’s out, but not really paying to go to the cinema to see it.
Now Summerland. Well, this certainly made more of an impact on me than last weeks book as I can definitely remember the characters names! It’s one of those ensemble pieces with multiple narrators that really draws you in to a world. The world in this case is that of the permanent residents of the island of Nantucket, said to be a playground for the rich during the summer. It centres on the death of a 17-year-old girl and the effect her death has on her twin brother, mother, boyfriend and friends, with each section being told from their individual perspectives. It was compelling and I think I may have skipped a few paragraphs trying to find out what would happen next. Despite the grim subject matter, it’s not a depressing book, it’s more concerned with how the characters got to the position they find themselves in and their relationships than the grisly details of what happened to Penny. Although each of the characters deals with grief differently, the ensemble nature of the narrative means that we never feel like with are wallowing in anyone’s pain. It was a good yarn, and if you generally enjoy a family saga then you’ll probably enjoy it.
Right, nothing much going on this week so I should have lots of time to bake a proper cake! See you next week!